Professor Thomas Giddens

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Professor Thomas Giddens is Chair of Jurisprudence in Dundee Law School. Taking its cues from the humanities heritage of the legal discipline, Prof Giddens’s research focuses on critical and cultural legal studies, with a particular interest in visuality and form.

Prof Giddens’s work engages the articulation of legality in material form. This focus brings together diverse conceptions of legality, and necessitates a reflexive concern with the methods by which we ‘read’ legal meaning in material form. He is thus interested in questions both of law, justice, and authority (i.e. ‘legal theory’ or ‘jurisprudence’), and of the cultural production and experience of legal meaning (i.e. ‘cultural legal studies’).

These interests combine in various ways and in multifarious contexts and cultural arenas. They raise questions about the ways in which state authority or legal power are manifested in culture and society (e.g. via the aesthetics of documents and law reports, or visual and verbal juridical rhetoric), as well as the ways legality can be ‘read’ or ‘found’ in cultural forms beyond those sanctioned by the state or traditionally encompassed by legal study and understanding (e.g. literature, art, narrative, visual culture). In this way, Prof Giddens’s work finds continuity between engagements with legality within the more ‘traditional’ understandings of law (as an exclusively state phenomenon) and the more cultural or critical understandings of law (as rhetorical, as not contingent of modern state forms, as cultural and material).

Prof Giddens is interested in supervising postgraduate research related to any area of cultural, visual, or critical legal study, or the broad area of ‘law and humanities’. Indicative areas include critical legal theory, studies of legal meaning in cultural forms within and beyond the modern state, interactions between traditional and critical or cultural approaches to legal study, studies of visual legal form, and engagements with the production of legal meaning and its continuity between state and non-state forms, including cultural, fictional, and visual forms of legality and indigenous and ecological jurisprudence. Prof Giddens is also interested in receiving proposals on any other areas of study around or similar to these kinds of studies, particularly those that traverse disciplinary boundaries with the humanities or rely on humanities methods and approaches to understanding legality, justice, and/or legal form. This list is necessarily indicative; if you have an idea for postgraduate research project, please feel free to email Prof Giddens to discuss.

Prof Giddens is the author of On Comics and Legal Aesthetics (Routledge 2018) and Judgment (Routledge 2022), editor of Graphic Justice (Routledge 2015) and Critical Direction in Comics Studies (University Press of Mississippi 2020), and co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Cultural Legal Studies (Routledge 2023, with Karen Crawley and Timothy D Peters), Law and Justice in Japanese Popular Culture (Routledge 2018, with Ashley Pearson and Kieran Tranter), and two volumes on the biopolitics of legal education: Resisting the Law School and Life and the Structures of the Law School (Routledge 2023, with Luca Siliquini-Cinelli).

Media availability

I am available for media commentary on my research.

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Areas of expertise

  • Criminal law

PhD Projects

Principal supervisor