Dr. Jens Theilen


(040) 6541-3137
Visiting address
Building H1
Holstenhofweg 85
22043 Hamburg
Postal address
Fakultät Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften
Postfach 70 08 22
22008 Hamburg


Dr. Jens T. Theilen is a Research Associate at the Chair for Public Law, especially Public International Law and European Law (Prof. Dr. Sigrid Boysen) at the Helmut-Schmidt-University in Hamburg. They studied law at Bucerius Law School, Hamburg, and at the University of Oxford. From 2014 to 2018 they were employed as a Research Associate at the Walther Schücking Institute for International Law at the University of Kiel, first as assistant editor of the interdisciplinary journal “Friedens-Warte” (Journal of International Peace and Organization), and then as coordinator of the EU-funded project “HUman Rights – MUtually Raising excellence” (HURMUR) in cooperation with Tallinn University and the Danish Institute for Human Rights. Jens wrote their doctoral thesis on the so-called European consensus argument used by the European Court of Human Rights from the perspective of critical human rights theory. In 2017, they spent three months as a visiting research associate at Queen Mary, University of London. From 2019 to 2021, they were a legal trainee at the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg (Referendariat) with stages inter alia at the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency and the Federal Constitutional Court. 

  • Transgender and intersex rights
  • Constitutional rights and human rights, including human rights theory
  • Migration law and citizenship
  • Feminist, queer and post-colonial legal theory
  • Data protection, privacy, surveillance

Monographs and editorships

  • European Consensus between Strategy and Principle. The Uses of Vertically Comparative Legal Reasoning in Regional Human Rights Adjudication (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2021), available open access
    • Reviews: Esra Demir-Gürsel, AVR 60 (2022), 118-122; Jaka Kukavica, ECHR Law Review 3 (2022), 279-283; Philip Czech, NLMR 2022, 75-76
  • Feminist Data Protection, Special Issue of the Internet Policy Review 10/4 (2021), ed. with Andreas Baur, Felix Bieker, Regina Ammicht-Quinn, Marit Hansen and Gloria González Fuster, available open access
  • Towards Utopia – Rethinking International Law, Special Section of the German Yearbook of International Law 60 (2017), 315-636, ed. with Isabelle Hassfurther und Wiebke Staff

Other publications

  • Ships passing in the night. The law of the sea and the human right to food, in: Nele Matz-Lück, Oystein Jensen und Elise Johansen (eds.), The Law of the Sea. Normative Context and Interactions with other Legal Regimes (Routledge, forthcoming), with Erik van Doorn
  • The Inflation of Human Rights: A Deconstruction, Leiden Journal of International Law 34 (2021), 831-854, available open access
  • Feminist Data Protection: An Introduction, Internet Policy Review 10/4 (2021), 1-26, with Andreas Baur, Felix Bieker, Regina Ammicht-Quinn, Marit Hansen and Gloria González Fuster, available open access
  • Subversion Subverted: Developments in German Civil Status Law on the Recognition of Intersex and Non-Binary Persons, in: Eva Brems, Toon Moonen and Pieter Cannoot (eds.), Protecting Trans Rights in the Age of Gender Self-Determination (Intersentia, 2020), 95-120, available on SSRN
  • Rhetoric of Rights: A Topical Perspective on the Functions of Claiming a “Human Right to …”, in: Andreas von Arnauld, Kerstin von der Decken and Mart Susi (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of New Human Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2020), 34-49, with Andreas von Arnauld
  • Pre-existing Rights and Future Articulations: Temporal Rhetoric in the Struggle for Trans Rights, in: Andreas von Arnauld, Kerstin von der Decken and Mart Susi (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of New Human Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2020), 207-214
  • Levels of Generality in the Comparative Reasoning of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice: Towards Judicial Reflective Equilibrium, in: Panos Kapotas and Vassilis Tzevelekos (eds.), Building Consensus on European Consensus: Judicial Interpretation of Human Rights in Europe and Beyond (Cambridge University Press, 2019)
  • Beyond the Gender Binary: Rethinking the Right to Legal Gender Recognition, European Human Rights Law Review 2018, 249-257
  • Towards Utopia – Rethinking International Law, German Yearbook of International Law 60 (2017), 315-335, with Isabelle Hassfurther and Wiebke Staff; available on SSRN
  • Of Wonder and Changing the World: Philip Allott’s Legal Utopianism, German Yearbook of International Law 60 (2017), 337-367; available on SSRN
  • The Long Road to Recognition: Transgender Rights and Transgender Reality in Europe, in: Gerhard Schreiber (ed.), Transsexualität in Theologie und Neurowissenschaften. Ergebnisse, Kontroversen, Perspektiven (De Gruyter, 2016), 373-390; available on SSRN
  • Depathologisation of Transgenderism and International Human Rights Law, Human Rights Law Review 14 (2014), 327-342

  • Becoming an intelligible subject: Gendered surveillance and legal categorisation (Panel “Surveillance and subjecthood: Gender, race, and class in the constitution of data subjects” with Aisha P.L. Kadiri, Laura Carter and Felix Bieker; Surveillance Studies Conference, Rotterdam, 1 June 2022)
  • ‘Do we need less data, more data, or different data?’ On categorisation and complexity (Panel “Will the digital ever be non-binary? The future of trans (data) rights” with Alex Hanna, Kevin Guyan, Kirstie English and Gloria Gonzalez Fuster; CPDP, Brussels, 25 May 2022)
  • Critique of the European Court of Human Rights (International Workshop ‘How to research the European Court of Human Rights’; Oslo, 12 May 2022)
  • Different rationales for referring to the ECtHR’s publics: European consensus between strategy and principle (Panel “The ECtHR and its Publics”, ICON Mundo, online, 6. July 2021)
  • Legal gender recognition in Germany: Not the gold standard you think it is (Democracy and the Gender Binary. Sketches for a Debate, Universidad de Sevilla (online), 18 Dec. 2020)
  • The Inflation of Human Rights: A Deconstruction (Workshop on “Human Rights Overreach”, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (online), 1 July 2020)
  • Non-binary gender in international law and courts: A haunting non-presence (Gender in law and courts: Uneasy encounters?, European University Institute, Florence, 8 Nov. 2019)
  • Grundrechtliche Implikationen der Geschlechterdiversität (Implications of gender diversity for fundamental rights) (Training course at the Data Protection Authority of Schleswig-Holstein, ULD; Kiel, 21 Jan. 2019)
  • Beyond Debates on Human Rights Inflation (Panel on the topic “The Concept of Human Rights in Flux” with Stefan Martini and Janneke Gerards, AHRI Conference 2018, “Renewing Rights in Times of Transition”; Edinburgh, 7 Sept. 2018)
  • Rhetorics of Human Rights (PhD Course: Human Rights Research Methods; copenhagen, 30 May 2018; with Andreas von Arnauld)
  • The European Court of Human Rights as a Knight of Faith: Expelling Sociological Legitimacy from the Justification of Human Rights (ESIL Research Forum 2018, “International Law in Times of Disorder and Contestation”, Jerusalem, 1 March 2018)
  • Ships Passing in the Night? The Law of the Sea and the Human Right to Food through the Prism of Food Security (Interaction of the Law of the Sea with other Fields of International Law; Tromsø, 24 Feb. 2018; with Erik van Doorn)
  • Legal Gender Recognition for Non-Binary Persons: Self-determination within a Larger Social Fabric of Existence (Trans* Expert Seminar “Protecting Trans* Rights after the New Belgian Gender Recognition Act: Done Deal or Work in Progress?”; Human Rights Centre, Ghent, 6 Feb. 2018)
  • Justifying Regional Human Rights: From Minimum Standards to European Integration? (Centre for European and International Legal Affairs, Queen Mary, London, 13 Dec. 2017)
  • The Recognition of New Human Rights: Temporal Rhetoric and Grand Narratives of Progress (Human Rights and the Humanities: Culture and Critique; Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, 7 Dec. 2017)
  • Between Novelty and Timelessness: Promoting the Right to Legal Gender Recognition (Rights for the 21st Century? Exploring the Need for “New” Human Rights; Tallinn, 20 Sept. 2017)
  • A Revolution Not Just in the Minds, But of Genre: Philip Allott’s Legal Utopianism (Walther Schücking Workshop “Towards Utopia – Rethinking International Law”; Kiel, 19 Aug. 2017)
  • Gender Trouble(s), or: Anxiety about Gender Authenticity in Legal Discourse (The Perception of Social Threats and Crisis in Public Life and Education; Gut Siggen, Schleswig-Holstein, 17 July 2017)
  • Gendered Bodies and the Regulatory Corporeality of Time in the Case-Law of the European Court of Human Rights (The New Legal Temporalities; Canterbury, 10 Sept. 2016)
  • Consensus-based Reasoning in the Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice: Towards Judicial Reflective Equilibrium (Building Consensus on European Consensus; European University Institute, Florence, 2 June 2016)
  • The Long Road to Recognition: Transgender Rights and Transgender Reality in Europe (Transsexualität: Eine gesellschaftliche Herausforderung im Gespräch zwischen Theologie und Neurowissenschaften; Frankfurt am Main, 6 Feb. 2016)
  • Deriving specifically European values from general international law – paradox or oxymoron? (Legal Theory and Legal Philosophy Conference “In Search of Basic European Values”; Ljubljana, 20 Nov. 2015)
  • Oliari v. Italien, oder: Ist Russland verpflichtet, eine eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft einzuführen? (Oliari v. Italy, or: Is Russia obligated to introduce a civil partnership?) (Recent Developments in Public International Law; Kiel, 11 Nov. 2015)

  • “BinaSex” project, Sexed citizenship and non-binary identities: from non discrimination to citizenship integration, part of the working team
  • “Feminist Data Protection”, workshop, Berlin, 20 November 2019, organisation with Regina Ammicht Quinn, Andreas Baur, Felix Bieker, Gloria González Fuster and Marit Hansen; the special issue which followed from it is available open access here
  • “Alternative Zugänge zur Rechtswissenschaft – Vielfältigkeit und Verschiedenheit als inhaltliches und methodisches Programm” (Alternative perspectives on law – focussing on diversity and difference in content and method), lecture series on feminist, queer-feminist and post-colonial legal perspectives, Kiel, April to June 2019, organised with Katharina Wommelsdorff and Sarah Imani
  • “Towards Utopia – Rethinking International Law”, international PhD workshop with Philip Allott, Kiel, August 2017, organised with Isabelle Hassfurther and Wiebke Staff; selected papers from the workshop have now been published in a Special Section of the German Yearbook of International Law (GYIL) 60 (2017).


Letzte Änderung: 17. June 2022