Speakers in the Colloquium present works in progress drawn from their current research. We post titles and papers close to the presentation date.

All seminars take place on Fridays in the Fraser Building (Law) Room 152 at 2:30pm. Pre-seminars are held one week in advance in the same room from 12:30-2:00 p.m.

Please be sure to check the information for each event, listed below, in the event that a pre-seminar or seminar cannot be held at the customary time or place.



May 28th 2021: Roundtable: "Money from Nothing" 
by Robert Hockett and Aaron James 
Co-organised by the Centre de recherche en éthique (CRÉ), Montréal and the Victoria Colloquium
28th May 2021, 9h30-12h PST / 12h30-15h EST

(on Zoom – link available upon registration)

Please contact to register.

"Money from Nothing" workshop event: May 28th/2021


9h30 PST / 12h30 EST

Presentation of the book by Robert Hockett and Aaron James


- 10 mins break -

10h30 PST / 13h30 EST

Comments on identifying and respecting the inflationary limit

Gerald Epstein (Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Anna Stansbury (PhD candidate, Department of Economics, Harvard University)

Response by Hockett & James


- 10 mins break - 

11h20 PST / 14h20 EST

Comments on the decision procedure and legitimacy of an independent central bank what to use public money for

Jacqueline Best (School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa)

Jens van’ t Klooster (postdoctoral fellow, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)

Response by Hockett & James


Event ends 12pm PST / 3pm EST

2019/20 (past speakers)

(cancelled) March 27, 2020: Debra Thompson (University of Oregon)

March 6, 2020: Richard Bellamy (University College London)



Seminar: When is Democracy Constitutional? On the Relations between Political, Populist and Popular Constitutionalism

Constitutional democrats tend to argue that the constitutional qualities of democracy are derived from a legal constitutional framework that provides the justiciable foundations for and constraints upon the democratic process. Political constitutionalists have disagreed, arguing instead that a democratic process can be understood as embodying constitutional qualities. However, they have, in turn, been subject to two powerful criticisms. On the one hand, liberal minded constitutional democrats have argued that political constitutionalism encourages populist appeals to the tyranny of the majority which can undermine important constitutional checks on democracy necessary to prevent it undermining both itself and the basic rights of citizens. On the other hand, radical and participatory democrats argue political constitutionalism neglects the role of direct forms of democracy as a means for allowing the people themselves to constitute the democratic process via referendums, and to appeal to the constitution through the courts to contest executive actions that serve the few rather than the many. This piece seeks to defend political constitutionalism against both these criticisms.

Richard Bellamy is Professor of Political Science at UCL. His main research interests are in the History of European Social and Political Theory post-1750 and Contemporary Analytical Legal and Political Philosophy. He has written extensively on the history of both Italian political thought and European liberalism, on Pluralism, Compromise and Public Ethics; Constitutionalism, Rights and the Rule of Law; and Citizenship, Representation and Democracy. His books include Liberalism and Pluralism: Towards a Politics of Compromise; Political Constitutionalism and Citizenship: A Very Short Introduction, and A Republican Europe of States: Cosmopolitanism, Intergovernmentalism and Democracy in the EU.

Preseminar readings:

Bellamy, "A European Association of Democratic States"

Bellamy, "Rights as Democracy"

January 31, 2020: Mitra Sharafi (University of Wisconsin-Madison)


Seminar: “South Asians and West Africans at the Inns of Court: Empire and Expulsion circa 1900”

Description: Between the 1860s and 1950s, thousands of non-European students from across the British empire studied at the Inns of Court in London to become barristers. Using the disbarment files of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, this paper explores the experience of being a colonial lawyer or law student in the British empire at the turn of the twentieth century. It focuses on three disciplinary cases involving South Asians or West Africans: A. K. Ghose and his fraudulent “spirit letters,” anti-imperial revolutionary Shyamji Krishnavarma, and O. R. Aladé following a criminal conviction. These three cases occurred in the relatively early days of the flow of South Asian and West African students to the Inns. They reflected the imperial legal profession’s views of racial difference; truthfulness, deception, good character, and loyalty to British rule; and the definition of terrorism and the legitimacy of using violence to resist tyranny. The paper is part of a larger book project on non-Europeans at the Inns of Court.

