Emma Lush

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

Adelaide Law School

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

Emma researches in the field of public international law, with a particular focus on international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law. Emma is also interested in legal and political theory, with the latter being a substantial component of her PhD. 

Emma's thesis aims to understand why international humanitarian law (IHL) cannot keep the promises it made to the world after the second world war. In his book ‘Humane’, Samuel Moyn argues that IHL has had the unintentional consequence of entrenching war as a method of dispute resolution between states, and nonstate state armed actors – a consequence seemingly at odds with the hopes articulated by the drafters of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 at the Diplomatic Conference. This project casts a discerning eye over the history of IHL, and uses a critical methodology to uncover the presumptions and presuppositions that underlie the idea of IHL. At its heart, this project is a critique of idealism (idealism in the Hegelian sense) and the notion that ideas drive history. It posits instead that material conditions shape ideas, and therefore deconstructs the contingent, historical conditions IHL was born in to understand why the law ended up where it is today and has the consequences highlighted by Moyn. Ultimately, the purpose of this thesis is not to prompt despair that things are the way they are. It is to inspire hope that things might be, and can be, different.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2022 - ongoing Sessional Lecturer University of Adelaide
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2023 - 2026 University of Adelaide Australia Ph.D. Candidate
    2022 University of Melbourne Australia Master of Laws
    2018 College of Law Australia Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice
    2012 - 2016 University of Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Laws (Hons)
    2011 - 2014 University of Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Arts (Politics and International Studies)
  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2023 Lush, E. (2023). The View through a Different Lens Increasing Respect for International Humanitarian Law through the Use of the International Human Rights Law Framework. Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies, 14(1), 95-129.
    DOI Scopus1

Joyner Scholarship in Law

Zelling-Gray Supplementary Scholarship (2023)

Emma has taught into the following courses at the undergraduate level (LLB) as a seminar leader:

LAW 3501 Dispute Resolution and Ethics

LAW 1501 Foundations of Law

LAW 1508 International Law.

Emma was the course coordinator and lecturer for Introduction to Law (LAW 1100) in semester 2, 2022.

In February 2023, Emma delivered a number of lectures on International Law as part of the law component of the exchange program for students from Meiji Gakuin University (Japan). In January/February 2024, Emma was the Course Coordinator of this program, and delivered the lectures for the week that focussed on International Law. 

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