Professor Anna Grear
Professor of Law
My work calls on insights from a range of disciplines despite being firmly located within a combination of critical legal theory and jurisprudence. I have a particular interest in the relationship between human rights and the environment, and in the theme of legal subjectivity, locating these in relation to contemporary globalisation and to a central concern with the implications of the materiality of the living order – including the theme of lived embodiment.
I am the Founder and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, and am Founder and until 2017 was also Director of the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE) – now the largest existing international network of leading scholars in the field, activists, policy makers, lawyers and NGOs dedicated to the transformation of thinking concerning the relationship between human rights and the environment.
I am also Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Waikato, New Zealand; Invited Professor at the Westminster Centre for Law and Theory; Global Affiliate to the Vulnerability and Human Condition Collaboration, Emory University USA; member of the Dahrendorf Network—Dahrendorf Forum; Associate Fellow of the New Economy Law Centre, Vermont Law School, USA and am a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
Core outreach activities
Founder and Director of the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment: the largest network of international scholars working at the nexus of human rights and the environment; listed on the website of the UN Mandate on Human Rights and the Environment; Patrons include Vandana Shiva and Jonathan Porritt; membership list includes many stellar international scholars in the field. The GNHRE hosts annual symposia, and is a sister project to the well received Journal of Human Rights and the Environment. The GNHRE also runs projects with its partners.
Founder and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment.
Invited Speaker, TED-X, Bonn, Germany; October 2014 (with Christina Figueres, Director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) (Invited by Dr Martin Frick, Ambassador; German Federal Foreign Office).
Dahrendorf Visiting Fellow 2013, Grantham Research Institute, London School of Economics.
Invited Speaker on Dahrendorf Working Panel 3, Dahrendorf Symposium, Berlin, 2013 (Chair: Professor Conor Gearty, Director of the Institute of Public Affairs, LSE; Speakers: Mary Robinson (Director, Mary Robinson Foundation: Climate Justice and Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and President of Ireland; Professor Henry Shue (University of Oxford); Marcus Hedahl (Dahrendorf Postgraduate Research Fellow); Stephen Humphreys (Discussant: LSE)).
Nominated for IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Scholarship Prize 2012.
Invited Series Editor of the Routledge/Glasshouse Book Series, Law, Justice and Ecology.
Appointed Adjunct Associate Professor of Law, University of Waikato, New Zealand (2012).
Appointed Invited Professor, Westminster Centre for Law and Theory, University of Westminster, UK (2012).
Visiting Research Scholarship – by invitation of Martha Albertson Fineman – to the ‘Vulnerability Project’ at Emory University, USA (2011).
Visiting Research Fellow, AHRC-funded Centre for the Study of Gender, Sexuality and Law, University of Keele, UK (2008).
Awarded Visiting Scholarship, St John’s College, Oxford, UK (2007).
Other selected outreach activities
Co-founder, Incredible Edible Bristol: an urban food democracy movement.
Co-organiser, GNHRE International Symposium, Spain, 2014
Co-organiser, GNHRE International Symposium, Costa Rica, 2013.
Co-organiser, GNHRE International Symposium, Onati International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Spain, 2012.
Co-organiser: The Irigaray International Seminar, Bristol, June 2011 (co-hosting Professor Luce Irigaray).
Co-organiser: ‘Building Economic Recovery on the Backs of the Poor and Vulnerable: America’s Return to Social Darwinism’, Professor Martha Albertson Fineman, Bristol Watershed – part of the Bristol Festival of Ideas. 2011.
Organiser: ‘Vulnerability Revisited’ – a workshop with Professor Martha Albertson Fineman, June 2011, Bristol UWE.
Co-Organiser: ‘An Audience with Irigarary’, Professor Luce Irigaray, February 2011, Bristol Watershed – part of the Bristol Festival of Ideas.
Organiser, ‘When Natural Differences Substitute for Constructed Oppositions: A New World Culture’, Professor Luce Irigaray, Bristol, February 2011.
Organiser: One day roundtable on ‘Vulnerability’ with Professor Martha Albertson Fineman, Bristol UWE (June 2010).