Preseminar readings:

Mack, "Representing the Race"

Sharafi, "Introduction" to Law and Identity in Colonial South Asia: Parsi Legal Culture, 1772-1947

2018/19 Season (past speakers)

November 1, 2019: Gorden Christie (UBC)


Seminar: “Working with Perspectives in Making Sense of Section 35 Jurisprudence”

Professor Gordon Christie is one of Canada’s leading Indigenous scholars. He joined the UBC Faculty of Law in 2004 and held the position of Academic Director of the Indigenous Legal Studies Program at UBC’s Allard School of Law from 2005 to 2016. Professor Christie is of Inupiat/Inuvialuit ancestry. He researches in the areas of Aboriginal rights, Aboriginal title, Indigenous self-determination, and the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples. He especially focuses on the intersection between Indigenous law and Aboriginal law that has developed through Canadian jurisprudence on section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Professor Christie holds a BA in Philosophy from Princeton University, an LLB from the University of Victoria, and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has taught at Lakehead University, Central Michigan University, and Osgoode Hall Law School at York University from 1998 to 2004, where he was the Director of the Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources and Governments. This session coincides with the  publication of his new book: Canadian Law and Indigenous SelfDetermination: A Naturalist Analysis (University of Toronto Press). 

Abstract: Explanations of the nature of the jurisprudence on section 35 are wildly divergent, and there appear to be no serious efforts underway to work toward any sort of convergence.  Arguably, much of this phenomenon is the result of the groundings of legal theorists’ work in varied perspectives.  I tackle this problem directly, arguing for a form of methodological naturalism that treats the facts of divergence and perspectivalism as matters to be explored in the social worlds we inhabit.  The result is, I argue, an explanation for what Canadian courts have been doing that makes sense of not just the jurisprudence but of approaches to the jurisprudence evident in the literature.

Pre-Seminar Reading:

Christie, Suppression of Indigenous Understandings of Justice and Morals

Seminar Reading:

Christie, "Differing Understandings and the Way Forward"

October 4, 2019: Alex Livingston (Cornell University)


Seminar: “Tough Love: The Political Theology of Civil Disobedience"

Alexander Livingston is Associate Professor in the Department of Government at Cornell University. His research examines race, religion, and dissent with a focus on American political thought. He teaches courses on civil disobedience, theories of democracy, political violence and nonviolence, contemporary political theory, and the history of political thought. 

His first book, Damn Great Empires! William James and the Politics of Pragmatism (Oxford University Press, 2016), examines William James’s role in debates about U.S. imperialism at the turn of the century to show how pragmatism developed as a political response to crises of authority and sovereignty driving the expansion of American global power. His current book project, Inventing Civil Disobedience, looks at the theory and practice of civil disobedience in the long civil rights movement, and their afterlives in contemporary protest politics. Before coming to Cornell, he was a Social Science and Humanities Research Council postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University (2011-2013). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.

Abstract: This article examines the meaning of love in the theory and history of civil disobedience. Taking as its focus Martin Luther King, Jr.’s paradoxical notion of “aggressive love,” it offers a critical interpretation of love as a key concept in a vernacular black political theology, and the consequences of love’s displacement by law in liberal theories of disobedience. The first section contextualizes the origins of aggressive love in an earlier generation of black theologians who looked to India’s anticolonial struggle to reimagine the dignity of the oppressed as “creative survival.” The second contextualizes King’s early sermons on moral injury, self-respect, and personalism within this tradition to reinterpret Stride toward Freedom’s account of nonviolent resistance as love’s triumph over fear. The third considers this political theology’s implications for conceptualizing the moral psychology of the white citizen, and its consequences for contemporary debates over protest and the ideological uses of Civil Rights history. Responding to oppression with aggressive love illustrates a paradoxical character of civil disobedience obscured by both legal theories and criticisms of the very idea of “civil” disobedience. This is the paradox of affirming civility while enacting disobedience in order to bind political confrontation with political pedagogy.

Pre-Seminar reading:

Livingston, “Tough Love”

March 8, 2019: Melvin Rogers (Brown University)


Seminar: Being a Slave of the Community: Race, Domination, and Republicanism

Professor Rogers has wide-ranging interests located largely within contemporary democratic theory and the history of American and African-American political and ethical philosophy. His first book, The Undiscovered Dewey: Religion, Morality, and the Ethos of Democracy, explored these issues through an interpretation of John Dewey's writings and the theme of human responsiveness central to his work. That book was haunted by the unpursued theme of racial injustice and its place in American democracy. Professor Rogers' second book--The Darkened Light of Faith: Race, Democracy, and Freedom in African American Political Thought--will be devoted to figures within American and African-American political thought; it will combine close readings of figures and historical contextualization to think through the themes of democratic responsiveness, redemption, and faith amid racial injustice.

