Wendy Adams

Associate Professor - On leave

wendy.adams [at] mcgill.ca (Email)

Publications on SSRN

My research interests include commodification, post humanist approaches to animal-human relations, critical legal pluralism, and law and popular culture. I am interested in analyzing the ways in which we govern ourselves, and our obligations to each other, with reference to legal norms that originate within popular culture rather than the political state.

I focus on works of critical dystopia, particularly the bio-punk genre, to explore a discursive understanding of law as knowledge rather than reified rules. From this perspective, law is understood as normative aspiration, an "alternity", to use Cover's term, that takes us from the world-that-is to the world-that-ought-to-be.

"Playing" within popular culture is more than entertainment. As we use narrative fiction to explore the normative possibilities open to us, we are quite literally "playing for keeps".


LL.M. (University of Michigan) 2000

J.D. (University of Toronto) 1996


Resident Faculty Fellow, IPLAI, 2012-2015

Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University, 2008-

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University, 2003-2008

Assistant Professor, University of Western Ontario, Faculty of Law, 1999-2003

Clerk to the Honourable Mr. Justice Iacobucci, Supreme Court of Canada, 1998-1999

Articling Student, Torys, 1996-1997

Areas of interest

Commodification; Post-humanist approaches to animal-human relations; Critical legal pluralism; Law and popular culture.


Adams, Wendy. Popular Culture and Legal Pluralism. Narrative as Law. 218 pages. Routledge, 2017.

Adams, Wendy. "“I Made a Promise to a Lady”: Critical Legal Pluralism as Improvised Law in Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Critical Studies in Improvisation / Études critiques en improvisation [Online], 6 16 Jun 2010
Read online: Critical Studies in Improvisation / Études critiques en improvisation  

Adams, W.A., “Human subjects and animal objects: animals as 'other' in law” (2009), 3 Journal of Animal Law and Ethics 29-51.
Read on SSRN

Adams, W.A., “A Transdisciplinary Ontology of Innovation Governance” (2008), 16 Artificial Intelligence and Law 147 -184.
Read on SSRN

Adams, W.A., “Determinate/Indeterminate Duality: The Necessity of a Temporal Dimension in Legal Classification” (2006), 44 Alberta Law Review 403 – 428.
Read on SSRN  

Adams, W.A., "Confronting the Patentability Line in Biotechnological Innovation" (2004), 41 Canadian Business Law Journal 393 - 412.
Read on SSRN  

Adams, W.A., "There is no "there" there: Intel v. Hamidi and the Creation of New Property Rights Online" (2004), 40 Canadian Business Law Journal 87 - 108.
Read on SSRN

Gold, E.R., Adams, W.A., Castle, D. et al., "The Unexamined Assumptions of Intellectual Property: Adopting an Evaluative Approach to Patenting Biotechnological Innovation" (2004), 18 Public Affairs Quarterly 273.

Gold, E.R. and Adams, W.A., "The Monsanto Decision: The Edge or the Wedge?", 19 Nature Biotechnology 587 (2001) [cited by Iacobucci, Bastarache, Arbour and LeBel JJ. (dissenting in part) in Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser, 2004 SCC 34]

Adams, W.A., "Beyond Trade Mark: Common Law Property Rights in Domain Names" (2003), 52 Intellectual Property Forum 10 - 19.

Adams, W.A., "The Myth of Patent Neutrality: Property Rights, Animal Rights and Animal Welfare in Commissioner of Patents v. President and Fellows of Harvard College" (2003), 39 Canadian Business Law Journal 1 - 34.
Read on SSRN  

Adams, W.A., "Intellectual Property Protection in Global Networks: The Implications of Protection Ahead of the Curve" (2002), 10 International Journal of Law and Information Technology 71 - 132.
Read on SSRN  

Adams, W.A., "Personal Property Law and Information Assets: Rehabilitation and Relevance" (2002), 36 Can. Bus. L.J. 267 - 291.
Read on SSRN  

Gold, E.R. and Adams, W.A., "Reconciling Private Benefit and Public Risk in Biotechnology: Xenotransplantation as a Case Study in Consent" (2002), Health Law Journal 31 - 76.  

Adams, W.A., "Secondary Markets for Copyrighted Works and the Ownership Divide: Reconciling Competing Intellectual and Personal Property Rights" (2002), 37 Canadian Business Law Journal 321 - 356.
Read on SSRN  

Adams, W.A., "In Search of a Defence of the Transnational Human Rights Paradigm: May Jus Cogens Norms be Invoked to Create Implied Exceptions in Domestic Immunity Statutes?", in Craig Scott, ed., Torture as Tort: Comparative Perspectives on the Development of Transnational Human Rights Litigation (Oxford, U.K.: Hart Publishing, June 2001).
Read on SSRN

Adams, W.A. and Takach, G.G.S., "Insecure Transactions: Deficiencies in the Treatment of Technology Licenses in Commercial Transactions Involving Secured Debt or Bankruptcy" (2000), 33 Can. Bus. L.J. 321-372.  

Adams, W.A., "Same-sex Relationships and Anglo-Canadian Choice of Law: An Argument for Universal Validity" (1996), 34 Can. Y.B. Int. L. 103-136.
Read on SSRN

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