International human rights law; regional protection systems; Indigenous peoples; minorities; equality; non-discrimination; positive discrimination; collective rights in legal and political theory; conflicts of rights; participation; consultation/consent; post-colonial constitutionalism; fundamental rights; cultural rights and intangible cultural heritage
Latin America (mostly Bolivia and Andes); Europe
Jessika Eichler recently held two teaching positions, allowing her to actively engage the students on current human rights issues in multiple legal orders and at different institutional levels. As Alfred Grosser Chair*e at Sciences Po Paris (CERI) and Nancy (2019-2020), she approached human rights in European and International Law, placing emphasis on rights holders, as well as inter- and intra-institutional dynamics. At Università degli Studi di Torino (Law Faculty; 2019), she designed and taught a course on the principles of constitutional law, both in theory and as shining through regional orders such as the Latin American Ius Commune. Previous teaching appointments would similarly draw on a multiplicity of disciplines including the law, political science, and sociology.
In her post-doctoral fellowship with the Law & Anthropology Department at the MPI (funded by Fritz Thyssen Foundation), Jessika explores the complexities of indigenous local perspectives on global norms while considering exclusions, vulnerabilities and inequalities in the light of socio anthropological, socio-political and legal components. In a previous research project with ifa (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations), cultural rights where examined on the basis of intangible cultural heritage regimes. Broadly speaking, Jessika has placed emphasis on participation in the widest sense, including indigenous peoples’ prior consultation, participation, protest and dissent as well as equality, non-discrimination and positive discrimination. Indigenous rights certainly constitute a main focus of her research endeavours; these have allowed her to explore related debates on minority and collective rights.
Throughout her studies, Jessika approached human rights from an interdisciplinary angle, embracing different social science disciplines. Jessika holds a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences with a focus on political science, law, and international relations from University College Maastricht (NL) and Sciences Po Toulouse (FR). In the following years, she specialized in International Human Rights Law and obtained an LL.M. in International Law from the Faculty of Law in Maastricht (NL) and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights (SE). In her doctoral research, conducted at the Human Rights Centre and Department of Sociology at the University of Essex (UK), Jessika observed the implementation of indigenous peoples’ right to prior consultation in Bolivia. Her findings are informed by research stays in Peru, Bolivia and Chile.
Why Law & Anthropology?
Anthropological approaches allow us to open up the law, to disentangle its internal dynamics and to bridge diverse understandings that come into existence both in its very creation (e.g. the law drafting processes) and its implementation in local contexts (so-called vernacularization). The split between top-down/scaling down and bottom-up/scaling up approaches reveals conceptual misunderstandings of what could be (and perhaps should be) viewed as a single, yet pluralistic process The combination of law & anthropology enables us to reconcile these alleged methodological binary oppositions. Legal implementation mechanisms only gain significance when shaped by rights holders and other players who, in turn, offer their own understandings of what the law means in practice. On the other hand, implementation processes themselves build on complex drafting mechanisms involving a panoply of understandings of legal concepts. On a more personal level, the law & anthropology nexus has provided me with a useful tool to combine the normative and ethical foundations of the law with empirical insights and realities on the ground – a mix I had thought would be impossible to achieve in daily research practice and human rights research.