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Dr Peter Burdon

Telephone +61 8 8313 4446
Position Associate Professor
Building Ligertwood Building
Floor/Room 3 28
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit Law School

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Biography/ Background

Associate Professor at the Adelaide Law School and deputy chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Ethics Specialist Group. 

The main focus of my research is the environmental crisis and how human society might transition their laws, governance structures and social relations so that they support the health and integrity of the planet. I also research in legal theory and political philosophy. At present, I am writing a book on Hannah Arendt and the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. My research uses interdisciplinary materials from sociology, political science, economics, philosophy, jurisprudence, history and environmental studies. 

I am the postgraduate coordinator at the Adelaide Law School. In addition, I am a member of Public Law and Policy Research Unit and the Faculty of Professions Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 


PhD University of Adelaide, 2011

LLB (hons) University of Adelaide, 2007

BA (history/philosophy) University of Adelaide, 2003

GCert.Ed (Higher Education) University of Adelaide, 2014


Awards & Achievements

IUCN Academy of Environmental Law: Emerging Scholarship Award, 2016

Executive Dean of the Faculty of the Professions Prize for Excellence in Teaching, 2016 (Legal Theory)

Visiting Scholar at the University of California Berkeley, Center for Law and Society, 2014.

Citation, Early Career Award, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, 2013.

University Doctoral Research Medal, 2012.

Bonython Prize for the Best Orginal Postgraduate Thesis, 2012.

Executive Dean of the Faculty of the Professions Prize for Excellence in Teaching, 2011 (Property Law) with Paul Babie and Paul Leadbeter.

FA & MF Joyner Scholarship in Law, 2008-2011.

Teaching Interests

My teaching style has been influenced by the educational writings of John Dewey, Paulo Freire, bell hooks, Mary Heath and Stephen Brookfield. I seek to create an educational space that is inclusive, democratic and which encourages critical thinking.

I teach the following courses:

LAW 1506 - Property Law

LAW 2561 - The Politics of Law

LAW 2526 - Legal Theory (Special Topic, Hannah Arendt & Eichmann in Jerusalem)

LAW 3505 - Aboriginal Peoples and the Law

Research Interests

Research Supervision

Jana Norman (PhD), "Earth Jurisprudence and Community". Jointly with Paul Babie.

David Moon (PhD), "The Legal Mind". Jointly with Alex Reilly

James Stewart (LLM), "Critical Legal Studies in a Conservative Age". Jointly with Paul Babie

Claire Williams (PhD), "The Future of Earth Jurisprudence: Science and Law". Jointly with Caecilia Ewenz.

Katherine Russell (PhD), "Critical Animal Studies". Jointly with Ngaire Naffine.

Costa Avgoustinos (PhD), "Reconciling Climate Change and Social Justice in Earth Jurisprudence". Jointly with Ben Golder and Amelia Thorpe.

Ben Mylius (hons dissertation), "Earth Jurisprudence and the Limits of Knowledge". Jointly with Paul Babie. Completed

David Moon (hons dissertation), "Science and Legal Development". Completed

Katherine Russell (hons dissertation), "Animal Rights and the Law". Completed


Click here for my Amazon author page.


Books (sole author)

Hannah Arendt: Legal Theory, Political Action and the Eichmann Trial (Under Contract, Routledge Press, 2016)

Earth Jurisprudence: Private Property and the Environment (Routledge Press, 2014).


Books (edited)

The Earth Chanter and Global Ethics: Challenges  for the 21st Century (Edward Elgar, 2017) forthcoming w Klaus Bosselmann and Kirsten Engel.

Wild Law: In Practice (Routledge Press, 2014) w Michelle Maloney


Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence (Wakefield Press, 2011).

  • Click here to view extract
  • Click here for an interview about the book on Late Night Live with Phillip Adams


Chapters in Books

'Arendt, Covenant and Environmental Ethics' in Peter Burdon, Klaus Bosselmann and Kirsten Engel (eds) The Earth Chanter and Global Ethics: Challenges  for the 21st Century (Edward Elgar, 2017).

