Ontological and Normative Collisions: Struggles over Nature’s Rights

Ort am HIS | Beginn: 27.10.2021 10:30 Uhr

Wednesday, 27th October
Welcome and introduction – Laura Affolter

11:00-13:00 Discussant – Andreas Gutmann
Philipp Degens: Re-imagining the Ownership of Land
Rana Göksu: Property in Nature’s Personhood
Fiona Leu: Wie können Gewässer als nicht-menschliche Entitäten in «moderne Rechtsverfahren» eingebunden werden?

14:00-16:00 Discussant – Martha Dietrich
Viviana Morales Naranjo: Popular Consultations on Mining Issues: An Unfinished Dialogue between the Movement in Defense of Nature and the Ecuadorian Constitutional Court
Jessika Eichler, Fanny Verónica Mora Navarro: Proceduralising Indigenous Peoples’ Demands in Latin America. Legal Pluralism and Indigenous Environmental Rights in Contemporary Jurisprudence
María José Narváez Alvarez: La Incidencia de los Jueces en el Giro Epistemológico para la Concreción de los Derechos de la Naturaleza

17:00-18:30 Discussant – Derya Mentes
Tomas Ledvinka: Sovereignty ́s Configurations in Royal Forests and National parks from then to now
Carole Blackburn: Defending “Grizzly Bear Spirit” in Canadian Courts. First Nation v. British Columbia

Thursday, 28th October
11:00-13:00 Discussant – Laura Affolter
Jenny García Ruales: Kawsak Sacha. An Emerging Ontological Concept
Bart Jansen, Tineke Lambooy: The Legal-Philosophical Unimportance of Ontology in the Debate Concerning Indigenous People and Rights to Nature
María Ximena González Serrano: River rights. Bureaucratization of Participation and Continuity to Extractivism? The Case of the Atrato River – Colombia

14:00-16:00 Discussant – Philipp Degens
Markus Ciesielski, Carlos García, Juliette Vargas: Now What? Challenges around the Ecocentric Approach of Innovative Environmental Judgements in Colombia. Comparing the Atrato and the Amazon Cases
Luisa Gómez-Betancur: Escaping the Dualism Trap: Lessons learned from the Rights of Nature in Colombia
Camille Parguel, Carolina Botero: The Need for Critical Engagement with Plurilegal Water Ontologies

Wrap up - TBA

Bei Fragen wenden Sie sich gerne per Mail an Laura Affolter


In the wake of the current climate crisis, conceptions over recognising nature, or non-human entities as legal subjects, are receiving largescale public support across the globe. Nature’s rights advocates base their ideas on Western scientific ideas as much as on indigenous knowledges, understanding nature - its flora fauna, and dynamic landscapes - as living entities. They argue that local, national and transnational justice systems must become viable spaces through which non-human subjects can seek protection. Anthropocentric environmental laws are no longer regarded as enough to fight the ongoing climate and other environmental crises.
Today, laws and policies concerning nature’s rights have either been adopted or are in the process of development in at least 35 countries on both municipal and national levels. Transnational networks and worldwide operating non-governmental organisations play a crucial role in advocating for nature’s rights and in bringing ontological re-conceptualizations of nature to the courts by referencing cases from elsewhere. Rethinking nature in its capacity to work, know, think, or feel that is informed by specific cultural contexts has thus opened gateways to judicial re-imaginations of nature.
In this interdisciplinary workshop, we want to critically explore this ‘trend’, the different factors contributing to it, its promises, political impacts and social consequences. We are particularly interested in the collisions between ontological rethinking and normative implementation in public debates, its mediatisation and effects on legislative processes and jurisdiction on a regional, national and transnational level.

Dr. Laura Affolter is a social anthropologist, specialising in political and legal anthropology. She is a member of the Sociology of Law research group at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research.

Dr. Martha-Cecilia Dietrich is Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam. Her research focusses on memory activism as well as human and environmental rights in Latin America

Dr. Andreas Gutmann is a legal trainee (Rechtsreferendar) at the Kammergericht Berlin and Research Assistant at the Centre of European Law and Politics (ZERP), University of Bremen. He is a member of the research project “Nature as a legal entity” which is founded by the German Research Foundation