Organiser: ‘The Construction of Law’s Person, Gender and Human Rights’ – A Roundtable Discussion with Professor Ngaire Naffine (University of Adelaide), Bristol UWE (July).
|May 2016||Invisible Cities, Toxic Utopias, Law and the Theft of the Future||Distinguished Professorial Address, UWE, Bristol|
|April 2016||Human Rights and the Environment: Of Convergence, Dissonance and Anthropocene Dilemmas||Sustainable Places Seminar Series, Sustainable Places Institute|
|May 2015||Human Rights Futures: How Should Human Rights Change?||'The Future of Human Rights', University of Utrecht|
|January 2015||Deconstructing Anthropocene Humanity||'The Anna Grear Reading Group': A PostGraduate Event at the University of Birmingham, University of Birmingham Law School|
|October 2014||The DNA of the legal system||'Connecting the Dots' TEDxBonn, German Federal Foreign Office, Bonn, Germany|
|June 2014||"Flesh of my Flesh": Deconstructing the "Anthropos" of "the Anthropocene"||Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment Symposium 2014, IUCN Colloquium, Tarragona, Spain|
|May 2014||Facing up to the Reality of Global: The Case of the Productivist Food System||The Self-Sufficient City: Genius or Folly? (Bristol Festival of Ideas), Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol|
|April 2014||Climate injustice - Re-imagining the ontology, epistemology and ethics of 'legal hearing'||SLSA Annual Conference 2014, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen|
|November 2013||Provocations: Critical Reflections on the Patterns of Climate Injustice||Dahrendorf Symposium 2013: 'Changing the European Debate: Focus on Climate Change'. Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz, Berlin.|
|October 2013||Corporate Legal Subjectivity: Juridical Form and the Necropolitical||Westminster Centre for Law and Theory Seminar, Westminster Centre for Law and Theory, University of Westminster, UK.|
|October 2013||Law's Entities: Complexity, Plasticity and Injustice||Westminster Centre for Law and Theory Doctoral Masterclass, Westminster Centre for Law and Theory, University of Westminster, UK.|
|July 2013||Towards a New Horizon: In Search of a New Socio-Juridical Imaginary||'Human Rights and the Environment: Re-imagining their Relationship II', San Jose, Costa Rica (in absentia).|
|June 2013||Unmasking the Giants: Corporate Juridical Form and the Necropolitical||'Ecological Integrity, Globalization and Radical Social Change: From the UN, to the Earth Charter; from the World Social Forum to the Rights of Mother Earth and Beyond', San Jose, Costa Rica (in absentia).|
|September 2012||Re-imagining the Relationship between Human Rights and the Environment: Law’s Anthropocentrism Examined in the Search for Alternative Philosophical Foundations||Sociology Seminar Series, University of Auckland, New Zealand.|
|June 2012||Onati International Seminar: Human Rights and the Environment: In Search of a New Relationship||Funded International Seminar. Chair of the event. Onati International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Onati, Spain.|
|November 2011||Framing the Project: Critical Reflections on the Dysfunctional Family of the UHDR||'Being In-Human': The Critical Theory and Law of Human Rights'. Birkbeck, University of London.|
|September 2011||Mind the Gap||Public Lecture, Faculty of Law, University of Waikato, New Zealand.|
|September 2011||Should Law’s Persons be Re-imagined?||Lunchbox Seminar Series, Socio-legal Studies Centre, University of Otago, New Zealand.|
|September 2011||Law, Vulnerability and Persons||Staff Research Seminar, Faculty of Law, University of Waikato, New Zealand.|
|June 2011||Mind the Gap: Reflections on Legal Subjectivity in the Age of Globalisation||‘Human Rights, the Corporation and the Environment’ - part of the 'Re-Engineering the Corporation' ESRC funded series, Queen's University, Belfast.|
|May 2011||Critical and Legal Reasoning and Feminist Judgment||Feminist Judgments: Next Steps, London School of Economics, UK.|
|April 2011||Redirecting Human Rights||Critical Theory Group Seminar, Oxford Brookes University, UK.|
|June 2010||Human Rights and the Environment: Theoretical Perspectives': Discussant Paper||'Human Rights and the Environment'. Launch Conference of the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment and the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment. Bristol Law School, UWE, UK.|
|June 2010||‘Vulnerability’ - Organiser and Discussant||'Vulnerability - a Special Roundtable Conversation with Martha Albertson Fineman'. Bristol Law School, UWE, UK.|
|May 2010||Law, Vulnerability and Persons||Staff Seminar Series, Faculty of Law, University of York, UK.|
