DR Shane Chalmers

DR Shane Chalmers


  • Academic, Law
  • Continental philosophy
  • Critical theory
  • Imperialism, Colonialism, Decolonisation
  • Law and Development
  • Law and the humanities
  • Socio-legal studies



  • Shane Chalmers joined Melbourne Law School in January 2018 as a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow. Based in the Institute for International Law and the Humanities, his Fellowship involves a collaborative cross-disciplinary research project on "the rule of law". The aim of the project is to recast our understanding of this important concept by showing how the rule of law is a socio-cultural phenomenon and everyday practice. This will open the frame around the concept in two ways: (1) by focusing on communities' law-making capabilities, it will broaden our understanding of "law" in the rule of law; and (2) by focusing on everyday life as the critical arena of the rule of law, it will broaden our understanding of the agents, modes, and locations of "rule". At the same time, by examining the rule of law as a socio-cultural phenomenon and everyday practice, the project's normative agenda is to explore how the rule of law might be more radically democratic - informed by Indigenous experiences, cultures and histories as well as those of migrant communities. Shane's McKenzie Fellowship builds on his doctoral research, undertaken between 2012-2016 in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at The Australian National University, which combined an historical study of the colonial origins and making of Liberia with an empirical study of the everyday life of law in Liberia and law's role in remaking the nation-state post-war. The results of his doctoral research are published in a monograph, Liberia and the Dialectic of Law: Critical Theory, Pluralism, and the Rule of Law (Routledge-Birkbeck Law Press, 2018), as well as a series of journal articles. Shane also holds a Master of Laws in Comparative Law from McGill University (2011), and a Bachelor of Laws with Honours (2010) and Bachelor of International Studies (2007) from the University of Adelaide. His teaching includes Legal Theory in the Melbourne JD. He has also worked for the Crown Solicitor's Office in Ade    Shane joined the Melbourne Law School in 2018 as a McKenzie Research Fellow. Before that he was a Teaching Fellow in the Melbourne JD (2017), an Australian Endeavour Research Fellow at the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law (2016), and a doctoral scholar at the Australian National University (2012-2016). Shane works at the intersection of law and cultural studies, crossing disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, including philosophy, history, literary and visual studies, and sociology. His published research has contributed knowledge of the rule of law, legal pluralism, law and development, property theory, international law and human rights, aesthetic studies of law (literary and visual), and the philosophy of law. Central to all of his research, and teaching, is a concern with imperialism and social justice. Shane has published widely in leading international journals, including Law, Culture and the Humanities, Law and Critique, Law & Social Inquiry, Social & Legal Studies, Humanity, and Law & Literature. He is author of Liberia and the Dialectic of Law: Critical Theory, Pluralism, and the Rule of Law (Routledge, 2018) and co-editor with Sundhya Pahuja of the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of International Law and the Humanities.   


Member of

  • Institute for International Law and the Humanities, Melbourne Law School. Affiliate 2017 -
  • Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities. Member 2016 -
  • Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand. Member 2016 -
  • Socio-Legal Network, Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law. Member 2016 -
  • Law, Literature and the Humanities Association of Australasia. Member 2013 -


Selected publications



Education and training

  • PhD, The Australian National University 2016
  • LLM, McGill University 2011
  • LLB, Adelaide University 2010
  • B Int St, Adelaide University 2007


Available for supervision

  • Y