Irus Braverman

photo of Irus Braverman.

Professor; William J. Magavern Faculty Scholar

Research Focus: Animal Studies, Nature and Conservation Biology, Law and Geography, Legal Ethnography, Law and Society, Science and Technology Studies
Links: Curriculum VitaeSSRN, Personal Website

Contact Information

717 O'Brian Hall, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100

Faculty Assistant: Anita M. Gesel

Biography Publications

Dr. Irus Braverman is professor of law and adjunct professor of geography at The State University of New York at Buffalo, where she teaches courses on the politics of nature, law and genetics, wildlife and biodiversity, and climate justice, among others. Her main interests lie in the interdisciplinary study of law, geography, and anthropology. Writing within this nexus, Braverman has conducted ethnographic research of illegal houses, trees, checkpoints, public toilets, and zoos. Born in Jerusalem, Braverman acquired a law degree (LL.B.) and a Master’s in Criminology from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She served as a public state prosecutor and as an environmental lawyer, both in Israel, and was also trained as a mediator and worked as a community organizer for environmental justice issues and as a political activist. Braverman acquired her doctoral degree in law (SJD) from the University of Toronto. Before joining the School of Law, she 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. In 2013-4, Braverman held a dual fellowship at Cornell University's Society for the Humanities and at Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. In spring and fall 2014 she was a Ryskamp fellow of the American Council for Learned Societies (ACLS). In May 2015, Braverman was a visiting professor at UNSW in Sydney, Australia.  In the summers of 2017 and 2018 she was a fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, Germany.

Braverman’s first book, House Demolitions in East Jerusalem: "Illegality" and Resistance (Hebrew, 2006), focuses on the bureaucracy that fostered and facilitated the construction of discriminatory urban landscapes in East Jerusalem. In Planted Flags: Trees, Land, and Law in Israel/Palestine (Cambridge University Press, 2009), Braverman explores how acts of planting and uprooting trees are employed in the struggle over land and identity in Israel/Palestine. Zooland: The Institution of Captivity (Stanford University Press, 2012) draws on more than seventy interviews with zoo managers and administrators to offer a glimpse into the otherwise unknown complexities of managing zoo animals. This book received the Independent Publisher Book Award in Current Events. Next, Wild Life: The Institution of Captivity (Stanford University Press, 2015), documents the intensifying management of imperiled species in what is typically referred to as wild nature.

Braverman’s latest book, Coral Whisperers: Scientists on the Brink (University of California Press, 2018) captures a critical moment in the history of coral reef science. Gleaning insights from over one hundred interviews with leading scientists and conservation managers, Braverman documents a community caught in an existential crisis and alternating between despair and hope. In this new book, corals emerge not only as signs and measures of environmental catastrophe, but also as catalysts for action.

Braverman’s edited book collections include The Expanding Spaces of Law: A Timely Legal Geography (coedited, Stanford University Press, 2014); Animals, Biopolitics, Law: Lively Legalities (Routledge, 2016); Gene Editing, Law, and the Environment: Life Beyond the Human (Routledge, 2017), and Blue Legalities: The Life and Laws of the Sea (coedited, Duke University Press, 2019).

Braverman also published over fifty essays in edited collections and in articles in a variety of disciplines, including Critical Inquiry, Public Culture, BioSocieties, Antipode, Law and Society Review, Law and Social Inquiry, Environment and Planning, Cultural Studies, Cultural Critique, Buffalo Law Review, PoLAR, and Anthropology Now.