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The ANU Centre for Law, Arts and the Humanities (CLAH) is the first of its kind in Australia. It brings together humanities-based research into questions of law and justice, both within the ANU College of Law and across diverse disciplines including art history and theory, literature, philosophy, human rights, history, and cultural studies at ANU. CLAH is building new bridges and opening new dialogues across disciplines, between critical theory and law, and with the wider community. Our world-class research reaches a wide and interdisciplinary audience.

2021 marked a breakthrough year for the Centre, advancing our commitment not just to talking about creativity but to producing work in and with the creative arts, too.

  • 'I Weave What I Have Seen: The War Rugs of Afghanistan' June 25-August 15 at Drill Hall Gallery. This extraordinary exhibition was curated by Emeritus Professor Tim Bonyhady AM FAAH FASSA, our esteemed former director, with Nigel Lendon. Find out more here.
  • In September 2021, the Centre presented 'For One Day Only', a 24-hour conference involving seminars and panels taking place in Australia, Helsinki, Lucerne, London, Johannesburg, and Virginia. It featured new work in law, space, and materialism. This project showcased our global network and marks a new stage in our collaboration with Lucernaiuris, an interdisciplinary institute at the University of Lucerne.
  • Twenty Minutes With the Devil will run at Street Theatre 18-25 June 2022. Part black comedy, part thriller, this remarkable work tackles law and justice in the modern world. Written by director Desmond Manderson and Luis Gomez Romero, here is a fable for the world we live in: a work that takes real problems in the world around us and gives them a vivid imaginative life. By turns suspenseful and reflective, witty, gritty, and poetic, Twenty Minutes With The Devil will grab you by the throat from the very first moment and demand that you, too, make a choice—before time runs out. Live or die, stay or go, trust or betray: we’re all looking for a way out of the locked room of the modern world. A pre-show panel discussion involving both playwrights and Dr Thomas Nulley-Valdes, visiting fellow at the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences and a Latin American literature scholar, and Associate Professor David Caldicott, clinical senior lecturer at the ANU College of Medicine, will be held on 23 June 2022. More details here.

This is another big year for Centre publications. Our collaboration with Professor Anne Brunon-Ernst, a Visiting Fellow at CLAH and Université Paris II, has led to Surveillance in Law and the Humanities (Edinburgh University Press, 2021). Our successful seminar series, jointly sponsored by the Institute for Postcolonial Studies, Melbourne, has led to Bubbles: Metaphor and Metamorphosis in the 21st Century (Law Text Culture, Vol. 22, 2022).

For more information, click the Publications tab below.

CLAH has initiated and continues to develop new collaborations with Canberra’s wealth of cultural institutions, including with the National Gallery of Australia, the National Library of Australia, the ABC, and the Street Theatre. We welcome to ANU visiting scholars and artists, and continue to pursue a range of creative collaborations. For more information, see People.

The Centre has developed a full suite of courses connecting study in law to other disciplines. Its courses in law and the humanities, human rights and literature (with English), philosophies of the body politic (with Philosophy), law and art (with Art History and Theory), and colonialism (with Political and Social Change) are all co-taught with other disciplines, and are open to students not just in law but in these other fields. CLAH offers students in the flexible double degree program a possibility, unmatched elsewhere in Australia, to seriously explore the relationship between their areas of interest. To find out more, see Study.


Desmond Manderson



Research themes

  • Law and Social Justice
  • Legal Theory

Our members

Tim Bonyhady
Anne Macduff
Joshua Neoh
Margaret Thornton
Matthew Zagor

Higher degree research students

Likim Ng
Justine Poon

About CLAH

New Work in a new field

The Centre is the first of its kind in Australia. Through international collaborations, research and teaching, the Centre will build new bridges and open new dialogues in three dimensions: across disciplines; between critical theory and law; and with the wider community.

The Centre is committed to advancing world-class teaching and research in the field. We aim to consolidate and expand domestic and international networks of scholars, and to support new interdisciplinary collaborations.

We are also committed to a strong public engagement with the most important contemporary problems in Australia and around the world—including questions of social justice, human rights, rule of law, globalization, pluralism, and sovereignty. Bringing the insights and traditions of the humanities and the arts to bear on law, justice and ethics in the modern world, has never been more urgent or more necessary.

The Centre reflects the growth of research in law, literature and the humanities—a creative interdisciplinary field in which Australian scholarship leads the world. The Centre is directed by Professor Desmond Manderson, FRSC and draws on his recent Australian Research Council Future Fellowship which pioneered Australian research into representations of law and justice in the visual arts; and by Professor Tim Bonyhady, AO, one of Australia’s leading writers whose work extends from environmental law to art and social history.

Professor Desmond Manderson

Portrait of Professor Desmond Manderson, by Jackie Adcock, 2001

Professor Timothy Bonyhady

Portrait of Professor Timothy Bonyhady, by Andrew Sayers, Archibald Prize Finalist, 2015

Innovative Teaching

The Centre is taking a university-wide lead in developing major new interdisciplinary courses that will help students bring their degrees and their interests, their career and their passions, together in innovative ways.

New collaborative courses with other humanities disciplines, including art, history, and politics, are already in development, positioning the ANU as a world leader in teaching interdisciplinary courses in law and the humanities. 

Interview of Prof. Desmond Manderson from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.

