Kent Law School

Critical perspectives research led teaching



Connal Parsley joined Kent Law School as a Lecturer in 2013, from Melbourne Law School (Australia) where he was a lecturer and doctoral researcher. He also worked as a lawyer with the Australian Government Solicitor in the fields of commercial property and constitutional law. Connal’s research is in the interdisciplinary field of law and the humanities, taking a critical stance on contemporary law and legal issues by drawing on political theory, critical jurisprudence, Italian critical philosophy (including several authors he has translated into English), visual cultural studies, film, and visual art. Understanding law as a cultural practice with specific ideational elements, Connal’s work examines political, legal and visual phenomena that occur against the backdrop of lawful force. His work aims to interrogate the contemporary production of legal and ethical relations. Connal is particularly interested in how law’s normative and political dimensions relate to specific technical forms and cultural practices.

His recent publications include “The Exceptional Image: Torture Photographs from Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib as Foucault’s Spectacle of Punishment”, in Desmond Manderson (ed) Law and the Visual: Transitions and Transformations, (Toronto University Press, 2016) (in press); “Ethos and Legal Interpretation” in Peter Goodrich, Economies of Interpretation (Fordham University Press, 2016) (forthcoming); “‘A Particular Fetishism': Love, law and the image in Agamben” in Tom Frost (ed) Giorgio Agamben: Legal, Political and Philosophical Potentialities (Routledge, 2013); and a major monograph translation by Italian political philosopher Roberto Esposito, Categories of the Impolitical (Fordham University Press, 2015).

Connal is an Advisory Board Member of Kent’s Centre for Critical Thought, and an alumnus of the Cornell School of Criticism and Theory (USA). In order to promote interdisciplinary critical scholarship, in 2015 Connal co-founded the global Kent Summer School in Critical Theory (with Professor Maria Drakopoulou), held in Paris each year. Also with Professor Drakopoulou, he recently co-created a new Kent LLM pathway in “Law and the Humanities”, focusing on humanities-based legal scholarship and its potential to return questions of justice and ethics to the contemporary legal landscape.


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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Parsley, C. and Mussawir, E. (2017). The Law of Persons Today: At the Margins of Jurisprudence. Law and Humanities [Online] 11:44-63. Available at:
Parsley, C. (2011). Christian Thompson and the Art of Indigeneity. Discipline:34-37.
Parsley, C. (2010). The Mask and Agamben: The Transitional Juridical Technics of Legal Relation. Law, Text and Culture [Online] 14:12-39. Available at:
Parsley, C. (2005). Public Art, Public Law. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies [Online] 19:239-253. Available at:
Parsley, C. (2003). Performing the Border: Australia's Judgment of 'Unauthorised Arrivals' at the airport. Australian Feminist Law Journal 18:55-76.
Book section
Parsley, C. (2013). 'A Particular Fetishism': Love, law and the image in Agamben. in: Frost, T. ed. Giorgio Agamben: Legal, Political and Philosophical Potentialities. Routledge, pp. 31-53.
Parsley, C. (2013). The Animal Protagonist: representing 'the animal' in law and cinema. in: Mussawir, E. and Otomo, Y. eds. Law and the Question of the Animal: A Critical Jurisprudence. Routledge, pp. 10-34.
Parsley, C. (2012). Para-protest: reading a parody of police gesture as political protest with Giorgio Agamben. in: Douzinas, C., Wall, I. rua and Stone, M. eds. New Critical Legal Thinking. Birkbeck Law Press, pp. 67-88.
Parsley, C. (2011). Dictionary entries (Law, Image, St. Paul, Contemporary, the Face, Nudity). in: Murray, A. and Whyte, J. eds. The Agamben Dictionary. Edinburgh University Press.
Parsley, C. (2011). Seasons in the Abyss: Reading the Void in Cubillo. in: Orford, A. ed. International Law and its Others. Cambridge University Press, pp. 100-128.
Parsley, C. (2016). The Exceptional Image: Torture Photographs from Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib as Foucault's Spectacle of Punishment. in: Manderson, D. ed. Law and the Visual: Transitions and Transformations. Toronto University Press.
Total publications in KAR: 11 [See all in KAR]
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Research Projects

