SOAS University of London

School of Law

Victoria Allen Stainsby

BA (Yale), MA (New York University), LLB HONS (SOAS), MA (SOAS)
  • Research


Victoria Allen Stainsby
Victoria Allen Stainsby
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Thesis title:
Hungry Ghosts of Empire: Reimagining Postcolonial Narrative and Law
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PhD Research

My cross disciplinary research examines postcolonial legal narratives in the context of emerging human rights and shifting perceptions of identity and justice, by focusing on one specific event: the Massacre at Batang Kali (Malaysia) in 1948. My work employs history, anthropology and narrative theory in order to challenge the legitimating position law adopts and its performative nature. I hope to create a better understanding of the social and cultural power law has in constructing identity and its implication for coming to terms with imperial legacy in the wider curriculum.

I have a diverse academic background which allows me to interpret law as an intersection of disciplines, perspectives and possibilities. Fundamentally, law shapes our social and cultural identity and our perception of ourselves. Law is a powerful cultural narrative, particularly in the context of public inquiry, and as such has the ability to reshape our thinking and our society. My thesis employs a convergence methodology in order to understand how law creates social values and identity, and enables a fundamental shift in both.


Law, history, anthropology, literature, human rights