Congratulations to Dr. Mohamed Sesay, winner of the International Studies Association’s Lee Ann Fujii Book Award for 2021 for his new book Domination Through Law: The Internationalization of Legal Norms in Postcolonial Africa.
From the International Studies Association’s press release:
“This year’s winner, Mohamed Sesay’s book Domination through Law: The Internationalization of Legal Norms in Postcolonial Africa (Rowman & Littlefield 2021), exemplifies Lee Ann’s call for reflexivity and diversity in the discipline. As the committee report notes: Sesay uses a postcolonial analysis to argue that modern rule of law perpetuates forms of domination in post-conflict African states. He calls into question neoliberal characterizations of modern law -- including the idea that it’s contemporary, distinct from a colonial past, and carried out as a neutral project -- to argue that the reconstruction of post conflict societies through rule of law processes and peacebuilding as state-building efforts conducted by Euro-American parties continues the colonization project through three empirical spheres of legal internationalization (local economies, local politics of rule of law reforms, and communal rules and norms). Using data gathered during field work conducted in Sierra Leone and Liberia, Sesay brilliantly supports his argument analyzing how the three spheres of legal internationalization in each country maintains and perpetuates modern law as an instrument of social domination. The highlight of this book is its novel postcolonial critique of a subject, international law, regularly thought to be benign, and as Sesay brilliantly points out, regularly overlooked by postcolonial critique which often turns its attention to international development, intervention, and security.”
This book award is named after the late Lee Ann Fujii and was “established to recognize the best book published in the previous two calendar years that significantly advances issues of diversity in the discipline, whether through topical focus or authorship. In this vein, the award gives preference to scholars from underrepresented communities in IR: scholars from the Global South, LGBTQ scholars, and women. Award recipients should fulfill Lee Ann’s call for diversity and representation in the discipline in meaningful ways.”
This is the second year of this award. Professor Fujii was associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto (Mississauga) and a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She passed away in 2018 and is dearly missed.
Read more about this book on our Faculty Publications page.