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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

Dina Lupin

By Dina Lupin

Dina Lupin is the Director of the GNHRE and a Lecturer at the School of Law at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdon. Dina is an affiliated researcher in the project “Giving groups a proper say”, supported by the Austrian Science Fund and hosted at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Vienna. Dina‘s current research is on silencing and epistemic injustice in the context of consultation processes with Indigenous peoples and her latest article on this subject can be found here. In 2020, Dina’s book, “Human Dignity and the Adjudication of Environmental Rights” was published with Edward Elgar Press.

Previously Dina worked as a Post-doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Law of the University of Tilburg researching civil society organisations working on sustainable development in Ethiopia. You can read more about the research project here.

Dina was awarded her PhD in 2017 by the Department of Public and International Law at the University of Oslo. Her PhD was on the concept of human dignity in the context of environmental law and governance.

Dina completed her BA and LLB at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and her Master of Laws, with honours, at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Dina previously worked as a Senior Attorney at the Centre for Environmental Rights ( in Cape Town. At the Centre, Dina represented a range of communities and activists in their battles for more transparent, accountable environmental and water management in the mining sector. She worked on the
legal aspects of acid mine drainage, hydraulic fracturing and was
instrumental in the facilitation of a community activist network in the field of mining and environmental justice. Dina also led the Centre’s work on improving transparency in environmental governance. As a result of her work at the Centre, Dina was included in the 2013 list of 200 Young South Africans published by the Mail and Guardian .

Dina has also worked in the Mining and Natural Resources team at Webber Wentzel, a South African law firm.