Dr Marie-Catherine Petersmann

Dr Marie-Catherine Petersmann

Senior Researcher

TLS: Tilburg Law School
TLS: Public Law and Governance


Marie Petersmann is a Senior Researcher (permanent) at Tilburg Law School, where she works as part of the 'Constitutionalizing in the Anthropocene' project . Prior to that, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow (SNF) at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development (Utrecht) and Teaching Associate at the Strathclyde Center for Environmental Law and Governance (Glasgow). She earned a PhD and LLM in International Law from the European University Institute (Florence) and an MA and LLM in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva). In 2022, she was awarded a Veni grant from the Dutch NWO for her project on ‘Anthropocene Legalities: Reconfiguring Legal Relations within More-than-human Worlds’. Her research appeared in multiple journals and her monograph – titled When Environmental Protection and Human Rights Collide: The Politics of Conflict Management by Regional Courts – was published with Cambridge University Press in October 2022.


Marie has taught and published extensively on international environmental law, human rights and climate change. Her current research focuses on non-anthropocentric normativities and more-than-human legalities.  In 2022, she was awarded a 3-year 'Veni' grant by the Dutch NWO to develop a project on 'Anthropocene Legalities: Reconfiguring Legal Relations with/in More-than-human Worlds’. The project rethinks key co-ordinates of modern international (environmental) law – such as agency, autonomy, subjecthood, territory, and sovereignty – to make sense of entangled human-nonhuman relationalities. Her project draws on work from legal theory, ecological philosophy, feminist posthumanism and critical Black studies to revisit these key categories, and explore different forms of socialities beyond them. In 2022, she was selected to be a Resident Fellow at the Istituto Svizzero in Rome (2022-2023) to work with artists and ecological activists on practices of ‘more-than-human commoning'.


At Tilburg Law School:

  • Research Design & Methods for Postnational Lawyers (12 ECTS) (2021-2023)
  • Introduction to International and EU Law (6 ECTS) (2022)
  • LLM Thesis supervision (12 ECTS) (2021-2023)
  • PhD Co-supervisor of Rens Claerhoudt (2022-2026)

Prior to Tilburg:

- Guest Lecture, Politics of the Earth (6 ECTS), Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University (2021 & 2020)

- Teaching Associate at Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance (SCELG), Strathclyde University, Glasgow (Spring 2019)

  • LLM Lecturer, International Environmental Law (6 ECTS)
  • LLM Lecturer, Oceans Governance and the Law of the Sea (6 ECTS)
  • LLB Honours course Lecturer, Global Environmental Justice (6 ECTS)

- Visiting Lecturer, Intensive course in International Environmental Law (6 ECTS), Faculty of Law, University of Passau, Germany (2018)

- Guest Lecturer, Human Rights Law (6 ECTS), Faculty of Political Sciences, Florence Uni (2018)


Marie Petersmann is Associate Editor for the Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law (RECIEL) (2019-present), and formerly Senior Editor for the European Journal of Legal Studies (EJLS) (2016–2020). She was the founder and coordinator of the EUI Working Group on Environmental Law & Governance at the EUI Law Department (2016-2019).

She is a member of the Black Anthropocene Working Group (2020-present); the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (2019-present); the World Commission on Environmental Law (IUCN WCEL) (2018-present); and the Earth System Governance Project (2019-2020).

She co-created three funded networks: the Theory Hacks Collective (with Dr. Andrea Leiter and Dr. Daniela Gandorfer, in collaboration with the Logische Phantasie Lab) funded by the Dutch 'TEGL' Sector Plan; and two networks on 'Coloniality, Decoloniality and Extractive Anthropocenes' and  ‘Anthropocene Times' funded by the British Academy.


Awards and recognitions:

- 2020: Swiss Society for International Law Award for Best Doctoral or Habilitation Thesis in public international law, private international law, European law or comparative law

- 2019: Honorable Mention European Society of International Law (ESIL) Young Scholar Prize

- 2018: Honorable Mention Journal of Environmental Law Richard Macrory Prize for Best Article

- 2016: IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Best Graduate Student Paper Award

Grants and funding:

- 2022-2023: Artistic Resident Fellow at the Istituto Svizzero, Transdisciplinary Programme Roma Calling, Italy

- 2022-2022: NWO Talent programme Veni, Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) (280'000€)

- 2021: 2 British Academy seed-funding grants (8'000£) for an ‘Anthropocene Times Network’ and series of workshops on ‘Coloniality, Decoloniality and Extractive Anthropocenes'

- Dutch SectorPlan grant (14'000€) for a workshop series on ‘(Re)Configuring More-than-human Normativities: Strategic Litigation, Collective Actions, and Sensing Technologies’ co-organized with Dr. Andrea Leiter (UvA)

- 2019-2020: Early Postdoc.Mobility Fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) (75'000€)

- 2014-2018: Full grant for EUI doctoral programme from the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) (80'000€)

Recent publications

  1. Constitutionalising in the Anthropocene

    Fleurke, F., Somsen, H., Lindahl, H., Petersmann, M.-C., Leach, M., & Paiement, P. (2024). Constitutionalising in the Anthropocene. Journal of human rights and the environment, 15(1), 4-22.
  2. Constitutionalizing in the Anthropocene: An introduction

    Paiement, P., Fleurke, F., Lindahl, H., Somsen, H., Leach, M., & Petersmann, M.-C. (2024). Constitutionalizing in the Anthropocene: An introduction. Journal of human rights and the environment, 15(1), 1-3.
  3. In the break (of rights and representation) - Sociality beyond the no…

    Petersmann, M.-C. (2023). In the break (of rights and representation): Sociality beyond the non/human subject. The International Journal of Human Rights, 1-25. Advance online publication.
  4. Life beyond the law - From the 'living constitution' to the 'constitu…

    Petersmann, M.-C. (2023). Life beyond the law: From the 'living constitution' to the 'constitution of the living'. Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht, 82(4), 769-799.
  5. Earth system law - Exploring new frontiers in legal science

    Petersmann, M.-C., Kotzé, L., Kim, R. E., Blanchard, C., Gellers, J., Holley, C., van Asselt, H., Biermann, F., & Hurlbert, M. (2022). Earth system law: Exploring new frontiers in legal science. Earth System Governance, 11, 1-9. Article 100126.

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