Call for papers: “Searching for Critical Environmental Law: Theories, Methods, Critiques”

Searching for Critical Environmental Law: Theories, Methods, Critiques

WORK SHOP, MAY 11, 2018 in Oxford


The field of critical environmental law has yet to develop any consistent self-awareness as a set of problematisations, methods and theories of either law or the environment, despite promising work in recent years. With this realisation as the point of departure, the aim of this workshop is to debate the conception and role of this field of legal scholarship. Critical environmental law is understood as an enquiry into the theoretical and institutional apparatus of both environmental law and the rationality of environmentalism. It seeks to problematise standard ontological, epistemological and axiological narratives from an interdisciplinary perspective, and to find and expose the slippages at the margins of the intersection between law and ecology.

However, any conceptual or practical project of critical environmental law must now contend with our contemporary condition; the continuing crisis of capitalism framing a period of protestations, uprisings and revolts, a general discontent in the context of which the operation of an objective, depoliticised and scientifically -derived environmental law as an essential element of liberal environmentalism appears increasingly strained. But was it ever effective in the first place? On the other hand, critiques of environmental science can serve projects that are inimical to the political commitments of critical thought. How can critiques of the limitations of liberal and managerial notions of environmental law thrive in the world of denialism and extremism? In this context, the fields of international, transnational and comparative environmental law have become even more important in combating the geographically restricted nature of environmental law scholarship.

Therefore, this call for papers invites contributions that grapple with the challenge of conceiving and critiquing the relation between law and the environment through innovative ideas, categories and instruments, and in the contemporary context of crisis and contestation. Contributions from international, transnational, comparative or domestic perspective are welcome.

Possible themes include, but are not restricted to:
 What is critical environmental law? What can it be? What are its methodological commitments and ethical orientations?
 What are the limits – conceptual, political, practical – of environmental law?
 Relation between environmental law and resistance
 Relation between environmental law and science
 Critical readings of the law in/on the Anthropocene
 Critical thought and the environment
 Evaluating Earth jurisprudence/wild law approaches
 Transnational and comparative approaches to environmental law
 What is the specific dimension of critical international environmental law?

Please send abstracts of 500 words to Andreas Kotsakis – and Vito De Lucia – by April 3, 2018.

Limited funding is available for travel and accommodation in Oxford. We will communicate decisions on the workshop by April 8, 2018.

Feature image: Anna Grear


Upcoming Seminar: Fourth Annual Rule of Law and Sustainable Development Seminar

On the 13th of April 2018 the Regional African Law and Human Security Programme (RALHUS), at UWC, in conjunction with the South African Research Chair in International Law, at UJ, will host the Fourth Annual Rule of Law and Sustainable Development Seminar, in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

The topic of the seminar is The International Climate Change Regime, Modern Sustainable Energy and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 13 of Agenda 2030 mandates states to “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts’”. SDG 13 affirms that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change. Reciprocal acknowledgement of the SDGs by the UNFCCC regime can be found in Decision 1/CP.21 adopted at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) where the COP welcomed the adoption of the SDGs, in particular Goal 13. The Paris Agreement provides for several mechanisms to address climate change in order to further sustainable development and SDG 13. As such the preamble of the Paris Agreement explicitly acknowledges “the need to promote universal access to sustainable energy in developing countries, in particular in Africa, through the enhanced development of renewable energy”. Furthermore, the UNFCCC refers to energy efficiency in its preamble as a measure to counteract increasing energy consumption. These references lend considerable support to SDG 7 on sustainable energy, in particular targets 7.1 and 7.2 and the potential that the climate change regime has to induce sustainable energy projects.

Please contact Werner Scholtz ( for further information.

Feature image: Josh Gellers


Welcome to the new GNHRE News and Community Page

Welcome to our new News and Community page!

This is a space where members can post events, job postings, upcoming conferences and other news, but it is also a space for comment, opinion, debate and blogging.

The idea is that this is a platform for members to come together and ask each other questions, keep each other informed and engage with each other about the crucial issues animating the field. We want it to be a new hub for the human rights and environment community, as well as a community-built resource on events and developments in the field.

Please have a look at recent posts on the upcoming Symposium on Dignity Rights and Environmental Justice, on the latest edition of the Journal of Human Rights and Environment, and a welcome to new members of the network.

At this stage, all are welcome to comment on the page. If, in addition, you would like to post any news, blogs or other content, please send the details to Over the next few months we will be opening the page up to members to post directly, and we will keep you updated on the details. In the meantime, please send us your thoughts and comments.

Feature image: Josh Gellers


Call for emerging scholars to join the GNHRE

In an effort to enhance the diversity of GNHRE and expand its membership among early career individuals, we are calling upon current members to nominate one new emerging scholar for membership in the Network.

Emerging scholars are those scholars, activists, and practitioners in academic institutions, think tanks, law firms, and other organizations whose work relates to the intersection of human rights and the environment, and who have earned a doctoral or professional degree within the past 7 years.

Nominations should include the name and contact information (including email) of a prospective member, and should be sent to Josh Gellers ( Josh will reach out to all those nominated and encourage them to apply for membership according to the GNHRE Membership Guidelines, which will be made available on the GNHRE website.

Feature image: Anna Grear


Conference: European Environmental Law Forum Annual Conference

The 6th Annual Conference of the European Environmental Law Forum will take place at the University of Insubria (Como, Italy) 12-14 September 2018.

The call for abstracts is now open. The theme for the conference is “Environmental loss & damage: attribution, liability, compensation and restoration”.

More information is available here.


Feature image: Lex Van Lieshout/AFP/Getty Images