November 17, 2017

Palombella on Interlegality and Justice

Gianluigi Palombella, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa; University of Parma, has published Interlegality and Justice. Here is the abstract.
This articles suggests a peculiar perspective on law., that is, "interlegality". Amidst the plurality of orders, regimes, legal systems, and the overlapping of legalities, hardly arbitrated by hierarchy, are the system-based paradigms, be they monist, dualist or pluralist, still capable of reflecting the present complexity? The main concern triggering an inter-legality approach is not the coexistence among legalities as they create parallel worlds of normativity (that of global trade, of world health, of state welfare, of regional security, and so forth) but the resilience of the material interconnectedness that comes to affect the nature and functioning of legality. Without giving into the mainstream temptation of drawing a global constitutional promise, interlegality attempts at changing the epistemic perspective on law. To do so, it draws some theoretical frame that not only has to avoid the monist-dualist alternatives, but also relocates the achievements of legal pluralism and steps beyond it.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Mulcahy on Eyes of the Law: A Visual Turn in Socio-Legal Studies? @LindaMulcahy2

Linda Mulcahy, London School of Economics, Law Department, has published Eyes of the Law: A Visual Turn in Socio‐Legal Studies? at 44 Journal of Law and Society S111 (2017). Here is the abstract.
A number of sub‐disciplines have emerged in recent years with the specific goal of examining the visual dynamics of academic fields of inquiry. The turn to the visual masks a multitude of meanings about the significance of the image, ranging from new ways of defining a field of inquiry, to what constitutes legitimate sources for research or discussions of image production or visual prompts as a data collection method. This article asks what it means for socio‐legal scholars to engage with the image and the opportunity it might provide us with to see what law looks like from the perspective of law's subjects. These might include art installations in galleries, images of the places where justice is administered as well as photographs created by those who are subjected to legal regulation. In addition to a written essay I offer up three visual essays which can be read and contemplated with or without the written text which accompanies them.
The full text is not available from SSRN.

November 15, 2017

Wesson on The Chow: Depictions of the Criminal Justice System as a Character In Crime Fiction @ColoLaw @alafairburke

Marianne Mimi Wesson, University of Colorado Law School, has published The Chow: Depictions of the Criminal Justice System as a Character in Crime Fiction at 51 New Eng. L. Rev. 101 (2017). Here is the abstract.
Having been honored by a request to contribute to a Symposium honoring my talented friend Alafair Burke, I composed this essay describing the various ways the criminal justice system has been depicted in English-language crime fiction. This survey, necessarily highly selective, considers portrayals penned by writers from Dickens to Tana French. Various dimensions of comparison include the authors’ apparent beliefs about the rule of law (from ridiculously idealistic to uncompromisingly cynical), the characters’ professional perspectives (private detective, police officer, prosecutor, defense lawyer, judge, victim, accused), and the protagonists’ status as institutional insiders or outsiders or occupants of the uncomfortable middle. The essay considers as well the protagonists’ insights (often useful, too often nonexistent) regarding issues of gender, race, and economic status — in their own professional lives, and as determinants of how one accused of a crime, or victimized by one, will experience the institutions of criminal justice. The essay concludes with some worried observations about what the election of Donald Trump may portend for crime fiction, in its likely corrosion of the rule of law and thus of the institutions of criminal justice.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Call for Applications: War and Society: Post-doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities at Haverford College, 2018-2020 @haverfordedu @haverfordcah

From the mailbox:

War and Society: Post-doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities at Haverford College, 2018-2020
Location: Haverford, PACloses: Jan 9, 2018 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time
The John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities of Haverford College invites applications for a two-year Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities to begin Fall 2018 (see for details). We seek a scholar interested in the comparative history, social and cultural impact, and artistic representation of war. Candidates should have broad theoretical and interdisciplinary interests.
During the first year of the program, the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow will participate in a year-long faculty seminar, led by Professor Paul Jakov Smith (History and East Asian Studies), that will bring together faculty with a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Applicants should make clear the nature of their potential contributions to this seminar, which will explore how war has been entwined with politics, science, and the material world, and how it is reflected in artistic genres and the written, visual, and oral records of the present and the past. (For a more detailed description, see
In the second year, the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow will organize and present a spring symposium related to his or her scholarly field funded by the Hurford Center.
During each of the four semesters at Haverford College, the Mellon Fellow will teach one course at the introductory/intermediate or advanced level and engage a diverse student body. Applicants should submit two brief course proposals related to their area of interest, one for a broad-based introductory or intermediate course and the other for a more specialized or advanced course.

