by Lauren Anders
Once again, I find myself raving about the one and only Dr. Carmichael. This time I am here to rave about her International Law class that can truly change your life (it really has). Dr. Carmichael’s informed, but different pedagogical beliefs inform the design of her courses, and INTL 4210 is no different. INTL 4210 is built on a fortified foundation of active engagement, entertainment, exciting, class bonding. And it is this “fun” foundation that lends to the successful development of reality skills, such as consensus building, creative analysis, knowledge of history, understanding of courtroom decorum, processes, and innerworkings of the international legal system. Every day of this class is something different, I can guarantee that there is never a dull a moment. The entire course is a simulation of trials before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Students spend 3 weeks in 3 different roles: plaintiff, defendant, judge. The cases that students investigate are a mix of real cases that have gone before the ICJ, and others that are “fictional” in the sense they have not yet risen to the occasion of an ICJ trial, but could very well occur in the future, for example, the issues surrounding the militarization of space. This class enables students to really engage with their critical thinking skills, as they must dissect the current laws, try their best to craft an air-tight stance, but at the same time anticipate the actions and viewpoints of the opposition, and then dissect and tear down their case. Things get quite heated, and intense, which is why speeches are given a much appropriate timer, so filibusters can be avoided. After ruthless back and forth, it is up to the judges to decide a victor and let me also just say that banging the gavel is such a power trip! Once the judges release a victor, it is time to move onto next week’s case, and organized chaos begins again. This class is really exciting, but also so fruitful. When I was enrolled in the course, a student discovered that she loved the work of the course so much, she switched paths, quickly took the LSAT, applied to Law school, and was accepted! This class offers students a safe space to “try-out” a career as a Lawyer, which is a career path the majority of SPIA has considered at one point or another. I highly recommend this course, and offer a warning not to procrastinate studying for the midterm and final.