PhD in Law and Literature – University of Southampton

A large part of legal scholarship involves exposing the unacknowledged assumptions, biases and prejudices that those vested with legal authority rely upon, and their failures to appreciate important contextual dimensions or the unintended side effects of particular rules and interpretations. But in this respect scholars must be wary of the dangers of asserting a picture of the ‘true nature of things’ only to be exposed for falling into the same sorts of errors.

In a climate of scepticism about the possibility of cutting through rhetoric to get to an authentic truth, critical scholarship that is attuned to these risks will find itself retreating into a discussion about what particular sorts of narrative brings to light urgent and important problems in the most effective and useful way.

Notwithstanding implications that this has for the possibility of ‘speaking truth to power’, this surrender/disavowal of the high ground of objectivity has enabled the discipline of ‘law and literature’ to gain a certain amount of respectability as a way of doing legal scholarship. Practitioners of law and literature thus make stories or narratives – the means of their construction, their effects, implications and consequences – the target of critique (whether they be those of judges, legislators, novelists, dramatists, poets, lawyers, journalists, political activists, other scholars and so on) as well as the product of our labour.

PhD Studentship – Application

We invite applications for doctoral study in any aspect of law and its indebtedness to the literary: the power of narratives, storytelling and affect.

  • The successful candidate will start on 1 October 2018. The scholarship will offer full tuition fee and maintenance funding for 3 years. The doctoral stipend for 2017/18 is currently £14,000.
  • This studentship is only available for full time programmes and is open to applicants from the UK, the EU and overseas.
  • As part of the application you will be required to submit a CV, research proposal, degree certificate and transcripts, two academic references and proof of English language proficiency.
  • The deadline for applications is 15 February 2018. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be informed of interview arrangements between February and March 2018.
  • The awards will be allocated by end of April, with the outcome being communicated to the candidates in May.

Contact Details for applicant

If you wish to discuss any details of the studentship informally, please contact:

Postgraduate Research Admissions, Faculty of Business, Law and Art,


Telephone: +44(0)23 8059 2562.

How to apply

To apply please follow the ‘Apply’ link on this webpage.

Please mention reference FBLA-LAW-009 in the scholarship section of your application.

For more information follow this link.