Contact Information
Cornell Law School
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901

Fax: (607) 255-7193
Irus Braverman Adjunct Professor (Fall term)

Professional Biography

Associate Professor of Law and an Adjunct Professor of Geography at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. My main interests lie in the interdisciplinary study of law, geography, and anthropology. Writing within this nexus, I have researched illegal houses, trees, checkpoints, public toilets, and zoos. My first book, House Demolitions in East Jerusalem: 'Illegality' and Resistance (Hebrew), focuses on how planning laws and regulations applied in East Jerusalem create a discriminatory urban landscape and produce illegal spaces. My second book, Planted Flags: Trees, Land, and Law in Israel/Palestine (Cambridge University Press, 2009) describes how acts of planting and uprooting trees have facilitated the struggle over land and identity in Israel/Palestine. I utilize legal ethnography to move beyond traditional disciplinary and methodological frameworks, especially those prevalent in the fields of law and society and critical legal geography. My work explores a variety of physical spaces: houses in East Jerusalem, olive and pine trees in Israel/Palestine; checkpoints in the occupied Palestinian territories; street trees in North American cities; public washrooms; and zoos. Through these seemingly disparate sites, my research repeatedly addresses several main themes: the imbrications between law, space, and power, with an emphasis on materiality; the governance of populations through natural (e.g., trees, animals) and unnatural (e.g., flushometers, turnstiles) things; the role of low-level bureaucrats, especially inspectors, in the construction of particular legal geographies; the physical and symbolic manifestations of the public/private divide (e.g., at the checkpoint, the public toilet, and the zoo); and the heightened role of seeing and vision in various legal and material constructions (tree landscapes, checkpoints, zoos). Before joining the University at Buffalo Law School, I was an Associate with the Humanities Center at Harvard University, a Visiting Fellow with the Human Rights Program at Harvard University Law School, a Junior Fellow with the Center of Criminology at the University of Toronto, and a Visiting Fellow with the Geography Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I also served as a public prosecutor and as an environmental lawyer, both in Israel.