UT law professor receives international law award for book

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Photo courtesy of Wyatt Spadden 

Law professor Derek Jinks and UT alumnus Ryan Goodman received the 2014 Certificate of Merit for a Preeminent Contribution to Creative Scholarship award from the American Society of International Law for their book, “Socializing States: Promoting Human Rights through International Law.”

The co-authored book, published last year, discusses new theories within the rules of international law pertaining to human rights. 

Jinks said “Socializing States” reveals how international laws are implemented in domestic settings, further influencing human rights.

“The book shows the potential impact of international legal norms to shift global politics and domestic policy, sometimes with fast-paced cascade effects,” Goodman said. 

According to the American Society of International Law, the book was recognized for its creativity and willingness to question the ways that international law is normally addressed.

“International law, particularly in the field of human rights, all too often fails to influence the practices of states,” Jinks said. “We wanted to know why and to start the process of thinking about alternatives.”

The theories for implementation of human rights within international law introduced by Jinks and Goodman are groundbreaking, according to the society.

“We think we make a good case that such an understanding [of international law implementation] might require some important changes in the way that human rights law is drafted, interpreted and enforced,” Jinks said. 

Goodman said he believes their book and the theory revealed within the book could have a substantial influence on international law reform.

“We hope that our book can make a real world difference,” Goodman said. “We believe the research we have uncovered can help to better understand how global politics and international norms work, and can provide empirical insights into seeing the possibility for global social change.”

Goodman said the time he spent on the UT debate team developed his love for research and helped hone his critical thinking.

Jinks said his time and experience at the University was part of his success and influence within the realm of international law.

“Some of the ideas in the book trace back to my days as an undergraduate anthropology and government major at UT,” Jinks said. “What we learned on the 40 Acres provided the foundation for our theory of global-level social influence.”