Dr Mohammad (Shahab) Shahabuddin

Dr Mohammad (Shahab) Shahabuddin

Birmingham Law School
Senior Lecturer in Law

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Shahab teaches and researches in international law with special focus on history and theory of international law, ethnicity and nationalism, and human rights. He is the author of Ethnicity and International Law: Histories, Politics and Practices (Cambridge University Press, 2016). 


  • PhD (London)
  • MA (Yokohama)
  • LLM (Dhaka) Gold medallist
  • LLB Hons. (Dhaka)


Shahab joined Birmingham Law School as a Senior Lecturer in September 2016. Prior to joining Birmingham, he served Keele University as a Lecturer in Law, Yokohama National University as a Visiting Professor of International Law, and Jahangirnagar University as the founding chair of its Department of Law and Justice. He was a Junior Faculty for Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global law and Policy (IGLP) Workshop from 2011 to 2017. Shahab completed PhD in law at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is the author of Ethnicity and International Law: Histories, Politics, and Practices (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Shahab is the Head of Quality Assurance and Enhancement at Birmingham Law School. 

Postgraduate supervision

Shahab is happy to supervise postgraduate research students in the areas of International Law and International Human Rights Law. He has specific interest in supervising PhD students in the field of international legal history, international legal theory, third world approaches to international law, ethnic minority rights and ethnic conflicts, and right to self-determination.


Shahab’s research is a part of a vibrant line of critical historical projects, in which the assumptions inherent in international law’s conceptual foundations are being scrutinised. His research interests include legal theory, international legal history, international human rights law, international law of minority rights, international law of ethnic conflicts, postcolonialism and law, and Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL).

In recent years, he has received a number of research grants including Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) Research Grant (2015), Brown University’s Brown International Advanced Research Institute (BIARI) Grants (2016) and the Japan Foundation Fellowship (2016).

In addition to academic research, he is also actively involved in policy work. He worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bangladesh as its National Consultant in 2011/12 to conduct compliance studies on International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). These study reports have been published by the National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh. 



  • Shahabuddin, M. Ethnicity and International Law: Histories, Politics and Practices (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles:

  • Shahabuddin, M. “The Myth of Colonial ‘Protection’ of Indigenous Peoples: The Case of the Chittagong Hill Tracts under British Rule.” International Journal on Minority and Group Rights (2018). Forthcoming.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “Historicizing ‘Law’ as a Language of Progress, and Its Anomalies: The Case of Penal Law Reforms in Colonial India.” Asian Journal of Comparative Law 9, no. 1 (2014) 213–240.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “From Exclusion to Civilisation: ‘National Spirit’ as a Response to Western Imperialism in Nineteenth Century Japan.” Jahangirnagar University Journal of Law 2 (2014) 15–46.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “The Colonial ‘Other’ in the Nineteenth-Century German Colonisation of Africa, and International Law.” African Yearbook of International Law 18 (2010 [2013]) 15–39.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “Liberal Self-determination, Postcolonial Statehood, and Minorities: The Chittagong Hill Tracts in Context.” Jahangirnagar University Journal of Law 1 (2013) 77–96.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “‘Ethnicity’ in the International Law of Minority Protection: The Post-Cold War Context in Perspective.” Leiden Journal of International Law 25, no. 4 (2012) 885–907.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “Liberal Individualism Meets Conservative Passion: International Legal Responses to Ethnicity in Ethnic Conflicts, and Beyond.” Peace Research: The Canadian Journal of Peace and Conflict Studies 43, no. 2 (2011) 51–96.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “Ethnic ‘Otherness’ in Internatioanl law: An Alternative History of International Law from Pre-Modernity to the Nineteenth Century.” Dhaka University Studies (Part F - Journal of the Faculty of Law) 19, no. 2  (2008) 1–34.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “Liberal Understanding, Shortcoming, and Controversy apropos Group Rights: Do We Need a Different Paradigm?” Yokohama Law Review 16, no.1 (2007) 155–176.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “Towards Regional Economic Integration: What Role for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)?” Bangladesh Journal of International Affairs 7, no.1 (2003) 80–103.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “Revisiting the Concept of Civil Society: A Theoretical Approach.” Bangladesh Journal of Law  6, no. 1&2 (2002) 109–126.

Book Chapters:

  • Shahabuddin, M. “Nationalism, Imperialism, and Bandung: Nineteenth Century Japan as a Prelude.” In Bandung, Global History and International Law: Critical Pasts and Pending Futures, eds. Luis Eslava, Michael Fakhri and Vasuki Nesiah (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 95–107.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “Human Rights and the Law.” In Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Bangladesh (London: Routledge, 2015) 283–292.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “About Primordialism and Otherness: The Ethnic Underpinning of Minorities in International Law.” In Identity and Allegiance in a Globalised World, ed. Fiona Jenkins, Mark Nolan, and Kim Rubenstein (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014) 522–541.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “The Ethnic Dichotomy of ‘Self’ and ‘Other’ in the Interwar International Law of Minority Protection.” In Statehood and Self-Determination: Reconciling Tradition and Modernity in International Law, ed. Duncan French (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013) 407–426.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “International Law and Ethnic Conflicts in a World of Multi-Nation States: The Case of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), Bangladesh.” In Rights, Citizenship and Torture, ed. John Perry and Welat Zeydanlioglu (Oxford: Inter-disciplinary Press, 2009) 301–329.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “Tracing the ‘Ethnic’ Phenomenon of Ethnic Conflicts: A Theoretical Approach.” In Post-Conflict Justice, Peace, and Human Rights, ed. Mizanur Rahman (Dhaka: ELCOP, 2009) 131–154.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “Dispelling the Myth of ‘Group Rights’ in International Law: A Historical Perspective.” In Human Rights and Corruption, ed. Mizanur Rahman (Dhaka: ELCOP, 2007) 227–240.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “Space for Alternatives: Civil Society Role in Conflict Transformation – The Case of Northern Ireland.” In Human Rights and Non-State Actors, ed. Mizanur Rahman (Dhaka: ELCOP, 2005) 139–156.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “Human Rights and Good Governance: Ethnic Conflicts in Perspective.” In Human Rights and Good Governance, ed. Mizanur Rahman (Dhaka: ELCOP, 2004) 175–202.
  • Shahabuddin, M. “Dispute Settlement in WTO: A Predicament for Developing Countries.” In Human Rights and Globalization, ed. Mizanur Rahman (Dhaka: ELCOP, 2003) 183–192.

Other Publications:

  • Shahabuddin, M. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: A Study on Bangladesh Compliance (Dhaka: National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh, 2013).
  • Shahabuddin, M. The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: A Study on Bangladesh Compliance (Dhaka: National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh, 2013).
  • Shahabuddin, M. Book Review of E. Posner and J. Goldsmith, The Limits of International Law (Oxford University Press, 2005). Yokohama Law Review 15, no. 3 (2007). [Translated into Japanese]



International law with subject specialisation in history and theory of international law, ethnicity and nationalism, minority rights, and ethnic conflicts

Area specialisation: Bangladesh; the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT)