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Nicolette Bruner

Assistant Professor of Instruction

Ph.D, University of Michigan; J.D., University of Michigan Law School
  • 620 Lincoln St
  • Office Hours: Winter 2021 | Tuesdays 10am-12pm, via Zoom. Sign up here: or email for alternate appointment.

Nicolette Bruner is Assistant Professor of Instruction at the Center for Legal Studies and the Program in American Studies. She received her Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, where she served on the board of the Michigan Journal of International Law. Prior to joining Northwestern’s faculty, she was a postdoctoral fellow with the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge at the University of Chicago and taught in the Department of English at Western Kentucky University.

Prof. Bruner’s research explores how the law shapes the way humans understand and interact with the nonhuman entities and systems around them. Her current book project, Thing People: Living with Corporations and Other Nonhumans, examines how the legal doctrine of corporate personhood offers a framework for articulating the rights and responsibilities of other nonhuman entities, including animals, plants, rivers, and robots. She also teaches and works in American literature, critical race theory, and transnational legal studies.  

Courses Taught

  • Legal_St 276: Corporate Thinking
  • Legal_St 376: Animal Law
  • Legal_St 398-1,2 Advanced Research Seminar

Selected Publications

  • “What Is a Person?” Formations, January 15, 2020.
  • “Knowing the Corporation.” KNOW: A Journal on the Formation of Knowledge 4, no. 1 (2020): 137-58.
  • “Gender and the Social Body in The Fruit of the Tree.” Edith Wharton Review 33, no. 1 (2017): 30-56.
  • “Judge, Professor, Chronicler of Fairyland: James Campbell’s Legal Imaginary.” Journal of Law, Culture, and the Humanities 13, no. 3 (2017): 404-24.
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