Edinburgh Research Explorer

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 has previously served as Deputy Head of School, Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange, 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 activities & awards

  1. Edinburgh International Book Festival 2020 *cancelled due to COVID*

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Festival/Exhibition

  2. Scottish Feminist Judgments Advocacy skills

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesProfessional Development and Training

  3. ESRC Festival of Social Science

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Festival/Exhibition

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