Photo of Christiane Wilke

Christiane Wilke

Associate Professor

Degrees:M.A., Ph.D. (New School for Social Research)
Office:D499 LA (Loeb Building)

Current Research

My research examines how Western militaries and human rights organizations produce knowledge about and legal analyses of armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. I ask how different organizations see, count, and explain civilian casualties from airstrikes and how their assessments are shaped by imperial imaginaries about race and space. I inquire about the role of international law in structuring, constraining, facilitating, and legitimizing violence. Drawing on Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) and critical law & technology scholarship, I ask how international law understands, regulates, and privileges technologically enhanced warfare. Having a better understanding of the connections between global hierarchies, imperial imaginaries, technologies of violence, and international law can help us make better informed choices in evaluating the role of international law in structuring armed conflict.

This project is supported with a SSHRC Insight Grant (2020-2025).


At the undergraduate level, I enjoy teaching LAWS 3908 Approaches in Legal Studies II with a focus on socio-legal approaches to international law and armed conflict. Students in this course can work with primary sources I gathered in my own research. I also teach LAWS 4603 Transitional Justice, drawing on my research experience on transitional justice, truth and reconciliation commissions, and trials.

At the graduate level, I teach LAWS 5000 (Theories of Law and Transformation) and LAWS 6000 (Doctoral Seminar in Legal Studies) with a focus on rethinking what counts as legal studies and theory and whose knowledges are included in the curriculum. Teaching non-specialized courses allows me to accompany students on their journey through different corners of legal studies and socio-legal theory.


I supervise undergraduate and graduate students in the following areas:

  • International law, armed conflict & technologies
  • Law, visuality, and knowledge
  • Critical histories of international law
  • Decolonizing international law and human rights
  • Transitional justice and international criminal law
  • Law, memory, and the politics of reconciliation

As a supervisor, I value regular check-in meetings, collaborative problem solving, and sharing excitement about research projects.

Current Supervisions 

Deniz Konuk (PhD), Re-Viewing Police Violence: Audio-Visual Evidence, Politics of Seeing, and Technologies of Law.

Helia Doutaghi (PhD, co-supervision with Umut Özsu), Mechanisms, Victims, and Beneficiaries: Towards a Theory of Economic Sanctions from Below.

Ross Williamson (PhD), Analysing the War/Peace Binary in International Law and Imperialism.

Completed Supervisions (selected) 

Safiyah Rochelle, Capturing the Void(ed): Capturing the Void(ed): Muslim Detainees, Practices of Violence, and the Politics of Seeing in Guantánamo Bay. (PhD Legal Studies, 2020, recipient of the Senate Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement)

Judith Smith, Justice, Truth and the Future of the Past: Inheritance and Responsibility in Argentina’s 1983 Political Transition. (MA Legal Studies, 2010)

Ross Williamson, A Friendly Demonstration of Force: Pacific Blockade, International Law and State Identity, 1827 to 1921. (MA Legal Studies, 2013)

Yana Gorokhovskaia, From Soviet Dictatorship to Russian Dermo-Cratia: Toward a Theory of Political Justice. (MA Legal Studies, 2009)

Selected Publications

“Beyond Law and Numbers: Civilian suffering and the ICC’s engagement with Afghanistan,” TWAILR: Reflections #23/2020.

High Altitude Legality: Visuality and Jurisdiction in the Adjudication of NATO Air Strikes. Canadian Journal of Law and Society / Revue Canadienne Droit Et Société, 34(2) (2019), 261-280.

(co-edited with Lisa Klingsporn and Merete Peetz), Otto Kirchheimer, Collected Works, Volume 4: Political Justice and the Rule of Law. (Editorial introduction, in German).

Östlich des Rechtsstaates: Vergangenheitspolitik, Recht und Identitätsbildung.“ [East of the Rule of Law: Politics of History, Law, and Identities] In ‘Der Osten’ – Neue sozialwissenschaftliche Perspektiven auf einen komplexen Gegenstand jenseits von Verurteilung und Verklärung. [‘The East’ – New Social Research on a Complex Subject Beyond Condemnation and Nostalgia], ed. by Sandra Matthäus and Daniel Kubiak. Frankfurt/Main: VS Springer (Forthcoming 2015).

“‘This following orders thing is very relative: Ascriptions and Assumptions of Responsibility in the Causa ESMA, 1983-1987.” In Political Trials: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, ed. Devin Pendas and Jens Meierhenrich. Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2016.

Remembering Complexity? Memorials for Nazi Victims in Berlin.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 7 (2013), 1-21.

Enter Ghost: Haunted Courts and Haunting Judgments in Transitional Justice.” Law & Critique 21(2010), 73-92.

Reconsecrating the Temple of Justice: Invocations of Civilization, Humanity, and Justice at the Nuremberg Justice Trial.” Canadian Journal of Law and Society 24 (2009), 181-201.