In addition to his past published book and current book project, he has edited John Dewey, The Public and its Problems, is at work on African American Political Thought: A Collected History  (under contract: University of Chicago Press), a collection of 32 essays on figures in the tradition of African American political thought co-edited with Jack Turner, as well as a new edited project tentatively titled Race and the Imagination. His articles appear in major academic journals as well as popular venues such as Dissent, the Atlantic, Public Seminar, and Boston Review.

In addition to these past and current projects, Professor Rogers now serves as the co-editor of Oxford University Press New Histories of Philosophy series. The series attends to the unstudied resources in the history of philosophy. Although I'm interested in the entire series, I'm especially keen to build its list in Africana Philosophy.


Any effort to understand approaches to justice that rest on principles of non-domination would do well to reflect on those who have sought to address racial domination. In particular, the resources of 19th century African-American political thought have much to offer. In the 19th century African American intellectuals, seeking to discover how to undo and ward off racial domination, drew on two different strands of the philosophical tradition of republicanism. In the process they produced a third strand in which republicanism is linked to racial equality. A look at this body of work offers us the chance to recover resources for contemporary projects of justice, while also requiring us to revise traditional accounts of when and where republicanism, as a political theory, has waxed and waned. It will turn out that the work of building a political theory for justice as non-domination also requires undoing forms of domination reflected in the historiographic tradition. My lecture will recover this tradition in the African-American political thought while raising doubts about the inadequacy of the current revival of republicanism in addressing racial domination. 

Seminar Presentation:

  • Being a Slave of the Community: Race, Domination, and Republicanism

Seminar Paper:

  • Being a Slave of the Community

Pre-seminar Readings:

  • Rereading Honneth: Exodus Politics and the Pardox of Recognition

  • David Walker and the Political Power of the Appeal

February 8, 2019: Kyle Whyte (Michigan State University)


Seminar: It's Too Late for Indigenous Justice: Problems with Urgency in Climate Change Advocacy 

I am a professor and environmental activist working at Michigan State University (MSU). My website features general information and links about my research and projects, drafts of my published and forthcoming articles and short essays (including the Indigenous science letter), teaching and research materials on #NoDAPL and Indigenous climate justice, and places where you can followmy updates.

My work focuses on the problems and possibilities Indigenous peoples face regarding climate change, environmental justice, and food sovereignty.

I participate in some great and unique programs at MSU that I encourage you to check out, including Philosophy, Community Sustainability, American Indian & Indigenous Studies, Environmental Science & Policy, Environmental Philosophy & Ethics and the Geocognition Research Lab.



Climate change activism and scientific assessments often emphasizes that humans must grasp the urgency of taking swift and decisive actions to address an environmental crisis. Yet many such conceptions of urgency obscure the factors that Indigenous peoples have called out as the most pressing concerns about climate justice. This obfuscation explains, in part, why climate change advocacy remains largely unrelated to Indigenous efforts to achieve justice and engage in decolonial actions. I will show why a politics of urgency can be based in assumptions about the relationship among time (temporality) and environmental change that are antithetical to allyship with Indigenous peoples. I will contrast the temporality of urgency with some Indigenous traditions of temporality that center moral qualities of kinship relationships, such as consent, trust and reciprocity, and suggest that such Indigenous traditions articulate crucial conditions for climate justice, moving forward.    

Seminar Presentation

  • It's Too Late for Indigenous Justice: Problems with Urgency in Climate Change Advocacy 

Pre-seminar Readings

  • TBA

January 18, 2019: Dean Spade (Seattle University)


Seminar: Solidarity Not Charity: Mutual Aid for Mobilization and Survival

Dean Spade is an Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law, where he teaches Administrative Law, Poverty Law, Gender and Law, Policing and Imprisonment, and Law and Social Movements. Prior to joining the faculty of Seattle University, Dean was a Williams Institute Law Teaching Fellow at UCLA Law School and Harvard Law School.

In 2002, Dean founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a non-profit law collective that provides free legal services to transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming people who are low-income and/or people of color. SRLP also engages in litigation, policy reform and public education on issues affecting these communities and operates on a collective governance model, prioritizing the governance and leadership of trans, intersex, and gender non-conforming people of color.

