Dr Natalie Ohana
Natalie joined the Law School at the University of Exeter as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in September 2016. She holds a PhD from University College London, an LLM (Magna Cum Laude) and an LLB from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Natalie is focused on the areas of law and trauma, law and critical theory, agency and meaningful participation in legal proceedings and critical legal pedagogy.
Natalie's PhD in UCL examined the legal knowledge around domestic violence in the UK and the barriers that prevent its change. Using a Foucauldian analysis she showed the strength of the legal discourse to sustain alienated meanings of domestic violence and prevent their change.
While in UCL Natalie worked with women to understand their experiences of legal proceedings when they approached the courts in issues related to domestic violence. Natalie examined whether by integrating art with dialogue it becomes possible to understand the subtlties and deeper layers of experiences. Natalie was awarded the UCL Public Engagmenet Award for this part of her work.
Beyond Words: Breaking the Boundaries of Legal Language/ Natalie Ohana
Her current project, funded by the British Academy looks into several aspects of the intersection between law and trauma, focusing on how legal knowledge around trauma is formed, gaps between people's understanding of trauma and the legal understanding of it and how it impacts the person's agency and ability to participate meaningfuly in legal proceedings.
Before her PhD Natalie was a lawyer and head of legal department of a domestic violence refuge for women in Israel, representing women in legal proceedings and advocation for legislation and policy changes in a national level.
Research group links
Natalie's British Academy Postdoctoral research project looks into different aspects of the intersection between law and trauma, using an interdisciplinary lens which comprises trauma studies, history, philosophy, sociology, psychology, art, socio-legal studies and law.
Several questions are examined as part of the project: how is legal knowledge around trauma formed, which knowledges are excluded in that process, how is knowledge around trauma limited by policital and social contexts and by legal proceedings, can gaps be located between the experience of trauma and its legal understanding, what sustains this gap and can it be reduced, how does the trauma impact the agency of the person in legal proceedings and her/his ability to participate meaningfully in legal proceedings.
Natalie is currently working with the survivors and bereaved of Grenfell Tower to understand their experiences of the Public Inquiry.
The project is aimed at developing the intersection between law and trauma as a multi-disciplinary research field. Natalie is designing a Law and Trauma module for the Law School at Exeter that will start being taught upon the completion of the project.
Natalie Ohana, The Archaeology of the Courts' Domestic Violence Discourse: Discourse as a Knowledge-Sustaining System, Feminists@Law, 9(2) 2019
Natalie Ohana, Beyond Words: Breaking the Boundaries of Legal Language, Feminists@Law, 6(1), 2016
Natalie Ohana, Portraying the Legal in Socio-Legal Studies through Legal-Naming Events, in: Exploring the Legal In Socio Legal Studies, pg. 80 - 98, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015
At the moment and until the completion of her research project Natalie is not supervising students.
External impact and engagement
Institutional discrimination and the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry - workshops with the survivors and members of the bereaved families of Grenfell Tower, September 2019:
Ted talk: Beyond Words: Breaking the Boundaries of Legal Language/ Natalie Ohana