Tag Archives: transformation

IFLS Book Club Post #17 [Gillian Calder]

cat and computerAfter many years of teaching constitutional law with the same texts and methodology, with the same methods of evaluation, and with often the very same stories and evidence, I have changed my course.  I put “the problem” that the course is addressing at the outset, like a big, thick, smelly onion, or a moldy casserole, or a doll stuffed with money, or a buried tin box, with the aim that slowly throughout the year we will build the skills necessary to unpack that problem as a story, sometimes by peeling layers, sometimes by using knives of different lengths and sharpness to cut into the story, sometimes by turning the problem upside down, sometimes by sitting patiently and listening to how the problem is described by others.  And while the goal of the course has not changed – enable students to identify constitutional issues and to make persuasive and effective constitutional law arguments and counter-arguments  — what has shifted is the responsibility we collectively carry being asked to work with these tools; how it demands different forms of engagement with law’s texts.

This book is an extraordinary, haunting, pungent legal text.  It asks for our trust, and reveals promises along the way to alleviate our fears.  We know that Joe is going to be all right, he is telling the story.  This 13 year-old boy will grow up, go to law school, get married.  So stay with me, stay inside me – the story demands —  as I journey to understand the place where law lives.  It flirts with what it means to tell the truth, and then punishes us hard for daring to believe that finding the truth would mean some kind of resolution or catharsis.   It has an issue, an argument, reasons and a ratio, but it has a law that is constantly shifting, moving like a boy on a bike, on a dusty dirt road, in the summer.  It points a big crooked finger at the wiindigo, and offers us traditional precedent to justify the murder of a monster, but then it takes.  Childhood, parents, a best friend.  And leaves the other monsters of the story, the rapist governor, the law that protects whiteness on certain pieces of land, dreams that don’t quite help us find Mayla, hanging in the air, like the Pine-Sol, lemon polish, cigarettes and stalefish smell at Whitey and Sonja’s.

Sometimes when we turn things upside down things fall out of our pockets.  Reading The Round House threw me into a childhood cartwheel, but what I found lying on the ground beside me was a crowbar and one gold tassel.  It returned me with a crash, to my 50 year old educator self, reminded that colonialism is worn on people’s bodies, and that even if there is a doll stuffed with $100 bills to offer some form of diamond earring, “IV Education” escape (239), that money will always have be traced back to its achingly awful, misogynistic, source.  This book is a powerful reminder of the questions that need constantly to be asked and re-asked about legal pluralism in the context of colonialism.  The questions are uncomfortable.  But in the interrogation of different kinds of sources there are reminders of law’s transformative potential, that in our telling and retelling of law’s stories, we can, as Leanne Simpson writes, rebel, resist, re-imagine.

I left The Round House thinking about traditional territories, about harm, about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, about child welfare, about story-tellers and story-keepers.  I also left my time with Louise Erdrich grateful, and scheming a way for all my students to find their way to this book.


Gillian Calder is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Victoria’s faculty of law, the parent of a 13 year old fireball, and whenever possible a rock-climber.  Her research interests at the moment are critical legal pedagogy, law’s regulation of the family, and children’s literature as law.


Law's Slow Violence Guest Post: Usha Natarajan on visibility and changing the deal

As part of the Law’s Slow Violence workshop hosted by Osgoode Hall Law School on June 14 2013 (complete information here or at the bottom of this post), we solicited guest posts from academics attending the workshop and interested in the issues. 

Find the other posts here.


Today, international law specialist Professor Usha Natarajan of the American University in Cairo, where she is assistant professor in the Department of Law and the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies, offers us her thoughts.


image of a puddle of dark oilAs aphotograph of Usha Natarajann international lawyer living in Riyadh and Cairo over the past four years, certain passages in Rob Nixon’s Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor had particular resonance for me. Most memorable was Nixon’s quote from Abdallah Tariki, former Director of Petroleum and Mineral Affairs of Saudi Arabia, who said, ‘We are the sons of the Indians who sold Manhattan. We want to change the deal’.[1] There are a number of reasons why someone like me – a postcolonial international lawyer interested in environmental issues – would find such a statement thought provoking: Did Tariki really relate himself so closely with those indigenous peoples, in a remarkable imagined alliance across disparate times, spaces and cultures? What is the deal that he wanted to change? Has he changed it?


