Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Law

Dr Jen Hendry delivers a guest seminar at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

16 January 2015 |

On Thursday, 15 January, Dr Hendry and her co-author Professor Melissa Tatum presented their work on the topic 'Beyond a Rights-Based Approach: Spatializing Indigenous Justice’ to the faculty of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.

This paper consolidates and builds upon the workshop conference on Spaces of Indigenous Justice that took place at the University of Leeds, School of Law in December 2013.


It is easy to discuss issues of Indigenous justice in the language of place. Indeed, discussions of tribal courts, native title, normative boundaries, Indigenous constitutionalism and the rights, recognition and self-determination of Indigenous peoples readily lend themselves to such narratives. These narratives are, however, still rooted predominantly in rights-based discourses. The Leeds workshop in December 2013 signified the beginnings of a movement within the field of Indigenous justice to build upon the so-called spatial “turn” in the humanities, with a view to benefitting from the increased instrumentality of interdisciplinarity. This has engendered a profound transformation in the way that location, space and place are conceptualized, which in turn caused socio-legal scholars to engage with issues of space beyond the usual units of jurisdiction and state. This extension of focus beyond the jurisdictional is facilitated by a detachment of ‘space’ from the geography of ‘place’, namely, the elimination of the condition for a physical locus or manifestation.  Our goal in this paper is to explore the potentiality of a spatialized perspective in terms of the development and refinement of these interdisciplinary tools, and to suggest alternatives to the classic rights based methodologies that are the standard.

© Copyright Leeds 2016