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Natalie Oman
PhD, DJur

Associate Professor

Legal Studies
Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

Dr. Oman's present work falls into two converging streams. The first examines the sources of international law from a legal pluralist perspective, with a focus on the democratizing potential of general principles and customary international law as avenues of inclusion for non-state political communities. The second explores non-state agents’ roles as subjects and makers of specific transnational legal norms, such as the right of free, prior and informed consent and the responsibility to protect. These dual commitments are evident in her published work. For example, in 2015-16 Dr. Oman authored a United Nations report on behalf of the UN Office of the Special Advisers on Genocide Prevention and on the Responsibility to Protect that developed recommendations to prevent atrocity crimes against Indigenous peoples in Latin America. In 2019, she published her book, The Responsibility to Protect in International Law: Philosophical Implications (Routledge).

  • DJur York University, Toronto, Ontario
  • PhD, Political Science and Philosophy McGill University, Montreal, Quebec
  • MA, Political Science McGill University, Montreal, Quebec
  • "Agents of Justice? Transnational Governance Mechanisms & Human Rights Advocacy," workshop on Transnational Business and Governance Interactions, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, May 2016 (funded participation).
  • "Non-State Actors and Indigenous Rights," ICON-S conference of the International Society of Public Law, NYU School of Law, New York, July 2015 (funded participation).
  • "The 'Conscience of Mankind' as a Source of General Principles: The Legal Normativity of Human Rights Protection Norms," visiting speaker, Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv, Israel, April 2015.
  • "Rethinking the Codification of International Law: The Permanent Court of International Justice's Advisory Committee of Jurists and the Inclusionary Potential of General Principles, The League of Nations Decentred conference, Faculty of Law, Melbourne University, Australia, July 2019.
  • “The Implications of the Indigenous Right of Physical and Cultural Survival for Free, Prior and Informed Consent,” co-presented with Nelcy Lopez-Cuellar, Canadian Law & Society Association midwinter meeting, UOIT, January 2018.
  • “Free, Prior and Informed Consent as a Transnational Legal Norm,” Law & Society Association conference, Mexico City, Mexico, June 2017.
  • Oman, N. (2010). Human Security and Hannah Arendt’s ‘Right to Have Rights'. Journal of Human Rights, 9.
  • Oman, N. (2009). The Responsibility to Prevent: A Remit for Intervention? Canadian Journal of Law & Jurisprudence, 22.
  • Oman, N. (in press). Report on Drivers and Recommendations for Prevention of Atrocity Crimes Targeting Indigenous Peoples in Latin America, prepared on behalf of the UN Office of the Special Advisers on Genocide Prevention and on the Responsibility to Protect.
  • Oman, N. (in press). The Responsibility to Protect and Indigenous Peoples in Latin America: Contextual Factors Affecting the Implementation of Atrocity Crime Prevention Strategies. Working paper commissioned by the UN Office of the Special Advisers on Genocide Prevention and on the Responsibility to Protect.
  • International Law (LGLS 2120U)
    International Law will introduce students to the key topics of public international law, including sources and subjects of public international law, the law of international treaties, state responsibility, use of force, self-determination, international human rights and international criminal law. The course will examine the functioning of the UN and some regional systems of human rights and international criminal law enforcement, such as the European Court of Human Rights, the International Criminal Court, International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.
  • Legal Theory (LGLS 2200U)
    This course is a general introduction to legal theory. Some of the topics that may be covered include legal positivism, natural justice, critical legal theory, normative theory, sociological theories of law, feminist legal scholarship, legal pluralism and Marxian theories of law. The intention of this course is to give the student an appreciation for the range and power of theoretical perspectives in legal studies.
  • Indigenous Peoples, Law and the State in Canada (LGLS 3310U)
    This course is an overview of the evolution of Canadian law as it relates to Aboriginal peoples, including the history of the Indian Act, treaty rights, Aboriginal rights under the Charter, legislative jurisdiction, self-government, and land claims. We will discuss the role of Indigenous traditional jurisprudence in shaping Canadian law, and how law has been and continues to be used as an instrument of oppression against Aboriginal peoples in Canada. International aspects of Indigenous rights and legal claims will be considered.
  • Philosophy of Law (LGLS 3220U)
    This course explores the nature of law by examining fundamental legal concepts such as justice, authority, legal rules, and the obligation to obey. Students will learn to critically analyze patterns of legal reasoning and the goals they serve.
  • International Human Rights Law (LGLS 3430U)
    This course familiarizes students with major international and regional human rights documents, national implementation of human rights obligations, and the international bodies created to monitor the compliance of state parties to human rights treaties. Among the topics that may be discussed are prohibition of torture in the context of the war on terror, the right to life and the death penalty, human rights and development, as well as various humanitarian and human rights issues arising in conflict situations. In addition, the course considers the role of non-state actors such as international organizations, NGOs and multinational corporations in the human rights process.
  • Law & Globalization (LGLS 3230U)
    Law has been traditionally understood as a state-created and state-enforced phenomenon. However, recent developments across the globe challenge this view by drawing our attention to the role played by non-state actors (NGOs, international organizations, corporations, and transnational entities) in generating norms, and implementing international and transnational rules. This evidence suggests that states are ‘disaggregating’ and that their powers and immunities are being redistributed to these non-state actors, which are increasingly becoming centres of authority in their own right. This course will introduce students to theoretical perspectives on law and globalization and will assist them in developing an appreciation for the complexity of regulatory frameworks and patterns in today’s world. Topics may include: state sovereignty and post-conflict reconstruction, economic regulation and international trade, migration, international justice and advocacy, security, and the impact of technological change.
  • Law & Environment (LGLS 4040U)
    This course will consider aspects of environmental law in the context of studying legal, theoretical and socio-cultural approaches to the ecology, the environment and environmental protection. This course will analyze legal and socio-cultural conceptions of ecology and the environment, asking how these concepts are constructed and how they are mobilized within law by a range of groups, such as social movements, indigenous peoples, governments, natural resource developers and others. Topics may include analysis of legal environmental doctrine such as environmental assessment regimes; environmental regulation and protection; environmental rights and international approaches in environmental protection.
  • Censorship & Freedom of Expression (LGLS 3510U)
    This course examines the legal tensions and social dynamics of censorship and freedom of expression. Some of the substantive areas that may be considered are: pornography, political expression, advertising as expression, and hate. The importance of Charter cases will be analyzed.