Dean's book, Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law was published by South End Press in 2011. A second edition with new writing was published in 2015 by Duke University Press. Bella Terra Press published a Spanish edition in 2016.

In 2015, Dean released a one-hour video documentary, Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back!, which can be watched free online with English captions or subtitles in several languages.  

Dean's videosarticles, interviewsbook chapters, and syllabi are available on his website.

In the current political moment defined by worsening climate crisis, increased targeting of migrants, attacks on public benefits, expansive carceral control, rising housing costs, and growing white right wing populism, the left faces two particular challenges that, though not new, are urgent. The first is how to address the actual changing conditions that are shortening the lives of the most vulnerable people. The second is how to mobilize people who are affected and concerned. This essay argues that in the face of these conditions, expanding use of mutual aid strategies will be the most effective way to support vulnerable populations to survive, mobilize significant resistance, and build the infrastructure we need for the coming disasters. I argue that mutual aid is a powerful counter to the demobilizing frameworks for understanding social change and expressing dissent that dominate the popular imagination, and I examine the benefits of mutual aid, its challenges, and how those are being addressed by contemporary organizations mobilizing through mutual aid.

Seminar Presentation

  • Solidarity Not Charity: Mutual Aid for Mobilization and Survival

Pre-seminar Readings

  • Normal Life
  • Now Is the Time for ‘Nobodies’: Dean Spade on Mutual Aid and Resistance in the Trump Era

November 9, 2018: Mark Antaki (McGill University)


Seminar: Legalities and Literacies


Mark Antaki is an Associate Professor of Law at McGill University’s Faculty of Law. He graduated from McGill in 1996 under the National Programme with a BCL and an LLB. He has a PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. His doctoral thesis undertook a "Genealogy of Crimes Against Humanity." He is the co-editor of Sensing the Nation’s Law : Historical Inquiries into the Aesthetics of Democratic Legitimacy. He has published on such things as the turn to imagination in legal theory, the discourses of ‘values’ and ‘proportionality’ in constitutional law, the metaphor of the book in South Africa’s interim constitution, and Roland Barthes and the common law. His work often involves attending to language and the transformation of shorthand into keywords.



‘Legalities,’ an infrequently used term, points to the insight that law can be and can be lived in different ways, and sometimes goes by the name of ‘polyjurality’. ‘Literacy’ is usually taken to refer to the ability to read or write text and is narrowly associated with the alphabet but has recently undergone a massive expansion in sense, hence the plural ‘literacies.’ With this new and developing project, I wish to explore the relation between how ‘we’ live law and how we read and write, including how we read and write ourselves. More specifically, I seek to inquire into the significance of re-framing ‘law and literature’ as ‘legalities and literacies.’ I aim to ask whether and how such re-framing captures a trajectory of law and literature and what is at stake in humanistic legal scholarship, whether and how thinking in terms of legalities and literacies can contribute, or is even essential, to responding to the various calls to action of the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, whether and how thinking in terms of legalities and literacies can contribute to an approach to legal education that avoids second-class courses (introductory, legal research) and sidesteps traditional divides such as theory-practice.

Seminar Presentation:

  • Legalities and Literacies

Pre-seminar Readings:

  • Genre, Critique, and Human Rights

  • Declining Accusation

October 26 2018: Deva Woodly (New School)


Seminar: Black Feminist Vision and the Politics of Healing in the Movement for Black Lives 

The Movement for Black Lives (#BlackLivesMatter) has developed a political philosophy rooted in black feminist thought, which posits that it is only by centering the most marginalized that we will be able to imagine and enact just social practices and institutional/legal policies. This vision of "healing justice" inspires both the organizational practices and political action of the movement. To answer the interlocking structural oppression that the most marginalized face, movement actors begin by acknowledging that feelings are not the opposite of intellect and that care and affirmation are not only personal, but critically, political resources. In this paper I explore both the empirical impetus for this margin-to-center philosophy advocating healing justice and the theoretical and practical implications of basing a social movement's political philosophy on the treatment of trauma and the necessity of care. 

