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Date(s) - 28/01/2018
12:00 am

Northumbria University


Gender, Sexuality and Law: Crossing Borders and Communities at the Margin

Applications are invited for a project addressing the theme of crossing borders and marginalised communities, within the broader scope of Gender, Sexuality and Law research.

Borders; corporeal, imaginary and ephemeral seem in flux as never before. Political and social change has transformed jurisprudential attitudes and responses to gender, sexuality and law, particularly in the context of marginalised communities. Legal borders appear in flux too. Whether in the context of European law, European human rights law, international law and the domestic law of England and Wales, the boundaries of legal interventions are (re)crossed with seemingly ever greater frequency.

In this context, the body politic and the body corporeal have arguably served as ‘front-lines’ in the private-sphere with notable policy and legal re-imagining of sex, sexualities, and concomitant behaviours, for example in the sphere of sex work (Ashford 2009; Graham 2017; Scouler 2015) and growing interventions in the study of domestic abuse and gender-based violence (McCarrick, Davis-McCabe and Hirst-Winthrop 2016; Dempsey 2011; Donovan and Barnes 2017). More broadly, shared understandings of consent, sexuality and the body are being (re)contested and positioned (Ashford 2015, 2016).

Within the context of the nation-state; access to justice and legal institutions have often formed the outward or public face of this debate. Arguably, there is increasingly a gendered view of citizenship, with same-sex marriage and abortion laws taking the forefront in this debate. Australia’s recent same-sex marriage ballot has followed battles for marriage and partnership recognition internationally, notably in North America and Europe. These same-sex marriage struggles (Dorf 2011; Hamilton 2017) have sought to re-distribute civic and normative power within societies, often highlighting commensurate issues of empowerment, particularly within BAME and marginalised women communities. This echoes historic and ongoing debates in other areas of doctrinal enquiry, notably in employment law and criminal law (Jones and Williams 2015; Colgan and Rumens 2014; Albertson, Jackson and Romero 2009; Skidmore 2004).

This research project will be conducted within the Gender, Sexuality, and Law Research Group in the Faculty of Business and Law where you will join a rich and thriving research community. Examples of current doctoral work being undertaken within this group include: same sex relationships and normative expectations; public sex and risk; kink pornography and legal consciousness; equality and anti-discrimination law; international law, detention and sexual orientation and gender identity; and dating apps and HIV disclosure.
Applicants should clearly indicate where they would wish to focus the project. The research may have an empirical, doctrinal, socio-legal, comparative, or theoretical focus (queer and feminist perspectives particularly welcome within the theoretical ambit), but you should clearly articulate your proposed approach and methodology.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF18/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 28 January 2018
Start Date: 1 October 2018

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers

Funding Notes

The studentship includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2017/18, this is £14,553 pa) and fees.


Recent publications by supervisors relevant to this project:

Chris Ashford (2016) ‘Queering Consent: (Re)evolving Constructions of the Age of Consent and the Law’, in Ashford, C, Reed, A and Wake, N, Legal Perspectives on State Power: Consent and Control (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing).
Chris Ashford (2015) ‘Bareback Sex, Queer Legal Theory, and Evolving Socio-Legal Contexts’, Sexualities 18(1-2) 195-209.
Laura Graham (2017) ‘Governing sex work through crime: creating the context for violence and exploitation’, The Journal of Criminal Law 81(3) 201-216.
Frances Hamilton (2016) ‘Strategies to achieve Same-Sex Marriage and the Method of incrementalist change, Journal of Transnational Law and Policy 25, 121-153.
Frances Hamilton and Lauren Clayton-Helm (2016) ‘Same-Sex Relationships, Choice of Law and the Continued Recognised Relationship Theory’ Journal of International and Comparative Law 3(1) 1-33.