Connal is currently working on several projects:

  • Giorgio Agamben and the Jurisprudential Tradition: Connal’s current major project is a re-reading of the work of Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben in relation to jurisprudence. Focusing on the problem of representation and the image as central questions in relation to law, governance and scholarship, this project presents Agamben’s work at the intersection of the legal and critical political traditions. In posing the legacies of theology as central to the contemporary paradoxes of law and critique in the academy today, Connal’s reading suggests that Agamben’s confrontation with the theological stages a possibility for critical legal thought that has until now been overlooked.
  • Power, Ethics, and Global Spectatorship: this project examines how contemporary visual culture and conditions of viewing are implicated in the production and maintenance of political and legal power. The results of this research are now emerging, through publications such as “The Exceptional Image: Torture Photographs from Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib as Foucault’s Spectacle of Punishment”, in Desmond Manderson (ed) Law and the Visual: Transitions and Transformations, (Toronto University Press, 2016) (in press). With Dr Silke Panse (University of the Creative Arts), Connal is also organising a symposium on “Ethics, Art, and Moving Images” as part of the Whitstable Biennale in 2016.
  • Nature, Animality and Representation: focusing especially on the history of political and jurisprudential thought, with Dr Yoriko Otomo (SOAS, Law) Connal is co-editing a volume called New Natures,collecting essays from major contemporary thinkers on the nature of nature. His contribution to Otomo and Mussawir’s Law and the Question of the Animal, “The Animal Protagonist” (2012), presents an original reflection on the parallel representation of animal life in law and film.
  • The Contemporary Law of Persons: together with Dr Ed Mussawir (Griffith Law School), Connal is currently conducting an investigation into the contemporary significance of the Roman “law of persons”. By inquiring about what human relations this field of law enabled to be expressed and adjudicated, this project uses jurisprudential knowledge and legal history toward a critical political stance on inequality in contemporary law. The first results of this research will be published in 2016 in Law and Literature.

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Teaching and Supervision

Undergraduate Modules

LW507 Critical Legal Theory (Convenor)
LW599 Land Law (Convenor)

Postgraduate Modules
LW927 Law and the Humanities 1: Ethos and Scholarship (Co-convenor)
LW928 Law and the Humanities 2: Current Issues (Co-convenor)
Pathway Specialist: LLM in Law and the Humanities

Postgraduate Supervision
Connal is happy to supervise research in the areas of:

  • Critical legal theory and jurisprudence
  • Law and political theory
  • Contemporary Italian critical theory
  • Law and visual culture (especially law and art; law and film)
  • Ethics
  • Indigenous legal issues
  • Slavery
  • Global terrorism and state power
  • Critical approaches to property and property law
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Other Academic Activities

Other positions at Kent Law School
- Advisory Board Member, Centre for Critical Thought
- Co-Director, Kent Summer School in Critical Theory
- Pathway Specialist, LLM Law and the Humanities

- Roberto Esposito (2015) Categories of the Impolitical. Trans. Connal Parsley (New York: Fordham University Press).
- Antonio Negri (2014) “Some Reflections on the #ACCELERATE MANIFESTO”. Trans. Vito de Lucia and Connal Parsley Critical Legal Thinking
- Emanuele Coccia (2012) “End of Love”. Trans. Connal Parsley, 2 Discipline 13.
- Roberto Esposito (2009) Preface to Categories of the Impolitical. Trans. Connal Parsley, 39(2) diacritics 99.

Additional Academic Positions
- Affiliate Lecturer, Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy
- Visiting Research Fellow, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa Italy (2016)
- Visiting Scholar, Melbourne Law School (2014)

Editorial Work
- Currently: editorial advisor on the forthcoming translation of Pierre Legendre, Dieu au Mirroir (God at the Mirror, Routledge).

Additional Academic Activities
- Co-Organizer (with Nick Piska), Critical Legal Conference 2016, “Turning Points”, Kent Law School, 1-3 September 2016.

Professional Societies
- Executive Committee Member, Law, Literature and the Humanities Association of Australia and New Zealand
- Society of Legal Scholars
- American Association for the study of Law, Culture and the Humanities
- Italian Association of Law and Literature

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Last Updated: 08/02/2016