July 31, 2012

Pedro Almodovar's "High Heels"

Monica Lopez Lerma, University of Helsinki Faculty of Law, has published Law in High Heels: Performativity, Alterity, and Aesthetics, at 20 Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal 2 (2011). Here is the abstract.

Pedro Almodovar's High Heels (the original Spanish title, Tacones Lejanos, literally means 'distant heels') is a 1991 postmodern film that celebrates performance, fluidity, and fragmentation as ways of being in and understanding the world. In a generic combination of melodrama, comedy, musical, and film noir, High Heels tells the story of a turbulent mother daughter relationship, and a judge's criminal investigation following the murder of the daughter's husband (who also happens to be the mother's former lover). In recent years, Almodovar's film has received the attention of Orit Kamir, a law-and-film feminist scholar who opens up a refreshing line of inquiry. Kamir uses the film as a powerful site and as a means to explore alternative feminist images of law, judgment, and justice. In this Article, I provide new insights into Kamir's feminist jurisprudential reading of the film by placing it within the framework of postmodern jurisprudence, performativity, and queer aesthetics. My aim is to reconceptualize law through an ethics of alterity, and to further theoretical developments in postmodern accounts of judgment, ethics, and justice.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

François Hollande On the Holocaust

From Richard Weisberg

The following Israeli editorial aptly summarizes both the excellent recent statement about Vichy by France's new President and some of the debate that, predictably, has followed. The clarity of Pres. Hollande's statement reiterates, at some distance, the findings of scholars such as myself, about France's responsibility for the wrongdoing against Jews. The Commission in Paris that now administers individual restitution for Vichy's victims has also been mentioned in news stories, eg the NYT on 7/16. I have been over-seeing that Commission's work for over a decade.It is much to France's credit that they are, in different ways and after many decades of self-congratulatory denial, coming to grips with this sad history.However, there are voices of revisionism, some from surprising quarters.I look forward to hearing from you if you have views on these developments.Regards, Richard Weisberg 

Subject: today editorial, 7/31 "Haaretz"
 Whose crime is it?

Schoolteachers have long complained about the difficulties of teaching this chapter in French history. 'The Holocaust is not the history of the Jewish people; it is history, our history,' said Hollande.

Adar Primor | Jul.31, 2012

"The truth is that the crime was committed in France, by France." One sentence, a few simple, clear words, but how loaded. And how, it turns out, controversial. Still.
President Francois Hollande, under 100 days in the Elysees and has already notched up one of the most historic, powerful, and resonant speeches ever heard in the French Fifth Republic.
That sentence became the focus of the speech he gave last week at a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Vel d'Hiv roundup. It was the largest Aktion carried out on French soil. In July 1942, more than 13,000 Jews from Paris and its environs were arrested. The Jews were concentrated in the Winter Velodrome and from there, most were sent to their annihilation in Auschwitz.
"The crime was committed in France"? Clearly. "By France"? Absolutely not. So it was claimed, once again, following Hollande's speech. For decades the French looked in the mirror and saw reflected in it a nation of a great revolution, a nation of enlightenment and human rights, a land of refuge and emancipation. When they skipped forward, historically, to World War II, the reflection in the mirror was that of General Charles de Gaulle and Free France, of the Resistance and Righteous Gentiles.
For decades the history of France was blurred, concealed, or even denied, until it was forgotten. But in 1995 President Jacques Chirac decided to shatter the deceitful mirror and put an end to the amnesia. He accepted responsibility for the crimes of the Vichy regime, which collaborated with the Nazis. He did it in France's name. Chirac sought "to kill" the old myth.
Hollande, 17 years later, came to verify the kill: France is a country of "anonymous heroes," who are responsible for saving 75 percent of France's Jews, Hollande noted, justly. But France, he added, also initiated the Vel d'Hiv hunt, organized it, and sent its citizens to their deaths.
One cannot, therefore, accept any longer the claim which holds that the Vichy government was nothing but an executive branch of the Nazis that was imposed on France. The horrific crimes were perpetrated by French individuals, in the name of the French people and France. This collective must take responsibility.
Again and again Hollande repeated in his speech the words that in his view comprise historic justice: "truth" (which there is an obligation to state ), "oblivion" (which he vowed to combat ), and "memory" (which he undertook to nurture ). His words take on special meaning in view of a new poll that has found that 42 percent of the French (and 60 percent of young people ) are unaware of the Vel d'Hiv raid.
Schoolteachers have long complained about the difficulties of teaching this chapter in French history. Hollande addressed them in his speech: "The Holocaust is not the history of the Jewish people; it is history, our history. There must not be a single institution in which it is not learned in full."
Hollande vowed to fight "with the greatest determination" against anti-Semitism and "all manner of historical distortion, relativization of the Holocaust and attempts to mar its singularity."
The importance of Hollande's speech is likewise inherent in its message, namely that morality has no political borders. Hollande created an affinity between himself and the right-wing president Chirac, and dissociated himself from the legacy of his mentor, Francois Mitterrand, who in his youth had joined the Vichy regime.
"The truth never has the power to divide, only to unite," Hollande said in his speech and thereby revealed his naivete. The far right lashed out at him for "besmirching France's image" and demanded that he "stop blaming the French." Similar tunes have also been heard in circles that are considered moderate. Bruno Le Maire, the former agriculture minister under Nicolas Sarkozy, who is running for his party's leadership, attacked "the grave mistake of the president, who confused the French state (Vichy ) with France." Henri Guaino, Sarkozy's senior adviser, announced that he is "shocked" by Hollande's declaration. "His" France, after all, resided in London during the war, not in Vichy.
Hollande's speech is an historic milestone. But as it turns out collective French responsibility still has its work cut out for it.

