BA Hons (ANU); LLB Hons (ANU); DCL (McGill), FRSC, FAAL

Law and Legal Studies

I undertake research across interdisciplinary studies in law, the humanities, and the social sciences I have been instrumental in developing a more sophisticated and ambitious conversation about law and culture, with a particular focus on questions of authority and legitimacy; justice, law and ethics; rules, interpretations, and judgment. And I have been in the forefront of expanding the field’s objects of study to encompass music, the visual arts, and popular culture. These interdisciplinary connections offer new imagination and insights into our thinking about law and justice.

Through this framework I have researched in a very wide variety of areas, including drug policy, music history, children’s literature, popular culture, animals, the ‘war on terror,’ tort law, refugees, and Indigenous peoples. My theoretical work including articles on Derrida, Bourdieu, Butler, Foucault, Levinas, Bakhtin, DIdi-Huberman, and Bal has contributed to legal and social theory, legal education, aesthetics, ethical philosophy and legal history. My research uses detailed interdisciplinary case studies that often bring together surprising elements—a story, a legal problem, and a theoretical perspective, for example—in order to show how each facet illuminates the others. This scholarship has been pioneering both in its influence and in its restlessness. Yet beneath its diversity my work has consistently built new bridges and opened new dialogues in three dimensions: across disciplines; between critical theory and law; and with the wider community.

My current research interests include legal history and modernism in the twentieth century, the rule of law, and the relationship between art and concepts of law and justice, both historically and in contemporary Australia. 

Connecting law to fields in social sciences and the humanities is of particular importance at the present moment. For our students, it is particularly important that legal training provide a broad, ethically aware, and culturally rich understanding of the relationship between law and society. To this end, I have been developing courses to be taught across different disciplinary areas and with the participation and collaboration of teachers and students not just in law but in other areas: including courses in law and literature, film, art, philosophy, and political theory. These courses are providing students with an unprecedented interdisciplinary reach to their legal education. 

So too my work as foundation Director of the ANU Centre for Law Arts and Humanities has not only encouraged research collaborations across disciplines and institutions both in Australia and internationally. It has sought to engage directly with visual artists, writers, and playwrights. 

In a world faced with problems of unprecedented urgency and complexity, and with a public sphere and political discourse which seems under extraordinary stress, it is of paramount importance that our research and arguments address both disciplinary specifics and at the same time reach out to engage a wider public in new and more imaginative ways. That is the ultimate goal of my research and the measure of its impact.

Professor, ANU. Director, Centre for Law Arts and the Humanities


1. Danse Macabre: Temporalities of Law in the Visual Arts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019

2. Law and the Visual: Representations, Technologies and Critique (Toronto: university of Toronto Press, 2018)

3. Kangaroo Courts and the Rule of Law: The legacy of modernism (London: Routledge, 2012)