Candidates who earned their Ph.D. no earlier than 2013 and have completed all requirements for the Ph.D. by the application deadline of January 9, 2018 are eligible to apply.
Application Instructions
Applicants are asked to submit a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, two course proposals, and a writing sample of no more than 25 pages, and should arrange to have three confidential letters of recommendation submitted via Interfolio at: .
Questions can be directed to Noemí Fernández ( )

November 14, 2017

Comics, Taxes, and Civil Rights

Winnipeg high school student Elly Hooker has won a national award for the comic she created which tells the story of Nova Scotian Viola Desmond's fight for civil rights. Ms. Desmond, born in Halifax, became famous in 1946 for refusing to sit in a segregated area of a New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, movie theater.  She didn't realize that the ticket she had bought was only good for a balcony seat, where all African-Canadians had to sit. Downstairs seating was only for white Canadians. She wanted to purchase a downstairs ticket but the cashier refused. When she tried to take a downstairs seat, police arrested her. The next day, she paid a fine for refusing to pay the one cent difference between the ticket prices (based on the "amusement tax" due to the provincial government).

She eventually appealed to the courts. Although she died in 1965, her sister continued the fight for her. In 2010, the then Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia granted Ms. Desmond a pardon. In 2016, the Bank of Canada chose Viola Desmond as the first Canadian woman to appear on a Canadian banknote (the ten-dollar bill).

Ms. Hooker will receive the Kayak Kids' Illustrated History Challenge in Ottawa for her comic celebrating Viola Desmond.

A short Viola Desmond bibliography below:

Heritage Minutes: Viola Desmond; Historica Canada: Heritage Minutes

How Civil Rights Icon Viola Desmond Helped Change Course of Canadian History

The Story of Viola Desmond, "Canada's Rosa Parks"

Who's the Woman on Canada's New $10 Bill? A Viola Desmond Primer

John Kerrigan on Shakespeare's Binding Language (OUP, 2016) @Canbridge_Uni


John Kerrigan, Professor of English, Cambridge University, has published Shakespeare's Binding Language (Oxford University Press, 2016).
This remarkable, innovative book explores the significance in Shakespeare's plays of oaths, vows, contracts, pledges and the other utterances and acts by which characters commit themselves to the truth of things past, present, and to come. In early modern England, such binding language was everywhere. Oaths of office, marriage vows, legal bonds, and casual, everyday profanity gave shape and texture to life. The proper use of such language, and the extent of its power to bind, was argued over by lawyers, religious writers, and satirists, and these debates inform literature and drama. Shakespeare's Binding Language gives a freshly researched account of these contexts, but it is focused on the plays. What motives should we look for when characters asseverate or promise? How far is binding language self-persuasive or deceptive? When is it allowable to break a vow? How do oaths and promises structure an audience's expectations? Across the sweep of Shakespeare's career, from the early histories to the late romances, this book opens new perspectives on key dramatic moments and illuminates language and action. Each chapter gives an account of a play or group of plays, yet the study builds to a sustained investigation of some of the most important systems, institutions, and controversies in early modern England, and of the wiring of Shakespearean dramaturgy. Scholarly but accessible, and offering startling insights, this is a major contribution to Shakespeare studies by one of the leading figures in the field.


Call For Papers: Workshop: The Othered Senses: Law, Regulation, Sensorium

From the mailbox:



The Othered Senses:
Law, Regulation, Sensorium

May 1-2, 2018
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Othered Senses: Law, Regulation, Sensorium is an intensive scholarly workshop in Montreal, Quebec to take place on May 1-2, 2018.

The Othered Senses launches from, and seeks to trouble, two premises. The first is that law and legal studies has come lately to the study of the sensual, and when the law has thought about the senses, the story is frequently one of discipline, translation, and the movement of non-rational senses into rational Law, with a capital “l”. The second premise is that inquiry into the senses remains dominated by a focus on the ocular- and aural-centric, leaving the study of the ‘other’ senses (taste, touch, and smell) understudied, treating the senses in isolation, and reproducing a five-sense understanding of sensation. We suggest the time is right for intellectual and political creativity in the imagined and material spaces where legal regulation and sensorial experience clash, where laws and sensing bodies entangle, and where sensuality and legal institutions flirt. We invite scholars to explore the multi-directional flows of legal-sensory encounter and its multiple modes and registers.

In this workshop we seek to animate an interdisciplinary discussion that brings together scholars interested in the unlikely, messy, and less studied ways in which sensing bodies and legal(ized) practices interact in powerful ways. We hope to disrupt the normal and normalizing order of senses, to counter law’s attachment to reason, and to de-romanticize the body. We ask: whose senses count and do not count in law’s register? What invisible work do the ‘lower’ senses do? How can regulatory structures take account of the synaesthetics of embodied experience? How does the hierarchy of the senses intersect with the debilitating structuring dualisms of Western culture: mind/body; person/property; human/animal; adult/child; abled/disabled; settler/savage? And how might we disrupt and dismantle the regulatory apparatuses which invest in these dualisms? In what ways might legal logics and sensorial pleasures productively stimulate each other?