'Academic Resistance: Landscape of Hope and Despair' in Anthony J. Nocella II (ed), Fighting Against Academic Repression (Peter Lang, 2016) forthcoming w Mary Heath.

'Deliberative Democracy' in Rosalind Dixon and Gabrielle Appleby (eds), Constitutional Critical Thinking: Re-reading Monis v The Queen (Federation Press, 2016) forthcoming w Alexander Reilly.

'Property: Concept, Rational, Contexts' in Brendan Grigg and Hossein Esmaeili, The Boundaries of Property Law (Cambridge University Press, 2016) forthcoming.

'Native Title' in in Brendan Grigg and Hossein Esmaeili, The Boundaries of Property Law (Cambridge University Press, 2016) forthcoming.

'Environmentalism and an Anarchist Legal Method' in Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos and Victoria Brookes (eds) Handbook of Research Methods in Environmental Law (Edward Elgar, 2016) forthcoming w James Martel.

'A Change in the Weather? Australia and Climate Change Politics 2007-2014' in Prue Taylor and Don Brown (eds) Ethics and Climate ChangeA Study of National Commitments (IUCN Environmental Policy and Law Paper No. 86, 2015) 1.

'Environmental Human Rights: A Constructive Critique' in Anna Grear & Louis Kotz (eds), Research Handbook on Human Rights and the Environment (Edward Elgar, 2014) forthcoming.

'Realising Earth Democracy: Governance from Below' in Laura Westra and Mirian Vilela (eds), The Earth Charter, Ecological Integrity and Social Movements (Routledge, 2014) 24.

'Wild Law and the Project of Earth Democracy' in Wild Law: In Practice (Routledge Press, 2014)

‘The Project of Earth Democracy’ in Laura Westra, Prue Taylor & Agnes Michelot (eds), Confronting Collapse: What Agencies, Institutions and Strategies Are Needed for a Better World? How to Achieve Environmental Justice? (Routledge, 2013) 244.

'The Great Law' in Peter Burdon (ed), Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence (Wakefield Press, 2011).

  • 'The Great Law' republished with permission in (2011) 15 Southern Cross University Law Review 1 (Special edition from 'Keeping the Fire: Australia's Second Conference on Wild Law'). 

'The Ecozoic Era' in Peter Burdon (ed), Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence (Wakefield Press, 2011).




'Hannah Arendt: On Judgment and Responsibility' 24(2) (2015) Griffith Law Review 221.

'Wild Law: A Proposal for Radical Social Change' 13 (2015) New Zealand Journal of Public and International Law 157.

'Idealism and Struggle: Co-opting Legal Rights for Environmental Protection' (2014) Alternative Law Journal 39(3) 176.

'Review Essay: Hannah Arendt: Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil' (2014) Adelaide Law Review 34(2) 213 w Gabrielle Appleby, Joe McIntyre, Rebecca La Forgia and Ngaire Naffine. 

'Decolonising Indigenous Water ‘Rights’ in Australia: Flow, Difference and the Limits of Law' Settler Colonial Studies 5(1) w Georgina Drew, Matthew Stubbs, Adam Webster, and Marcus Barber.

'Academic Resistance to the Neoliberal University' (2013) Legal Education Review (23)(2) 379 w Mary Heath.

'Critical Thinking in Legal Education: Our Journey' (2013) Legal Education Review (23)(2) 345 w Gabrielle Appleby & Alexander Reilly.

Self, Community and Ecological Jurisprudence’ (2013) 3(5) Oñati Socio-Legal Series.

'Review Essay: Property Rights and Sustainability' (2013) Adelaide Law Review 34.

'A Theory of Earth Jurisprudence' (2012) Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 28.

'The Future of a River: Earth Jurisprudence and the Murray Darling Basin'  (2012) 37(2) Alternative Law Journal 82.

'Earth jurisprudence: Private Property and Earth Community' (2011) 144 (3&4) Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales 109.