The Origins of Coke's Common Law Thinking

Ian Williams, Faculty of Laws, University College London, has published The Tudor Genesis of Edward Coke's Immemorial Common Law at 43 Sixteenth Century Journal 103 (2012). Here is the abstract.

Edward Coke is well-known for his unhistorical approach to the common law and the ensuing myth of the ancient constitution. He is often taken as representative of common lawyers, an important group in the intellectual life of early-modern England. This article seeks to investigate Coke’s views on legal history, expanding upon Pocock’s seminal work in the field by demonstrating that Coke’s historical views were not a Jacobean development or a response to external circumstances. His views had been held, and propagated, since the early stages of his career as a lawyer and were shared by other lawyers. The article uses evidence of Coke’s reading of law books to demonstrate Coke’s historical method, showing how and why he reached unhistorical conclusions about the antiquity of the common law, and why Coke believed those conclusions to be factually accurate. Coke’s method was ahistorical, but used an approach to the understanding of texts which was widespread in early-modern England. The article also shows that Coke’s approach to historical sources can also be seen in the work of other lawyers.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

The Origins of Slavery In Early Virginia

David Lyons, Boston University School of Law, has published Slavery and the Rule of Law in Early Virginia, as an APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper. Here is the abstract.

Many of us learned that slavery began in the English North American colonies in1619 when twenty Africans were purchased from the crew of a Dutch ship that had stopped at Jamestown for provisions. Colonial records do not tell us the fate of the Africans who arrived in Jamestown’s early years. This paper uses legislative and judicial records to reconstruct that history. The institution was not imported from England, under whose laws (which governed its colonies) one person could not own another. Chattel slavery was created by the colonial elite who decided to make their very profitable tobacco industry even more profitable by using slaves instead of contract labor. Colonial records reveal that unlawful enslavement was officially tolerated for decades; that it was incrementally regulated to meet slave owners’ felt needs; and that it was not legally authorized until late in the seventeenth or early in the eighteenth century.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

Literature and Intergenerational Justice

Elizabeth Markovits, Mount Holyoke College, has published Doddering Dotards and Brazen Ingrates: Archê and Finitude in Aristophanes, as an APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper. Here is the abstract.