We invite questions in the spirit of, but not in any way limited to, the following:

-                      how do drones touch, and not only see, their objects of surveillance?
-                      can a pig be a witness? can an android?
-                      does smoke have agency? does noise? water? a camera?
-                      how does the stride function as a technology of normative mobility?
-                      what are the cultural effects of tales of extra-sensory perception?
-                      how does feeling ‘at home’ intersect with the production and disruption of legally enforced borders, social and geographic?
-                      how does the law know silence? who gets to be noisy in public space? who is quieted?
-                      how are the bodies of the sovereign and its subjects re-produced in the state deployment of sounds as weapons?
-                      how do different skins shape the self- and other- regulation of intimacies? When should the law take note, if at all?
-                      what are the inter-subjective effects of the exhortation, “don’t touch!”
-                      in what vocabulary could a sexual assault victim give taste testimony?
-                      if one’s hand is one’s bond in law, how is touch figured? What happens when touch in public is subject to regulation?

This event is a collaboration between the Canadian Initiative in Law, Culture and Humanities at Carleton University and the Centre for Sensory Studies at Concordia University. It will be held in conjunction with the Uncommon Senses 2: Art, Technology, Education, Law, Society and Sensory Diversity, an international conference taking place on May 2-5, 2018 (see link

We invite submission of abstracts of 300 words for individual papers to Please provide your contact information and a 100 word biographical statement in the email attaching your abstract. The final deadline for all submissions is November 30th.

Authors of those papers selected for The Othered Senses will be asked to prepare and circulate drafts of their papers in advance, each paper will receive a dedicated respondent, and the work will be discussed intensively at the workshop. Those refereed papers not able to be accepted for participation in The Othered Senses will be included in the Uncommon Senses 2 conference.

Tucker on Writing Labor Law History: A Reconnaissance @OsgoodeNews

Eric Tucker, York University, Osgoode Hall; Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (Visiting), has published On Writing Labour Law History: A Reconnaissance as Osgoode Hall Legal Studies Research Paper No. 66/2017. Here is the abstract.
Labour law historians rarely write about the theoretical and methodological foundations of their discipline. In response to this state of affairs, this article adopts a reconnaissance strategy, which eschews any pretense at providing a synthesis or authoritative conclusions, but rather hopes to open up questions and paths of inquiry that may encourage others to also reflect on a neglected area of scholarship. It begins by documenting and reflecting on the implications of the fact that labour law history sits at the margins of many other disciplines, including labour history, legal history, labour law, industrial relations and law and society, but lacks a home of its own. It next presents a short historiography of the writing of labour law history, noting its varied and changing intellectual influences. Next the article notes some of the methodological consequences of different theoretical commitments and discusses briefly the possibilities opened up by computer technologies as revealed by two interesting projects that rely heavily on the construction of sophisticated data bases. Finally, the article reflects on the methodological challenges I have experienced in my current project on labour law’s recurring regulatory dilemmas and conclude with some thoughts on the contribution labour law history can make to our understanding of the dynamics that shape its current challenges.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Finchett-Maddock on Outsider Poesis in Street Art and Graffiti @Palgrave_

Lucy Finchett-Maddock, Sussex School of Legal Studies, is publishing In Vacuums of Law We Find: Outsider Poiesis in Street Art and Graffiti in the Art Crime Handbook (Duncan Chappell and Saskia Hufnagel, eds., Palgrave MacMillan) (forthcoming). Here is the abstract.
This piece seeks to demonstrate the striating role of property within street art and graffiti, creating a threshold where criminal and intellectual property meet to both outlaw and protect street art at the same time. Street art reveals a legal vacuum for poiesis, protest and property on the threshold of aesthetic and juridical legitimacy and illegitimacy, illustrating where law means all and nothing at once. Legal sanction is argued as affecting the aesthetics of street art, where criminalisation protects the rights of property owners over the creative rights of artists, reasserting the exclusionary nature of law, intertwined with reasserting the ‘outsider’ nature of their art. This is argued as not coincidental, but that notions of aesthetics are not only prioritised by the art ‘establishment’, but also supported by law, to the detriment of other forms of aesthetics such as street art and graffiti. As such, street art and graffiti reveals the elixir of property in both the art and legal establishments, coming to pass as a result of violent histories of expropriation through art property and real property. Ultimately, street art and graffiti is argued as a protest against the legal-aesthetic hegemony, the analysis of criminal, real and intellectual property meeting points telling us more about the congenital role of art in law and vice versa than solely explaining the legalities of random acts of illicit expression.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

