Dr Marie Petersmann

Dr Marie Petersmann

Assistant Professorial Research Fellow

LSE Law School

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Key Expertise
International Law, Environmental Law, Human Rights, Climate Change

About me

Marie Petersmann is Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at LSE Law School. Her work focuses on international law, ecology and critical theory. She holds a PhD from the European University Institute (Florence) and an LLM from the Graduate Institute (Geneva). Marie is the author of When Environmental Protection and Human Rights Collide: The Politics of Conflict Management by Regional Courts (Cambridge University Press 2022). She sits on the Editorial Board of the Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law (RECIEL). Prior to the LSE, Marie was Senior Researcher at Tilburg Law School (2020-2023), Resident Fellow at the Istituto Svizzero in Rome (2022-2023), Postdoctoral Fellow at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development in Utrecht (2019-2020), and Teaching Associate at the Strathclyde Center for Environmental Law and Governance in Glasgow (2018-2019).

Research interests

Marie’s research focuses on reparative legal action and climate justice in the Anthropocene. In 2022, she was awarded a ‘Veni’ grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) for her project Anthropocene Legalities: Reconfiguring Legal Relations within More-than-human Worlds (2022-2025), which she continues at the LSE. Her work draws on legal theory, ecological philosophy, feminist posthumanism and critical Black studies to explore the potential and limitations of rights-based approaches in environmental litigations.

- Legal theory

- Ecological philosophy

- Feminist posthumanism

- Critical Black studies


When Environmental Protection and Human Rights Collide: The Politics of Conflict Management by Regional Courts (Cambridge University Press, 2022)

Conflicts between environmental protection laws and human rights present delicate trade-offs at times when concerns for social and ecological justice are ever more intertwined in environmental and human rights discourses. When Environmental Protection And Human Rights Collide retraces how the legal ordering of environmental protection evolved over time and progressively merged with human rights concerns, thereby leading to a synergistic account of their relation. An ideal of synergy facilitated legal interconnections between environmental protection laws and human rights. This, the book argues, is not a neutral stance, but a framing invested with political meaning about how ‘humans’ ought to relate to and live within ‘nature’. The book explores the world-making effects this framing performs, and the role played by legislators, experts and adjudicators in (re)producing it. While it questions, contextualises and problematises how and why this dominant framing was construed, it also reveals how the conflicts that underpin this relationship – and the victims these conflicts affect – have mainly remained unseen. The book unveils the argumentative tropes and adjudicative strategies used in the environmental case-law of regional human rights courts to understand how these overlooked conflicts are judicially mediated in practice. In doing so, the book opens space for new modes of politics, legal imagination and representation.  

Reviewed in the European Journal of International Law (EJIL), Transnational Environmental Law, International & Comparative Law Quarterly, International Wildlife Law & Policy and RECIEL

Awarded ‘Best Doctoral or Habilitation Thesis in Public international law, Private international law, European law or Comparative law’ by the Swiss Society for International Law (2020).


Les sources du droit à l’eau en droit international
(Paris: Éditions Johanet, 2013)

Ce livre aborde les diverses problématiques qui touchent à la reconnaissance du droit humain à l’eau potable. Mais s’agit-il d’un droit à la fois contraignant, universel et autonome ? Pour répondre à cette question, l’auteurice passe en revue l’ensemble des sources du droit international, en portant une attention particulière aux divers documents qui ont été publiés au cours de la dernière décennie, depuis l’observation générale n° 15 du Comité des droits économiques, sociaux et culturels, jusqu’à la Déclaration de Rio+20. Cette analyse détaillée permet de définir la forme, la nature et la portée du droit à l’eau tel qu’actuellement reconnu en droit international. Ces réflexions sur le statut juridique du droit à l’eau permettent ainsi de faire le point sur les avancées progressives enregistrées par celui-ci en termes de reconnaissance et d’application, tout en relevant les lacunes qui persistent.


Awards and recognition for publications

- 2020: Swiss Society for International Law, Award for ‘Best Doctoral or Habilitation Thesis in public international law, private international law, European law or comparative law

- 2019: European Society of International Law (ESIL), Young Scholar Prize, Honorable Mention

- 2018: Richard Macrory Prize for Best Article, Journal of Environmental Law, Honorable Mention

- 2016: Best Graduate Student Paper Award, IUCN Academy of Environmental Law

Public engagement

Ora d’Oro Exhibitions, Re–member the silence, sound & visual installation, Istituto Svizzero, Roma (24 June 2023)

 Live interview, SOUND TALES Ciao Roma, Radio Couleur 3 (24 May 2023, 2:37:17)

 Curator of the transdisciplinary event ‘Becoming Common – Ecological Resistance, Refusal, Reparation’, Istituto Svizzero, Roma (17-18 May 2023)

Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, TBA21-Academy Talk on ‘Mediterranean Ecologies and the Anthropocene’, Palazzo Butera, Palermo (5 October 2022)

EIEL Webinar, ‘When Environmental Protection and Human Rights Collide’ (26 January 2023)

4th Rudolf Bernhardt Keynote Lecture, ‘Towards More-than-human Rights?’, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law, Heidelberg (28 October 2022)

Sovereign Nature Initiative (SNI) Eco-Talk,Sensing Practices & Representations of More-than-human-Worlds’ (16 December 2021)

‘Theory Hacks’ workshop series on (Re)Configuring More-than-human Normativities: Strategic Litigation, Collective Actions, and Sensing Technologies’, De Ceuvel, Amsterdam, (co-organized with Andrea Leiter and Daniela Gandorfer) (May 2022)

Film Festival Movies That Matter, commentator of the documentary ‘Duty of Care: The Climate Trials’ (15 April 2022)

2020      ‘“Staying with the trouble”: Sensing climate change in the AnthropoceneVölkerrechtsblog

2020      ‘Sensing Covid-19 and Climate Change’ Tilburg Environmental Law Blog

2017      ‘The latest World Bank Environmental and Social Framework: Progress on Fair and Equitable Benefit-Sharing?’ (Parts I, II and III) BeneLex Blog

Les Matins de France Culture, ‘Jeunesse Socialiste Suisse: Initiative 1/12 sur l’équité salariale’, Coup de fil en Suisse par Léo Kloeckner (July 2013)


External activities

Affiliated Research Fellow, Tilburg Law School (Netherlands): Member of the ‘Constitutionalizing in the Anthropocene’ (CitA) project and PhD Co-Supervisor of Rens Claerhoudt (2022-2026).

Associate Editor, Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law (RECIEL) (2019-present)

Member of the ‘Council for the Living’, The Zoönomic Institute & Foundation (2023-present) (2023-present)

Research Fellow, Earth System Governance Project (2019-present)

Project Member, Black Anthropocene Working Group (2020-present)

Member of the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE) (2019-present)

Member of the World Commission on Environmental Law (IUCN WCEL) (2018-present)

Resident Fellow at the Istituto Svizzero in Rome (2022-2023)

Co-founder of the Theory Hacks Collective (with Dr. Andrea Leiter and Dr. Daniela Gandorfer, in collaboration with the Logische Phantasie Lab) (2022-present)

Co-founder of the ‘Coloniality, Decoloniality and Extractive Anthropocenes’ and ‘Anthropocene Times’ networks, funded by the British Academy