Katarina Hovden headshot

Katarina Hovden Visiting Researcher


Katarina Hovden was a visiting researcher at the Animal Law & Policy Program, Harvard Law School, for the spring 2019 semester. Ordinarily based at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, Katarina is conducting her PhD research in the area of ecological law and the rights of nature.

Her PhD research takes as a starting point the emerging body of law that recognizes nature as a legal person and in some cases grants specific legal rights to nature. Based on an ecological (ethical and legal-philosophical) paradigm, the rights of nature present a fundamental challenge to the otherwise anthropocentric and neoliberal governance of nature and human-nature relations. Katarina is particularly interested to explore issues related to implementing the rights of nature and the ecological paradigm that supports it. What does it mean to manage the relationships between the rights of nature and human rights in an ecological manner? How do the rights of nature relate to corporate and property rights? Underpinning her project is the understanding that recognizing the legal personhood and rights of nature is merely a first step in a long and complex process of reimagining human-nature relations and reorienting legal and institutional structures around ecological principles.

Katarina holds a BA (Honors) in Law from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, and an LL.M. in International and European Law (public international law specialization) from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in the Netherlands. She is member of the United Nations Harmony with Nature Knowledge Network, a Research Fellow on the Earth System Governance Research Project, and was conference coordinator for the first rights of nature event at the European Union institutions (European Parliament, 2017).