November 13, 2017

Schauer on Oliver Wendell Holmes's Interpretation of the First Amendment @UVALaw

Frederick Schauer, University of Virginia School of Law, is publishing Every Possible Use of Language? in an Oxford University Press volume and as Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2017-61. Here is the abstract.
This essay, written for a forthcoming Oxford University Press volume edited by Geoffrey Stone and Lee Bollinger, probes Oliver Wendell Holmes’s almost offhand statement in Frohwerk v. United States, 249 U.S. 204 (1919), that “the First Amendment... cannot have been intended... to give immunity for every possible use of language.” Although Holmes may not have seen the difference between this conclusion and the clear and present danger idea he offered contemporaneously in Schenck v. United States and Debs v. United States, in fact it may be the first hint of the now-important distinction between the coverage of the First Amendment and the protection it offers for covered speech. In observing that the First Amendment does not even apply to a vast range of linguistic behavior, Holmes provides the opportunity not only to recover Frohwerk’s importance in the pantheon of 1919 free speech cases, but also to explore the continuing relevance and importance of understanding that much – perhaps even most – linguistic behavior does not implicate the First Amendment at all, and thus does not trigger any form of heightened scrutiny.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

CFP: University of Detroit Mercy Law Review: The Return of Sanctuary Cities @UDMLawReview @DetroitMercyLaw

Call For Proposals:

The Return of Sanctuary Cities: The Muslim Ban, Hurricane Maria, and Everything in Between

The University of Detroit Mercy Law Review is pleased to announce its annual academic Symposium to be held on March 23, 2018 at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

This Symposium will contemplate a broad range of issues associated with Sanctuary Cities presentations may focus on a specific era past, present, or future or may discuss a subject through the past, present and propose future solutions. Presentation topics could include, but are not limited to:

·         The potential consequences of Trump’s immigration policies (including the Muslim Ban);
·         The ability or inability of Trump and ICE to carry out these immigration policies;
·         The constitutionality of Trump’s and ICE’s policies and actions;
·         The efficacy of Program 287(g) and the potential consequences thereof;
·         The impact of the Countering Violent Extremism (“CVE”) program;
·         The efficacy of states’ Sanctuary legislation, like (pro) California and (anti) Texas;
·         The ability or inability of cities and states to provide protection to undocumented citizens;
·         The rights that undocumented citizens, particularly youth, should enjoy;
·         Strategies and policies that cities and states can adopt to protect their undocumented citizens;
·         The potential benefits or consequences for cities and states who adopt Sanctuary laws;
·         The consequences for the changes made to the DACA program and possible solutions; and
·         The position that SCOTUS would take on these issues, including existing legislation & DACA.

The Law Review invites interested individuals to submit an abstract for an opportunity to present at the Symposium. Those interested should send an abstract of 300-400 words that details their proposed topic and presentation. Included with the abstract should be the presenter’s name, contact information, and a copy of their resume/curriculum vitae. Since the above list of topics is non- exhaustive, the Detroit Mercy Law Review encourages all interested parties to develop their own topic to present at the Symposium. In addition, while submitting an article for publication is not required to present at the Symposium, the Law Review encourages all speakers who are selected to submit a piece for publication in the 2018-2019 edition of the Law Review.

The deadline for abstract submissions is December 3, 2017. Individuals selected to present at the Symposium will be contacted by December 10, 2017. Law Review editorial staff will contact those selected for publication in 2018 regarding details and deadlines for full-length publication.

The submissions, and any questions regarding the Symposium or the abstract process, should be directed to Law Review Symposium Director, Jessica Gnitt at Please cc the Detroit Mercy Law Review Editor-in-Chief, Matthew Tapia, at

Steven Gerrard on The Modern British Horror Film (New From Rutgers University Press) @RutgersUPress @leedsbeckett

New from Rutgers University Press:

Steven Gerrard, Northern Film School, Leeds-Beckett University, The Modern British Horror Film (Rutgers University Press, 2017) (Quick Takes: Movies and Popular Culture).

When you think of British horror films, you might picture the classic Hammer Horror movies, with Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and blood in lurid technicolor. Yet British horror has undergone an astonishing change and resurgence in the twenty-first century, with films that capture instead the anxieties of post-Millennial viewers.

