Irus Braverman

Books --- Journal Articles --- Book Chapters --- SSRN Page


Wild Life: The Institution of Nature
(Stanford University Press, April 2015).


Braverman delivers a beautifully argued analysis of conservation efforts over the last three decades. In this masterful book, nothing less than the essence of what we mean by 'nature' is at stake. Wild Life makes the voices of conservationists heard while providing a sharp diagnosis of the ethical dilemmas and paradoxes of their efforts to save endangered species. A must-read. Ursula K. Heise, UCLA

"Wild Life" is a wonderfully lucid, textured exploration of the many meanings of 'conservation' today. It is required reading for anyone interested in what 'nature' and 'wilderness' mean in the context of the sixth extinction event in the history of the planet. Braverman makes a crucial contribution to the growing scholarship that pushes biopolitical thought beyond homo sapiens. Cary Wolfe, Rice University, author of Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in a Biopolitical Frame

Wild Life is a journey through the changing conceptual geography of species conservation. Drawing on a cast of over one hundred conservation practitioners, Braverman builds a unique portrait of a field at a turning point. A fascinating compendium of boundary-challenging case studies in conservation and a deeply felt ethnography, Wild Life is essential reading. Emma Maris, author of Rambunctious Garden

Wild Life is a must-read, especially for young people growing up in a world where all of nature is managed and the divides between in situ and ex situ have disappeared. Braverman interviews a wide array of conservationists and tells real life stories of species on the brink of extinction, making a unique contribution to conservation and to how we think about nature. Alexander J. Travis, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Cornell University

The Expanding Spaces of Law: A Timely Legal Geography, edited with Nicholas Blomley, David Delaney, and Alexandre Kedar
( Stanford University Press, 2014).


The Expanding Spaces of Law is the first book to encapsulate the trajectory of the legal geography field and point to its future possibilities in theoretical, methodological and substantive terms. Analyzing the increasing significance of the law-space nexus, this book highlights why all sociolegal scholars should take seriously the geo-political and spatial challenges to the prevailing understandings of law. Eve Darian-Smith, Professor, Global & International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

The Expanding Spaces of Law vividly illuminates the significant contributions spatial analysis offers to sociolegal studies and to legal anthropology, making clear that an adequate analysis of law and society requires a focus on space and time. The theoretically sophisticated, wide-ranging introduction and empirically rich chapters demonstrate how legal geography enhances the analysis of sociological studies in settings as diverse as Indonesian villages, rural America, and urban Mexico. It offers a valuable introduction to the field as well as a collection of recent, path-breaking work. Sally Engle Merry, New York University

Zooland: The Institution of Captivity
(Stanford University Press, October 2012).

Bronze Medal in the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY)


Irus Braverman writes that she deliberately sits on a fence, refusing to jump down to join any warring camp on the legitimacy of zoos. From this well built fence, Braverman is able to report a wealth of data, stories, and views of zoos, their human people, and their animals as these players work out the kind of power called care. Foucault is her guide, but I think he would have to follow Braverman in her rich account of the details of classification, law, transportation, design, and management in the service of species survival and conservation, in the name of a much contested and protean thing called nature. Captivity is an institution here, and far from a simple one, as care is a practice, and far from a sentimental one. I am Braverman's willing companion on her fence. As a society, we have too many wars and too many certainties, and much too little patience to try to understand the potent work of zoos in all its life-propagating messiness, achieved through astonishing technologies for ordering every detail of existence of captive subjects deemed wild. This is a finely researched, beautifully written, astutely argued book about an important complex of institutions called Zooland. I am grateful to the builders of Braverman's fences and to her courage to stay there. Donna Haraway, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of California at Santa Cruz

This is an essential field guide to "Zooland": what people do there, how they think, what they think they're doing-and what they might really be doing despite whatever they think. Offering a very close study of human-animal relationships under specific institutional and ideological conditions, Irus Braverman has written a great book about zoos, maybe the best ever. David Delaney, Amherst College, author of Law and Nature and Territory: A Short Introduction

Zoos have undergone dramatic transformations in recent decades, and their fundamental purpose and value—to animals and human visitors alike—remain hotly debated. With Zooland Braverman enters the fray, giving voice to the various sides while providing her own informed, thoughtful stance. Arguing for a 'power of care,' Braverman moves us toward the possibility of zoos that combine concern for individual welfare and the conservation of species. Ken Shapiro, Executive Director, Animals and Society Institute

Deeply engaging and highly creative, Zooland brings us into a place of manufactured ecologies and microprocessed beings. Braverman offers important insights into the deeply folded architectures of human-animal relations and the complex, multidimensional spaces of the zoo. Jody Emel, Clark University, editor of Animal Geographies

