I am a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law and work at the edges of law, on domains that, due to radical technological change or ruptures in our ethical imagination, require legal consideration in a philosophical register. The legal standing of collective ecological entities, the fashioning, use and ownership of human body parts, the legal status of non-human minds and agent-less creative processes; these are the frontiers of law across which I work, and though these are unstable and changing terrains, they necessarily feed back into classical questions of jurisprudence.
At the law school I teach across a range of courses from classical ‘Legal Theory’ and ‘Theories of Justice’, to electives on ‘Law and Biology’, 'FoodLaw' and, most recently, 'Transforming environmental law: exploring legal rights of nature' (with Alice Bleby).
Before coming to Australia, I was a Junior Visiting Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University. In 2017 I resided as a Visiting Fellow with the Center for the Study of Law and Society at the University of California-Berkeley. During the academic year 2020/21 I am a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study (Princeton) participating in the research program "Science and the State".
I served as UNSW Law's Ethics and Grievance Officer (2018-2020), currently chair the "Theory Section", am a member of the UNSW Allens Hub for Law, Technology and Innovation where I am stream leader for "Hybrid Life and Legal Personhood", participate in the 'UNSW Environmental Law Group', and am a member of the 'Australian Center for the Rights of Nature'.
PhD, LLM or research thesis applications in legal philosophy, socio-legal studies, biolegality, neurolaw, legal ecology, and the legal implications of 'cognitive assemblages' (AI/ Mind) are very welcome.
In 2015 I initiated, and since convene, the cross-disciplinary research platform UNSW Law Initiative for Biolegalities (IBL). Closely related to this is a new book series called Biolegalities (Palgrave MacMillan) which I co-edit. Both the IBL and the Series examine the relation between law, life and the biosciences in the 21th century. Two publications are in progress (and under contract): Biolegalities: A Critical Intervention, and Brave New Law: Personhood in the Age of Biolegality (both Palgrave MacMillan).
At the The Allens Hub for Technology, Law and Innovation I lead the "stream" Hybrid Life and Legal Personhood which researches the impact of technological hybridization (SmartRobots, Artificial Intelligence, Driverless cars) for our understanding of inter-personal agency, accountability and legal personhood.
Further I initiated a research group examining the potential of so-called "Nature Rights": the granting of rights and legal personhood (a theme is developing here!) to natural entities such as rivers or mountains, sometimes in combination with the recognition of Indigenous rights. This project was recently granted two Scientia PhD's (an ARC Linkage and ARC Discovery proposal are in preparation).
What ties all these projects together is their radical challenge to the fundamental legal binary of persons and things, private property and the public [natural] commons. I perceive all the above as elements of a critical-affirmative philosophical anthropology focused on the liminal intersection between legality & life.
I co-edited Personhood in the Age of Biolegality: Brave New Law (Palgrave MacMillan); my monograph Paul Ricoeur's Renewal of Philosophical Anthropology is published in the series 'Studies in the Thought of Paul Ricoeur' (Rowman & Littlfield). A co-edited volume on Ricoeur's writings on law and justice (Reading Riceour Through Law) is forthcoming in the same series. Another monograph, co-written with Sonja van Wichelen, on biolegality is also forthcoming in 2022.
Legal Theory [LAWS2320/ JURD7223]
Theories of Law and Justice [LAWS2326/ JURD7236]
Theories of Law and Biology [LAWS3149/ JURD7449]