The Jurisprudence of Thomas Berry’ (2011) 11 Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology 151.

'Earth Rights: The Theory' (2011) 1 IUCN Academy of Environmental Law E-Journal

What is Good Land Use? From Rights to Responsibilities’ (2010) 34(3) Melbourne University Law Review 708.

Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence’ (2010) 35(2) Alternative Law Journal 62.

The Rights of Nature: Reconsidered’ (2010) 49 Australian Humanities Review 69.


non refereed

"Why is the Business World Suddenly Clamouring for a Global Carbon Tax?", The Conversation, 11 December, 2015.

"Naomi Klein’s ‘Leap Manifesto’: We Can’t Rely on Big Business for a Climate Fix", The Conversation, 4 December, 2015.

"The State of Emergency Could Thwart Public Demonstrations at the Paris Climate Talks", The Conversation, 18 November, 2015.

"Pope Francis Throws Down the Gauntlet for Paris Climate Summit", The Conversation, 19 June, 2015.

"Big Oil’s Offshore Scramble is Risky Business all Round", The Conversation, 2 June 2015.

"The Pope’s Climate Message Will Extend His Advocacy For The Poor", The Conversation, 4 May 2015.

"Government Inquiry Takes Aim at Green Charities that ‘Get Political’", The Conversation, 16 April 2015.

"South Australia’s Broad-Brush Nuclear Review is Meant to Sideline Opponents", The Conversation, 27 February 2015.

"Shell Chief Calls for Climate Action, But What are the Firm’s Motives?", The Conversation, 17 February 2015

'Lima Climate Agreement – Experts React', The Conversation, 15 December 2014

'Australia’s $200 Million Climate Pledge Falls Short of its True Debt', The Conversation, 11 December 2014

'Militarism And Climate Activism: Staring Down The Threat Of Climate Disaster', New Matilda, 26 October 2014

'Should Democracy be Abandoned to Respond to the Climate Crisis?', ABC Environment, 5 September 2014.

'The Politics Of Carbon And The Price Of Doing What's Right', New Matilda, 21 August 2014.

'A Change in the Weather? Australia and the Ethics of Climate Change', New Matilda, 14 August 2014.

'After the Carbon Tax: Crisis Mongering Does Not Help', Overland Journal, 18 July 2014

'The Road to Paris: Climate Barbarism or Ethical Action?', ABC Environment, 22 May 2014.

  • Also published on The Drum and the Public Law and Policy Research Unit Blog

'Climate change: the situation is hopeless...let's take the next step', ABC Environment, 24 March 2014 

'Population is not the Problem', ABC Environment, 22 January 2014

'How Conservative is Cory?' Independent Australia, 16 January 2014

  • A version of this article can also be viewed on InDaily 

'Don't Leave it to Politicians to Change the World' ABC The Drum, 1 January 2014

'Review Essay: Entropia Life Beyond Industrial Civilisation' Arena Magazine, Issue 127 (Dec 2013 - Jan 2014)

'Environmental Legal Aid Cuts an 'Act of Barbarism' ABC Environment, 18 December 2013

'Environmental Protection and the Limits of Rights Talk' Right Now 10 August 2012.

'Peaceful Dissent and a Lizard's Revenge' ABC Environment, 10 July 2012.

'Citizens United and the Crisis of Democracy' Adelaide Law School, Public Law Blog, 5 July 2012.

Interview in Greg Foyster 'Should Nature Have Rights?', G-Magazine, October/November 2011. 

'Rights of Nature in the Kimberley', Kimberley Calling, 1 September 2011.

'What if Trees Could Sue?', ABC Environment, 17 May 2011.

'Conversations -1: When Gaia Hires a Lawyer' 13(2) Greenspirit (2011) 14

‘Private Property and Agrarianism’, Chain Reaction Magazine, 13 May 2010.  

‘Thomas Berry and a New Jurisprudence’ Earthsong, 12 December 2009.

Wild LawArena Magazine, April 2009.  

Towards an Earth-Friendly Legal System’ 2009 19(12) Eureka St 3.