Brave and important, this new work puts the governance of animals at the heart of the debates about governance more broadly. Zooland opens up our understandings of social and spatial management, surveillance, classification and control, helping us understand the impact of such human social processes on nonhumans. David Murakami Wood, Queen's University, author of Globalization and Surveillance: The Watched World

Zoos have increasingly become an interconnected network of spaces in which animal populations can be managed and sustained despite the threats they face in the wild. This network is the 'Zooland' of the book's title, and its advocates portray it as a kind of Noah's Ark, 'containing the animals safely until the storm passes'. This is the essence of how modern zoos see themselves, one distilled by Braverman, a scholar of law and geography, in interviews with more than 70 zoo administrators and activists from both sides. Zooland is an insightful catalogue of zoos' claims and contradictions. Stephen Cave, Financial Times

[Braverman's] accounts of record keeping, a fairly new practice, and the laws regulating the keeping of zoo animals as well as the complexity of deciding which animals will be allowed to reproduce, will be eye opening for most readers. Nancy Bent, Booklist

Irus Braverman has written a wonderful monograph that explores the operation of zoos—institutions that manage to be utterly familiar while retaining an aura of mystery. It will undoubtedly be a popular addition to many academic disciplines. Kevin D. Haggerty, Surveillance and Society

Zoos can provide a valuable service to society, but the pursuit of profit has their own drawbacks. Zooland: The Institution of Captivity explores the modern state of the zoo, as forces within the community paint two very different pictures: the zoo has a preserver and educator on the topic of wildlife, and zoo as the carnival, exploiting animals for profit. With sixty interviews with many people voicing their ideas on the topic, Zooland is scholarly and much recommended addition to any wildlife and social issues collection. Midwest Book Review

[Zooland] gives a glimpse of zoos, in the same way that zoos give a glimpse of nature: a quick look behind the scenes, at a slightly upward angle, inspiring respect. Daniel Engber, Slate Magazine

[Zooland] builds a thorough depiction of the history and contemporary work and goals of zoos and explores the nature of wildness, care, and power by interviewing zoo professionals, animal rights activists, and others, as well as diving into a wide range of legal and scholarly literature from fields as diverse as geography, sociology, animal sciences, and philosophy. J.R. Page, Choice

The book's most striking chapters go beyond animal bodies to consider zoo databases, regulations, and the new technologies that bring animal bodies into being. Braverman's exploration of the backstage practices of zooland makes for fascinating reading ... Zoolandstands as an admirable achievement and a welcome addition to the literature on zoos, as well as showing how biopolitics encompass more than human life. Braverman's research really gets to the heart of the paradox that the institution of captivity is an expression of care, even if that care justifies death and suffering. Franklin Ginn, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

Zooland: The Institution of Captivity views the history of American zoos through a different lens, relating the history of animal regulation and government to Michel Foucault's discussion of panopticon and pastoral power . . . Braverman's treatment of the history and the practice of modern zoos is comprehensive in both its research and presentation . . . [W]ith this Foucaultian approach it is certainly appropriate to apply the ideas of both the panopticon and pastoral power to the care of captive animals. This book provides a detailed perspective on the pertinent issues facing the modern zoological park. Tanya Mueller, Journal of Anthropological Research

This book is a timely addition to the growing literature on zoos and human-animal relations . . . [T]here is much [in this book] to interest anthropologists . . . [I]t is a study that deserves to be taken seriously . . . [T]his book may garner as much interest from anthropologists and scholars of governance and institutional life and from those interested in regimes of value and property. It is also, I believe, a text that will help engage students in the kinds of anthropological questions these areas of inquiry aim to provoke. Adam Reed, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Irus Braverman's recent book Zooland is a wonderful read on a topic that is of both historical and current interest--zoos . . . Braverman does an admirable job of walking the line between zoo advocacy and condemnation and tracing an important historical and cultural shift in the self-understandings of those involved in the increasingly bureaucratized and professionalized institutional care and control of zoo animals. One gets a sense from the book and the voices of her interview subjects that zoo professionals really do care about these animals . . . The book puts forward their perspective fairly and with a great deal of compassion. On the other hand, it is steadfast in highlighting the contradictions and problems with zoo messaging that many of us have experienced and have probably only dimly perceived on a visit to our local zoo. Angela Fernandez, Jotwell: The Journal of Things We Like (Lots)

Irus Braverman has written a very important book about zoos. Her Zooland: The Institution of Captivity is a penetrating and insightful study of the business of zoos. It will serve as a basic reference and should be in the personal library of everyone interested in zoos. Buffalo News

Planted Flags: Trees, Land, and Law in Israel/Palestine
(Cambridge University Press, August 2009).


