Dr Kirsty

Dr Kirsty Duncanson


College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce

Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of Social Inquiry

SS403, Melbourne (Bundoora)


BA Hons (La Trobe), PhD Criminology (Melbourne).



Membership of professional associations

Honours Coordinator, Crime, Justice and Legal Studies Assistant Secretary, Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand; Editorial board member, The International Journal for the Semiotics of Law.

Area of study

justice and legal studies

Brief profile

While maintaining a central focus on the intersections of law, crime and the social world, my work is strongly interdisciplinary. In my research and teaching I draw on theory and methods from across the fields of cultural legal studies, socio-legal studies, criminology, political science, gender studies, visual culture, cinema and media studies. My key areas of interest include the implications of courtroom design; jury decision-making in rape trials; and popular engagements with the philosophies of law and sovereignty as they take place in the production and consumption of visual culture.

Research interests

Gender, Culture, Sexuality

- Sexual Assault; Jury Decision-making in Rape Trials; Representations of Sexual Violence

Law and Society

- Access to Justice and Courtroom Design

Legal Theory, Jurisprudence and Legal Interpretation

- Popular jurisprudence; Postmodern and Poststructuralist Theories of Law; Feminist Legal Theory

Screen and Media Culture

- Audience Engagement with Cinematic Jurisprudence; Representations of Law, Crime and Violence.

Teaching units


  • LST1LOJ - Law, Order and Justice
  • LST3LPC - Law, Policy, Community
  • LST3LWC - Workplace Competence
  • LST4FCL - Fundemental Concepts in Legal Studies


Recent publications

Duncanson, K and Henderson, Emma (forthcoming, 2016) "A Little Judicial Direction: Can the Use of Jury Directions Challenge Traditional Consent Narratives in Rape Trials?" University of NSW Law Journal 39 (2).

Duncanson, K (2015) “Bodies, Cinema, Soveriegnty: Using Visual Culture Methodologies to Think About Other Ways that Law Might Work” in Leiboff, M and Sharpe, C Cultural Legal Studies GlassHouse: New York pp206 – 227

Duncanson, K and Henderson, Emma (2014) “Narrative, Theatre and the Potential Interruption Value of Jury Directions for Rape Trials.” Feminist Legal Studies Vol. 22.

Duncanson, K (2014) “Truth in Sentencing: The Narrative of Judgment” In Douglas, H., Barlett, F. Luker, T. Hunter, R.  Feminist Judgments: Righting and Rewriting Law Hart: London pp309-316.

Duncanson, K. (2014) “‘Native’ Landscapes, ‘Cultivated’ Gardens and the Erasure of Indigenous Sovereignty in Two Recent Instances of Australian Cinematic Jurisprudence.” Law, Culture and the Humanities 10:2 pp237-256.

Duncanson, K. and McMillan, N. (2011) ‘“This is Africa”: Conceptualising Violence and Agency In Postcolonial Africa,’ ANZCCC: The Australian and New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference 2010, Institute of Criminology, Sydney Law School, The University of Sydney

Duncanson, K. (2011) '"We the People of the United States …": The Matrix and the Realisation of Constitutional Sovereignty', The International Journal for the Semiotics of Law vol. 24 No. 4 pp 385-404.

Duncanson, K. (2009) 'The Scene of the Crime: The Uneasy Figuring of Anglo-Australian Sovereignty in the Landscape of Lantana', Law Text Culture vol.13, 

Research projects

Research Undertaken

Drawing on theory and methodology from the fields of socio-legal studies, criminology, visual culture, political science, gender and media studies, my PhD thesis examined popular engagements with narratives of sovereignty as they appear in key film and television texts from Australia, England and the United States of America.

Working with the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault I have examined a number of issues and concerns surrounding the perpetration, regulation and prevention of sexual violence. I also conducted research into the responses of victim services and the criminal justice system to the prevalence of sexual assault.

Research Projects

  • Popular Sovereignty: Examining Cinematic Engagements with Sovereign Authority
  • Access to Justice and Courtroom Design
  • Juries, Rape and Consent: An Examination of Jury Decision Making in Victorian Rape Trials.