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About the Textbook

“The textbook is drafted with care and concern for student understanding[.] Overall, International Law in Context presents an incredible learning tool on a topic that has never been more relevant and integral to understanding and combatting issues affecting us all.”

-Spencer W. 

Canadian & American Dual J.D. Class of 2022

International Law in Context challenges the next generation of U.S. lawyers to engage with our inter-connected world and to critically evaluate the U.S.’s role within the international legal order. Part One lays a foundation. It covers the various actors within the system, the theories that help explain their behavior, and the principles and sources of law they create.


Part Two turns to the fora that define and support the international order, the historical and political contexts that impacted their design, and their efficacy.


Part Three presents sophisticated capstone projects that ask students to engage with two major challenges of our time. The text first explores climate change, including the existing international treaty regime, U.S. implementation options, and the constitutional role of sub-national actors. The text then shifts to the use of force. It asks students to consider international law’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Syrian Civil War, and the Taliban’s 2021 return to power in Afghanistan in the context of historical case studies regarding the First and Second Gulf Wars, the dismemberment of former Yugoslavia, the Rwandan Genocide, and the invasions of Afghanistan.


International Law in Context is a pedagogy-forward textbook. It reflects the recent paradigm shift in legal education, which asks the academy to focus on what students actually learn rather than the material to which they are exposed. To this end, the text organizes material into conceptual frameworks to promote understanding and retention. It also provides students with meaningful feedback loops via a series of pedagogical devices, such as foundation questions, assessment sets, and “Why Is This Important?” prompts that invite reflection and synthesis.

Image by Susan Q Yin
Headshot Cara Cunningham Warren.jpg

About the Author

“Professor Warren must be regarded as an original and creative thinker about important issues facing legal education[.]

Her body of work has the potential to reveal new vistas in each field in which she writes.”

-Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz,

University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law

Cara Cunningham Warren, B.A., J.D., LL.M., is a political scientist and tenured law professor who has been awarded degrees in both the U.S. and Canada.

She is the 2023 James T. Barnes Sr. Faculty Scholar and the recipient of the 2023 Faculty Excellence Award at the University of Detroit Mercy, which is a university-wide award given to only one senior faculty member each year. Professor Warren also has been recognized as a top-ranked author on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Her scholarship focuses on how legal and institutional structures can be created or reformed to resolve sovereignty, balance of power, and good governance questions.

Her new textbook sits at the intersection of her scholarship and her deep engagement over the past twenty years in teaching, curricular development and reform, and assessment. In addition to her writing and teaching, Professor Warren also has served in a variety of relevant administrative posts, including Curriculum Director, Interim Assistant Dean of International Programs, and Assistant Dean of Academic Initiatives.

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