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Joy Twemlow

Pgr Scholarship

Pgr Scholarship in the Durham Law School


Joy joined Durham Law School as part of the 2020 PhD cohort, pursuing research into the phenomenology of human rights in situations of armed conflict. She once read that, upon hearing about phenomenology, Sartre exclaimed that it could make even an apricot cocktail philosophically interesting. Joy hopes that applying phenomenology to the already fascinating subject of law will produce philosophical questions just as appetising as an apricot cocktail (if not more so).

Prior to starting her PhD, Joy undertook her MA(Research) at the University of Sydney. Her thesis examined the philosophical nexus between human rights and peace within UN Peace Operations. She has also received an LLB, BA (Political Science & Japanese), and first-class honours in Diplomacy from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Outside of academia, her greatest achievement is that she appeared in the online publication the Dodo for building a cardboard castle for her cat.

Current Research

Supervised by Dr. Catherine Turner and Dr. Benedict Douglas, Joy's PhD project examines the phenomenology of human rights looking specifically to the international legal framework surrounding armed conflict. Acknowledging the dehumanising nature of human rights abuses, she employs the phenomenological method to, on the one hand, interrogate the impact of dehumanisation on the potentiality for perceiving the self and other as rights holders. Simultaneously, she aims to explore what it means to be-in-the-word as a rights holder. Ultimately, Joy hopes that utilising the phenomenological method to critique orthodox theories of human rights will spark conversations about how human rights norms can better respond to peoples lived experience.


Twemlow J, ‘Made by Them, Followed by Us: Challenging the Perception of Law through the Deconstruction of Jurisprudential Assumptions’ (2019) 6 Griffith Journal of Law & Human Dignity

Twemlow J, ‘Non-Governmental Organisations and International Environmental Law: The Search for Legitimacy’ (2014) 1 Public Interest Law Journal of New Zealand 18


Twemlow, J (2021), Armed Conflict in the Flesh: The Fractured Body-Schema in the Wake of Dehumanisation, Critical Legal Conference, University of Dundee, Scotland 

Twemlow, J (2021), Phenomenology as a style of thinking about law: Turning towards experienceThe Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference 2021, Durham University, England  

Twemlow, J (2021), Becoming a Human Being: International Law on the Child Impacted by Armed Conflict’, The Future as a Present concern, NUIG-IPS-BSP International Conference, Online  

Twemlow, J (2021), A childhood disrupted: how International Law conceptualises the impact of armed conflict on the child, SLS PhD Workshop on International law, Online, England.

Twemlow, J (2016), Human Rights, State-Building and Empowerment: using the language of human rights to create active citizens, Australian Political Studies Association Conference, University of New South Wales, Australia.

Twemlow, J (2016), Made by Them, Followed by us: Challenging the Popular Perception of Law Through the Deconstruction of Jurisprudential Assumptions, Cambridge Doctoral Workshop in Legal Theory, Cambridge, England.

Twemlow, J (2016), Made by Them, Followed by us: Challenging the Popular Perception of Law Through the Deconstruction of Jurisprudential Assumptions, Australian Society of Legal Philosophy Conference, Melbourne University, Australia.

Twemlow, J (2013), Time for a Written Constitution? Assessing the Desirability in Light of New Zealand Constitutional Culture, New Zealand Political Association Conference, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Research Groups

Law and Global Justice

Durham Centre for Law and Philosophy

The Durham Human Right Centre

Gender and Law at Durham

Continental Philosophy Group