Intergenerational justice has recently arrived (or resurfaced?) on the political theory scene in a big way. A number of scholars are trying to work out what we owe future generations in a general sense, while others are figuring out exactly what political rights children and not-yet-existing people may have. Yet almost all this work looks at the problem as a question of future generations, moving forward temporally to the generations after us, whether already born or not yet existing. In this paper, I want to engage in some looking backward: what are the demands of intergenerational justice when it comes to previous generations? While work on memory and historical injustice address some of the concerns here, I am specifically interested in still-existing generations, citizens who remain with us, but who are “past their prime” — that is, power has shifted to younger citizens. What does it mean to live in a temporal continuum, ceding power over what we have created to those who come after? How does our mortality figure into democratic freedom? While questions about old age obviously have moral import, there is also a political dimension. These are questions about power, how it circulates in a shared world, and how we can best temper its potentially destructive edges. To begin this exploration, I turn to Aristophanes and his use of the old man figure in Knights. In this work, Aristophanes presents a particular notion of old age, one that highlights its difficulties in a polity that demands youthful vigor. The essay then moves to Aristophanes’ portrayal of intergenerational dynamics in Clouds to probe the nature of these difficulties and what meaning they hold for democracy more generally. Because he so consistently draws upon the elderly figure, and because his work directly engages with the democratic life of Athens, Aristophanes provides readers with a wealth of material for thinking about the relationship between aging, democratic politics, and a robust sense of intergenerational justice.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

July 30, 2012

(Legal) Word Fight!

Lucy Ferriss discusses the exploits of forensic linguists in an essay for the Chronicle of Higher Education here.  More about what forensic linguists are and do here in the New Yorker (subscribers have access to the complete article). Aston University has a center devoted to the subject; more here.

July 27, 2012

I Vant To Drink Your Ink

Plagiarism Today explains how we have copyright law to thank for our familiarity with the conventions of vampire lore. More here.

Thanks to Gordon Firemark for the tip.

Language and Property In Sarah Fielding's "David Simple"

Simon Stern, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, has published Speech and Property in David Simple at 79 ELH: English Literary History 623 (Fall 2012). Here is the abstract.
Throughout Sarah Fielding's 1744 novel David Simple, conflicts over the citation, attribution, and withholding of others’ words are associated with property disputes and with acts of impersonation. The novel’s villains, driven by anxieties about scarcity, repeatedly seek to appropriate their victims’ material and verbal resources, reflexively categorizing them as a kind of property. These manipulative tactics — and the novel’s ambivalent attitude towards direct quotation — point to concerns implicit in contemporaneous thought about literary property, involving the problems associated with converting words into property and the difficulty of controlling what happens to them as a result.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

Teaching Techniques

Deborah Schander started the wiki "I've Got a Hit," devoted to using popular culture to teach legal issues. Check it out here.

Violence In the Dark

Reflecting on the Aurora, Colorado theater shootings, Stephen Marche discusses the link between violent acts and violent art. Check out his essay in the New York Times. 

July 26, 2012

Legal Intellectuals and Their Impact On Society

James R. Hackney, Jr., Northeastern University School of Law, has published Legal Intellectuals in Conversation: Reflections on the Construction of Contemporary American Legal Theory (New York University Press, 2012). Here is the abstract.

In this book the author examines the trajectory of American legal theory in the late 20th century by way of interviewing ten leading theorists. The interviews conducted with Bruce Ackerman, Jules Coleman, Drucilla Cornell, Charles Fried, Morton Horwitz, Duncan Kennedy, Catharine MacKinnon, Richard Posner, Austin Sarat, and Patricia Williams cover a wide breadth of contemporary legal theory — including law and economics, critical legal studies, rights theory, law and philosophy, critical race theory, critical legal history, feminist theory, postmodern theory, and law and society. The topics raised in the conversations include the early lives of interviewees as thinkers and scholars, their contributions to American legal theory, and their thoughts regarding some fundamental questions in legal academe.

Property and Money In Law and Literature

Andreas Rahmatian, University of Glasgow School of Law, has published Literature as a Set of Norms: The Fictions or Legal Concepts of Property and Money as Examples. Here is the abstract.