An interview with Professor Desmond Manderson on law and the humanities, as part of the 'Visualizing Law in the Digital Age' conference held at New York Law School on 21 October 2011.


Associate Professor Joshua Neoh

How does one lead a life of law, love and freedom?

Likim Ng

Likim Ng is a PhD candidate at ANU College of Law.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself including what brought you to ANU.

Writing my PhD thesis on the exclusion of refugees through the law under the supervision of Associate Professor Dorota Gozdecka brought me to ANU

2. What do you enjoy most about the ANU College of Law?

ANU Moot Court art

Art and multimedia may not immediately come to mind when you think about traditional law school assessments, but students at The Australian National University (ANU) College of Law recently embraced both for a memorable group assignment.

Professor Desmond Manderson and Associate Professor Anna Olsen

A Bill to decriminalise small amounts of illicit drugs in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has been welcomed by interdisciplinary scholars at The Australian National University (ANU) who have contributed to a Legislative Assembly inquiry.

Twenty Minutes with the Devil

Professor Desmond Manderson FAAL FASSA FRSC is Director of The Australian National University’s (ANU) Centre for Law, Art and Humanities, which aims to bring the insights of the creative arts to how we think and talk about law and justice. He has written acclaimed books on law and literature, law and the visual arts, and even law and music.


Send in your papers for a Zoominar series, hosted by the Institute for Postcolonial Studies, consisting of four monthly panels, each dedicated to exploring the metaphors we survive by. If you are interested in participating, please send an abstract to the convenors, no later than 6 July 2020.

to ----- Online via Zoom Webinar
This webinar series seeks to address the new meaning, scope and representation of surveillance in the time of COVID-19 and initiate a conversation between arts, humanities and the various fields which surveillance is used. 

to ----- ANU Moot Court foyer Zoom (click here to join) Meeting ID: 708 132 7095 Password: 155385
Written by Professor Carolyn Strange, The Death Penalty and Sex Murder in Canadian History provides an incisive analysis of responses to sex murders and the shifting politics of the death penalty.

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Legal space and legal geography have been important focuses of research in socio-legal scholarship in recent years. In what ways has the experience of public space been transformed under the pressures of neoliberal ideology and contemporary governmentality?

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For One Day Only brings together a global community of thinkers, scholars and artists for 24 hours of conversations on the moment we are living through and the future we want. Hosted by an international consortium of research centres spanning four continents, the workshop sessions will roll around the world from Canberra and Johannesburg, through Rome, Helsinki and Lucerne, to Virginia and Melbourne.


Members of the CLAH engage in many research projects which employ the theoretical and methodological model of law and the humanities.  Their work appears in leading publications and journals around the world. Readers are invited to explore this work on the individual research pages of our members, and to browse our recent publications.

In addition, the Centre works together to develop new collaborations and joint projects.  This involves collaborations with the Early Modern Conversions project at McGill University; an application for funding through the COST program for Literature and the Rule of Law in the New Europe; and the development of a Summer School in Law and the Humanities here at ANU.  We will provide regular updates on these activities and collaborative projects.


Listed below are a selection of recent publications by Centre members, in alphabetical order by surname under each subheading.

Please note this is not a complete list of all the publications of all our members. Please see the 'People' tab, and click on the link to their personal profile page for more publications and for a link to their ANU Researchers profile for a complete list.

Recent books

Recent book chapters

  • Henne, K and Shah, R 2016 (in press), Feminist Criminology and the Visual. In Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Crime, Media and Popular Culture. Brown, M, ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Henne, K 2015, Testing for Athlete Citizenship: Regulating Doping and Sex in Sport, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.
  • Neoh, J ‘Law and Love in Eden’, in Paul Babie and Vanja Savić (eds), Law, Religion and Love (Routledge, forthcoming)
  • Neoh, J. Rothwell, D and Rubenstein, K, ‘The Complicated Case of Stern Hu: Allegiance, Identity and Nationality in a Globalized World’, in Fiona Jenkins, Mark Nolan and Kim Rubenstein (eds), Allegiance and Identity in a Globalized World (Cambridge University Press, 2014)
  • Strange, C. ‘Mercy and Parole in Anglo-American Criminal Justice Systems, from the Eighteenth to the Twenty-First Century,’ in Paul Knepper and Anja Johansen, eds., The Oxford Handbook of the History of Crime and Criminal Justice Oxford: OUP, 2016

Recent refereed journal articles

Recent refereed journal articles


Graduate study

Students with a passion for interdisciplinary research on the intersection of law and justice issues with history, continental philosophy, art theory and criticism, literary and cultural studies are strongly encouraged to undertake higher degree research and doctoral work in law and the humanities at ANU. 

ANU offers international expertise right across law, arts, and the social sciences. The Centre for Law, Art and the Humanities brings together this expertise and works to generate new synergies and a critical mass of intellectual energy. We analyse historical and contemporary issues, drawing on humanistic perspectives through a range of theoretical frameworks in legal and social theory, continental philosophy, and post-colonial studies.

For further information, contact the Directors or Members of the Centre (on the People tab). They can help you craft your proposal and identify supervision resources best able to support your interests.

For examples of the kinds of projects our higher degree research students undertake, please see the list of HDR students on the People tab. Click through to their personal profiles for more information on their thesis projects.