International and European Law Research Seminar – 2 April by Dr Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua

International and European Law Research Seminar 2 April 2014

Dr Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua gave a talk on ‘Contributionism or Twailism: A Critical Review of African Perspectives on International Law’

The presentation was devoted to introducing African perspectives into International Law, which has remained to a large extent predominantly Euro-centric in doctrine, theory and practice.

Dr Appiagyei-Atua provided a critique of two main schools developed by African scholarship in reaction to the European ‘hegemonic’ influence in International Law, namely, Contributionism and Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL). The former seeks to reclaim, reconstruct and rehabilitate the neglected and denigrated African past and put it on an even keel with Europe. In so doing it contends that Africans participated in shaping International Law and that their contribution should be thus acknowledged and recognised. The latter, seeks to expose the exploitative side of International Law and present an alternative normative model that pays attention to justice and fairness in order to eradicate conditions of underdevelopment.

Dr Appiagyei-Atua’s critique unravelled a new middle-ground approach, that of recognitionism. This new perspective locates itself within the pre-colonial era to uncover the origins of International Law in Africa and contends that African regions developed notions of primitive International Law within their own limited geographical spaces before contact with Europe and other civilisations.

Dr Appiagyei-Atua concluded by showing how the contributions from Africa and other developing countries are only piecemeal and have mainly come through the United nations system without significantly altering the current International legal order.

Dr Appiagyei-Atua is currently a Marie Curie Fellow at the Centre for Educational Research and Development of the University of Lincoln. He is also Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra. At present he is writing a book entitled Commonwealth African Perspectives on Public International Law.

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About Dr Samantha Velluti

Previously at Manchester and Liverpool Law Schools as lecturer in EU law. I have researched and written extensively in the area of EU governance and constitutionalism and the Open Method of Co-ordination in the context of employment, gender equality and immigration. More recently, I have been carrying out research in the field of EU asylum law and policy examining legislative developments and the judicial activism of the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. Other areas of research include the promotion of human rights and international labour standards in the EU external trade law and policy and in this context the relationship between the European Union and other International organisations as well as its relationship with third countries. I welcome collaborative research projects, including inter-disciplinary work, and Ph.D proposals focusing on these areas of research.

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