PhD project

Understanding Cultural Legal Studies: Interrogating Legal Meanings in Artistic and Popular Culture

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Application deadline

28 February 2023

Emerging out of traditions of law and literature, critical legal studies, and law and popular culture, cultural legal studies is an international field that has recently emerged at the cutting edge of the interdisciplinary study of law. Cultural legal studies examines the various and complex interactions between law and material culture, focused on two broad and interconnected questions:

1) how can an expanded engagement with artistic and popular culture enrich understanding of law and justice?; and,

2) how does understanding institutional law as itself a cultural phenomenon enrich our understanding of law and justice?

It is a profoundly interdisciplinary field, characterised by these questions that taken together reflexively query the fundamental nature of law and concomitantly law’s orthodox methods (today consisting of doctrinal, analytic, and socio-legal approaches to understanding or evaluating state law and its effects). In cultural legal studies, institutional or state law becomes just one possible cultural form through which law or legal meaning is found or expressed, and legal method is expanded to encompass the vast array of methods by which meaning is interrogated in cultural studies and the critical humanities more generally.

This project seeks proposals for studies that are committed to examining any aspect of the complex interdisciplinary questions opened up by this cutting edge and burgeoning disciplinary arena. It particularly welcomes proposals aimed at elaborating or consolidating the innovations of the cultural legal method, or demonstrating these innovations through in-depth analyses of examples from artistic or popular culture (including the institutional forms of law).

How to apply

  1. Email Dr Thomas Giddens to
    • Send a copy of your CV
    • Discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).
  2. After discussion with Dr Giddens, formal applications can be made via our direct application system. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

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Principal supervisor