Tracking the revitalization of the British horror film industry over the past two decades, media expert Steven Gerrard also investigates why audiences have flocked to these movies. To answer that question, he focuses on three major trends: “hoodie horror” movies responding to fears about Britain’s urban youth culture; “great outdoors” films where Britain’s forests, caves, and coasts comprise a terrifying psychogeography; and psychological horror movies in which the monster already lurks within us. 
Offering in-depth analysis of numerous films, including The DescentOutpost, and The Woman in Black, this book takes readers on a lively tour of the genre’s highlights, while provocatively exploring how these films reflect viewers’ gravest fears about the state of the nation. Whether you are a horror buff, an Anglophile, or an Anglophobe, The Modern British Horror Film is sure to be a thrilling read.

The Modern British Horror Film

Schauer on Preferences For Law? @UVALaw

Frederick Schauer, University of Virginia School of Law, is publishing Preferences for Law? in volume 42 of Law and Social Inquiry (2017). Here is the abstract.
This paper is a response to commentary on The Force of Law offered at a symposium at the University of Chicago Law School and published in Law and Social Inquiry. In responding to commentary and critique from Daryl Levinson, Don Herzog, Gillian Hadfield, Robert Ellickson, Janice Nadler, and Robin Kar, I focus principally on the questions of what it would mean for law qua law to be an important factor in the decisions of officials and of citizens, whether it is in reality such a factor, and the extent to which citizens and officials genuinely do have sanction-independent preferences for law and legality once we distinguish between the substantive content of law and the content-independent fact of law.
Download the abstract from SSRN at the link.

November 10, 2017

A Series Devoted To Law and Literature From Mare & Martin @Mare_et_Martin

In the series Droit et littérature, published by Mare et Martin:

 Anatole France : leçons de droit (Nicolas Dissaux, ed.) (2016).

 Catherine Puigelier, Lire la maxime "Nul n'est censé ignorer la loi" (2015).

 L'amour selon la loi: Exercices d'écriture (Catherine Puigelier & François Terré, eds.) (2014).

 Catherine Puigelier, L'art d'être savant : écrire la science et le droit (2014).

 P. Mazeaud and Catherine Puigelier, Victor Hugo (2013).

University of Wollongong Position Open: Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Humanities, and the Arts @UOW

The University of Wollongong is advertising for an Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Humanities, and the Arts. See the listing here.

Via Thom Giddens, St. Mary's University.

Postgraduate Research Studentships at University of East Anglia: Applications Being Considered Now Through January 21, 2018 @UEA

The University of East Anglia, Faculty of Social Sciences, is advertising Postgraduate Research Studentships in the Social Sciences. Schools available include Economics, Education and Lifelong Learning, International Development, Law, Norwich Business School, Social Work, and Psychology. Deadline for application is January 21, 2018. Awards include tuition fees, grants of over 14000 pounds per year, and grants for research training support. International students may apply for additional support to cover fees.

More here. 

Via David Mead, Karen McCullagh, Paul Bernal.

November 9, 2017

Maks del Mar on Law and the Legal Imagination @maksdelmar @aeonmag

Maks del Mar writes about why imagination is a necessity for judges and lawyers. A brilliant essay. Here, for Aeon. 

Kovvali on Confederate Statute Removal

Aneil Kovvali, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, & Katz, has published Confederate Statute Removal at 70 Stanford Law Review Online 82 (2017). Here is the abstract.
Certain state governments have adopted statutes that are designed to prevent city governments from eliminating memorials to Confederate forces and leaders. Critics of these controversial statutes generally focus on the moral issue of preserving statues honoring white supremacy. This Essay highlights a different set of concerns: These statutes suppress the speech of cities while compelling them to make statements they disagree with, and they distort the political process in troubling ways. These concerns have clear echoes in constitutional doctrine, and represent a separate reason for removal of these statutes.
The full text is not available for download. 