We could read various meanings into his statement. My interpretation understands the sale of Manhattan as one where indigenous peoples sold to the colonizers what they desired at a low cost. When the land’s value increased hyperbolically, the original owners were excluded from the benefit. Indeed, the purchase and subsequent development of that land had a role in materially, culturally and symbolically disempowering the indigenous peoples.


Have the Saudis changed this deal? Saudi Arabia is the central cog in an oil industry that, through anti-market mechanisms and monopolies, can sell their product at more than a hundred times the cost of production. Unlike those who sold Manhattan, the Saudis, through possessing a resource desired by the United States, have established a relationship that allows Saudi Arabia to enhance national power and wealth. Some non-western states now play the game of industrialization and capitalism and – by the game’s own measurements – they win. They have, in common parlance, ‘emerged’. In this sense, the deal has changed.


But the Arab uprisings give lie to this claim, reminding us of those who are sacrificed to this narrative. While they may not have articulated it in this way, for many in this region the uprisings were an outpouring of resistance to slow violence. Whether a drought-displaced Syrian farmer forced to move to the nearest city, a fisherman or farmer trying to cope with increasing industrial pollution in the Nile delta, a street-vendor harassed by police in Tunisia, or a Bahraini or Saudi Shia disenfranchised in their own land, for a while they made their everyday sufferings and injustices visible and spectacular. The unthinkable had happened.


Saudi Arabia continues to put down long-standing resistance from Shia inhabitants in its Eastern Province as well as in neighboring Bahrain. While they live on top of most of the oil and gas – indeed they are a majority there – the Shia population remain not only impoverished but despised. The alliance with the United States brought to the Kingdom economic growth, but this alliance is also central to maintaining a rigid monarchy allied to a strict Islamic sect. Saudi society has fissures along many lines, including wealth, gender, religion, and province. But whether rich or poor, man or woman, Sunni or Shia, the commonality is a society deeply traumatized by the strange contradictions of life in an ultracapitalist strict Islamic state, an ultra-Americanized monarchy, unimaginable luxury alongside destitution, the holiest site in Islam overshadowed by the adjacent gigantic 7 star luxury hotel and shopping mall.


Attempts to ‘change the deal’ were rife in the region and throughout the third world in the decolonization era. The New International Economic Order and the doctrine of permanent sovereignty over natural resources were normative efforts to do just that. Nasser, Nehru, Sukarno, Nyerere, and other non-aligned leaders asserted that the resources of the former colonies were no longer available freely: our resources are ours and we set the conditions for access.


But in the Arab region, doctrines such as permanent sovereignty simultaneously helped bolster the power of domestic tyrants. By asserting strong and centralized state control over natural resources – resources that provided the essentials of life such as water, food and energy – post-independence rulers could establish swift control over their populace and territory. Thus, the discourse of resistance put forward by third world international lawyers arguing for a New International Economic Order not only failed, but the very same discourse became a tool of dispossession and profound unsovereignty for most Arab peoples, who did not equitably share in the wealth generated by natural resources.


In the context of the struggle over Arab natural resources, it is difficult to identify an independence moment: a clear postcolonial rupture with past patterns of dependence, subordination and exploitation. As Nixon states, ‘for if the past of slow violence is never past, so too the post is never fully post’.[2] Hence for many, especially the region’s youth, the uprisings felt like independence movements, and in Tunisia and Cairo where leaders were overthrown there was the promise of long-desired postcoloniality.


In this place and at this time the bringing together of two discourses, postcolonialism and environmentalism, as Nixon does, may prove strategic and useful. The discontent underlying the uprisings are linked with environmental issues, natural resource management, unequal access to water, food and energy in the region where inequalities are grotesque (for example, 100 per cent of Kuwaitis have access to electricity compared with 25 per cent in the Sudan), land degradation, desertification, drought, and severe onset of climate change.


