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School of Law

Dr Alexis Alvarez-Nakagawa


British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

Room Number: Laws, Mile End


Dr Alexis Alvarez-Nakagawa is a legal academic and attorney, currently a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Queen Mary University of London. His work brings together insights from philosophy, critical theory and jurisprudence to explore different legal problems from an interdisciplinary and critical perspective. In the last few years, Alexis research interests have ranged from the colonial history of international law to the examination of new trends in the field of human rights 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.

Before joining Queen Mary, Alexis 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 Teaching Assistant at the University of Buenos Aires, where he also served as a Research Fellow at the Ambrosio L. Gioja Research Institute.

Alexis 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 co-director for the Group of Critical Studies in Politics, Law and Society at the Gino Germani Research Institute, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Buenos Aires. Alexis is a qualified lawyer in Argentina and, before becoming a full-time academic, he litigated cases in the local and international setting.


Research interests:

  • Critical legal theory, postcolonial theory, legal history, legal anthropology
  • History of international law, 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
  • 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. The Juridical Forms of Conquest and the Emergence of International Law and is co-editing a volume titled Non-Human Rights: Critical Perspectives with Professor 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 to non-human entities. Considering this development as a phenomenon of unprecedented global dimensions, which attempts to cope with contemporary environmental 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. This trend, which emerged in the US and India and gained momentum in 2008 in Latin America, has now expanded globally, and could produce a radical change of paradigm in the legal domain.

This 3 year project, funded by the British Academy, employs qualitative research methods combining historical analysis and comparative in-depth case studies. It aims to fill a gap in the scholarship by understanding how the notion of the subject of rights has been currently transformed and 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

  • “Rituals of (Dis)possession. Appropriation and Performativity in the Early Modern Law of Nations”. London Review of International Law, Vol. 10, Issue 1. Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISSN 2050-6333 (Forthcoming).
  • “Law’s Numbers”. Boundary 2. An International Journal of Literature and Culture, Vol. 49, Issue 1. Duke University Press, Durham. ISSN 0190-3659 (Forthcoming).
  • “Repensar el abolicionismo penal en la Argentina. Tácticas y estrategias” (with Anitua, G.) Revista Delito y Sociedad, Vol. 51, Issue 1, Instituto Gino Germani, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, ISSN 0328-0101 (Forthcoming).
  • “La voz de los vencidos. Justicia y experiencia colonial en Walter Benjamin”. Revista Direito e Praxis, Vol. 11, Num. 3. Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Río de Janeiro, 2020. ISSN 2179-8966.
  • “Law as Magic. Some Thoughts on Ghosts, Non-Humans, and Shamans”. German Law Journal, Vol. 18, Issue 5. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2017. ISSN 2071-8322.

Book Chapters/Commissioned Articles

  • “Conquest – The Spanish Juridical Forms”. Obregón, L., Betancur-Restrepo, L., Amaya-Castro, J.M. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of International Law and the Americas, Oxford: Oxford University Press (in progress)
  • “Mestizo Penal Abolitionism” (co-author with Anitua, Gabriel). Coyle Michael J. and Scott, David, The Routledge International Handbook of Penal Abolitionism, London: Routledge, 2020. ISBN 9781138354098.
  • “Law, Justice, Time. A Critique of Transitional Justice from Walter Benjamin’s Politics of Time”. Karatzas, K. D. (ed.) Time, Space and Mobility, Interdisciplinary Research Foundation (IRF), Warsaw, 2018. ISBN 978-83-949577-1-1.
  • “Who Let the Dogs Out? A Review of Colin Dayan’s ‘The Law is a White Dog’”. Birkbeck Law Review, Volume 4, Issue 1. Birkbeck Law Press, London, 2016. ISSN 2052-1308.
  • “Hoy, Más que Nunca. Montajes a un nuevo aniversario del Golpe”. Bordes. Revista de política, derecho y sociedad, N° 3. UNPAZ, Buenos Aires, 2017. ISSN 2524-9290.
  • “Estándares sobre complicidad en el derecho penal internacional y un breve estudio sobre la responsabilidad de los periodistas en graves violaciones a los derechos humanos”. Anitua,; Alvarez Nakagawa, and Gaitan (eds.), Los Juicios por crímenes de lesa humanidad, Didot, Buenos Aires, 2015. ISBN 978-987-3620-05-8.
  • “La pobreza de la jurisprudencia. Formalismo e ideología en un fallo de usurpación”. Pitlevnik, Leonardo (comp.) Jurisprudencia Penal de la Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación, Tomo N°17, Hammurabi, Buenos Aires, 2014. ISBN 978-950-741-668-2.
  • “Acerca de la educación jurídica argentina: algunos aportes desde la pedagogía crítica”. Pitlevnik, Leonardo (comp.), Universidad y conflictividad social, Aportes desde la enseñanza del derecho, Editores del Puerto, Buenos Aires, 2012. ISBN 9789872837914.
  • “La defensa técnica eficaz en la jurisprudencia de la Corte Suprema de Justicia y en los estándares de los organismos de los Derechos Humanos. Algunas notas comparativas a partir del fallo Domínguez”. Pitlevnik, Leonardo (comp.) Jurisprudencia Penal de la Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación, Tomo N°9, Hammurabi, Buenos Aires, 2010. ISBN 978-950-741-517-3.
  • “Comentario al libro ‘De la injusticia penal a la justicia social’ de Roberto Gargarella”. Nueva Doctrina Penal, 2009/B, Editores del Puerto, Buenos Aires, 2011. ISSN 1850-9118.
  • “Por una defensa de ruptura. Comentario al libro “Estrategia judicial en los procesos políticos” de Jacques Vergès”. Revista Derecho y Barbarie, N°3, Buenos Aires, 2010. ISSN: 2250-4125.
  • “Violencia legítima y legítima defensa (algunas cuestiones en torno a una intuición benjaminiana)”. Revista Derecho y Barbarie, N°2, Buenos Aires, 2009. ISSN 2250-4125.
  • “El deber de soportar (La usurpación a la luz del derecho social a la vivienda)”. El Dial, Buenos Aires, 2009. ISSN: 2362-3527.
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