Edinburgh Research Explorer

Prof Sharon Cowan

Personal Chair of Feminist and Queer Legal Studies

Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

I would be happy to supervise projects in the following areas: gender, law and sexuality, including transgender legal issues, and queer legal theory; criminal law, particularly projects on sex work, sexual offences, domestic violence and criminalisation theories; medical law and ethics, particularly reproductive issues; and asylum and refugee law.


Professor Sharon Cowan completed an LLB (Hons) from Strathclyde University, and an MPhil in Criminology from the University of Cambridge. She undertook two years as a researcher at the London School of Economics before going on to complete a PhD at Brunel University, London. Sharon was a lecturer at the University of Warwick for three years prior to her arrival at Edinburgh. She joined the University of Edinburgh in 2004.

Research Interests

Her research interests include: Gender, Sexuality and the Law; Feminist Legal Theory; Criminal Law; Criminal Justice; Asylum studies; Critical Pedagogy; Law, Art and Popular Culture. Recent and current projects include a national empirical project, along with Helen Baillot of the Scottish Refugee Council, and Vanessa Munro of the University of Nottingham, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, looking at the the way in which women asylum claimaints whose applications are based on a claim of rape, are treated by the Asylum and Immigration Appeal Tribunal. Sharon is presently working on a comparative socio-legal project looking at the impact of law on transgender people. Along with Dr Chloe Kennedy (Edinburgh) and Professor Munro (Warwick), she is a co-editor of the Scottish Feminist Judgments Project @ScottishFemJP.


Administrative Roles

Professor Cowan is currently the School of Law's Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange. She has also previously served as the Senior Tutor and Director of the Centre for Law and Society.


Teaching expertise includes: Criminal Law; Criminal Justice; Medical Jurisprudence; Asylum and Refugee Law; Legal Theory; Gender, Sexuality and the Law.

Research outputs

  1. Devolving dictum? Legal tradition, national identity and feminist activism

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  2. Through the looking glass? Feminist praxis, artistic methods and Scottish feminist judging

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

View all (50) »

Research activities & awards

  1. Law Society of Scotland

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesResearch and Teaching at External Organisation

  2. Celebrating a Centenary of Women in the Professions

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

  3. Scottish Law Schools

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesResearch and Teaching at External Organisation

View all (26) »

Research press coverage

  1. SFJP Art Exhibition

    Press/Media: Research

  2. Review of SFJP Fringe Exhibition

    Press/Media: Project or Organisational News Item

View all (8) »

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