Post-revolution regimes have not focused on environmental issues, seeing them as something to be addressed after the important work of elections, constitutionalism and development is done. However, as grassroots movements in other regions have realized, environmental issues are one of the few ways to disrupt dominant economic paradigms, because they can pose a clear and rational challenge to the fundamental assumptions that underpin capitalism and development. Such a discourse is helpful in a region where people are struggling to imagine their way out of the destructive development patterns of the past – a development that bred widespread discontent through multiplying the sites of slow violence.


For an international lawyer participating in this reimagining effort, one of the difficulties is that our discipline’s dominant discourse understands life in a way that makes environmental violence difficult to identify and source, let alone resist. For instance, our understanding of the economy – what it is, what is inside and outside it, what we count and what we discount – has compromised our ability to spot and define an environmental problem and has also circumscribed our ability to offer solutions. How have environmental issues become fragmented, specialized and marginalized within international law? What is our role as lawyers in defining the limits of the economic? And does it matter what we lawyers do? Interestingly, in a region familiar with the complicity of law – domestic and international – in the disempowerment of the masses, Arab peoples still look to the law for salvation in the post-revolutionary moment, asking for constitutional reform, human rights, reform of the judiciary as legal constraints on state power. Law continues to be an important instrument both for those asserting their power and for those resisting it.


Law, lawyers, and our way of understanding life, is an intimate part of the process whereby nature is made ‘abstract in order to extract’.[3] Arundhati Roy describes that, ‘[a]t The Hague I stumble on a denomination, a sub world, whose life’s endeavor was entirely the opposite of mine. For them the whole purpose of language is to mask intent … they breed and prosper in the space that lies between what they say and what they sell’.[4] International lawyers have participated in creating a world inattentive to environmental violence through universalizing particular concepts at particular times. Whether the definition of sovereignty and laws of title to territory, private property and the concept of eminent domain, the development myth feeding the illusion of limitless growth everywhere all the time, or asserting the human as a possessor of inherent rights, each of these international law concepts brings with it underlying assumptions about the natural environment – assumptions that may tie us to perpetuating certain types of slow violence.


Critical international lawyers have focused on retelling the story of law to reveal how it participates in perpetrating or obfuscating slow violence. This is an ongoing project and what is interesting to me, as Nixon relates with regard to his own discipline, is how postcolonial international lawyers – long wary and skeptical of environmentalism – are tentatively approaching environmental issues, as we come to realize that such an engagement is both strategic and indispensable to us if we indeed want to change the deal.

[1] Nixon 68.

[2] Nixon 8.

[3] Nixon 41.

[4] Arundhati Roy, Power Politics (2001) 43 as quoted by Nixon 169.


Law's Slow Violence Guest Post: Estair Van Wagner on Slow Violence, Property Law & Dephysicalization

As part of the Law’s Slow Violence workshop hosted by Osgoode Hall Law School next week (June 14) (complete information here or at the bottom of this post), we have solicited guest posts from academics attending the workshop and interested in the issues. 

Find the other four posts here.


Today, Osgoode Graduate Student Estair Van Wagner offers her thoughts – from Australia – on property law and the challenges of our advocacy relationships with people and places.


Slow Violence, Property Law & Dephysicalization


I have been thinking about property a lot lately. At the moment, I am living in Australia and studying with the property law scholar Nicole Graham, author of Lawscape: Property, Environment, Law (OHLJ book note here). While this means I am regrettably missing this week’s workshop, it has been an amazing few months of thinking, talking and writing. Naturally, this means that my reading of Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor has a great deal to do with property. But, it also has me thinking about law and lawyers, and the challenges of our advocacy relationships with people and places.


Rob Nixon brings the writer-activist into view as a critical figure in struggles for environmental justice. He describes a number of literary interventions that have brought communities and ecosystems “into imaginative focus” (160) in order to counter the rhetoric of progress that pushes development forward, literally erasing the lives and homes and livelihoods of those who stand in the way.


