Call for Papers: Law of Nature?

We invite contributions to an edited volume of interdisciplinary perspectives on legal action for the environment. Abstract deadline: 30 November 2017.

Photo: Vlad Tchompalov via Unsplash

In the age of the Anthropocene, there has been an upsurge of environmental activism that takes law – and the courts – as its main instrument. Lawsuits related to climate change have been launched (or are underway) in the Philippines, Australia, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and Norway, where activists and others are claiming that the state is in violation of its own penal code. In countries such as Ecuador and Bolivia, nature is ascribed moral value in the preamble to the constitution – with reference to so-called Buen Vivir, the good life for both humans and nature. Law also enters into environmental protests like the one over the Dakota Access Pipeline, in the US, where a $1 billion lawsuit was recently filed against Greenpeace and other environmental groups. Meanwhile, in Australia, the Federal Court has dismissed climate arguments against coal mines, which threaten the state of the Great Barrier Reef.

For this volume, we invite contributions that investigate how law in the broadest sense of the word has been – and can be – used in active response to today’s environmental crises. Our primary interest lies in how law is now being invoked – around the world – as a moral, political, and strategic tool in the fight for the rights of nature. Calling on scholars not just within legal studies, but in a varied set of disciplines from across both the humanities and the social sciences – including literary studies, history, philosophy, rhetoric, cultural anthropology, political science, psychology, and more – this volume will include theoretical and empirical contributions that help us come to terms with the many and complex roles of law in environmental struggles. The ultimate objective of this volume is to help uncover, and thereby realize, the potential of law as an instrument of environmental activism.

Submit your abstract

An abstract of maximum 500 words should be sent to Professor Odin Lysaker, at the University of Agder ( no later than 30 November 2017.

A full paper will be due in first draft by the summer of 2018, and the volume will tentatively be published early in 2019. 


Odin Lysaker, Kristian Bjørkdahl, and Tormod V. Burkey.

Published Nov. 1, 2017 12:04 PM - Last modified Nov. 1, 2017 12:09 PM