Menu Close
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centre of Excellence in Automated Decision-Making and Society, Queensland University of Technology

Zahra Stardust is a porn studies scholar interested in the regulation of sexual cultures. Her work specialises in sexual media and sextech, focusing on the politics of sexual content moderation (including the production, distribution and regulation of explicit media), and the development of community-led, social justice sextech. Her first book Indie Porn: Revolution, Regulation and Resistance (Duke University Press, 2024) explores the clash between indie porn producers, governments and big tech. Her next co-authored book, Sextech: A Critical Introduction (Polity Press, 2025), explores key debates in sextech design, manufacture and governance. Zahra is a Lecturer in Digital Communication at the Queensland University of Technology, an Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard University and an Associate Researcher at the Sex Tech Lab at the New School.


  • 2020–present
    Fellow, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University
  • 2017–2020
    Researcher, UNSW Centre for Social Research in Health
  • 2019–2020
    Teaching Fellow and Research Officer, UNSW Law Faculty
  • 2014–2020
    Associate Lecturer, UNSW School of Social Sciences
  • 2013–2019
    PhD Candidate, UNSW School of Arts and Media


  • 2020 
    College of Law, Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice
  • 2019 
    University of New South Wales, PhD (Arts & Media)
  • 2017 
    University of Oxford, Summer Doctoral Program
  • 2014 
    University of Amsterdam, Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture & Society
  • 2011 
    University of Sydney, Master of Arts (Research) (Gender and Cultural Studies)
  • 2008 
    University of Sydney, Bachelor of Laws (Honors)
  • 2004 
    University of Sydney, Bachelor of Arts (Modern History)


  • 2016
    Pornography as Protest: DIY Porn and Direct Action, Madison Young (ed), The DIY Porn Handbook: Documenting and Our Sexual Revolutions, Greenery Press: San Francisco (forthcoming).
  • 2016
    Performer-Centred Pornography as Sex Worker Rights: Developing Labour Standards in a Criminal Context, Research for Sex Work, Issue 15: Resistance and Resilience, Global Network of Sex Work Projects.
  • 2015
    Critical Femininities, Fluid Sexualities and Queer Temporalities: Erotic performers on Objectification, Femmephobia and Oppression, Mary Laing, Katy Pilcher and Nicola Smith (eds), Queer Sex Work, Routledge Studies in Crime and Society: United Kingdom, 67-78.
  • 2015
    Coming Out, Coming Hard: Privacy, Exhibitionism and Running for Parliament, Jiz Lee (ed), How to Come Out like a Porn Star: Essays on Pornography, Protection and Privacy, Three L Media: San Francisco.
  • 2014
    Fisting is Not Permitted: Criminal Intimacies, Queer Sexualities and Feminist Porn in the Australian Legal Context, Feona Attwood and Clarissa Smith (eds), Porn Studies, Volume 1, Issue 3, 258-275, United Kingdom: Routledge.
  • 2014
    Sex Work is Work: Sex Worker Human Rights in Australia, International Bar Association: Human Rights Law Working Group News, Volume 1, Issue 2, 30-34.
  • 2012
    Mandatory Testing for HIV and Sexually Transmissible Infections among Sex Workers in Australia: A Barrier to HIV and STI Prevention (with Janelle Fawkes and Elena Jeffreys), World Journal of AIDS, Volume 2, No 3, 203-211.
  • 2010
    Subversion, Activism and Gender Play: The Underground Feminism of Erotic Performance, Laura Finley and Emily Reynolds Stringer (eds), Beyond Burning Bras: Feminist Activism for Everyone, Praeger: California and Oxford, 70-73.

Professional Memberships

  • World Association for Sexual Health
  • International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture & Society (Associate Member)
  • Cultural Studies Association of Australasia
  • Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
  • Australian Women’s & Gender Studies Association