Shane Chalmers

Dr Shane Chalmers

Senior Lecturer

Adelaide Law School

Faculty of the Professions

Shane joined Adelaide Law School as a Senior Lecturer in 2021. He was previously a University of Melbourne McKenzie Research Fellow with the Institute for International Law and the Humanities (IILAH), Melbourne Law School (2018-2021), where he was also an IILAH Program Director in Law and Art. Before that he was a Teaching Fellow at Melbourne Law School (2017) and an Australian Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellow hosted by the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law (2016). He undertook his PhD at the Australian National University (2012-2016).

Shane's research examines law from disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. It shares a critical concern with the legacies of European colonialism for laws and societies today, investigated through a combination of cultural analysis and historical enquiry. Shane's work has contributed to the sub-fields of law and colonialism, law and development, law and art, and jurisprudence, through publications in journals including Law and Critique, Social & Legal Studies, Law & Social Inquiry, Humanity, Griffith Law Review, Law & Literature, and Law, Culture and the Humanities.

Shane's PhD involved an interdisciplinary examination of the legal formation of Liberia, from its conception as an idea of liberty in the 19th century, through its establishment as a republic in the 20th century, to its post-war reconstruction at the beginning of the 21st century with assistance of an international intervention to establish a state based on the rule of law. The aim was to understand the role of law in the formation of Liberia, and the implications of the state’s historical formation for law and justice today, in Liberia and other international development contexts. The results are published in the monograph, Liberia and the Dialectic of Law: Critical Theory, Pluralism and the Rule of Law (Routledge, 2018).

Shane is currently working on a second monograph, The Antipodes: A Literary Legal History, which focuses on the British colonisation of Australia in the nineteenth century through a study of the colonial legal imaginaries that both informed and were informed by the colonial project.

He is also editor, with Sundhya Pahuja, of The Routledge Handbook of International Law and the Humanities (Routledge, 2021).

Disciplinary approaches

Law and the humanities

Socio-legal studies

Critical legal studies

Critical theory (Frankfurt School)


Research areas

Law and colonialism

Law and development

Law and capitalism

Law and art


  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2021 Senior Lecturer University of Adelaide
    2018 - 2021 McKenzie Research Fellow University of Melbourne
    2017 - 2017 Teaching Fellow University of Melbourne
    2016 - 2017 Australian Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellow Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2012 - 2016 Australian National University Australia PhD
    2010 - 2011 McGill University Canada LLM
    2005 - 2010 University of Adelaide Australia LLB
    2004 - 2007 University of Adelaide Australia B Int St
  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2021 Chalmers, S. (2021). Expressive Insurgency: Theft is Property! Dispossession and Critical Theory by Robert Nichols. Theory & Event, 24(1), 411-414.
    2020 Chalmers, S. (2020). Terra Nullius? Temporal Legal Pluralism in an Australian Colony. Social & Legal Studies, 29(4), 463-485.
    2020 Chalmers, S. (2020). Native Dignity. Griffith Law Review, 29(2), 175-198.
    2020 Chalmers, S. (2020). Clothes Maketh the Man: Mimesis, Laughter, and the Colonial Rule of Law. Index, 2, 83-104.
    2019 Chalmers, S. (2019). The Mythology of International Rule-of-Law Promotion. Law & Social Inquiry, 44(4), 957-986.
    2019 Chalmers, S. (2019). Negative Mythology. Law and Critique, 31(1), 59-72.
    2018 Chalmers, S. (2018). The Chameleon Subject - Representation, Law, and the Problem of Living Dead. Law, Culture and the Humanities, 1-21.
    2018 Chalmers, S. (2018). The Beginning of Human Rights: The Ritual of the Preamble to Law. Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, 9(1), 107-125.
    2017 Chalmers, S. (2017). Law’s Pluralism: Getting to the Heart of the Rule of Law. Law, Culture and the Humanities, 17(2), 280-301.
    2017 Chalmers, S. (2017). Civil Death in the Dominion of Freedom: Liberia and the Logic of Capital. Law and Critique, 28(2), 145-165.
    2015 Chalmers, S. (2015). Law’s Imaginary Life on the Ground: Scenes of the Rule of Law in Liberia. Law and Literature, 27(2), 179-198.
    2014 Chalmers, S., & Farrall, J. M. (2014). Securing the Rule of Law through UN Peace Operations. Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law, 18, 217-248.
  • Books

    Year Citation
    2021 Chalmers, S., & Pahuja, S. (Eds.) (2021). Routledge Handbook of International Law and the Humanities. Routledge.
    2018 Chalmers, S. (2018). Liberia and the Dialectic of Law: Critical Theory, Pluralism and the Rule of Law. Routledge.
  • Book Chapters

    Year Citation
    2022 Chalmers, S. (2022). The Rule of Law. In R. Buchanan, L. Eslava, & S. Pahuja (Eds.), Oxford Handbook on International Law and Development. Oxford University Press (forthcoming).
    2021 Chalmers, S., & Pahuja, S. (2021). Practice, Craft and Ethos: Inheriting a Tradition. In S. Chalmers, & S. Pahuja (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of International Law and the Humanities. Routledge.
    2021 Chalmers, S., & Pahuja, S. (2021). (Economic) Development and the Rule of Law. In J. Meierhenrich, & M. Loughlin (Eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Rule of Law. Cambridge University Press.
    2018 Chalmers, S. (2018). The Visual Force of Justice in the Making of Liberia. In D. Manderson (Ed.), Law and the Visual: Representations, Technologies, and Critique. University of Toronto Press.

University of Melbourne McKenzie Research Fellowship 2018-2021 (AUD 367,593)

Melbourne Law School Research Excellence Grant 2019 (AUD 2000)

Australian Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellowship 2016 (AUD 24,500)

Australian Bicentennial Scholarship 2014 (AUD 3000)

Cultural Legal Studies - LAW 3545

Advanced Legal Research and Writing - LAW 7187

Aboriginal Peoples and the Law - LAW 3505

Property Law - LAW 1511

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