Nixon’s discussion of mega-dams and Arundhati Roy brought to mind one of my favourite passages in Graham’s book: “The strangeness and crises of people-place relations prescribed by modern property law are increasingly evident from disputes over property rights where what has been lost has not been the right, but the place” (164). Transformative land uses like mega-dams literally remove places and the complex networks of people place-relationships in which they are embedded. Indeed, I am reminded of the highly contested nature of mega-dam construction everyday as I pass a 30-year-old “No Dams in South West Tasmania” sign on my way home from the ferry.


Nixon convincingly argues that Roy as the activist writer has made places and people-place relationships visible in the face of the “affectless language of technospeak” (169). But what role do lawyers have in making the complex spatial and temporal damage of this kind of slow violence visible? Can legal interventions bring this kind of loss into focus? In my view, this depends on the possibilities for lawyers to learn from the literary interventions examined by Nixon. The writer-activists he points to demonstrate the need to think, write and talk about property differently. As lawyers we need to learn that it is possible, and necessary, to reimagine property if we are going to productively engage with Nixon’s “resource rebels.”


While some of the other writers Nixon discusses are themselves founders of the movements with which their writing is engaged, Nixon describes Roy as having become a “vital translator” for an environmental justice movement. For me, this notion of the vital translator raises important questions about role of the lawyer. After all, much of what lawyers do is to translate the experiences, the heartache, the outrage, and the stories behind the cases they work on into language that the formal legal system can understand. But this work is always fraught with difficulty.


The work of the lawyer as translator is particularly problematic in the context of conflicts about land and ecosystems because the dominant legal constructions of property leave little or no space for the articulation of people-place relations. As Graham argues, “Modern legal discourse is both closed to questions of place in disputes over property and disrupted by claims that place matters” (20). As a result, the best (read most likely to succeed), argument in the context of a legal proceeding may have little or nothing to do with the spatial or temporal connections to place that communities articulate in a particular conflict. In fact, as Nixon’s description of the “mobile adaption” of floodplain peoples makes clear, the very basis of a people’s ability to sustain and survive in a particular place becomes the basis of their legally sanctioned dispossession in contemporary property law: “Thus, through the logic of a selective enlightenment that discriminates against environmentally viable mobility, a deep temporal belonging is made shallow by the designation ‘informal residents’” (165).


Graham’s work gives us some insight into how property law is able to transform this relationship of belonging to the land into the informal, and possibly insurgent, existence that Nixon describes.  She points to the “dephysicalized” nature of contemporary property law and links it directly to the types of maladapted land use practices that the mega-dams exemplify (2). By dephysicalization Graham is referring to modern Anglo-American law’s treatment of property as purely about abstract rights rather than material things and places. She traces this concept of property from John Locke right into today’s law school classrooms and shows how courts transform disputes about real places and relationships into arguments about abstract rights (162). Lawyers, Graham argues, practice this dephysicalized paradigm of property, maintaining the irrelevance of place to property in the resolution of land use disputes (161). But what does this practice of dephysicalization look like?


Deborah Martin, Alexander Scherr and Christopher City’s “Making law, making place: lawyers and the production of space” provides some insight into this process. Their research is an attempt to explore the “relationships between lawyers, clients, and the cultural construction of space or landscape” and the role of lawyers in “place-making” (181-82). The questions they raise about the process of translation from community concerns to legal argument point to the unexamined role of lawyers in producing spatial norms and relations:


How do lawyers involved in land-use conflicts understand and enact the place frames of their clients in their problem-solving? How do they conceptualize their own understandings of land in light of community place frames, the land use conflict and the relevant law? What happens to community interests in the transition from geographic discourse about place and community to legal discourse of rights, processes, and remedies? What is lost or gained or altered in translation? Do lawyers and their clients remain bound by traditional legal regimes, or do they escape them through solutions that negotiate the discontinuity between those regimes and community place frames? (182-183)


Martin, Scherr and City describe the work of lawyers in land disputes as translation, but also as transformation. Transformation captures the moves through which meanings articulated by the community are lost, but also through which meaning is added as the lawyer selects the appropriate legal concepts and rules to engage with and introduces her or his own values about place and spatial relations (183). It is both less and more than translation because in many circumstances what was understood as a strong moral claim has been replaced with a weak legal one, as was the case in the conflict that they studied, where the production of the legal argument “altered the client’s powerful desire for security and stability into unstable and insecure legal claims” (186).


