Tag Archives: Edinburgh

IFLS Visiting Scholar: Professor Sharon Cowan

IFLS and Osgoode are delighted to welcome Prof. Sharon Cowan, Professor of Feminist and Queer Legal Studies at Edinburgh Law. She will be at Osgoode from Feb 8 to March 3.  More about Sharon’s research at the bottom of this post or here.

On March 16 1230PM at Osgoode (more details & RSVP link to follow on this blog) Prof Cowan will give a talk entitled:  Transgender challenges: identity, equality and community  

In this paper I will present some findings from a project exploring trans people’s life experiences, and particularly their experiences of equality, across three jurisdictions: Scotland, Canada and the US. Trans people have struggled to gain legal rights and protections in each of these jurisdictions, notwithstanding long histories of civil rights and human rights. Equality has long been the focus of government and academic attention in each of these countries, but trans people themselves are rarely asked to reflect upon their everyday experiences of law, equality and discrimination. Differences between Canadian, US and Scottish interpretations and applications of human rights are well documented, and while all three have laws and policies that address equality, they each have very different legal cultures, histories and socio-political contexts. The project compares how trans people's experiences of equality vary and/or resonate across different social, political and legal cultures. In this paper I will explore how trans people’s lived experiences of gender identity and expression are intimately connected with other aspects of their daily lived experiences and identities, including poverty, race, cultural background, physical ability, kinship, nationality, geographical location, and immigration status. I will also examine questions of ethical representation in feminist research.

More about Professor Cowan:

Her research interests include: Gender, Sexuality and the Law; Feminist Legal Theory; Criminal Law; Criminal Justice; Asylum studies. 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 new Scottish Feminist Judgments Project @ScottishFemJP.

We’re thrilled to welcome Sharon and will be posting more about her activities during her visit, and her work.