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Interview with Rossana Deplano, Law Library Scholar-in-Residence

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Rossana Deplano standing in the great hall of the Library of Congress.
Rossana Deplano is a Scholar-in-Residence at the Law Library of Congress. [Photo by Donna Sokol]

Describe your background.

I was born and raised in Sardinia, Italy. After completing my law degree, I moved to the UK, where I currently live and work.

What is your academic/professional history?

I hold an LL.B. and LL.M. from the University of Cagliari, Italy, and a Ph.D. inlLaw from Brunel University London, UK. During my Ph.D. studies, I visited Chulalongkorn University, Thailand and the China University of Political Science and Law.

I am currently a full-time lecturer at the University of Leicester, where I teach international law. I have also been a visiting scholar at Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Cambridge’s Lauterpacht Centre for International Law.

How would you describe your job (or research project) to other people?

My research project revives one of the classic questions of international law: are the resolutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly binding? Technically, resolutions are only recommendations. However, certain resolutions, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are often perceived as binding by states and, consequently, acted upon.

The purpose of my research is to understand why certain resolutions make a significant impact on state behavior while the vast majority do not. My research method consists of understanding when, how, and why states rely on resolutions. In particular, I am going to look at the extent to which resolutions inform national legislation and are cited in domestic case law.

Why did you want to work at the Law Library?

I decided to spend a term at the Law Library because of its impressive wealth of books and electronic resources covering over 240 jurisdictions.

What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library of Congress?

Working with the foreign law specialists, legal analysts, and legal reference librarians on a daily basis has taught me that no matter the amount and the depth of resources you may have at your disposal, there is no substitute for the learning experience coming from face-to-face contact. You need a staff member to be able to navigate and appreciate the fascinating landscape of culture embodied in the Library of Congress!

What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?

I am a bibliophile and a philatelist (stamp collector).




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