Jonas Bens

Jonas Bens

Collaborative Research Center 1171: "Affective Societies"

Sub-project B04: 'Gerechtigkeitsgefühle' and Transitional Justice: Affective Transculturality in Proceedings of the International Criminal Court

Research Associate (Prof. Dr. Olaf Zenker)

Address Habelschwerdter Allee 45
Room JK24 122c
14195 Berlin
Telephone +49 (0) 30 838 59310
Fax +49 (0) 30 838 459310


PhD (Dr. phil) in Anthropology (University of Bonn)

State Exam (Dipl.-Jur.) in Law

Magister Artium (M.A.) in Anthropology of the Americas, Systematic Theology, and Public International Law (University of Bonn)


Academic Positions

since 2015
Guest Researcher, Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance, and Development, University of Leiden

since 2015
Associate Researcher (PostDoc) in the Subproject B04 “Gerechtigkeitsgefühle and Transitional Justice”, German Research Foundation Collaborative Research Center 1171 “Affective Societies”

Visiting Fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Visiting Researcher, Department of Law and Anthropology, Max-Planck-Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Salle

Research Assistant and Lecturer, Department of Anthropology of the Americas, University of Bonn



Postcolonial Feminism (Department of Anthropology of the Americas, University of Bonn)

Globalization and Ethnicity: Key Concepts (Department of Anthropology of the Americas, University of Bonn)


Research Projects

since 2015      
Gerechtigkeitsgefühle and Transitional Justice: Affektive Transculturality in Proceedings of the International Criminal Court (Freie Universität Berlin)
Funding: German Research Foundation, Collaborative Research Center 1171

Inventing the Indigenous in Court: Sovereignty and Culture in Indigenous Rights Doctrine in the Americas
(University of Bonn)
Funding: PhD scholarship of the Rosa-Luxemburg Foundation

Research Topics

  • Legal Anthropology (esp. international criminal law, transitional justice, indigenous rights, international courts, legal theory)
  • Political Anthropology (esp. indigeneity, ethnicity, collective identity politics, political theory)
  • Ethnohistory
  • History of Anthropology / History of Science


Regional Focus

  • East Africa (Uganda)
  • North America (USA)

Publications (selection)

Ethnie als Rechtsbegriff: Kulturanthropologische Problembeschreibungen zum Allgemeinen Gleichbehandlungsgesetz. [Ethnic Group as a Legal Term: Anthropological Perspectives on German Anti-Discrimination Law] BAS 49, Aachen: Shaker

Complete List of Publications [pdf]


Conference Papers (selection)

„Cherokee Nation v. Georgia: A Supreme Court Case as a Legal Auto Ethnography“
American Society for Ethnohistory Conference, Las Vegas, USA

„Multiple Legal Ontologies? Indigenous Rights and the Noble Savage“
Trans-Environmental Dynamics: Understanding and Debating Ontologies, Politics, and History in Latin America, München, Germany

„Gerechtigkeitsgefühle als Legitimationsfaktor des Internationalen Strafrechts?“ [Gerechtigkeitsgefühle as a Factor of Legitimacy in International Criminal Law]
Tagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde, Marburg, Germany

„Legitimate Justice in International Criminal Law in Africa: Towards an Emotional Approach?“
6th European Conference on African Studies, Paris, Frankreich

“Translating Indigeneity in Courts in the Americas: A Study of Legal Texts”
Latin American Colloquium, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Complete List of Conference Papers [pdf]