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Guest Lecture by Prof. Maneesha Deckha (University of Victoria)


Thursday, 2 May 2024, 4:00 p.m. (CEST)


"Animals as Legal Beings: Toward a Post-Anthropocentric Legal Ontology"


About the Speaker

Maneesha Deckha is Professor and Lansdowne Chair in Law at the University of Victoria in British Columbia where she directs the Animals & Society Research Initiative. Her research expertise includes critical animal law, vegan ecofeminist theory, and postcolonial theory. She is author of “Animals as Legal Beings: Contesting Anthropocentric Legal Orders” and has directed an open access documentary series designed for high school and undergraduate screening called A Deeper Kindness: Youth Activism in Animal Law, available at and on YouTube: @ASRI-UVic. She is currently a Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Zurich and a Senior Fellow at the Collegium Helveticum at ETH in Zurich.


About the Topic

It is commonly proposed by animal law advocates to replace the property classification for animals by legal personhood. In her talk, Maneesha Deckha will instead argue for a new transformative legal status or subjectivity: “beingness”. In developing a new legal subjectivity for animals oriented toward respecting animals for who they are rather than their proximity to idealized versions of humanness, the talk seeks to bring critical animal theorizations drawing from feminist animal care tradition, as well as feminist theories of embodiment and relationality, postcolonial theory, and critical animal studies, closer to animal law conversations. The talk will review the trajectory of arguments which are critical of the liberal legal view of animals, are invested in innovating a transgressive legal subjectivity for animals attentive to their embodied vulnerability and relationality, and desirous of occasioning an animal-friendly cultural shift in the core foundations of anthropocentric legal systems.


The lecture will be held as a hybrid event, i.e. you are welcome to participate either in person at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Mittelweg 187, 20148 Hamburg, or via Zoom.

If you choose to participate online, you will receive the login details the day before the event. Please confirm upon registration that you agree to the use of Zoom and that you will not record the event. By attending the event you confirm that you have read and agreed to Zoom’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

If you choose to participate in person, please let us know in case your plans change or you are unable to attend at short notice.

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and Private International Law