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David Kearns

David Kearns

David Kearns is Lecturer in Legal History and Philosophy at the University of Queensland. His work focuses on the Australian reception of the common law. He received his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2020, and an MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History from the University of Cambridge in 2015. David examines the history of the early modern common law, including debates over the relationship between the common law, state, and sovereignty, and the Australian reception of these debates.

David Kearns reviews 'Black Lives, White Law: Locked up and locked out in Australia' by Russell Marks

March 2023, no. 451 10 February 2023
Brendan Thoms was born in New Zealand in 1988. He lived permanently in Australia from 1994 but never applied for Australian citizenship. Thoms had long-standing familial connections to Australia. His maternal great-great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother were all born in Queensland. They were Australian citizens and recognised members of the Gungarri People. Thoms’s brother had also been livi ... (read more)

David Kearns reviews 'Confronting Leviathan: A history of ideas' by David Runciman

January–February 2022, no. 439 20 December 2021
In ‘that great LEVIATHAN called a COMMON-WEALTH, or STATE’, wrote Thomas Hobbes, ‘Soveraignty is an Artificiall Soul … giving life and motion to the whole body’. This ‘Artificiall man’ was to ensure ‘the peoples safety’, and the means at its disposal were limitless. The sovereign was ‘not subject to the Civill Lawes’ and could abrogate any ‘Lawes that trouble him’. Leviat ... (read more)

David Kearns reviews 'Wollstonecraft: Philosophy, passion, and politics' by Sylvana Tomaselli

May 2021, no. 431 26 April 2021
The first statue commemorating Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–97), a swirling tower of forms coalescing into a single naked figure at its apex by British artist Maggi Hambling, was unveiled in London last year. Responding to accusations that the statue was ‘mad’ and ‘insulting’, Hambling defended it as ‘not a conventional heroic or heroinic likeness’ but ‘a sculpture about it now’. Ag ... (read more)