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Dr Kate Seear ARC Future Fellow, Aust Res Ctr Sex Hlth&Soc

Associate Professor Kate Seear is Principal Research Fellow in the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2021-) and a practising solicitor. She was an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow from 2016-2019.

Kate has a multidisciplinary background (sociology, gender studies and the law). Her research is socio-legal and empirical in nature and typically explores connections between law, alcohol and other drugs, health, gender and the body. Her particular interests include intersections between harm reduction and the law, and drugs, gender, human rights and the law. Before commencing with La Trobe University, Kate was Associate Professor in Law at Monash University.

Kate is the Co-Editor of the journal Contemporary Drug Problems (with Associate Professor kylie valentine of UNSW).


Kate is the recipient of numerous competitive grants and tenders, and has been funded and commissioned to produce research by various organisations, including government departments. Recent examples include:

* A world-first ‘post-human rights’ framework for drug policy: Improving social, economic and health outcomes - Australian Research Council Future Fellowship ($1,034,020) (2021-2024) (Ref: FT200100099)

* Addressing hepatitis C-related discrimination in a post-cure world (with Prof Suzanne Fraser, A/Prof kylie valentine, Dr Adrian Farrugia) –Australian Research Council Discovery Project ($560,000) (2020–2022) (Ref: DP200100941)

* Addiction in the Australian legal system: A sociological analysis - Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship ($323,000) (2016-2018) (Ref: DE160100134)

* Understanding performance and image enhancing drug injecting in Australia (with Prof Suzanne Fraser and Prof David Moore) - Australian Research Council Discovery Project ($472,500) (2017-2019) (Ref: DP170100302)

* Reducing stigma and discrimination for people experiencing problematic alcohol and other drug use (with Prof Alison Ritter and Dr Kari Lancaster) - Queensland Mental Health Commission ($150,000) (2016-2017)


Kate is the author of four books – Law, drugs and the making of addiction: Just habits, which was the winner of the prestigious UK Socio-Legal Studies Association’s 2020 History and Theory book prize; Critical perspectives on coercive interventions: Law, medicine and society (with Claire Spivakovsky and Adrian Carter); Making Disease, Making Citizens: The politics of hepatitis C (with Suzanne Fraser); and The making of a modern epidemic: Endometriosis, gender and politics, which was based upon Kate’s PhD research.

In 2020-21, Kate will begin work with colleagues on two new ARC-funded projects. The first is an ARC Discovery Project exploring hepatitis C-related stigma and discrimination in a post-cure world. The second is an ARC Future Fellowship exploring the relationship between drug policy, human rights, and sex/gender.


Kate is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes. As noted earlier, her book Law, drugs and the making of addiction: Just habits which was the winner of the prestigious UK Socio-Legal Studies Association’s 2020 History and Theory book prize. She is also a three-time winner (2019, 2018 and 2016) of the Monash University Faculty of Law's Dean's Award for Research Impact (Economic and Social). On each occasion, she was recognised for her role in directly shaping reform of Australian drug laws.

In 2019, Kate won the Monash University Vice Chancellor's (university-wide) award for Research Impact (Economic and Social). This is the university's highest prize for research impact, and was awarded in recognition of work undertaken by Kate and colleagues on family violence, victims of crime and drug use, and its role in influencing law reform in Victoria.

In 2015, she was the recipient of the Monash University Faculty of Law's Early Career Researcher of the year award, and was shortlisted for the Vice Chancellor's (university-wide) award for Early Career Researcher of the year. She is the recipient of several other awards and prizes, including teaching awards and commendations.


Kate is a regular media commentator. In her spare time, she is a member of the multi award-winning Outer Sanctum Podcast, a pioneering all-female podcast that explores the social, cultural, legal and political aspects of sport.

In 2018, the podcast won the Australian Football Media Association Award for "best coverage of the AFLW". In 2019, they won the Sport Australia award for "best depiction of inclusive sport". Sport Australia is Australia's primary national sports administration and advisory agency of the Australian government. It plays a central leadership role in the development and operation of the Australian sports system.


Kate is open to inquiries from students who may be contemplating higher degree research, including students interested in:
socio-legal research; alcohol, other drugs, gender and the law; drugs, human rights and sex/gender; stigma, sex/gender and the law; feminism, the body and the law. Her theoretical interests include: science and technology studies including feminist science studies, posthumanism, theories of governmentality and power (including Foucault), critical human rights and feminist and queer theory.


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