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Visiting Fellows

Sara Dezalay

French and Irish, Sara Dezalay is a lawyer and political sociologist (BA of Law, Trinity College Dublin; Master of Law Université Panthéon-Assas Paris II; Master of Sciences-Po Paris; Master of research in political sociology of International relations of Sciences-Po Paris). She obtained her PhD of Laws at the European University Institute in Florence in 2011. Before her appointment as Lecturer at the Cardiff School of Law and Politics in 2016, she was Visiting researcher at the Hauser Global Law Program of NYU (2007), Assistant lecturer (A.T.E.R.) at the Institute of Political Science of Lille and guest lecturer at Sciences-Po in Paris and HEC Paris (2009-2011); guest lecturer and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto (2011-2013); and guest lecturer and Postdoctoral research Fellow at the Cluster of Excellence ‘The formation of normative orders’, Goethe Universität, Frankfurt (2013-2016).

Anchored in structural sociology, Sara’s primary research investigates the roles played by lawyers in distribution conflicts over natural resources between the Global North and the African South. She is developing two main empirical projects with the TLI. The first connects the authority of international justice over distribution conflicts to the professional and social characteristics of international lawyers involved in inter-state adjudication and investment arbitration. The second explores the contributions made by lawyers to political, economic and societal transformations at the domestic level in African economies driven by the extraction of natural resources and in the wider evolution of the position of Africa in globalization.

At the Institute’s Methods Lab Session, Sara presented her research agenda on natural resources, lawyers and Africa in globalization. She provided empirical insights into one of her sites of investigation: the ‘Africa’ corporate legal bar in Paris, which is dominated by major US and UK law firms involved in project financing and the negotiation of contracts between multinational corporations and African states. She showed how this ‘off-shore’ bar was deeply embedded in the longer connections between Western Africa and Paris as a former métropole, and was also the spearhead of a powerful, ongoing dynamic of corporate legal globalization in the African continent.

Her publications to point include:

Les juristes, faiseurs d'État (coord.), Politique africaine, 138, June 2015,

“Professionals of International Justice: From the Shadow of State Diplomacy to the Pull of the Market of Arbitration”, in A. Nollkaemper, J. d’Aspremont et al (eds) International Law as a Profession (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

“Les Juristes en Afrique: Entre Trajectoires d’Etat, Sillons d’Empire et Mondialisation”, (2015) Politique Africaine 138(2) pp. 5- 23.

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