The common approach to law and literature is either looking at the law and legal process as depicted by literature (such as Dickens’s Bleak House or Kafka’s Trial), or at the law itself as a form of literature. But it does not commonly seem to be noticed that not only law could be literature, but literature could also be law. Both share the underlying components, words, which may render ideas into reality by prompting certain human behaviour according to their directions. The underlying language is a score which prescribes a type of performance, either in one’s mind, or in reality, and in any case, a pattern of human behaviour. Language, either rendered in literature in the usual meaning (for example as a novel), or language, words and figures, in form of a technical usage, can create norms. Thus literature, broadly understood, can either describe norms or create norms. This can be studied by looking at legal concepts of property, especially intellectual property, and money. The legal concepts of property, intellectual property and money can be regarded as instances of fiction, like a film script or theatre play. Literary and legal concepts share the same origin of fictional writing, the difference being that the words of a writer may entail a certain human behaviour, whereas the words of the law must lead to a certain human behaviour which is compulsory. This critical evaluation of the common source of concepts and characters in literature as well as in law invites a critical reassessment of the immutability and authority of certain legal concepts and also calls for a respectful consideration of the writers and playwrights: literature can be an authoritative force, at least an indirect one.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

July 24, 2012

New Issue of Nineteenth Century Gender Studies Devoted To Law and Gender

The new issue of the journal Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies (Summer 2012) centers on law and gender. It includes many interesting articles and book reviews, including Christine L. Krueger's "The Queer Heroism of a Man of Law in "A Tale of Two Cities" and Catherine Siemann's "Appellate Lawyers in Petticoats: Access to Justice in Wilkie Collins's "The Law and the Lady."

Thanks to Simon Stern of the University of Toronto School of Law and Department of English for alerting me to this very interesting issue.

Evidentiary Rules and "The Crucible"

Martin H. Pritikin, Whittier Law School, is publishing Can Law and Literature Be Practical? The Crucible and the Federal Rules of Evidence in the West Virginia Law Review. Here is the abstract.

Counter-intuitively, one of the best ways to learn the practice-oriented topic of evidence may be by studying a work of fiction — specifically, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, which dramatizes the 17th century Salem witch trials. The play puts the reader in the position of legal advocate, and invites strategic analysis of evidentiary issues. A close analysis of the dialogue presents an opportunity to explore both the doctrinal nuances of and policy considerations underlying the most important topics covered by the Federal Rules of Evidence, including relevance, character evidence and impeachment, opinion testimony, hearsay, and the mode and order of interrogation.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

Women's Citizenship and Marriage In the Nineteenth Century

Helen Irving, University of Sydney Faculty of Law, has published When Women Were Aliens: The Neglected History of Derivative Marital Citizenship as Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 12/47. Here is the abstract.
Between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, in virtually every country in the world, women who married foreign men were stripped of their citizenship, and turned into aliens in their own country. Marital denaturalization laws were supported by the international community until well after the Second World War: single citizenship, family unity, diplomatic convenience, and inter-state comity, were treated as imperatives that overrode women’s independent personal status. Such laws, which expanded at the very time when women were gaining legal and political rights, impacted radically, sometimes tragically, on individual lives, including rendering many thousands of women stateless. This essay gives an account of the emergence and evolution of such laws, with particular reference to Britain and the United States. It provides a ‘snapshot’ of individual cases, and an overview of the international community’s response.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

Reality Show Judging On TV

Cynthia D. Bond, The John Marshall Law School (Chicago), is publishing "'We, the Judge(s)': The Legalized Subject and Narratives of Adjudication in Reality T.V., in the UMKC Law Review. Here is the abstract.

At first a cultural oddity, Reality TV is now a cultural commonplace. These quasi-documentaries proliferate on a wide range of network and cable channels, proving adaptable to any audience demographic. Across a variety of types of “Reality” offerings, narratives of adjudication — replete with “judges,” “juries,” and “verdicts”— abound. Do these judgment formations simply reflect the often competitive structure or subtext of Reality TV? Or is there a deeper, more constitutive connection between Reality TV as a genre and narratives of law and adjudication?
This article looks beyond the many “judge shows” popular on Reality TV (e.g. Judge Judy, etc.) to examine the law-like operations of the genre itself, and how legal narratives dovetail with the increasingly participatory nature of our “convergence culture.” In addition, this article examines the ideologies these shows represent regarding community, and particularly the role of the legalized subject within this community. How does the prevalence of images of judges and judging on Reality TV fit into previous notions that media audiences empathize with legal processes by identifying with an “on-screen” jury, embodying shared, democratic decision-making? Do these shows play on pop cultural narratives of conflicts between judges (within the show) and juries (the viewing audience)? Finally, do such shows empower spectators by engaging them in democratic “knowledge collectives,” or instead represent a neo-liberal “technology of governmentality”? Ultimately, through its enactment of a range of adjudicatory and quasi-legal narratives, Reality TV emerges as a deeply regulatory space.
The full text is not available from SSRN. 

