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

School of Social Sciences

About the Project

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).

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Dr Thomas Giddens ()
For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact

Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a first or 2.1 UK honours degree, or equivalent for degrees obtained outside the UK in a relevant discipline.

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 5.5 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s English language requirements are available online:


Step 1: Email Dr Thomas Giddens () to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

Step 2: After discussion with Dr Giddens, formal applications can be made via UCAS Postgraduate. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

Apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Law: Select the start date and study mode (full-time/part-time) agreed with the lead supervisor.

In the ‘provider questions’ section of the application form:
- Write the project title and ‘’ in the ‘if your application is in response to an advertisement’ box;
- Write the lead supervisor’s name and give brief details of your previous contact with them in the ‘previous contact with the University of Dundee’ box.

In the ‘personal statement’ section of the application form, outline your suitability for the project selected.

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses, via external sponsorship or self-funding.

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