Maneesha Deckha


Lansdowne Chair in Law

Maneesha Deckha

Maneesha Deckha

Tel: 250-721-8175


Faculty of Law
University of Victoria
PO Box 1700, STN CSC
Victoria, BC  V8W 2Y2

Professor Deckha graduated with her BA (Joint Honours in Anthropology and Political Science, minor in Women’s Studies) from McGill University in 1995 and her LLB from the University of Toronto in 1998. She joined the Faculty of Law as an Assistant Professor in 2002, after practising at the Ministry of the Attorney General in Toronto and completing her LLM at Columbia University. She is currently Professor and Lansdowne Chair at the Faculty of Law as well as Director of the Graduate Program. She also directs the Animals & Society Research Initiative at the University of Victoria.

Professor Deckha’s research interests include critical animal studies and animal law, feminist analysis of law, socio-legal studies in general, and health law and bioethics. Her work has been published in Canada in the Alberta Law Review, the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, the Canadian Legal Education Annual Review, the McGill Journal of Law and Health, the McGill Law Journal, the Osgoode Hall Law Journal, the Ottawa Law Review, and the UBC Law Review. Her scholarship has also appeared internationally in the Animal Law Review, the Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law, Journal of Animal Law and Ethics, Medical Law Review, Harvard Journal of Gender and Law, Hastings Women's Law Journal, UCLA Women's Law Journal, Stanford Journal of Animal Law and Policy, Unbound: The Harvard Journal of the Legal Left, and the Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society. Outside of law reviews, she has published in leading academic journals including American Quarterly, Hypatia, Sexualities, and Ethics and the Environment, among other publications. Professor Deckha has also contributed to numerous anthologies relating to animal law, animal studies, feminism, cultural pluralism and health law and policy.

Professor Deckha is the recipient of grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Canada-U.S. Fulbright Program. She has delivered over one hundred papers in Canada and abroad and has served as referee for over 60 law review, socio-legal and feminist journals in Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Professor Deckha has also served as reviewer and on review committees in other capacities, including most recently for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

She has taught an array of critical theory and public law courses, including Animals, Culture and the Law and Administrative Law. She has been the recipient of the Faculty’s Terry J. Wuester Teaching Award and a University of Victoria Learning and Teaching Centre Grant in support of her interactive pedagogy. Professor Deckha’s seminar on Animals, Culture and the Law received the U.S. Humane Society's Animal and Society New Course Award when it was first offered. She supervises graduate students in the fields of animal law and critical animal studies, health law, bioethics, feminist analysis of law, and postcolonial and critical race theory. She invites prospective graduate students who wish to research in these areas or at the intersections of socio-legal theory and public law in general to contact her.

Professor Deckha was promoted to Associate Professor in 2008 and Full Professor in 2016. From 2009 to 2011, she served as the Chair of the University of Victoria’s Academic Women Caucus. In 2017, Professor Deckha co-founded the community-engaged Animals & Society Research Initiative at the University of Victoria. In addition to her appointment at the University of Victoria, she has held the Fulbright Visiting Chair in Law and Society at New York University, and has been a Visiting Scholar at the Hastings Institute for Bioethics. She is currently a Global Affiliated Faculty member, Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative, Emory Law School in Atlanta as well as a fellow with the Brooks Animal Studies Academic Network at the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law & Policy. She currently serves on the editorial boards of Hypatia and Politics and Animals.

Personal website

  • BA First Class Joint Honours – McGill (1995)
  • LLB – University of Toronto  (1998)
  • LLM – Columbia Law School (2002)

Access Maneesha's research online from her site or through the Social Science Research Network.

Articles Published in Journals

  •  “Unsettling Anthropocentric Legal Systems: Reconciliation, Indigenous Laws, and Animal Personhood” (2020) 41:1 Journal of Intercultural Studies 77-97.
  • “The Save Movement and Farmed Animal Suffering: The Advocacy Benefits of Bearing Witness as a Template for Law” (2019) Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law 77-110.
  • “Reflections of a Postcolonial Feminist Animal Law Professor” (2019) 25:3 Animal Law Review 415-420.
  • “The “Pig Trial” Decision: The Save Movement, Legal Mischief, and the Legal Invisibilization of Farmed Animal Suffering” (2018) 50:1 Ottawa Law Review 65-98.

Books, Chapters and Monographs

  • “Constitutional Protections for Animals: A Comparative Animal-Centered and Postcolonial Reading” in Chloë Taylor and Kelly Struthers Montford, eds, Anticolonial Perspectives on Animal Studies (Routledge, 2020).
  • “Justice and Nonviolence” in Samantha King et al, eds, Messy Eating: Conversations on Animals as Food (New York: Fordham University Press, 2019), 84-98 (transcription of interview).
  • “Postcolonial” in Lori Gruen, ed, Critical Terms for Animal Studies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 160-174.
  • “Humanizing the Nonhuman: A Legitimate Way for Animals to Escape Juridical Property Status?” in John Sorenson and Atsuko Matsuoka, eds, Critical Animal Studies: Towards a Trans-Species Social Justice (London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), 209-233.
  • “Is Multiculturalism Good for Animals?” in Luis Cordeiro Rodrigues and Les Mitchell, eds, Multiculturalism, Race and Animals – Contemporary Moral and Political Debates (London: Palgrave, 2017), 61-93.

Review Essays, Book Reviews, Case Comments, Case Notes

  • Article Review: Maneesha Deckha, Thickening Rather than Abandoning the Rule of Law: Revisiting What Counts as “Law” through a Controversy about What Should Guide Judges in Awarding Spousal Support, JOTWELL (May 8, 2020) (reviewing Jodi Lazare, The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, Soft Law, and the Procedural Rule of Law 31 Can. J. Women & L. 317 (2019))
  • Book Review: Megan H. Glick, Infrahumanisms: Science, Culture, and the Making of Modern Non/personhood (2019) 9.2/9.3 Somatechnics Journal 401-405.
  • Book Review: Maneesha Deckha, Bearing Witness as Researchers in the Pursuit of Equality, JOTWELL (May 9, 2019) (reviewing Kathryn Gillespie, The Cow with Eartag #1389 (2019)),
  • Film Review: “Dominion and The Ghosts in our Machine” (2019) 9:1 Films for the Feminist Classroom, online:
  • Book Review: Constance Backhouse, Claire L’Heureux-Dubé: A Life (2018) 56:1 Alberta Law Review 263-274 (one of nine co-authors).
  • Article Review: Milk’s Global Rise: A Case Study to Illuminate the Transspecies Violence of Law and Colonialism JOTWELL (April 25, 2018) (reviewing Mathilde Cohen, Animal Colonialism: The Case of Milk, 111 Am. J. Int’l L. Unbound 267 (2017), available at SSRN),
Forthcoming Articles and Book Chapters
  • Animals as Legal Beings: Contesting Anthropocentric Legal Orders (forthcoming from University of Toronto Press, 2020)
  • “Something to Celebrate?: De-listing Dairy in Canada’s National Food Guide” (2020) Journal of Food, Law, and Policy (forthcoming)
  • “Veganism, Dairy, and Decolonization” (2020) Journal of Human Rights and the Environment (forthcoming)
  • Administrative Law
  • Animals, Culture and the Law
  • Bioethics, Personhood and the Law
  • Feminist Legal Theories
  • Health Law
  • Law, Legislation and Policy
  • Legal Process