Queen’s Law is recruiting a Bruce Mitchell doctoral student in law, vulnerability and oppression

Funded PhD in Legal and Political Philosophy

Under the auspices of the Bruce Mitchell Research Program at Queen’s University’s, the Faculty of Law will host one (1) Bruce Mitchell doctoral student. In addition to the Faculty’s existing financial scheme for doctoral students, the Bruce Mitchell Research Program will provide $35,000CAN per year for a 4-year term. 

The doctoral student will be jointly supervised by two legal and political philosophers: Dr Ashwini Vasanthakumar, Queen’s National Scholar in Legal and Political Philosophy, and Dr Grégoire Webber, Canada Research Chair in Public Law and Philosophy of Law.  

Queen’s Law hosts a vibrant, world-leading community of scholars in legal and political philosophy – one of the largest cohorts of analytic theorists in Canadian legal academia. The Colloquium in Legal and Political Philosophy, jointly convened by Dr Webber, brings an interdisciplinary range of scholars from around the world for close engagement with faculty and students. In addition to participating in the Colloquium’s community, the Bruce Mitchell doctoral student will have several opportunities for additional research funding and collaboration, including co-authorship and co-presentation at conferences. The excellent collaborations between the Faculty of Law and the Departments of Philosophy and of Political Studies will offer the doctoral student a wide-ranging community of legal and political theorists.

Drs Vasanthakumar and Webber welcome applications from prospective doctoral students in the interdisciplinary areas of law, vulnerability, and oppression. Their
research programs draw on interdisciplinary and innovative methods. Their scholarship in analytic legal and political philosophy draws on a variety of literatures, including political and social philosophy, feminist philosophy, and general jurisprudence. And their research employs mixed methods, combining normative reasoning with qualitative research and engaging directly with public policy and public service. 

Working with a Bruce Mitchell doctoral student, Drs Vasanthakumar and Webber aim to develop an original theoretical framework on vulnerability and oppression to inform our understanding of law. Research questions include: Should shared human vulnerability be understood as central to the human condition? How can a liberal political and legal philosophy appreciate human vulnerability to reconceptualise core concepts, such as autonomy, freedom, and flourishing? How should law- and policy-makers approach human vulnerability? How does a vulnerability approach help to reframe legal and policy dilemmas?

Application process

  • Applicants must apply to the Queen’s University PhD program, pursuant to the instructions on the faculty website: https://law.queensu.ca/admissions/graduate/admissions-process
  • We will begin to evaluate applications on October 1, 2024 and will continue until the position is filled.
  • We anticipate filling the position for enrolment in September 2025.

Eligibility Criteria

In addition to meeting the entry requirements for admission to the PhD in law, the Bruce Mitchell doctoral student will have:

  • demonstrated academic excellence; and
  • demonstrated research potential.

More Information

Please direct questions about the research project to Dr. Vasanthakumar and Dr. Webber at ashwini.vasanthakumar@queensu.ca and gregoire.webber@queensu.ca. General questions about the graduate program should be directed to lawgrad@queensu.ca.