This conception of lawyers as ‘transformers’ provides some insight into the relative ability of legal interventions to make slow violence visible. Nixon describes Roy’s essays as “intimate assaults on the calculated opacity, the profoundly consequential tedium, of the technocratic report that camouflages violence while clearing a path for it in a language scoured of emotion” (169). In contrast, lawyers are tasked with transforming claims about specific material places, based on complex people-place relations of belonging, into cognizable legal claims about abstract rights. It is precisely the emotion and material effects of environmental degradation that are left out of legal arguments and decisions, as they are transformed into abstract principles and concepts. The form in which legal arguments are materialized – the factum, the book of authorities, the Orders and Reasons for Decision – resemble the “weighty, leaden genres” of feasibility studies and environmental impact reports far more than Roy’s “small, nimble” essays.


So, the question I am left with is, how does the role of lawyer as ‘transformer’ relate to the role of the writer as ‘translator’ in environmental justice struggles? And, perhaps more importantly, what can we as lawyers learn from Nixon’s examination of these vital translators and the way they have brought unimagined communities into imaginative focus? I turn to Graham again for a starting point: “If we want to know how to reshape our property law, we have to look no further than the landscape because it is the landscape that reveals our place in the world and the opportunities and limits of our connection with it” (206). Perhaps we can understand literary interventions like Roy’s essays as demonstrating the value of looking no further than the places at stake in land use conflicts. Perhaps we can imagine the possibility of translating relationships into claims without transforming them into abstractions.






Law’s Slow Violence Workshop June 14, 2013


poster for event contains same intormation as text on page

Law’s Slow Violence: A workshop at Osgoode Hall Law School

Friday June 14 2013

930AM to 430PM     Osgoode Hall Law School IKB 1014

with Rob Nixon, Rachel Carson Professor of English at the  University of Wisconsin-Madison,

Author of  Law’s Slow Violence & the Environmentalism of the Poor, HUP 2012

Registration is Free but Limited

RSVP www.osgoode.yorku.ca/research/rsvp  Event Code SLOW

Copies of the book are available at the York University Bookstore.

Order the book from Harvard University Press here  Order the book from Chapters/Indigo bookstores here.

Read Professor Dayna’ Scott’s review of the book (published in the Osgoode Hall Law Journal) on SSRN, here:

With gripping urgency, Rob Nixon’s book “Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor” seeks to reveal the “occluded relationships” between transnational economic actors and the things that tie them to particular places, such as labour, land, resources and commodity dynamics.

He brings into view the bodies caught in the middle – those that have been raced and erased, made invisible, and wiped away — by exposing the violence perpetrated against them across time and space. Nixon’s work is a broad synthesis of a seemingly disparate set of literatures in post-colonial studies, eco-criticism and literary studies. His arresting narrative engages three primary concerns: the phenomenon of “slow violence,” the environmentalism of the poor; and the role of the writer-activist in the work of making the first two ‘visible.’

Slow violence, in Nixon’s conception, is “a violence that occurs gradually and out of sight, a violence of delayed destruction that is dispersed across time and space, an attritional violence that is typically not viewed as violence at all.”

Because he views a major aspect of the critical challenge to be representational – the problem of devising “stories, images and symbols adequate to the pervasive but elusive violence of delayed effects” – Nixon focuses on the storytellers themselves. And the storytellers he chooses are the writer-activists that have inspired an environmentalism of the poor, primarily in the Global south. They include Arundhati Roy, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Abdulrahman Munif, and Jamaica Kincaid, among others. They are all figures who, like Nixon, demonstrate a stubborn resistance to liberalism’s urge to “locate violence outside law.” Instead of treating law as that which contains violence, they plainly confront its complicity.


