May 27, 2021

Call For Proposals: Ecocide/Speciesism: Legislating Hierarchy, Interdependence, Death (online stream)

Call for Proposals

Critical Legal Conference, University of Dundee, 2–4September 2021



The once oak trunk now your coffee table; the once bouncy calf now your steak; the once mink mother now your fur coat; the anchovy tribe now your omega-3 supplement. Our lives consist of corpses. Speciesism, as a form of discrimination, manifests as violence against “inferior” non-humans. Our speciesist beliefs and institutions are currently driving ecocides around the world. Just like racism, sexism, or colonialism, speciesism renders certain lives inferior, thus suited for discrimination and subjugation. Jurisprudence is crucial to the environmental crisis: law is shaped by what we consider normal and it determines what we normalize. The norm now remains the massive killing, torture, exploitation of non-humans for the benefit of humans. The myth of independence and autonomy pervasive in Western liberal democracies has supplanted the awareness of inevitable (inter)dependence. Our ideal unity as co-guardians of our common home collides with the hierarchization of needs, rights and bodies, driven by speciesist logics. The life of some rests on the death of many; and law condones it.




What are the conscious, unconscious, subconscious factors skewing the way we ascribe worth to different forms of life? How are speciesist beliefs driving the rights–duties dialectic embedded in our laws and institutions? How can we conceptualize the aggregate and intergenerational damage, to humans and to nature, of the violence normalized against some forms of life to the benefit of others? Why has the neoliberal ethos rendered interdependence (in both life/prosperity and death/downfall) marginal to individual beliefs and to state responsibilities? What would critical earth jurisprudence look like?




Research papers (environmental law, animal law, criminal law, critical legal theory, green criminology, environmental ethics, ecopsychology, conservation psychology, animal thanatology, extinction studies) & creative submissions (electronic/acoustic composition, sound & video art, documentary, photography, collage, painting, drawing, poetry, flash fiction — if informed by research in the above disciplines). Creative pieces can be circulated in advance or presented during the panel (if the format permits); artists can discuss the creative process and how it relates to the stream thematic. This online stream consists of two/three panels of 90 min each (3 x 20 min presentations + 30 min discussion).




Please submit a 200-word proposal and 3 keywords to Deadline: 30 June 2021.




Rimona Afana, Visiting Scholar, Vulnerability Initiative, Emory University School of Law


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