‘Earth Jurisprudence’ Chain Reaction Magazine, 1 August 2009.

‘Native Title and the Clash of Civilization’ Chain Reaction Magazine, 1 December 2008.

‘Trial Uranium Mining in South Australia’ Chain Reaction Magazine, 14 September 2008.

‘Above the law? The Roxby Downs Indenture Ratification Act 1982 (SA)’ Chain Reaction Magazine, 1 May 2006.

‘Reforming Native Title’ Friends of the Earth Magazine, 25 August 2007. 


Public Lectures, Conference and Seminar Presentations (Last 2 Years Only)

'Idealism and Struggle: Co-opting Legal Rights for Environmental Protection' (Paper presented at the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment Third Annual Symposium, Tarragona, Spain, 30 June 2014).

'The Earth Charter: Ethics and Action' (Paper presented at the 12th IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium, Tarragona, Spain, 30 June 2014).

'Climate Change and Social Movements - Oppose and Propose' (Paper presented at the Left Forum, New York City, 30 May 2014)

'Climate Change: The Situation is Hopeless, Lets Take the Next Step' (Paper presented at the California Institute for Integral Studies, San Francisco, 26 March 2014)

'Earth Jurisprudence and Civil Disobedience' (Paper presented at 'New Thinking on Sustainability', Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, 16 February 2014)

'What Can Past Prefigurative Political Movements Teach Us About Legal Change' (Paper presented at 'New Thinking on Sustainability', Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, 16 February 2014)

'Earth Democracy and Strategies for Change' (Paper presented at 'Wild Law 2013: Living Within our Ecological Limits: Law and Governance to Nurture the Earth Community', Griffith University, Brisbane, 31 September 2013)

'Environmental Human Rights: A Constructive Critique' (Paper presented at 'Environmental Human Rights: A Way Forward' (University of Peace, Costa Rica, 1 July 2013)

'Realising Earth Democracy: Governance From Below' (Paper presented at 'Ecological Integrity, Globalization and Radical Social Change: From the UN, to the Earth Charter; from the World Social Forum to the Rights of Mother Earth and Beyond', University of Peace, Costa Rica, 30 June 2013)

‘Disconnection and Entitlement: Water, Law and the Murray Darling Basin’ (Paper presented at the Materialities: Economies, Empiricism, & Things, University of Sydney, 4 December 2012)

‘An Introduction to Wild Law’ (Paper presented for the Australian Wild Law Alliance, Adelaide, 30 November, 2012) 

‘An Introduction to Wild Law’ (Paper presented for the Australian Wild Law Alliance, Melbourne, 17 August, 2012)

'The Rights of Nature and Environmental Activism’ (Paper presented for the Australian Wild Law Alliance, Melbourne, 17 August, 2012)

‘The Project of Earth Democracy’ (Paper presented at ‘Celebrating 20 Years of the Global Ecological Integrity Group’, University of La Rochelle, France, 21 June 2012) Invited

‘Self, Community and Ecological Jurisprudence’ (Paper presented at 'Human Rights and the Environment: In Search of a New Relationship', Onati, Spain, 15 June 2012) Invited

'Ecocentric Law' (Paper Presented at Progressive Law Network: Legal (r)evolution, Melbourne, 16 March 2012). Invited

'The Future of Environmental Law' (Paper Presented to Eco-Action, Kingscote, 2 January 2012) Invited.

Community Engagement

Ethics Specialist Group, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, 2012-present

Delegate, National Tertiary Education Union, 2012-present

Executive Committee, Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, 2011-2012

Management Committee, Environmental Defenders Office (SA), 2010-2013

Executive Committee, Conservation Council South Australia, 2007-2011

Management Committee, Friends of the Earth Adelaide, 2005-2011



Expertise for Media Contact

CategoriesEnvironment, Law, Crime & Justice
ExpertiseEnvironmental Law, Mining Law, Aboriginal Legal Issues

Entry last updated: Wednesday, 3 Aug 2016

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