Queen's Law

Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

Leading scholar in legal and political philosophy joins Queen’s Law

(May 10, 2018)

shwini Vasanthakumar, appointed the Queen’s National Scholar in Legal and Political Philosophy
Ashwini Vasanthakumar, appointed the Queen’s National Scholar in Legal and Political Philosophy, will join Queen's Law on August 1.

“Ashwini Vasanthakumar, described by leaders in her field as one of the most promising legal and political theorists of her generation, is a first-rate young scholar with a stellar academic record,” says Dean Bill Flanagan. “I am delighted to announce her appointment as our Queen’s National Scholar in Legal and Political Philosophy.” The new QNS appointee will take up her new position on August 1.

Vasanthakumar holds a DPhil in Political Theory and an MSc in Political Theory by Research from Oxford, where she studied as a Canadian Rhodes Scholar; a JD from Yale Law School; an MA in Political Theory from the University of Toronto; and an AB in Social Studies from Harvard, where she graduated magna cum laude with highest honors. 

Already a highly regarded teacher and researcher, she comes to Queen’s from King’s College London, where she has been a Lecturer in Politics, Philosophy & Law at the distinguished Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre at the Dickson Poon School of Law since 2016. Previously, she was a Lecturer in Political Theory at the University of York (2015-16), a Term Fellow in Political Theory at University College, Oxford (2013-15), an Assistant Professor at Jindal Global Law School (2012-13), and a Yale Law School Ruebhausen South Asia Fellow (2011-12). A Tamil Canadian from the Greater Toronto Area, this is her first academic appointment in Canada.

Vasanthakumar’s research interests are in contemporary political theory and law. Her current research focuses on the political obligations and activism of exiles; duties and rights in the context of injustice; and the boundary problem in democratic theory, which she works on in collaboration with the Institute for Futures Studies in Stockholm.

Her work appears in leading journals in law and political philosophy, including the Journal of Political Philosophy, the Journal of Applied Philosophy, and the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies. Under contract with Oxford University Press, Vasanthakumar is on the verge of completing The Ethics of Exile: a political theory of diaspora, a book based on her doctoral research. “This book,” Dean Flanagan says, “will complete the ‘early phase’ of her academic career and launch her as a mature scholar.”

About the Queen’s National Scholar (QNS) program

Established in 1985, the objective of the QNS program is to “enrich teaching and research in newly developing fields of knowledge, as well as traditional disciplines.” Since then, more than 100 QNS appointments have been made in a wide variety of disciplines, and the appellation of Queen’s National Scholar has become synonymous with academic excellence.

Those appointed under the QNS program will have clearly demonstrated their ability to provide rich and rewarding learning experiences (Queen's Academic Plan 2011) to students, as well as to develop innovative research programs that align with the university’s priorities (Strategic Research Plan 2012-2017). 

By Lisa Graham