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Multispecies justice

Justice for more than humans
Justice is typically thought to be the preserve of humans, and advocacy has sought to ensure all humans are subjects of justice. But harms inflicted on animals and the environment are coming to be understood as injustices.

Prompted by these harms and injustices, our team is investigating the question: ‘What would justice across the human and natural world look like and entail?’

Establishing multispecies justice is by no means simple, but the subjects' ontology and modes of communication are radically diverse, and their claims may appear incompatible.

By using distinctively multispecies terms to focus on the concept, institutions and practices of justice, we will equip scholars with resources to think with great sophistication. We will also provide the tools to contribute to the design of practices, policies, and institutions adequate to the complex ethical demands of a multispecies world.

We aim for a reconceptualisation of justice that can seek to address the impacts of the most pressing problems of our era, such as climate change, Indigenous rights throughout the world, resource depletion and industrial farming.

Associate Professor Francesco Borghesi

Associate Professor Jay Johnston

Professor Julia Kindt

Professor Iain McCalman

Dr Astrida Neimanis

Dr Dalia Nassar

Associate Professor Susan Park

Dr Rebecca Pearse

Dr Killian Quigley

Michelle St Anne

Associate Professor Thom van Dooren

Project Manager Gemma Viney

Dr Dinesh Wadiwel

Associate Professor Anik Waldow

Sydney Ideas events

Coinciding with our Symposia series, join us for these two very special Sydney Ideas events. Held on-campus, they are free and open to all, but we ask you to register as places fill up quickly.

Danielle Celermajer: Anthropocene

Professor Danielle Celermajer, research lead of Multispecies Justice, shares her expertise with the 2019 Sydney Film Festival (Weds 5 June – Sun 16 June) for our special "In Frame" critique series. Here she discusses Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, a stunning cinematic essay on humanity’s devastating impact on the planet, in the context of justice when the subjects include not just humans, but also animals and the environment.

Cover of book: The Prevention of Torture – An Ecological Approach

New research

The Prevention of Torture: An Ecological Approach

by Professor Danielle Celermajer

The multispecies justice theme is concerned with how approaches to justice developed for humans, animals and the environmental can be brought together to “pollinate” each other. For example, rights-based approaches are informing notions of justice for animals and the environment.

In The Prevention of Torture: An Ecological Approach, Danielle Celermajer draws from ecological thinking to offer a novel approach to understanding what drives entrenched human rights violations. The field of ecology locates individuals within complex sets of relationships. In the field of human rights, however, particularly when it comes to grave violations like torture, we still tend to think in terms of individual perpetrators or systems in fairly unsophisticated ways.

Celermajer demonstrates how ecological thinking offers powerful tools for understanding the persistence of human rights violations and, even more importantly, for preventing them.

Past events

On becoming Benthic: Our name is kin
Multispecies embodiment for entangled futures

Wednesday 17 April 2019
Room 105, Mathews
Kensington Campus, UNSW

This event is co-sponsored by Multispecies Justice and hosted by UNSW Environment and Society. There is no need to register.

Research artist laura c carlson works in ecology and interspecies relations to render relationships among land, animals, and each other. Hailing from the United States, carlson resurrects and retells forgotten stories to consider environmental justice and postcolonial narratives. Their work focuses on endangerment, water systems and climate migration, and centres often-erased imperiled species, including freshwater mussels and lichen, to integrate them into public conservation conversations. carlson believes that by approaching the more-than-human world with vulnerability, humans can help shift global power relationships to environments of empathy and equity among all beings.

Find out more about laura c carlson.

Recent publications

  • The Prevention of Torture: An Ecological Approach, Danielle Celermajer (The University of Sydney), Cambridge University Press, 2019
  • The Aesthetics of the Undersea, edited by Margaret Cohen (Stanford) and Killian Quigley (The University of Sydney), Routledge, 2019

Postgraduate activities

Reading group

The Multispecies Justice team and the Sydney Environment Institute are coordinating this interdisciplinary higher degree research reading group. Open to University of Sydney honours and postgraduate students, the group will discuss texts that span the fields of environmentalism, policy, ethics, justice theory and human, animal and environmental rights.

More information and register.

Contact us

  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences The Quadrangle A14, the University of Sydney NSW 2006, AUSTRALIA

Research Director

Headshot of Professor Danielle Celermajer
Professor Danielle Celermajer
Academic profile

Research Director

Headshot of Professor David Schlosberg
Professor David Schlosberg
Academic profile