Deva Woodly is an Associate Professor of Politics at the New School. A former fellow of the Institute for Advances Study (2012-2013), she is the author of The Politics of Common Sense: How Social Movements Use Public Discourse to Change Politics and Win Acceptance (Oxford 2015). Her research covers a variety of topics, from media & communication, to political understandings of economics, to race & imagination, & social movements. In each case, she focuses on the impacts of public discourse on the political understandings of social and economic issues as well as how those common understandings change democratic practice and public policy. Her process of inquiry is inductive, moving from concrete, real-world conditions to the conceptual implications of those realities. In all cases, she centers the perspective of ordinary citizens and political challengers with an eye toward how the demos impacts political action and shapes political possibilities. Her current book projects are #BlackLivesMatter and the Democratic Necessity of Social Movements, an examination of the ways that social movements re-politicize public life in times of political despair and What We Talk About When We Talk About the Economy, a broad investigation of American economic discourse and its implications for politics and policy in the post-Great Recession era. 

Seminar Presentation:

  • Black Feminist Visions and the Politics of Healing in the Movement for Black Lives

Pre-seminar Readings:

  • Black Lives Matter and the Democratic Necessity of Social Movements

October 1, 2018: Lori Gruen (Wesleyan University)


Seminar: Resistance Self-Respect: Another Challenge for Liberalism

Lori Gruen is the William Griffin Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University where she coordinates Wesleyan Animal Studies. She is also Professor of Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Science in Society. She is the author and editor of eleven books, including Ethics and Animals: An Introduction (Cambridge, 2011), The Ethics of Captivity (Oxford, 2014), and Entangled Empathy (Lantern, 2015) and the forthcoming Critical Terms for Animal Studies (2018) She is a Fellow of the Hastings Center for Bioethics and a Faculty Fellow at Tufts’ Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine’s Center for Animals and Public Policy and was the first chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Center for Prison Education at Wesleyan. Gruen has documented the history of The First 100 chimpanzees in research in the US and has an evolving website that documents the journey to sanctuary of the remaining chimpanzees in research labs The Last 1000.

Her research lies at the intersection of ethical theory, political philosophy, and social practice. She has written on a range of topics and her current projects include exploring ethical and political questions raised by captivity and carceral logics.

Seminar Presentation:

  • Resistance Self-Respect: Another Challenge for Liberalism

Pre-seminar Readings:

  • Robin Dillon, "Self-Respect: Moral, Emotional, Political"

  • Tommie Shelby, “Liberalism, Self-Respect, and Troubling Cultural Patterns in Ghettos”

2017/18 Season (past speakers)

March 23, 2018: Christopher Lebron (Johns Hopkins)


Seminar: The Duty To Imagine - Afrofuturism vs White Identity Narrative - Cancelled

Chris Lebron is Associate Professor of Philosophy. He specializes in political philosophy, social theory, the philosophy of race, and democratic ethics. His work has focused on bridging the divide between analytic liberalism and the virtue ethics tradition. His first book, The Color of Our Shame: Race and Justice In Our Time (OUP 2013) won the American Political Science Association Foundations of Political Theory First Book Prize. His second book The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of An Idea (OUP 2017) offers a brief intellectual history of the black lives matter social movement. Chris is at work on his third book, From A Human Point of View: Re-Imagining Racial Egalitarianism, which is a direct follow-up to The Color Of Our Shame, and explores the uses of imagination for attending to morally problematic racial attitudes that bolster racial inequality. Chris has written a number of articles and book reviews. He ha also been an active public intellectual, writing numerous times for The New York Times's philosophy column, The Stone and for Boston Review, in addition to other outlets.

Seminar Presentation

  • TBA

Pre-seminar Readings

February 2, 2018: Joel Bakan (UBC)


Seminar: The Corporation II

Joel Bakan writes and researches in the areas of Constitutional Law, socio-legal studies, legal theory and economic law.  He studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and served as Law Clerk in 1985 for Chief Justice Brian Dickson of the Supreme Court of Canada.  He joined the Law Faculty in 1990 as Associate Professor after a year's visit from Osgoode Hall Law School, where he had been Assistant Professor since 1987.  Professor Bakan teaches Constitutional Law, Contracts, socio-legal courses and the graduate seminar.  He has won the Faculty of Law's Teaching Excellence Award twice and a UBC Killam Research Prize.

Seminar Presentation

Pre-seminar Readings

January 19, 2018: Julen Etxabe (University of Helsinki)


Seminar: Dialogism in the Courts: What’s in it for Law, Human Rights, and Democracy?

