Jana Norman

Jana Norman

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

School of Humanities

Faculty of Arts

Jana is a PhD candidate conducting research in the philosophy of law and concepts of the legal subject. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Florida (89) and a Masters of Divinity from Yale University (93). Jana comes to Adelaide University Law School from a 25-year career in ordained ministry within the progressive Protestant Christian church in the US and Australia, having specialised in social justice engagement, exegetical research, curriculum development, interfaith association, and adult education.

The move from religion to law is not a big leap for Jana, as both fields interpret and apply conceptualisations of human subjectivity to the establishment, maintenance, and transformation of moral community. Jana's research in law is focused on developing a new concept of the legal subject based on contemporary insights into the nature of human nature drawn from science and the humanities that highlight interdependence as an inherent characteristic of the human-Earth relationship.

In the course of her research, Jana has presented an introduction to her legal subject, which she calls the Cosmic Person, in a variety of contexts including the 3-Minute Thesis competition; the 'Everything is Connected' conference of the Green Institute; the 'Inspiring Earth Ethics: Linking Values and Action' conference of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance; and the 'Dissents and Dispositions' conference of the Law, Literature, and the Humanities Association of Australasia.

Jana also convenes a public engagement project related to her research called the Community of the Cosmic Person. In this role, Jana and a colleague are the recipients of a project grant sponsored by a partnership of the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Conservation SA, and The Australian Centre for Social Innovation.

Jana's supervisors are Professor Paul Babie and Dr Peter Burdon.

Professor Babie holds a Personal Chair of Law in the Adelaide Law School and is Director of the Law and Religion Project of The University of Adelaide Research Unit for the Study of Society, Ethics and Law (RUSSEL) (which he founded in 2007). He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law in 2017. He is currently Associate Dean of Law (International) of the Adelaide Law School and Associate Dean (International) of the Faculty of the Professions.

Dr Burdon is an Associate Professor at the Adelaide Law School. He is the deputy chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Ethics Specialist Group, deputy director of the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment for Australasia and sits on the steering committee of the Ecological Law and Governance Association.


  • Earth Jurisprudence
  • Legal Subjectivity
  • Critical Legal Studies
  • Feminist Legal Theory


  • Environmental Philosophies
  • Feminist Studies
  • Post-human critical theory

In The Posthuman (Polity Press, 2013), Rosi Braidotti places 'the critical post-human subject within an eco-philosophy of multiple belongings ... a relational subject constituted in and by multiplicity.' (49) I place my post-human, by which I mean ecocentric, legal subject within multiple belongings: universe, earth, and person. I call this super-thick legal subject the Cosmic Person and argue that such an embedded and embodied legal subject shifts the focus of law from the individual life project to the project of life itself.

  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2018 Norman, J. (2018). Introducing the cosmic person: an ecocentric legal subject. Alternative Law Journal, 43(2), 126-130.
    2018 Norman, J. (2018). Public Nuisance Claims in Climate Change Litigation: How Useful Are They?. Property Law Review, 7(3), 195-202.
    2003 Norman, J. (2003). The Church in 2020: Reflections for the UCC Council for Theological Education. Prism: A Theological Forum for the United Church of Christ, 18(Spring).
  • Books

    Year Citation
    2002 Norman-Richardson, J. (2002). Push It! Young Adults Engage the Bible. Pilgrim Press.
  • Book Chapters

    Year Citation
    2008 Norman, J. (2008). Unity: Transformational Truth at Every Level. In D. Farmer (Ed.), The Pastor's Bible Study Volume Five (pp. 249-276).
  • Internet Publications

    Year Citation
    2013 Norman, J. (2013). Review of 'Grace at Table: Small spiritual solutions to large material problems, solving everything' by Donna Schaper.

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