Charlotte E. Blattner, Dr. iur., LL.M. (Harvard)

I am a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Faculty of Law, Institute of Public Law at the University of Berne, Switzerland, specializing in climate law, animal law, and environmental law, and operate as a Research Group Leader for the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR) at the University of Berne, Switzerland. I hold a doctoral degree in international law and animal law from the University of Basel, Switzerland, and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School. In my habilitation thesis, I address the global phenomenon of climate change as a disruptive factor of social organization, with a focus on Swiss constitutional and administrative law. In particular, I am interested in examining whether the traditional legislative, judicial, and enforcement mechanisms of Swiss constitutional and administrative law are apt to meet impending climate change challenges, or whether they need to be adapted, in some cases even fundamentally redesigned.

I earned my PhD in Law in 2016 from the University of Basel, Switzerland, as part of the doctoral program “Law and Animals – Ethics at Crossroads,” under the supervision of Anne Peters. My PhD thesis examined the possibility and admissibility of applying national animal protection standards to animals in foreign countries – an approach widely accepted and practised in environmental, human rights, and economic law, yet unexplored in animal law. My monograph Protecting Animals Within and Across Borders: Extraterritorial Jurisdiction and the Challenges of Globalization, published by Oxford University Press in 2019, builds and expands on this work. In my postdoctoral research at Harvard Law School, I have focused on topics at the intersection of environmental and animal law, such as the status of animals in environmental law, just transition in agriculture, problems of agricultural exceptionalism from a human rights perspective, and interspecies migration challenges. My work as a postdoctoral fellow at Queen’s University, Department of Philosophy, addressed the issue of animal labour, exploring if (and how) the recognition of animal labour can pave the way for a just interspecies society. I have also published and am interested in ways to institutionalize animal agency, be it through changing the legal status of animals (here, the main thrust of my research is on animal labor), multispecies ethnographies, guidelines for respectful research with (rather than on) animals), victim standing in criminal law, or the “animal personality turn”. Many of my publications are available or linked on this website. If you cannot access my work or would like to get access to raw data, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Here is a longer description of my previous and ongoing work:

The focus of my previous work was on animal law and ethics, animal rights, international and comparative animal law, and its intersections with constitutional law, labor law, and human rights law. My PhD Protecting Animals Within and Across Borders: Extraterritorial Jurisdiction and the Challenges of Globalization was published by Oxford University Press in 2019. This is the first monograph that makes the case for and shows how we can protect animals globalization and threats of outsourcing notwithstanding. The book offers an in-depth analysis of animal laws across the world and shows how and why extraterritorial jurisdiction can overcome the steepest hurdles for animal law and help move us toward a just global interspecies community. With this book, I hope to advance stalled debates in animal law, prompt new policies, and inspire scholars from a range of disciplines (ethics, politics, sociology, economics, etc.) to begin working at this juncture.

From 2018 – 2020, I was a Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School, Cambridge MA, where I also completed my LL.M. My research at Harvard’s Animal Law & Policy Program marked the beginning of a longer project, by which I hope to spur a broader discourse about the scholarly and practical rapprochement of animal law and environmental law. This approximation becomes increasingly important as climate change begins to pervade our everyday lives and environmental pollution and degradation become realities that can no longer be denied. During my time at Harvard, I published, for example, on the status of animals in environmental law (Tierstudien, Zeitschrift für kritische Tierstudien), just transition in agriculture (Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development), problems of agricultural exceptionalism from a human rights perspective (Journal of Food Law & Policy), and interspecies migration challenges (chapter in Critical Animal Studies Approaches to Borders, Displacement, and Othering).

Before coming to Harvard, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow for Animal Studies at the Department of Philosophy at Queen’s University, Kingston ON, Canada, under the guidance and supervision of Professor Will Kymlicka. My research at Queen’s focused on animal labour. I was particularly interested in tackling some of the most pressing ethical and political questions raised by animal labor, including the desirability of a right to work (published in Animal Studies Journal) and the legitimacy of forced animal labor (chapter in Animal Labour: A New Frontier of Interspecies Justice?). Other papers discussed the relationship of animal labor to ecosystem services (article in Journal of Animal and Natural Resources Law) and trade (Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy). Together with Will Kymlicka and Kendra Coulter, I edited the book Animal Labor: A New Frontier of Interspecies Justice?, which Oxford University Press published in early 2020. At Queen’s, I also taught the philosophy class “Animals in Society,” using Socratic methods and inclusive pedagogy for close to 80 students.

I was previously a Visiting International Scholar at the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland OR, where I worked under the supervision of Professor Kathy Hessler. During my BLaw and MLaw studies, I worked as a research fellow for the “Tier im Recht” Foundation in Zurich, Switzerland, as a research assistant for the Swiss Competence Center for Human Rights, and served as a lawyer for the local Court in civil law matters.

My current teaching deals with global ageing, and the manifold ethical, legal, and political challenges it places upon us. I currently co-teach the seminar “Global Ageing in the 21st Century” with Dr. Janine Dumont-Rosas, LL.M., at the Institute for European Global Studies in Basel, Switzerland.

For more information, please visit my profile on Academia, Linkedin, or Twitter.