|April 2010||Law, Vulnerability and Human Rights||Staff Seminar Series, University of Bristol, UK.|
|March 2010||Porter v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis||‘Feminist Legal Judgments’ Project Panel' at Socio-Legal Studies Association Conference, Bristol Law School, UWE|
|March 2010||Law, Vulnerability and Legal Subjectivity||Staff Seminar Series. Faculty of Law, University of Exeter, UK.|
|October 2008||‘Human Rights without Freedom’ - Discussant||‘Human Rights without Freedom’, Vanderbilt University, USA.|
|October 2008||Ontological Vulnerability and the Gender of the Human Rights Universal||Staff Seminar, University of Kent, UK.|
|September 2008||Feminist Judgments: Moving Forward: The Art of Delivering a Judgment - Invited participant.||‘Feminist Judgments: Moving Forward: The Art of Delivering a Judgment’ , University of Westminster, UK.|
|May 2008||Theory and Method - Discussant paper||‘Between Resistance and Compliance? Feminist Perspectives on International Law in an Era of Anxiety and Terror’, International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Onati, Spain.|
|April 2008||‘Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice – the First Steps’ - Invited as a theoretical discussant||Feminist Judgments: The First Steps, University of Durham, UK.|
|March 2008||Ontological Vulnerability: Reconceptualising Universalism in International Human Rights Law||Socio-legal Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Manchester, UK|
|February 2008||Disembodiment, Embodiment and the Gender of the Human Rights Universal||AHRC Centre for Gender, Sexuality and Law Seminar, University of Keele.|
|July 2007||The Construction of Law’s Person, Gender and Human Rights||‘The Construction of Law’s Person, Gender and Human Rights’ - Special Roundtable with Ngaire Naffine. Organiser and Convenor. Bristol Law School UWE.|
|June 2007||Human Rights and Academic Freedom||University Annual Conference, University of the West of England, Bristol.|
|April 2007||Embodiment, Disembodiment and Human Rights||Socio-legal Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Kent, UK.|
|March 2007||All We Refugees||'All we Refugees' - Network for Global Ethics and Human Rights event. Chair of Session. Pieren Centre, Bristol.|
|November 2005||Human Rights - Human Bodies? Some Reflections on Corporate Human Rights Distortion, the Legal Subject, Embodiment and Human Rights Theory||Interdisciplinary Seminar Series: Rights, Justice, Violence and War, University of Sussex, UK|
Teaching experience and responsibilities (prior to appointment at Cardiff Law School)
LLM LEVEL: Theoretical and Institutional Foundations of Human Rights; Intersectionalties: Race, Gender, Sexuality and the Law; Legal Theory.
UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL: Civil Liberties; Critical and Legal Reasoning; Legal Process; Legal Method; Jurisprudence; Land Law; International Human Rights Law; Constitutional Law; Administrative Law.
I warmly welcome applications for doctoral supervision for any subject within my research interests, especially in human rights theory, human rights and the environment, legal personhood and rights theory generally. Please feel free to consider future-facing projects concerning legal personhood and rights questions in the age of artificial intelligence, robotics, the development of rights of nature, the Anthropocene crisis and applications of New Materialist philosophy to legal problems.
My research has always grappled, in one way or another, with the issues central to how law constructs and mediates the world, how law populates the world with persons, systems, strategies and mechanisms and the patterns related to law's injustice.
This key interest in law's 'world-making' has led me to wide-ranging engagement with a range of questions. My work tends to be 'meta' rather than 'micro' in focus and is transdisciplinary in orientation. I am interested in some of the deeper questions and patterns underlying a range of interlinked phenomena—and this interest leads me into 'conversation' with a wide range of contributors and perspectives. My work, in that sense, is never 'narrowly legal'.
In 2015, I was awarded 100,000 USD from the Soros Foundation, along with with Burns Weston and David Bollier for a future-facing project on 'commons governance' as a complexity-responsive alternative to the state-market pairing. Such initiatives, which are springing up all over the world, fit well with my interest in New Materialist thought, and suggest various alternative ways of organising human common lives, positioning human social strucutures within a core commitment to respect for all living beings and systems.