The organizers gratefully acknowledge

the financial support of

the Dean’s Conference Fund,

a Harry Arthurs Collaborative Grant,

Osgoode’s Law.Arts.Culture initiative.

the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies,

& York’s Vice-President’s Research and Innovation

the work of

Natalia Angel (Osgoode Doctoral Candidate)

the administrative & organizational expertise of

Lielle Gonsalves and Jody-Ann Rowe-Butler




Rob Nixon is currently the Rachel Carson Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Professor Nixon received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and is the author of London Calling: V. S. Naipaul, Postcolonial Mandarin (Oxford University Press); Homelands, Harlem and Hollywood: South African Culture and the World Beyond (Routledge); Dreambirds: the Natural History of a Fantasy (Picador); and Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Harvard University Press 2011). Professor Nixon is a frequent contributor to the New York Times; his writing has also appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, Village Voice, The Nation, The Guardian, Outside, Chronicle of Higher Education, The Independent, Critical Inquiry, PMLA, Social Text, Slate, South Atlantic Quarterly, Transition, Cultural Critique, Contemporary Literature, Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, Ariel, Modern Fiction Studies, New Formations, and Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire. He has published over ninety journal articles, essays, and book chapters.  Professor Nixon teaches environmental studies, postcolonial studies, creative nonfiction, African literature, world literature, and twentieth century British literature. He is a former chair of the Border and Transcultural Studies Research Circle and is affiliated with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the Center for Culture, History, and the Environment (CHE), the African Studies program, and the Creative Writing Program.  Professor Nixon has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, a MacArthur Foundation Peace and Security Fellowship, and a National Endowment for Humanities Fellowship. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Institute for Research in the Humanities.


Jeremy Baskin is a Senior Associate at the University of Cambridge’s Programme for Sustainable Leadership, a Senior Fellow at Melbourne Business School, and an Adjunct Professor at Latrobe University. In each role he focuses on the implications of social and environmental (un)sustainability for major organizations in business, government and civil society. From South Africa, he was previously a leading trade unionist, anti-apartheid activist and writer. Post-apartheid, he was a senior public servant and advisor to the Mandela Presidency. From 2001 he headed a UK-based global research team, examining the social, environmental and ethical practices of major global companies. From 2005 he has worked at Cambridge University. He moved to Australia in 2007.


Amar Bhatia is completing his S.J.D. in the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto.  His work focuses on the status and authority  of migrant workers and Indigenous peoples under Canadian immigration law, Indigenous legal traditions, and Canadian Aboriginal law.  He received his LL.B. from Osgoode Hall and then articled and worked in union-side labour and employment law in Toronto before returning to graduate school, where he received the Howland Prize in U of T’s LL.M. program.  His article entitled “The South of the North: Building on Critical Approaches to International Law with Lessons from the Fourth World” (2012) appeared in a special symposium issue of the Oregon Review of International Law on Third World Approaches to International Law.  Another recent publication entitled “In a Settled Country, Everyone Must Eat’: Four Questions About Transnational Private Regulation, Migration, and Migrant Work” appeared in the German Law Journal (Dec. 2012).


Ruth Buchanan is Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School.  She has research and teaching interests in the areas of law and development, international human rights, international economic law, critical legal theory, and law and film.  Her work frequently engages with issues of legal pluralism, resistance and affect.  She is a co-editor of Reading Modern Law: Critical Methodologies and Sovereign Formations (2012).  She has authored numerous articles and book chapters, including “Writing Resistance into International Law” (2008) International Community Law Review and “”Passing through the Mirror: Dead Man, Legal Pluralism, and the Deterritorialization of the West.” (2011) She holds an LLM and an SJD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has also taught at the University of British Columbia, the University of New Brunswick, and University of Melbourne law schools.


Bryony Halpin is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) at York University.  She holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Administration from Ryerson University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Concordia University.  Before joining FES, Bryony was awarded a Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation water policy fellowship and conducted research for the non-profit sector in New York, Mumbai and Toronto.  She has been a course director at both York University and Ryerson University.  Bryony’s work is centered on environmental justice, racialization and the postcolonial city.