November 8, 2017

Call For Nominations: The Penny Pether Law & Language Scholarship Award 2017

From the mailbox via Keith J. Bybee, Syracuse University College of Law

Call for Nominations: The Penny Pether Law & Language Scholarship Award 2017 A passionate advocate for interdisciplinary scholarship in law, literature, and language, Penelope J. Pether (1957-2013) was Professor of Law at Villanova University School of Law and former Professor of Law and Director of Legal Rhetoric at the American University Washington College of Law. Her own scholarship focused not only on law, literature, and language, but also on constitutional and comparative constitutional law; legal theory, including constitutional theory; common law legal institutions, judging practices, and professional subject formation. Beginning in November 2013, the Penny Pether Award for Law & Language Scholarship has been given annually to an article or essay published during the preceding year (September 1 to September 1) that exemplifies Penny’s commitment to law and language scholarship and pedagogy.
 The Committee selecting award recipients from among the articles and essays nominated will look for scholarship that not only embodies Penny’s passion and spirit but also has some or all of the following characteristics: 1. “[S]cholarship concerning itself with the unique or distinctive insights that might emerge from interdisciplinary inquiries into ‘law’ grounded in the work of influential theorists of language and discourse.” 2. Scholarship that “attempts to think through the relations among subject formation, language, and law.” 3. Scholarship that provides “accounts of—and linguistic interventions in—acute and yet abiding crises in law, its institutions and discourses.” 4. Scholarship and pedagogy, including work addressing injustices in legal-academic institutions and practices, that is “[c]arefully theorized and situated, insisting on engaging politics and law, [and that] charts ways for law and its subjects to use power, do justice.” More explanations and descriptions of these characteristics can be found in Penny’s chapter from which these quotations are drawn: Language, in Law and the Humanities: An Introduction (Austin Sarat et al. eds., Cambridge U. Press 2010). Nominations should be sent by January 8, 2018, to J. Amy Dillard at You are free to nominate more than one work and to nominate work you’ve written. Please provide a citation and a pdf for each work you nominate.
 We are shifting our definition of the preceding year to simplify our process. But in this year of transition, for the 2017 prize, we will consider any work published between September 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017. In the future, we will work with a calendar year. The Selection Committee includes Linda Berger, David Caudill, Amy Dillard, Bruce Hay, Ian Gallacher, Melissa Marlow, Jeremy Mullem, Nancy Modesitt, Stephen Paskey, and Terrill Pollman. Members of the Selection Committee are not eligible for the award.
 J. Amy DillardAssociate Professor of LawUniversity of Baltimore School of Law1420 North Chares StreetBaltimore, MD  

A New Issue of Amerikastudies/American Studies Devoted to Law and Poetry

Newly published:

Amerikastudien/American Studies, 2017, issue 2. This issue is devoted to Legal Poetics.

It includes an introduction by Birte Christ and Stephanie Mueller, Peter Schneck, Savage Properties and Violent Forms, Brook Thomas, Sidney Lanier, the Language of Paradox, and Staging Contradictory Political Ideals in the Battle for Civil Rights and the War against Terrorism during the Era of Reconstruction, Christa Buschendorf, Poet and Reader in the Witness Box: Society on Trial in Murial Rukeyser's Early Poetry, Michael Stanford, Poetry, Negative Capability, and the Law: James Wright's "A Poem About George Doty in the Death House" and "At the Executed Murder's Grave,"  Birte Christ, State Killing and the Poetic Series: George Elliott Clarke's "Execution Poems" and Jill McDonough's "Habeas Corpus," Stefanie Mueller, Exceeding Determinacy in the Language of Personhood: "Citizen United," Corporations, and the Poetry of Timothy Donnelly and Thomas Sayers Ellis, Lawrence Joseph, Three Poems, book reviews, and bibliography (publications in American studies from German-speaking countries, 2016).

November 7, 2017

Hudson on Emotions in the Early Common Law (c. 1166-1215)

ICYMI: John Hudson, University of St. Andrews, has published Emotions in the Early Common Law (c. 1166-1215) at 38 Journal of Legal History 130 (2017).  Here is the abstract.
Beyond dealing with wrongdoing and litigation, law has many other functions. It can be designed to make life more predictable, it can facilitate and promote certain actions, it can seek to prevent disputes by laying down rules, and provide routes to solutions other than litigation should disputes arise. All of these can have connections to matters of emotion. Using both lawbooks and records of cases from the Angevin period, the present article begins by looking at issues of land law rather than crime, and at law outside rather than inside court. It then returns to crime and litigation before exploring the significance of the nature of legal records for the relationship between emotion and law. In doing so, it pays attention to emotion in action, to uses of emotionally charged language, to appearances of the vocabulary of emotions, and to the routinized use of words that might at other times or in other contexts have an emotional element. Underlying the analysis is an exploration of the ways in which some aspects of law became more discrete from ordinary social practice and discourse, in this instance through elements of distancing from emotion.

Kha on the Spectacle of Divorce Law in Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust and A. P. Herbert's Holy Deadlock @tandfonline

Henry Kha has published The Spectacle of Divorce Law in Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust and A. P. Herbert's Holy Deadlock in Law and Literature. Here is the abstract.

The article examines the way Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust (1934) and A. P. Herbert's Holy Deadlock (1934) express popular dissent against the divorce laws of England in the 1930s. These novels satirized the legal process of obtaining a divorce as farcical and tainted by parties colluding to stage “hotel divorces” in order to satisfy the single-fault ground of adultery. This article argues that these novels helped to articulate widespread opposition towards the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857, which only allowed divorce to be granted for adultery alone. The writings also spurred parliamentary debate and ultimately paved the way forward for the introduction of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1937. Herbert played a unique part in the campaign for divorce law reform. Both as a novelist and as a parliamentarian, Herbert composed legal satires and successfully introduced the Divorce Bill into the British Parliament respectively.

