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School of Law

Dr Alexis Alvarez-Nakagawa


Lecturer in Law and IHSS Fellow

Room Number: Laws, Mile End
Twitter: @@AlvarezNakagawa


Alexis Alvarez-Nakagawa is a Lecturer in Law and Fellow of the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen Mary University of London and a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr Alvarez-Nakagawa’s research interests span from the globalisation of Western legal forms and the colonial history of international law to the examination of new trends in the field of human rights law and environmental law, such as current experiences of transitional justice in South America and the recent grant of legal personhood and rights to non-human beings in different jurisdictions across the globe. His work brings together insights from philosophy, critical theory, anthropology and jurisprudence to explore these issues from an interdisciplinary and critical perspective.

Before joining QMUL, Dr Alvarez-Nakagawa has been a Postdoctoral Fellow of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET/Argentina) at the Gino Germani Research Institute, University of Buenos Aires, and a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence. He has been a Global Lecturer at New York University (NYU), Florence, Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London, and a Teaching Assistant at the University of Buenos Aires, where he also served as a Research Fellow at the Ambrosio L. Gioja Research Institute. He has taught different subjects ranging from jurisprudence, legal theory and socio-legal studies to human rights, criminal law, and international law.

Dr Alvarez-Nakagawa has held visiting positions at the University of Barcelona and the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, Frankfurt. He has received numerous awards including the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office Chevening Scholarship, the Ronnie Warrington Scholarship, the Max Planck Institute Dialogue Scholarship, the Max Weber Fellowship, the Walter Benjamin Award for Young Researchers 2020, and the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship.

He is an Honorary Co-director for the Group of Critical Studies in Politics, Law and Society (PoDeS) at the University of Buenos Aires. Dr Alvarez-Nakagawa is a qualified lawyer in Argentina, and before becoming a full-time academic, he litigated criminal law and human rights cases in local and international settings.


Research interests

  • Critical legal theory, jurisprudence, legal philosophy, postcolonial theory, legal history, legal anthropology, socio-legal studies and law and humanities
  • History of Western legal forms, the colonial origins of international law, the Spanish contribution to international law, globalisation of Western law, TWAIL
  • Human rights and imperialism, the subject of rights, non-human rights, critique of rights 
  • Environmental jurisprudence, political ecology, political ontologies and cosmopolitics 
  • Poverty and human rights, socio-economic rights, housing rights
  • Transitional justice, international criminal law, critical criminology, abolitionism
  • Radical and transformative lawyering, critical pedagogies

Alexis is currently working on his book The Cannibal Laws. From The Juridical Forms of Conquest to the the Global Legal Order and is co-editing a volume titled Non-Human Rights: Critical Perspectives with Prof Costas Douzinas. 

Examples of research funding:

British Academy Postdoctoral Research Project: ‘Non-Human Rights. New Legal Persons in Posthuman Times’

‘Non-Human Rights’ is an interdisciplinary project that seeks to understand the ongoing transformation of the subject of rights in the human rights discourse as a consequence of the recognition of personhood and rights of non-human entities. Considering this development as a phenomenon of unprecedented global dimensions, which attempts to cope with contemporary ecological and technological challenges, it examines the granting of rights to animals, rivers, mountains, rainforests, and synthetic and/or artificial non-human beings in different legal systems around the world. 

The project examines the non-human rights trend in light of the broader non-human and ontological turn in the humanities and social sciences. It considers the ontogenetic and worldmaking powers of the law, and the possibility of imagining a cosmopolitics between humans and non-humans beyond current political/institutional assemblages. 

This 3-year project, funded by the British Academy, employs qualitative research methods that combine historical analysis and comparative in-depth case studies. It aims to fill a gap in the scholarship by examining the ‘non-human turn in law’ and by understanding how the notion of the subject of rights has been transformed and how it might change further in the future. 


Edited Books

  • Non-Human Rights: Critical Perspectives (co-editor with Douzinas, Costas), Edward Elgar Publishing (in progress).
  • Los Juicios por crímenes de lesa humanidad (co-editor with Anitua, Gabriel and Gaitan, Mariano), Didot, Buenos Aires, 2014. ISBN 978-987-3620-05-8.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Book Chapters/Commissioned Articles


Dr Alvarez-Nakagawa welcomes proposals for postgraduate supervision in the fields of jurisprudence, critical legal theory, law and humanities, socio-legal studies, human rights, environmental law, criminal law, transformative lawyering and critical pedagogies.

If interested, please contact him with a CV and short summary of your proposed project.

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