2011 Quentin Bryce Law Doctoral Scholarship recipient
Anthea is a graduate of University of Sydney, qualifying with a BA (English Literature) and a first class honours degree in law in 2006. She has recently completed a Masters of Law (Research) with honours at McGill University, Canada. Although encouraged to undertake her doctoral studies in Canada, Anthea decided to return to Australia. Before undertaking her Canadian studies, Anthea was employed as a research assistant, a tutor at University of Sydney, and in 2008 and 2009 was a judicial associate in the Family Court of Australia. Anthea has already published a number of scholarly articles and, whilst in Canada, delivered several conference papers.
Anthea has continuously engaged in volunteer work and community activism addressing refugee rights, working with refugees and women’s legal services in Australia, and, in Canada, with an immigrant workers’ advice centre.
She will also be engaged as teaching fellow in the Law Faculty.
Her Research Topic
Anthea brings her legal and English literature academic backgrounds to her research, which will be interdisciplinary. Her research seeks to understand the broader social context in which the law operates, and to this end uses popular culture as a means of understanding and informing this context.
Her topic focuses on asylum seekers. In a broad sense, Anthea is interested in the way in which the law responds differentially to different persons that present as ‘in pain’ or suffering – why some representations of pain acknowledged and redressed and others not. Asylum seekers’ accounts of their pain or suffering are crucial to their acceptance of an asylum claim. Anthea’s research will examine whether the medium of law is capable of processing these narrations of pain and the significance of pain and harm, through a critical examination of the treatment of asylum seekers within administrative processes in both Australia and Canada. In addition, the research will examine how film has depicted the narratives of asylum seekers, and compare film’s treatment of narratives and testimonies of pain with narrations of asylum claims in administrative decision-making.
Real World Outcomes
Anthea’s research into asylum seekers and the administrative level processing of their claims is a very under-analysed and researched area. Anthea’s research will add to the body of knowledge and understandings about how asylum decisions are made. Anthea’s interdisciplinary focus arises from a belief that understanding more about cultural representations – in this instance, of the experience of asylum seekers – can help inform and shape real legal issues and case outcomes.
More than this, Anthea hopes that her research will help to equip the law and its processes, in making decisions about asylum claims, to better able address, and take into account, the claims articulated by onshore asylum seekers within an administrative law setting.