Meet our JSD Manager

Karin Loevy

Dissertation Title: From Exception to Containment: On the Dynamic Legal Politics of Emergency Powers

Doctoral Supervisor: Professor Mattias Kumm 


Karin Loevy graduated magna cum laude in both History (BA) and Law (LLB) from the Tel Aviv University (2004). There, she served as a research and teaching assistant in the fields of criminal law, administrative law and law and society and on the editorial board of Plilim the Journal of Public Law, Society and Culture. Following her graduation Karin joined Avigdor Feldman’s public law firm where she practiced criminal and administrative litigation before civil and military courts and before the Israeli Supreme Court. In 2009 she completed a dual LLM in Law and the Global Economy at NYU@NUS, Singapore, received the dean’s award and served as a research assistant to Professors Simon Chesterman and Victor Ramraj on law and security projects. In 2010 she was awarded candidacy at NYU School of Law’s JSD Program, and since 2012 a residency as a Tikvah Scholar. She currently serves as the Manager for the NYU Law School JSD Program.

Karin’s ‘Introduction to the Theory of Crisis Containment: The Problem of Emergency and its Paradigmatic Solutions’ was published in September 2011 in the REAL Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature, Vol 27 (States of Emergency - States of Crisis). Her case study titled: 'The Legal politics of Jurisdiction: Understanding ASEAN's Role in Myanmar's Disaster, Cyclone Nargis (2008)' is forthcoming in the Asian Journal of International Law (2014). Karin presented her work in various international conferences including among others: the 41st Annual Conference of the Canadian Council on International Law (CCIL) on ‘International Law in Times of Crisis and Emergencies’ (November 2012); the 3rd AsianSIL Young Scholars Workshop 2012, National University of Singapore (February 2012); the Yale Law School Doctoral Scholarship Conference on the Dynamics of Law and Transformation (December 2011); the European Science Foundation's Exploratory Workshop 'Imagining Chaos: The State of Exception in Law and Fiction' (December 2011).


Intense debates about the question of 'exception' in legal and political theory characterized the first ten years since September 11, 2001. These debates considered or critiqued the argument for suspending certain aspects of the law in order to deal with security threats. As the shock of the attacks and of the response to them waned, we are faced with a different set of questions, concerned less with 'exceptionalism' and more with 'normalization'. The problem is no longer the binary distinction between normal times and exceptional times but the political and legal processes entailed by emergency powers over time.

In line with this shift in the legal and political theory debates, the research offers a conceptually new and systematic look at the place and the function of emergency powers as a dynamic field of public law. It first traces the field's main problems, tensions and distinctions. On the one hand these are legal and political theory problems regarding the containment of officials’ deviation under conditions of necessity and concerns over legal and political change in face of exigency. On the other hand these are practical questions such as how to define and identify an emergency; how to authorize response agents; how to determine jurisdictions of response; and how to manage urgency in time. For each of these problems, the narrative of exception has in its jurisprudential history formulated and problematized a set of assumptions. Showing how these assumptions fail to explain the politics of emergency management in actual cases, the research highlights that which common narratives tend to obscure: that what predominantly characterizes this field is not political exception and legal vacuum but legal and political mobilization, norm production and institutional development. An acknowledgement of emergencies as a dynamic field of governance and opportunity allows for more informed evaluation of the long-term and deep processes of legal, institutional and political change that emergencies initiate.

Karin's Bookshelf