Skip navigation to content

Zoƫ Sutherland

Education and Experience

Zoë Sutherland is an AHRC-funded Doctoral Researcher in Law and Literature. She is particularly interested in imagination, intention and mimesis in early modern English drama, in light of contemporary legal developments and the humanist reception of Rhetoric and Stoicism.

Zoë’s Ph.D. thesis is about poetic making, justice and shared political action in the comedies of Ben Jonson (1572-1637). The aim is to address how interconnections between legal philosophy and imaginative literature manifest in Jonson’s representations of experience as an aesthetics of probability, and how this relates to questions of freedom and equality in present-day International Human Rights Law. The working title of the thesis is ‘Self-given Law: Individualism as an Ethics of Interpretation in Ben Jonson’. This AHRC project is supervised by Professor Lorna Hutson and Dr Matthew Augustine.  

Zoë received her M.A. in English with first class honours from the University of St Andrews in 2009 (Single Honours Prize, The Dean’s List), a Postgraduate Diploma in Law from City, University of London in 2010 (Queen Mother’s Scholar, Middle Temple), and an LL.M. in Human Rights Law with Distinction from Queen Mary, University of London in 2012. Zoë is Assistant Editor of the Journal of the Northern Renaissance and the recipient of a Folger Shakespeare Library grant-in-aid.

Conference papers

Strangeness in Early Stuart Performances 1603-1649, Universität des Saarlandes, 3-5 November 2016, ‘Knowing me, Knowing you: Strange Intentions and Familiar Fictions in Ben Jonson’.

At the Delta: Belonging, Place and Visions of Law and Social Change, Law and Society Association Annual Meeting 2016, 2-5 June, New Orleans, Louisiana, ‘“And if it were not true it would still seem true”: is the question of influence in legal history a poetic one?’

‘Dare to tell’: Silence and Saying in Ben Jonson, 400th anniversary conference of the first Folio of Works, 1-3 April 2016, University of St Andrews, ‘Ben Jonson’s Aesthetics of Probability’.

Mediaeval and Renaissance Symposium, 9 December 2015, University of St Andrews, ‘Celia’s Reality: Intention, Provocation and Self-knowledge in Ben Jonson’s Volpone’.

Literature and Philosophy 1500 – 1700, 14-16 July 2015, University of Sussex, ‘“I do not feel it, I do not think of it”: Stoicism and Legal Authority in Ben Jonson’.

Trans* Rights as Human Rights, 8-10 May 2012, Linköping University, ‘What can a rights-based approach to health do for trans* persons? And other questions missing from gender mainstreaming in International Human Rights Law'.


Zoe Sutherland



PhD Student:
Law and Literature