The full text is available via subscription. 

Offer, Skead, and Seen on Humor in the Law Classroom @UWALawSchool @tandfonline

Kate Offer, Natalie Skead, and Angelyn Seen have published  "You Must Be Joking": The Role of Humour in the Law Classroom," The Law Teacher, published online October 17, 2017. Here is the abstract.

There is a body of literature, including persuasive empirical evidence, linking the use of positive humour in tertiary classrooms with the creation of a relaxed learning environment, student motivation, attendance and engagement as well as positive student evaluations of teacher performance. However, the literature on the use of humour in teaching law is generally limited to anecdotal evidence. Drawing on the literature on using humour in teaching courses that students perceive as “difficult” in other disciplines, in this article we explore the benefits and pitfalls of using humour in the law classroom and provide illustrations of how humour might be used appropriately and effectively in teaching law.

The full article is available via subscription. 

November 6, 2017

Bouclin on Women in Prison Movies as Feminist Jurisprudence @sbouclin @utpjournals


Suzanne Bouclin, University of Ottawa, Common Law Section, has published Women in Prison Movies as Feminist Jurisprudence, at 21 Canadian Journal of Women and the Law (2010). Here is the abstract.
In comparison to the significant body of research around audience reception and generic conventions of, as well as the progressive or regressive assumptions behind and the legal meaning-making potentialities within, prison movies, women in prison movies (WIPs) have received far less theoretical or critical attention. This is noteworthy from a feminist law and society perspective that aims to link questions of popular culture to broader issues of gendered social stratification and social conflict. On one level, WIPs can be read as an overt critique of the masculinism of the prison genre. In the traditional prison movies, women appear in flashback sequences as supportive wives, girlfriends, mothers, and/or deceitful vixens that coerce, frame, or seduce men into lives of crime. In WIPs, female characters move from the margins of the story to its centre. On another level, WIPs problematize broader legal, economic, and political apparatuses that operate to criminalize women without the well-rehearsed and recognizable markers of social power. They invite viewers to look beyond abstracted statistics about female “criminality” through believable – though not exactly realistic – accounts of the manner in which the law operates to criminalize particular women.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

November 5, 2017

ICYMI: A Survey of the Legal Thriller From Lars Ole Sauerberg @Palgrave_

Lars Ole Sauerberg, University of Southern Denmark, has published The Legal Thriller From Gardner to Grisham (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
This book offers a critically informed yet relaxed historical overview of the legal thriller, a unique contribution to crime fiction where most of the titles have been written by professionals such as lawyers and judges. The legal thriller typically uses court trials as the suspense-creating background for presenting legal issues reflecting a wide range of concerns, from corporate conflicts to private concerns, all in a dramatic but highly informed manner. With authors primarily from the USA and the UK, the genre is one which nonetheless enjoys a global reading audience. As well as providing a survey of the legal thriller, this book takes a gender–focused approach to analyzing recently published titles within the field. It also argues for the fascination of the legal thriller both in the way its narrative pattern parallels that of an actual court trial, and by the way it reflects, frequently quite critically, the concerns of contemporary society.

November 2, 2017

Theilen on Philip Allott's Legal Utopianism @jtthei @ChloeJSKennedy

Jens T. Theilen, Walther Schücking Institute, University of Kiel, has published Of Wonder and Changing the World: Philip Allott's Legal Utopianism at 2017 German Yearbook of International Law 60. Here is the abstract.
Utopian perspectives on law are rare – both within legal theory, which generally eschews utopianism as frivolous and unrealistic, and within utopian studies, which have largely neglected to analyse the role that law plays in utopia or on the path towards it. Philip Allott’s work, and his latest monograph 'Eutopia' in particular, constitutes a notable exception which is positioned at the intersection between law and utopianism, and this paper aims to explore that intersection with a view to identifying the conceptualisation of law that it implies. To tease out the utopian elements in Allott, I suggest reading 'Eutopia' in light of Ernst Bloch’s 'The Principle of Hope'. Three related utopian themes can thus be identified: the orientation towards the future based on dreams, imagination, and educated hope; the defamiliarisation from the present to open up possibilities of change; and the situation of utopian thought in relation to present reality, dynamically construed, with an emphasis on the need for action by human beings to propel society towards a utopian future. I argue that this framework leads to a specifically utopian account of law which is critical of the law as it stands, dynamically oriented towards an open future, and in the hands of human beings who have the power to shape and transform its content. The conclusion considers the implications of this analysis for the genre of text to which 'Eutopia' belongs: if the point is to transform law and society by way of human action, then it constitutes a utopian manifesto that aims to instigate a sense of responsibility among its readers, and thus achieve the world as it could be.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