[It is a brilliant contribution to our understanding of how law constitutes space, and is also used to control space and the persons moving in and out of legally defined spaces. It also shows how law is used to legitimate and constitute authority over space. The paper is especially important for two reasons. One is that it problematizes the contradictory and perverse effects of policies that are ostensibly meant to protect a suppressed population within spaces perceived as dangerous, in which their property (here, land and olive trees) is located. The second reason why this paper is particularly important is that it draws attention to the materiality of objects of property in relation to technical advances that allow goods that always have been regarded as immovable to obtain more and more features of movable goods.
Full Review by Keebet Von Benda-Beckmann in "Anthropological Perspectives on Law and Geography" in PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, considering content of "Uprooting Identities..." article in 2009 PoLAR issue 2, later incorporated in Planted Flags.

Braverman reveals how... planting—notably, tree planting—has emerged as a central motif in rival efforts to settle and control the territory at the core of one of the world's most intractable disputes. Planted Flags tells a story about the conflict between Zionist Jews and Palestinians by reference to the divergent fortunes of two arboreal landscapes that dominate the visual rhythms and physical geography of Palestine/Israel, pine forests and olive groves. To the casual observer, pine forests and olive groves appear as innocent representations of the region's natural environment. For Bravermen, however, these landscapes reveal far more than what is directly observable. Legible in these landscapes are the colonizing efforts of Zionism and its inscriptions of dominance on the land marked by the planting of pine forests and the steadfast efforts of Palestinians to remain in place, signified by the metaphor of olive trees rooted to the land. The author focuses on the role of law and relations of power between the two groups in shaping the development of these two "treescapes," arguing that trees have emerged as material instruments as well as symbolic "flags" demarcating the two sides in this ongoing clash. How is it, she asks, that conflict between Zionist Jews and Palestinians is reflected and reinforced through these two juxtaposed landscapes, and how does the law play a role in regulating the planting of trees and shaping patterns of development on the land?
Full Review by Gary Fields in International Journal of Middle East Studies

The creativity [is] seen throughout the crystal clear, engaging, and lively prose through which theories have been neatly knitted with history while neither is history mystified nor are theories justified... It is remarkable that one can hardly notice any biases in Braverman's analysis considering how politically loaded the subject is. Braverman, an Israeli Jew, grew up in West Jerusalem, and by coupling her personal on-field e.xperiences and interviews with secondary sources, provides a reliable and (theoretically and historically) balanced account. Planted Flags is context rich, thought provoking, and exciting-a very welcomed contribution to the discourse.
Full Review by Mahran Mazinani in Digest of Middle East Studies.

House Demolitions in East Jerusalem: Illegality and Resistance (Tel Aviv: The Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace 2006)(Hebrew)

Journal Articles

(2016). Fuzzy Numbers: The Conservative Project of Mathematized Life. BioSocieties (under review).

(2015). Captive: Gaza's Human and Nonhuman Life Under Siege. PoLAR (under review).

(2015). Hyperlegality and Heightened Surveillance: The Case of Threatened Species Lists. Surveillance & Society (special issue, forthcoming).

(2015). Conservation and Hunting: A Legal Ethnography of Deer Management. Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law 30: xx-xx.

(2014). Rights of Passage: On Doors, Technology, and the Fourth Amendment. Journal of Law, Culture, and the Humanities (2015). [SSRN]

(2014). Governing the Wild: Databases, Algorithms, and Population Models as Biopolitics. Surveillance & Society 12(1): 15-37.[SSRN]

(2014). Conservation without Nature: The Trouble with In Situ versus Ex Situ Conservation. Geoforum 51: 47-57.[SSRN]

(2013). Animal Mobilegalities: The Regulation of Animal Movement in the American City. Humanimalia 5(1): 104-135. [article]

(2013). Animal Frontiers: A Tale of Three Zoos in Israel/Palestine. Cultural Critique 85: 122-162.

