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School of Law

Professor Neve Gordon


Professor of International Law and Human Rights

Room Number: Mile End


Neve Gordon is a professor of human rights law at Queen Mary University of London and the Vice President of the British Society for Middle East Studies. His first book, Israel’s Occupation , provided a structural history of Israel’s mechanisms of control in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. His second book, The Human Right to Dominate was written with Nicola Perugini and examines how human rights, which are generally conceived as tools for advancing emancipation, can also be used to enhance subjugation and dispossession. Most recently, he wrote with Perugini the first book on the legal and political history of human shielding. Human Shields: A History of People in the Line of Fire follows the marginal and controversial figure of the human shield over a period of 150 years in order to interrogate the laws of war and how the ethics of humane violence is produced. Gordon has also edited two volumes, one on torture (with Ruchama Marton) and the other on marginalized perspectives on human rights. Gordon has been a member at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, Brown University, the University of Michigan, and SOAS, and is currently a board member of the International State Crime Initiative. He writes regularly for the popular press and his articles have appeared in The Guardian, The Los Angles Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Al Jazeera, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The London Review of Books.

A collage of book covers written by Neve Gordon
A collage of book covers written by Neve Gordon


Professor Gordon’s current research focuses on the history and politics of human shielding. He is examining in the role of international law in producing an ethics of violence and how the production of new legal subjects such as human shields, unlawful combatants, and enemies killed in action facilitate the construction of an ethics that is conducive to specific actors. He is also interested in the politics of human rights, how human rights are interpreted and appropriated in different contexts and towards what ends.

Work in progress

Professor Gordon is in the process of writing a book on the history of human shielding. Simultaneously, he is working on an article about international law and virtual war games, and another article on the bombing of hospitals during conflicts in the Middle East.

Examples of research funding:

Professor Gordon was a Marie Curie Fellow.



  • Nicola Perugini and Neve Gordon, The Human Right to Dominate, Oxford University Press.  2015 (equal contribution).
    • Italian translation: Il diritto umano di dominare, Roma, Nottetempo, 2016.
    • Arabic translation: Doha Institute, (forthcoming 2017)
  • Neve Gordon, Israel’s Occupation, University of California Press, 2008.

Article in refereed journals

  • Yinon Cohen and Neve Gordon, “Israel’s Bio-Spatial Politics: Territory, Demography and Effective Control,” Public Culture, forthcoming 2018. (equal contribution).
  • Michal Rotem and Neve Gordon, “Bedouin Ṣumūd and the Struggle for Education,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. XLVI, No. 4 Summer 2017, 7-27.
  • Nicola Perugini and Neve Gordon, “Distinction and the Ethics of Violence: On the Legal Construction of Liminal Subjects and Spaces,” Antipode Vol. 49 No. 5 2017 ISSN 0066-4812, pp. 1385-1405 (equal contribution).
  • Nicola Perugini and Neve Gordon, “Introduction to Symposium on Critical Perspectives on Human Shields,” American Journal of International Law, Unbound, Vol. 110, 2017, 296-298.
  • Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini, “Human Shields, Sovereign Power and the Evisceration of the Civilian,” American Journal of International Law, Unbound, Vol. 110, 2017, 329-334.
  • Neve Gordon, “Palestinian Resistance and the Fallacy of Destituent Power,” Political Geography, Vol. 56, 2017, 100-103.
  • Nitza Berkovitch and Neve Gordon, “Differentiated Decoupling and Human Rights,” Social Problems, Vol. 63, Issue 4, 2016, 499-512 (equal contribution).
  • Neve Gordon and Moriel Ram, “Ethnic cleansing and the formation of colonial geographies," Political Geography, Vol. 53, 2016: 20-29 (equal contribution).
  • Reprinted in Arabic التطهير الإثني وتشكيل أنماط جغرافيا الاستعمار الاستيطاني in Israel Affairs Journal, Vol. 62, 2016: 62-93.
  • Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini, “The Politics of Human Shielding: On the Resignification of Space and the Constitutions of Civilians as Shields in Liberal Wars.” Environment and Planning D, Society and Space, Vol. 34, Issue 1, 2016, 168-187 (equal contribution).
  • Reprinted in Italian:
  • Gordon, Neve, and Nicola Perugini. "Le Politiche degli Scudi Umani: Sulla Risignificazione dello Spazio e la Costituzione Dei Civili Come Scudi Nelle Guerre Liberali." Cartografie sociali. Rivista di sociologia e scienze umane Vol, 3 2017.
  • Neve Gordon and Sharon Pardo, "Normative Power Europe Meets the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," Asia-Europe Journal, Vol. 13, Issue 3, 2015, 265-274 (equal contribution).
  • Neve Gordon and Sharon Pardo, “The European Union and Israel’s Occupation: Using Technical Customs Rules as Instruments of Foreign Policy,” The Middle East Journal, Vol. 69, Winter 2015: 74-90 (equal contribution).
  • Neve Gordon and Sharon Pardo, “Normative Power Europe and the Power of the Local,” JCMS-Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 53. No. 2. 2015: 416–427 (equal contribution).
  • Neve Gordon, “Human Rights as a Security Threat: Lawfare and the Campaign Against Rights NGOs,” Law and Society Review. Vol. 48:2, 2014: 311-344.


Neve Gordon has supervised several students to completion and is now accepting new students working from a critical perspective on human rights, international humanitarian law, wars and conflicts, and Israel/Palestine. His students at Queen Mary include:

  • Alicia De La Cour Venning  ‘To what extent do Kachin Independence Army perceptions of international humanitarian norms conform with development of its policies and practice?’
  • Michal Rotem ‘Studying Liberal Law in a non-Liberal Country’.

Public Engagement

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