Douglas Hay is a Professor at York Universtity, cross-appointed to Osgoode Hall Law School and York’s Department of History since 1981, teaching the comparative history of criminal procedure, punishment, and crime, and the history of private law in the common law world.  He is co-director of a continuing international project on the evolution of the contract of employment (Hay and Craven, Masters, Servants and Magistrates in Britain and the Empire, 1562-1955 (2004) and other titles.)  Recent work includes the history of the English high court’s criminal jurisdiction (Crown Side Cases in the Court of King’s Bench, 2010), and Professor Hay is presently writing about the administration of the criminal law in Georgian England.  He has published on the history of English and Quebec criminal law; comparative history of criminal procedure; social history of crime; judicial biography; courts and their political significance; and the history of employment law.  He has been a visitor at Yale, Warwick, and Columbia law schools, and has been on the boards of the Canadian Historical Review, Law and History Review, the Law and Society Association, and the American Society for Legal History.


Sonia Lawrence is Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. She graduated from the University of Toronto’s joint LLB/MSW program, and went on to serve as law clerk to Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada.  With the help of Fulbright and SSHRC Fellowships, she then attended Yale Law School where she focused on constitutional equality issues and welfare administration.  A past member of the Board of Parkdale Community Legal Services, Professor Lawrence has also provided expertise to the African Canadian Legal Clinic, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), and the Court Challenges Program.  She is the case comments editor of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law.  Her work centers on questions of equality and includes examinations of the Supreme Court of Canada’s equality jurisprudence, the influence of feminism in Canadian law, sentencing regimes for ‘drug mules,’ diversity on the bench, and section 28 of the Charter.  She is the Director of the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies and the chair of the Academic Policy Committee.  She teaches first-year State and Citizen (constitutional and public law) as well as Perspective Option/upper-year seminars including Law, Gender, Equality.  Professor Lawrence runs a blog for the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at http://ifls.osgoode.yorku.ca/ and is on Twitter as @OsgoodeIFLS.


Karin Mickelson is Associate Professor at The University of British Columbia, Faculty of Law. She has taught in the areas of international law, international environmental law, real property, environmental law and legal theory, and has supervised and co-supervised graduate students in a wide range of areas including international environmental law, international legal theory and international human rights. She has also served as the faculty advisor to UBC teams participating in the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.  Professor Mickelson’s research activities have focused on the South-North dimension of international law; for example, she has explored the possibility of identifying a distinctive Third World approach to international law in “Rhetoric and Rage: Third World Voices in International Legal Discourse” (1998) 16 Wisconsin International Law Journal 353-419, and has analyzed the failure of international environmental law to respond to the concerns of the South in “South, North, International Environmental Law, and International Environmental Lawyers” (2000) 11 Yearbook of International Environmental Law 52-81.  Her current research focuses on the impact of developing countries on the evolution of international environmental law. She is also a contributor to leading Canadian casebooks on international law and environmental law.


Usha Natarajan is an assistant professor in the Department of Law and the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies. She first joined AUC in 2010 as a visiting assistant professor of international law in the Department of Political Science.  Professor Natarajan has a multidisciplinary academic background, with a PhD in international law from the Australian National University, a MA in international law from the United Nations University of Peace, and an LLB (law) and a BA (art history) from Monash University. She has taught international law at the Australian National University, and worked with various international organizations including UNDP, UNESCO and the World Bank. She has worked with law initiatives in Asia, including Indonesia during its democratic transition, and in post-independence Timor Leste. Natarajan serves as a legal research fellow on human rights and poverty eradication at the Center for International Sustainable Development Law at McGill University. Recent publications include ‘Fairness and International Environmental Law from Below: Social Movements and Legal Transformation in India’ (2012) and ‘TWAIL & the Environment: The State of Nature, the Nature of the State and the Arab Spring’ (2012).