(2013). Passing the Sniff Test: Police Dogs as Biotechnology. Buffalo Law Review 61: 81-168. [SSRN]

(2012). A Tale of Two Zoos. Environment and Planning A 44: 2535-2541. [SSRN]

(2012). Zooveillance: Foucault Goes to the Zoo. Surveillance & Society 10(2): 119-133. [article]

(2012). Checkpoint Watch: Reflections on Israel's Border Administration in the West Bank, Social & Legal Studies 21: 297-320. [SSRN]

(2011). Looking at Zoos. Cultural Studies 25(6): 809-842.[publisher]

(2011). States of Exemption: The Legal and Animal Geographies of American Zoos. Environment and Planning A 43(7): 1693-1706.[publisher]

(2011). Hidden in Plain View: Legal Geography from a Visual Perspective. Journal of Law, Culture, and the Humanities 7(2): 173-186.[SSRN]

(2011). Civilized Borders: A Study of Israel's New Crossing Administration. Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography 43(2): 264-295.[publisher]

(2010). Zoo Registrars: A Bewildering Bureaucracy. Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum 21(1): 165-206.[publisher]

(2010). Governing with Clean Hands: Automated Public Toilets and Sanitary Surveillance. Surveillance & Society 8(1): 1-27.[SSRN]

(2009). Planting the Promised Landscape. Natural Resources Journal 49(2): 317-366.[SSRN]

(2009). Uprooting Identities: The Regulation of Olives in the Occupied West Bank. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 32(2): 237-264. [SSRN]

(2009). Loo Law: The Public Washroom as a Hyper-Regulated Space. Hastings Women's Law Journal 20(1): 45-71. [SSRN]

(2008). "The Tree is the Enemy Soldier:" A Sociolegal Making of War Landscapes in the Occupied West Bank. Law and Society Review 42(3): 449-482. [SSRN]

(2008). Everybody Loves Trees: Policing American Cities through Street Trees. Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum 19: 81-118. [SSRN]

(2008). Governing Certain Things: The Regulation of Street Trees in Four North American Cities. Tulane Environmental Law Journal 22(1): 35-60. [SSRN]

(2007). Powers of Illegality: House Demolitions and Resistance in East Jerusalem. Law and Social Inquiry 32(2): 333-372. [SSRN]

(2007). The Place of Translation in Jerusalem's Criminal Trial Court. New Criminal Law Review 10(2): 239-277. [SSRN]

(2006). Illegality in East Jerusalem: Between House Demolitions and Resistance. Theory and Criticism 28: 11-42 (Hebrew). [SSRN]

Book Chapters

(2016) "The Legal Life of Threatened Species Lists" In Irus Braverman (ed.), Lively Legalities: Animals, Biopolitics, Law (draft).


(2015) "Is the Puerto Rican Parrot Worth Saving? The Biopolitics of Endangerment and Grievability." In Kathryn Gillespie and Patricia Lopez (eds.), Economies of Death(Routledge/Earthscan), pp. 73-94.


(2015) "En-Listing Life: Red is the Color of Threatened Species Lists." In Rosemarie Collard and Kathryn Gillespie (eds.), Critical Animal Geographies Routledge/Earthscan), pp. 184-202.


(2015) "More-than-Human Legalities." In Patricia Ewick and Austin Sarat (eds.), The Wiley Handbook of Law and Society (forthcoming, Wiley Press).


(2014). "Order and Disorder in the Urban Forest." In L. Anders Sandberg, Adrina Bardekjian, and Sadia Butt (eds.), Urban Forests, Trees, and Green Space: A Political Ecology Perspective (Routledge/Earthscan), . 132-146


(2014). "Good Night, Zoo: Human-Animal-City Relations in Children Books." In Ulrich Gehmann and Martin Reiche (eds.), Virtual and Ideal Worlds Part II (Columbia University Press), pp. 159-175 .


(2013). "Captive for Life: Conserving Extinct Species through Ex Situ Breeding," In The Ethics of Captivity, Lori Gruen (ed.) (Oxford University Press), pp. 193-212.


(2013). "Who's Afraid of Methodology? Advocating a Reflective Turn in Legal Geography," In The Expanding Spaces of Law: A Timely Legal Geography, Irus Braverman, Nicholas Blomley, David Delaney & Alexandre (Sandy) Kedar (eds.) (Stanford University Press), pp. 120-141.


(2013). "Legal Tails: Policing American Cities through Animals," In Urban Policing,Securitization, and Regulation, Randy K. Lippert and Kevin Walby (eds.)(Routledge), pp. 130-144.


(2012). "A Study of Animals, Law, and the American City," In Law's Idea of Nature, Keith H. Hirokawa (ed.) (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press).


(2012). "Zootopia," In Earth Perfect? Utopia, Nature, and the Garden, Annette Giesecke and Naomi Jacobs (eds.) (Black Dog Publishing).

Earth Perfect

(2010). "Potty Training: Nonhuman Inspection in the Public Washroom," In Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing, Harvey Molotch and Laura Noren (eds.) (NYU Press).

(2008). "Checkpoint Gazes." In Acts of Citizenship, Isin, Engin and Greg Neilsen (eds.) (Zed Publishers).

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