Kate Seear is an Associate Professor, current Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow and Principal Research Fellow at the Australian Research Centre Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University.
She is the research lead in the Gender, Law and Drugs (GLaD) program as well as an active researcher in the Drugs, Gender and Sexuality (DruGS) program. Previously, she was an ARC Discovery Early Career Research (DECRA) Fellow and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at Monash University. Kate is also a practising solicitor. With kylie valentine, she is co-editor of the journal Contemporary Drug Problems.
Kate has a unique multi-disciplinary background, with expertise in sociology, gender and the law. She completed a sociology PhD at Monash University that examined historic, material and discursive dimensions of endometriosis, using qualitative and theoretical methods. Her book-length work on this topic, The Making of a Modern Epidemic: Endometriosis, Gender and Politics (2018) was a groundbreaking intervention into a common but critically neglected global problem in women’s health. Kate’s postdoctoral research as a Fellow in the Social Studies of Addiction Concepts program at the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University, examined concepts of addiction in the law. This led to her ARC DECRA Fellowship (undertaken at Monash University). The book that emerged from this project, Law, Drugs and the Making of Addiction: Just Habits (2019) won the prestigious UK Socio-Legal Studies Association’s 2020 History and Theory book prize. With Suzanne Fraser, Kate is also the author of Making Disease, Making Citizens: The Politics of Hepatitis C (2011), and a co-editor of and contributor to Critical Perspectives on Coercive Interventions: Law, Medicine and Society (2018), with Claire Spivakovsky and Adrian Carter.
Kate is a three-time winner of the Monash University Faculty of Law’s Dean’s Award for Research Impact (Economic and Social), recognising on each occasion her direct contribution to Australian drug law reform in Australia, including changes that improve the lives of victims of crime who also use alcohol and other drugs, and laws that shape the transmission and prevention of hepatitis C. In 2019, she won the Monash University Vice Chancellor’s award for research impact.
In addition to her work as an academic and a solicitor, Kate is a regular media commentator. She is a co-host and founding member of Outer Sanctum, a pioneering all-female podcast that explores social, cultural, legal and political aspects of sport, and which has won multiple awards, including the 2019 Sport Australia award for ‘Best Depiction of Inclusive Sport’.
In the GLaD program, Kate is currently the chief investigator on two ARC-funded projects. The first is a Discovery project exploring hepatitis C–related stigma and discrimination in a ‘post-cure’ world, which seeks to better understand hepatitis C–related stigma and discrimination in the context of new treatments and to identify opportunities for reform. The second is an ARC Future Fellowship exploring the relationship between drug policy, human rights, and sex/gender.
Kate’s research is socio-legal and empirical, draws on a broad range of qualitative methods, and typically explores connections between law, health, gender and the body. Her theoretical expertise includes feminist theories of health, the body, agency and subjectivity; science and technology studies; feminist and queer theory; critical human rights; posthumanism; and theories of governmentality and power. She welcomes supervision opportunities across a broad range of socio-legal and feminist legal research areas, including alcohol and other drugs; gender and the law; drugs, human rights and gender; stigma, gender, the body and the law.
Drugs, alcohol and the law; gender and the body; drugs and sport; intersections between harm reduction and the law; drugs, gender, human rights and the law; drugs policy; hepatitis C; law and health issues