Julen Etxabe is docent in legal theory from the University of Helsinki and writes in the areas of legal and political theory, law and humanities, international human rights, and comparative constitutionalism. 

 As a Fulbright scholar, he completed his SJD at the University of Michigan Law School with James Boyd White. He has taught at the University of Michigan (2008-10) and at the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki since 2010. He was a research fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (2014-2017) and co-editor in chief of No-Foundations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice from 2012 to 2017. 

 He is the author of The Experience of Tragic Judgment (Routledge 2013) and the editor of three other books, most recently Rancière and Law (Routledge 2018) and Cultural History of Law in Antiquity (Bloomsbury, forthcoming). His current book project entitled Judicial Dialogues and the Conversation of Democracy seeks to illuminate the adjudicatory practices of several high courts in the world through the Bakhtinian concept of dialogism. Beyond identifying a global shift towards increasingly dialogical forms of judgment, the book seeks to theorize how these changes are transforming inherited notions of legal reasoning, legal authority, human rights, and the rule of law more generally.

Seminar Presentation

Pre-seminar Readings

November 3, 2017: Barbara Arneil (UBC)


Seminar: Domestic Colonies and Colonialism vs Imperialism in Western Political Thought and Practice 

Barbara Arneil (PhD, London) is interested in the areas of identity politics and the history of political thought. As the author of John Locke and America (OUP, 1996) and many related articles, she has a specialization in the intersection between liberalism and colonialism. She is also interested in gender and political theory, publishing Feminism and Politics, Oxford Blackwell, 1999 (translated into Chinese and published by Oriental Press, 2005). In it she examines how gender shapes the definition and scope of ‘politics’. She has written a critique of social capital from the perspective of inclusive justice, entitled Diverse Communities: The Problem with Social Capital, Cambridge University Press, 2006 and has published a co-edited anthology entitled Sexual Justice/Cultural Justice, Routledge, 2006.
Her most recent work is in the areas of social trust and diversity, global citizenship and cosmopolitanism, the role of disability in political theory and domestic colonies. She has just published a co-edited book entitled Disability and Political Theory  with Cambridge University Press, 2016. Scholarly recognition includes the Harrison Prize (UK Political Studies Association award for best article published in Political Studies), Rockefeller Foundation Residential Fellowship in Bellagio Italy, shortlisted for the C.B. MacPherson Prize (Canadian Political Science Association award for best book published in political theory) UBC Peter Wall Early Career Scholarship and the UBC Killam Research Prize.

Seminar Presentation

Pre-seminar Readings

October 13, 2017: Orit Kamir (Israeli Center for Human Dignity)


Seminar: Escape from Dignity: The Honour Politics of Jihad, Social Media Shaming, and Trump.

Orit Kamir publishes, teaches and is socially active in three interdisciplinary areas: 1. Dignity, respect and honor as moral/ethical values, bedrocks of social structures, and foundations of legislation and policy making; 2. Law-and-Film: analysis of mutual influences of two powerful contemporary discourses, that have substantial impact on the creation and determination of individuals’ and societies’ forging of their self-perceptions and visions of their identities and futures; 3. Gender politics in societies, cultures and laws. She has authored six monographs and dozens of articles, mostly in these areas, in English and in Hebrew, and has taught in universities in Israel and the United States. She has participated in drafting legislation in Israel, and as founder and academic head of the center for human dignity in Israel she has worked with diverse audiences on implementing dignity and respect in daily life as well as institutional policy making. She earned her BA in law, philosophy and literature at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and her Masters and Doctorate in Law and Culture at the University of Michigan (under the supervision of the founder of Law and Literature, Prof. J. B. White). She is an active participant in Israel’s public discourse and a social activist in gender equality and human rights.

Seminar Presentation

Pre-seminar Readings

September 22, 2017: Leslie Green (Queens University)


Seminar: The Normativity of Law: What is the Problem?

Leslie Green is the Professor of the Philosophy of Law and Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He also holds a part-time appointment as Professor of Law and Distinguished University Fellow at Queen's. After beginning his teaching career at Lincoln College, Oxford, he moved to Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He has visited and taught at many other law faculties, including Berkeley, Columbia, NYU, Chicago and, for some years, at the University of Texas at Austin. He writes and teaches in the areas of jurisprudence, constitutional theory, and moral and political philosophy. He serves on the board of many journals and is co-editor of Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law.

