Ashwini Vasanthakumar is an Associate Professor and Queen’s National Scholar in Legal and Political Philosophy at Queen’s Law School. She holds an A.B from Harvard; an M.A from the University of Toronto; a J.D from Yale Law School; and a DPhil from Oxford, where she studied as a Canadian Rhodes Scholar. 

Prior to Queen’s, she held positions at King’s College London, University of York, University of Oxford, and Jindal Global Law School. She is a researcher at the Institute for Futures Studies (Stockholm) and will be a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Fundamental Rights at the Hertie School (Berlin).

Vasanthakumar’s research explores political authority, membership, and obligation. Her monograph, The Ethics of Exile: a political theory of diaspora, will be published by Oxford University Press in late 2021. Current research projects include: privatization and legitimacy in border control, victims’ duties to resist their oppression, and transitional justice as transnational justice. 

Her research has been supported by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, a British Academy Rising Star Award, the Swedish Research Council and the Wallenberg Foundation.

Research foci

Analytic political and legal theory, especially:

  • Political obligation and authority
  • Migration and transnationalism
  • Ethics of resistance

Recent publications

For a full list of publications, please see

  • The Ethics of Exile: a political theory of diaspora (2021)[Oxford Academic]
  • ‘Outsourcing Border Control: Public agency and action in migration,’ Cambridge Handbook on Privatization (ed. A. Dorfman and A. Harel) (2021) [Cambridge Core]
  • ‘Recent Debates on Victims’ Duties to Resist their Oppression,’ Philosophy Compass (2020) [Philosophy Compass]
  • ‘Privatising border control,’ Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (2018) [Oxford Academic]
  • ‘Epistemic Privilege and Victims’ Duties to Resist their Oppression,’ Journal of Applied Philosophy (2016) [JAPP]
    • reviewed in Eric Miller, It gets worse before it gets better: victims’ duties to resist injustice, Jotwell [Jotwell]
    • interview with David Edmonds, ‘Do victims have obligations too?’ Philosophy247 podcast [Philosophy247]
  • ‘Exile Political Representation,’ Journal of Political Philosophy (2016) [JOPP]