Aoife O'Donoghue


Accepting PhD Students


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Research Statement

My work critically examines how legal structures enable or prevent states, institutions and individuals to (not) act and the ramifications of such actions. My research brings differing governance sites (international, regional, domestic, bodily) and critical forms of analysis (constitutionalism, feminism, legal theory, legal history, law and humanities) together to ask fundamental questions about legal orders. My research queries accepted narratives on the evolution of legal governance. 

My latest monograph On Tyranny and the Global Legal Order (CUP, 2021) establishes a taxonomy of tyranny and applies this to the current global legal order including examining tyrannicide and tyrannophobia. I am continuing this work through an examination of what feminist tyrannicide looks like.

My previous monograph, Constitutionalism in Global Constititionalisation (CUP, 2014) critically evaluates how constitutionalism is transplanted into the global legal order.

Current work includes Utopias and Imperialism, Feminist Constitutions, Manifestos, Femininist International Legal History, work on immutability and law, Brexit and Northern Ireland and continued work on tyranny.

With Maebh Harding at UCD, I am the receipient of a Irish Research Council Shared Island funding for DFLW (Doing Feminist Legal Work), a network of scholars doing work on law and feminism across Northern Ireland and Ireland. 

Research Focus

Questions of tyranny, utopias, feminist legal drafting, Brexit's impact and international economic law alongside feminist legal history as well as law and literature form critical elements of my resesarch focus.

Working on projects relating to utopias, feminism and international law, including theoretical, historical as well as law and humanities perspectives my works questions the underlying rationales for legal/political structures.

Aoife is the Co-Director of the Northern/Ireland Feminist Constitutions Project, having previously been Co-Director of the Northern Ireland Feminist Judgments Project. She was also part of Performing Identities a project on Brexit and Northern Ireland, publications include the co-authored book Bordering Two Unions: Northern Ireland and Brexit (Policy Press, 2018) . Aoife was also led the AHRC funded UN Gender Network project. 

Aoife worked at Durham University Law School for 15 years, having previously worked at NUI, Galway.


International Law, Feminism (theory, history, drafting), Utopias, Tyranny

Legal and Constitutional Theory, Legal History, Law and Humanities

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


  • K Law (General)
  • KZ Law of Nations
  • JX International law


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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