Seminar Presentation

Pre-seminar Readings

2016/17 Season (past speakers)

March 17, 2017: Avery Kolers (University of Louisville)

Avery Kolers

Seminar: The Territorial Rights of Animals: Zoopolis and Beyond

Avery Kolers is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Social Change minor at the University of Louisville. Since completing his PhD at the University of Arizona, he has published widely in the areas of social and political philosophy and applied ethics. His first book, Land, Conflict, and Justice: A Political Theory of Territory (CUP 2009) was awarded the Canadian Philosophical Association's Biennial Book Prize. He is also the author of A Moral Theory of Solidarity (OUP 2016).

Professor Kolers’ particular research interests include issues surrounding territorial rights and solidarity. These highly “applied” issues touch on a wide range of problems, but also raise hard questions about how to navigate deep diversity in a shared world. His 2009 book Land, Conflict, and Justice: A Political Theory of Territory (Cambridge University Press) won the Canadian Philosophical Association’s biennial book prize. More recently, his 2012 article “Floating Provisos and Sinking Islands” received the Journal of Applied Philosophy prize, awarded for “the best article published in the year’s volume.”

Currently, Professor Kolers is working on a book on solidarity and further articles on territorial rights. He has initiated a research project on the emergence of a discourse of indigenous title in the 16th-century Spanish Dominicans Francisco de Vitoria and Bartolomé de Las Casas as they grappled with the moral and political implications of the Encounter with the “new world.”

Seminar presentation:

  • The Territorial Rights of Animals: Zoopolis and Beyond

Pre-seminar readings:

  • Attachment to Territory: Status or Achievement? (primary reading)

  • Animals and the Frontiers of Citizenship (supplementary reading)

February 24, 2017: Patricia Williams (Columbia University)


Seminar: On rights and reality: from stated exceptions to states of exception

Professor Williams received her B.A., Wellesley, 1972 & J.D., Harvard, 1975. She practiced as deputy city attorney, Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney; and as staff lawyer, Western Center on Law and Poverty. She has served on the faculties of the University of Wisconsin School of Law, City University of New York Law School, and Golden Gate University School of Law and has been at Columbia since 1991.

Professor Williams is fellow, at the School of Criticism and Theory, Dartmouth College, and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. She has published widely in the areas of race, gender, and law, and on other issues of legal theory and legal writing. Her books include The Alchemy of Race and RightsThe Rooster's Egg; and Seeing a ColorBlind Future: The Paradox of Race. Columnist, The Nation. MacArthur fellow. Board of Trustees, Wellesley College.

Seminar presentation:

  • Breeding, Or The New Black: On Fashioning Genetic Brand

Pre-seminar readings:

  • The Alchemy of Race and Rights

  • The Holman Rule Once Allowed Congress to Purge Leftists From Government Agencies—Now It’s Back

January 20, 2017: Brenna Bhandar (University of London)

Brenna Bhandar

Seminar: Racial Regimes of Ownership: Thinking Through Property with Cedric J. Robinson

Professor Bhandar’s current research project explores the relationship between racial formations and modern property law in settler colonial contexts. She examines articulations of race and ownership that emerge through the appropriation of Indigenous lands, drawing on a combination of critical theory, archival sources, and interviews in Canada, Australia and Israel/Palestine.

Professor Bhandar is co-editor (with Jon Goldberg-Hiller) of the book Plastic Materialities: Legality, Politics and Metamorphosis in the work of Catherine Malabou (Duke University Press, 2015). The contributions in this volume assess the political and philosophical implications of Malabou's innovative combination of poststructuralism and neuroscience across the disciplines of legal theory, sociology, literature and philosophy.

She is also co-editor of a special issue of Darkmatter Journal, "Reflections on Dispossession: Critical Feminisms" (2016, with Davina Bhandar). This collection traces a path for contemporary critiques of neoliberal capitalism and colonial dispossession. The authors show the compelling need for complex strategies and tools to evaluate the interlocking or intersectional practices of dispossession, and their particular effects on racialised, Indigenous, sexualized, and gendered subjects.

Lastly, Professor Bhandar is co-editor of the Routledge Book Series, Law and the Post-Colonial: Ethics, Politics & Economy, and has served on the editorial board of Feminist Legal Studies and the International Advisory Board of the Law and Society Review.

Seminar presentation:

  • Racial Regimes of Ownership

Pre-seminar readings:

  • Title by Registration

  • Disassembling Legal Form