July 23, 2012

Calling Perry Mason

Do you like Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason novels? If so, and you've had a hard time finding them (many are out of print), then you may be happy to know the publisher is releasing a number in digital format at reasonable prices (under $6) for the Kindle. Titles include The Case of the Perjured Parrot, The Case of the Horrified Heirs, The Case of the Fabulous Fake, and the Case of the Fiery Fingers. I do love those alliterative titles. 

What I Really Want To Do Is Write

The Journal of Legal Education has announced the Top Ten Winners in its first Legal Fiction Contest. They are: Steven Semeraro, Peter Brennan, Gerald T. Hendrickson, Leslie Gielow Jacobs, Kyle Mallinak, Melissa F. Miller, Patrick C. O'Reilly, Risa Peris, John Power, and Marc Weitz. More here. You'll be able to read the winning work in the February 2013 issue of the JLE  (another ten winning entries will appear online).

The Second Amendment and European Human Rights

Stephen P. Halbrook has published Why Can’t We Be Like France? How the Right to Bear Arms Got Left Out of the Declaration of Rights and How Gun Registration Was Decreed Just in Time for the Nazi Occupation. Here is the abstract.
Should the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution be watered down to protect little if any right of the people to keep and bear arms according to European models? Disregarding that the United States originated in its Revolution based on that very right, recent suggestions by some Justices on the Supreme Court appear to think so. This same debate has been played out in Congress, where registration of firearms, supported by arguments in support of European models, have been rejected. This article counsels “be careful what you wish for,” using the experiences of France as the paradigm.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

Who Read Wollstonecraft?

Eileen Hunt Bottin, University of Notre Dame, is publishing Wollstonecraft in Europe: A Revisionist Reception History, 1792-1904 in the History of European Ideas (forthcoming). Here is the abstract. 

It has often been repeated that Wollstonecraft was not read for a century after her death in 1797 due to the negative impact of her husband William Godwin’s 'Memoirs of the Author of a Vindication of the Rights of Woman' (1798) on her posthumous reputation. By providing the first full-scale reception history of Wollstonecraft in continental Europe in the long nineteenth century — drawing on rare book research, translations of understudied primary sources, and Wollstonecraft scholarship from the nineteenth century to the present — this article applies a revised Rezeptionsgeschichte approach to tracing her intellectual influence on the woman question and organized feminism in Europe. Although the 'Memoirs' and post-revolutionary politics everywhere dampened and even drove underground the reception of her persona and ideas in the first decades of the nineteenth century, Wollstonecraft’s reception in nineteenth-century continental Europe, like the United States, was more positive and sustained in comparison to the public backlash she faced as a 'fallen woman' in her homeland of Britain through the bulk of the Victorian era.
The full text is not available from SSRN. 

July 20, 2012

A High Profile Crime In Early Twentieth Century Nevada

Carolyn B. Ramsey, University of Colorado Law School, has published A Diva Defends Herself: Gender and Domestic Violence in an Early Twentieth-Century Headline Trial, at 55 St. Louis University Law Journal 1347 (2011). Here is the abstract.

This short article was presented as part of a symposium on headline criminal trials, organized by St. Louis University School of Law in honor of Lawrence Friedman. It describes and analyzes the self-defense acquittal of opera singer Mae Talbot in Nevada in 1910 on charges of murdering her abusive husband. Based on extensive research into archival trial records and newspaper reports, the article discusses how the press, the court, and trial lawyers on both sides depicted the killing and Mae’s possible defenses. Without discounting the sensationalism and entertainment value, to a scandal-hungry public, of stories about violent marriages, I contend that press coverage of Mae Talbot’s trial and others like it served an important social function. It helped to make intimate-partner violence a public issue and to define men’s brutality toward their wives as improper and unmanly. However, the newspapers did not always get the story right. