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Senior Lecturer, University of Essex

Dr. Aoife Duffy is an interdisciplinary human rights scholar affiliated with University of Essex’s Human Rights Centre/School of Law. Prior to this posting, she held lectureships at the National University of Ireland Galway and Dublin City University. Aoife has been the recipient of various awards and grants, including the prestigious Department of Foreign Affairs Andrew Grene scholarship in conflict resolution for her doctoral studies. With a broad horizon of research interests, Aoife has published on topics ranging from indigenous peoples’ rights to states of emergency in such journals as Human Rights Quarterly, the International Journal of Refugee Law, and the International Journal of Transitional Justice. Her transitional justice scholarship examining major paradigm shifts has led to new historiographies shedding light on legacy issues in various case studies. Several of these have been published, including the ground-breaking monograph - Torture and Human Rights in Northern Ireland: Interrogation in Depth. In tandem with legal histories, she has accumulated expertise on intelligence/security operations, detention without trial, interrogation, and torture.

Aoife’s interdisciplinary scholarship has evolved into other areas: producing original work on the interplay between photography/visual framing and international law, developing a conceptual framework on universality and rights recognition, and an output on reproductive autonomy. Adding to the canon of critical pedagogy, her latest journal article devises a fresh approach to human rights education by drawing on multiple disciplines. Current projects focus on the modalities through which the past is understood in the present; accessed through oral histories, official and non-official archives, legal documents, historic testimonies, memoires, and contemporary understandings of the past. A particular sensitivity is given to excavating subaltern or marginalised narratives that might otherwise be lost from the socio-historical record.

Aoife's academic research and activism is animated by social justice goals - in particular, the achievement of substantive equality and the elimination of discrimination in society. In order to address structural injustice, systemic marginalisation and exclusion, human rights practice and scholarship is strengthened by different disciplinary perspectives. In that regard, she would welcome human rights PhD supervision in a cross disciplinary arrangement.

In 2022, Aoife was invited to participate in the International Expert Panel: State Impunity and the Northern Ireland Conflict (due to report in 2023). She has also acted in an advisory/consultative capacity for various stakeholders on legacy issues stemming from the Northern Ireland conflict.


  • 2017–2023
    Senior Lecturer, University of Essex