Shea Esterling

Senior LecturerDr Shea Esterling

Meremere 415
Internal Phone: 94128

Qualifications & Memberships

Research Interests

Shea completed her PhD at Aberystwyth University in the UK and joined the School of Law at UC at the end of 2016.

Her doctoral thesis entitled 'Cultural Property at the Crossroads' is at the intersection of international human rights law and cultural heritage law. Set within the context of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, it focuses on issues related to cultural identity, cultural property, self-determination and restitution. While Shea continues to focus on these issues, her current research also examines the protection of cultural heritage in international criminal law including the concept of cultural genocide.

Shea was selected by the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law as the Early Career Research to represent New Zealand in 2018 at the Seventh International Four Societies Conference. Hosted by the Japanese Society of International Law in conjunction with the American, Canadian and Australian and New Zealand societies, this conference supports outstanding new and emerging researchers in international law.

Most recently, Shea has been awarded an Erskine Canterbury Fellowship at Oxford. This will allow her to spend three months in 2021 as an Early Career Research Fellow at the University of Oxford in the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights in the UK. Here she will work on her current research project which examines the relationship between indigenous rights and international courts with a focus on deference.

Aside from a PhD, Shea holds a JD from the Indiana University Mauer School of Law and a diploma in International Humanitarian Law from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

She is the Co-Chair for the American Society of International Law Rights of Indigenous Peoples Interest Group.

Recent Publications

  • Esterling S. (2020) Legitimacy, Participation and International Law- Making: ‘Fixing’ the Restitution of Cultural Property to Indigenous Peoples. In Scott K; Claussen K; Cote C-E; Kanehara A (Ed.), Changing Actors in International Law: 158-184. Leiden: Brill. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/9789004424159.
  • Esterling S., John-Hopkins M. and Harding C. (2020) Reflections on International Justice as a Commemorative Process. In Gilbert C; McLoughlin CM; Munro N (Ed.), On Commemoration: Global Reflections Upon Remembering War: 51-58. Bern: Peter Lang. http://dx.doi.org/10.3726/b14904.
  • Esterling SE. (2017) Under the Umbrella: The Remedial Penumbra of Self-Determination, Retroactivity and the Restitution of Cultural Property to Indigenous Peoples. In Xanthaki A; Valkonen S; Heinamaki L; Nuorgam P (Ed.), Cultural Heritage and Indigenous Peoples: 294-326. Leiden: Brill. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/9789004342194_015.
  • Esterling S. (2013) One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: The Restitution of Cultural Property in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Art Antiquity and Law (4 ed.): 323-344. https://ial.uk.com/product/one-step-forward-two-steps-back-the-restitution-of-cultural-property-in-the-united-nations-declaration-on-the-rights-of-indigenous-peoples-(shea-esterli)/?_ga=2.76371605.1092379940.1637536062-592997730.1636687710: Institute of Art and Law.
  • Esterling SE. (2011) Indiana Jones and the Illicit Trafficking and Repatriation of Cultural Objects. In Sykes G (Ed.), Courting the Media: New Perspectives in Law and Media: 127-148. New York: Nova.