Pooja Parmar is the inaugural Catalyst Fellow and visiting professor at the Osgoode Hall Law School. She has recently completed PhD in law at the UBC Faculty of Law. The focus of her doctoral research was a dispute over groundwater that began with adivasi (indigenous) protests against a Coca-Cola plant in Kerala, India. Based on extensive legal, ethnographic and archival research, her dissertation explores how claims central to such disputes are inadequately understood.  Pooja received her LLM degree from UBC Law and her LLB degree from Panjab University in India. She has practiced law in New Delhi for several years, and has taught at UBC Law and Osgoode Hall.  Her research interests include legal pluralism, intersections of law and colonialism, indigeneity in a global context, human rights, law and development, and TWAIL. Her most recent paper titled ‘Undoing Historical Wrongs: Law and Indigeneity in India’ was published in the current issue of the Osgoode Hall Law Journal.


Sundhya Pahuja is a professor in the Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne and the director of the Law and Development Research Programme at the Institute for International Law and the Humanities.  Pahuja’s scholarship is concerned with the relationship between international law and institutions and the question of global inequality. She researches, writes and teaches in the areas of law and development, international law, law and globalisation and legal theory.  Her work engages with the practice, and praxis, of international law and development through political philosophy, political-economy and postcolonial theories. She has worked as a research associate in international law and human rights at the EUI in Florence, practiced as a commercial lawyer, and for several years chaired the committee of management at the Darebin Community Legal Centre.  She is currently a member of the organising committee of the Legal Theory Interest group of the European Society of International Law and serves on the editorial boards of the Australian Feminist Law Journal * and the Law, Social Justice and Global Development Journal *(LGD) based at the University of Warwick.  Her latest book, Decolonizing International: Development, Economic Growth and the Politics of Universality, was awarded the American Society of International Law Certificate of Merit.


Dayna Nadine Scott is Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. She joined York in 2006 after completing a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship at McGill’s Faculty of Law and a Hauser Global Research Fellowship at NYU. Professor Scott’s teaching is in administrative law, environmental law, risk regulation and international environmental governance. She recently completed a SSHRC-funded research project in partnership with environmental justice activists from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, near Sarnia`s Chemical Valley, which tackled the issue of chronic pollution on an Ontario reserve. The project applied a critical, feminist perspective to the examination of law’s treatment of the “risks” of long-term, low-dose exposures to pollutants.  Professor Scott’s publications cover topics from international law’s “precautionary principle” and the regulation of toxic substances to the challenges posed for law and environmental health activism by the emerging endocrine disruption thesis.  She is interested in questions of environmental regulation and governance from an interdisciplinary perspective, especially work that interrogates the interaction between local and global modes of governing and ways of knowing.  The chapter, “Pollution and the Body Boundary: Exploring Scale, Gender and Remedy” appears in the recent volume, Feminist Perspectives on Tort Law, edited by Janice Richardson and Erica Rackley (Routledge, 2012).   Professor Scott is the editor of `Consuming` Chemicals: Law, Science and Policy for Women`s Health, forthcoming from UBC Press, and the Director of the National Network on Environments and Women`s Health. She is currently working on research related to the environmental justice implications of the pipeline decisions being contemplated by the National Energy Board.


Kate Sutherland is Associate Professor and Assistant Dean, First Year, at Osgoode Hall Law School.  She joined Osgoode’s faculty in 1998, and has taught law at the University of Saskatchewan. She has served as law clerk to Chief Justice Antonio Lamer of the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as Chief Justice E. D. Bayda of the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan. Professor Sutherland is former Acting Director of the Centre for Constitutional Studies at the University of Alberta. She was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in 1995 and the Law Society of Saskatchewan Gold Medal in 1989.  Professor Sutherland has written and presented in areas such as charter equality rights, sexual harassment, childhood sexual abuse, and tort law. She has served as editor or co-editor of several publications, including Review of Constitutional Studies, Constitutional Forum, Points of View, and Saskatchewan Law Review . Professor Sutherland has also written several literary pieces, including “The Necklace” in The New Quarterly , Winter (1997), Summer Reading: A Collection of Short Fiction (Saskatoon: Thistledown Press, 1995), and “Lucia” in Prairie Fire (1992).  Professor Sutherland’s community involvement has included her work for the Boston AIDS Care Project, University of Saskatchewan Women’s Centre, Her Story Calendar Collective, Saskatchewan Action Committee on the Status of Women, and the Saskatchewan Writers Guild.