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Researching the irrelevant and the invisible: sexual diversity in the judiciary

Moran, Leslie J. (2009) Researching the irrelevant and the invisible: sexual diversity in the judiciary. Feminist Theory 10 (3), pp. 281-294. ISSN 1464-7001.

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Early in the course of undertaking empirical research on the sexual diversity of the judiciary I had to address a particular challenge. Sexuality, I was repeatedly told, is not and ought not to be a difference that is taken into account. At best it ought to be disregarded or taken out of consideration. This generated a number of challenges for my research. How do you research and make sense of sexuality as a difference that key informants assert is absent or seek to make invisible and irrelevant? How do you research the operation and effects of that which is not to be spoken about? How do you research the sexual norm when its existence and operation is denied? This article explores one response. It is a project that may for some be surprising and unexpected. It is a study of judicial portraits. Drawing on the insights of queer theory and art historical scholarship on portraits I undertake a textual analysis of these images, focusing upon the aesthetic and artistic traditions used to make them. A small case study of portraits of the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of New South Wales is used to explore how, if at all, sexuality figured in these portraits.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Judges, portraits, queer theory, sexuality
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Law
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2010 14:58
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 12:00

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