November 1, 2017

New From OUP: Handbook of Imagination and Culture, Edited by Tania Zittoun and Vlad Glaveanu @OxUniPress

Newly published: Handbook of Imagination and Culture (Tania Zittoun and Vlad Glaveanu, eds., Oxford University Press 2017) (Frontiers in Culture and Psychology),
Imagination allows individuals and groups to think beyond the here-and-now, to envisage alternatives, to create parallel worlds, and to mentally travel through time. Imagination is both extremely personal (for example, people imagine unique futures for themselves) and deeply social, as our imagination is fed with media and other shared representations. As a result, imagination occupies a central position within the life of mind and society. Expanding the boundaries of disciplinary approaches, the Handbook of Imagination and Culture expertly illustrates this core role of imagination in the development of children, adolescents, adults, and older persons today. Bringing together leading scholars in sociocultural psychology and neighboring disciplines from around the world, this edited volume guides readers towards a much deeper understanding of the conditions of imagining, its resources, its constraints, and the consequences it has on different groups of people in different domains of society. Summarily, this Handbook places imagination at the center, and offers readers new ways to examine old questions regarding the possibility of change, development, and innovation in modern society.

Cover for 

Handbook of Imagination and Culture


CFP December 10, 2017: Legality/Illegality: Rules, Regulations, and Resistance @DMUHeadLMS @dmuleicester

News of an interesting event, March 1, 2018:

ABSTRACTS of 250 words can be sent to by 10th December 2017

Fees - £75 full ticket, £35 postgraduate/PhD ticket ..... lunch provided

rules, regulations and resistance 
1st March 2018 (10am-6pm)
Leicester Media School
Head - Professor Jason Lee
‘If you and I are liable to be prosecuted, fined and perhaps imprisoned,
for doing or failing to do something, we ought to be able …
to find out what it is we must or must not do on pain of criminal penalty’
(Tom Bingham, The Rule of Law, 2010)
‘There's one law for the Rich and another for the Poor’
(Traditional Utterance)

Conference Correspondence to:
De Montfort University,
3rd Floor, Clephan Building
Bonners Lane

Stuart Price and Fernanda Amaral, Media Discourse Group, LMS

Keynotes on:
Brazil – ‘Favela Media Activism: the ‘breakdown’ of law and the rise of citizen power’ Leo Custodi, University of Helsinki
Leo Custodi is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Social Research, University of Tampere, Finland, and conducts research on media activism and interdisciplinary research into social movements: his most recent book is Favela Media Activism
Catalonia – ‘Damage to Catalonia? The role of state power from May 1937 to October 2017’ Stuart Price, De Montfort, Media Discourse Group
Stuart Price is Chair of the Media Discourse Group, LMS

Description of the event

This peer-reviewed Conference examines the ways in which various types of human expression and activity (economic, cultural, and political) are influenced, both by popular notions of legitimacy (combining our understanding of everyday normative standards with an often-imprecise sense of what is actually lawful/unlawful), and by the actual sanctions and/or rights enshrined within existing legal systems and forms of precedence (operating at the national and/or supranational/transnational level).

In our Call for Papers, we welcome critical overviews of the relationship between legality and illegality (i.e. theoretical interventions that address the conceptual and practical interdependence of these terms, under the general rubric of ‘the law’), the alteration over time of notions of legality (where, for instance, an activity once thought legitimate may lose that status, and vice versa), specific case-studies of public controversies, the public mediation of the legal system or of law enforcement (through, for example, cinematic or televisual texts), the fascist Right’s attempt to manipulate liberal notions of freedom of speech, illicit state surveillance of dissenting individuals and groups, and the debate over ‘states of exception’.

Specific fields of enquiry and useful topics may include but are not confined to the following:

Performance rights and intellectual ownership within the ‘neo-liberal’ work environment
Freedom of speech, violence and anti-fascist activity
Questions over the obligation of news organisations to pursue the truth in a ‘post-truth’ politics
The ‘moral right’ to break or disregard oppressive laws
Arguments over the legalisation of drugs
The historical reconstitution of the law
Questions of sexuality and the state
Transnational legal obligations and Brexit
The Dance Culture and ‘illegal’ or non-commercial parties
Issues in investigative journalism
Fan adaptations of copyrighted texts

Transnational, national or region-specific events that test the parameters of legality