Since 2015 and the #RhodesMustFall movement in Cape Town, South Africa, as well as its counterpart student movement at Oxford University in the UK, the question of the relevance of decolonisation to higher education has become quite prominent across Global North universities. Before this upsurge of interest, my academic work had been majorly concerned with the effects of incomplete decolonisation of African polities, for example, continued education dependency and humanitarian interventionism. However, with the increased focus on decolonisation in UK higher education, I became extremely frustrated with what I saw as the inadequacy, misunderstandings, and misuses of decolonisation as a practice and logic. I feel that these arose, not only from adamant refusal to engage with the questions thrown up by decolonisation, but also from the lack of a conceptual foundation to engage with those same questions.
By Dr Pedro Telles, Senior Lecturer in Law (Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, Swansea University) and Dr Albert Sanchez-Graells, Reader in Economic Law (University of Bristol Law School).
Brexit, its research and its teaching are increasingly becoming a field of study on their own—see eg the illuminating contributions to the special issue edited by C Wallace & T Hervey on ‘Brexit and the Law School’ (2019) 53(2) Law Teacher 133-229, some of which build on the earlier series of SLS ‘Brexit and the Law School’ Seminars, one of which Albert had the pleasure to host at the University of Bristol Law School in July 2017. This seems rather natural, as it is hard to overstate the impact that Brexit is having on the work of academics active in all areas, but particularly for public and EU law scholars. In this post, we offer some personal reflections on the frustrations of carrying out Brexit-related research, some of which are related to Brexit and its unforeseeability, while others are derived from more general constraints on the ways legal research is published and assessed.
Researching a moving target …
The first issue that concerns us is the need to try to foresee what is likely to happen along the Brexit process (itself unknown and highly volatile), which puts legal scholars in a difficult bind because this is clearly a politics-driven phenomenon that curbs almost every imaginable rule or precedent remotely applicable to a comparable situation. We are not sure that legal scholars are in the best position to offer policy forecasts but producing research that is of any use to policy-makers requires such an effort. (more…)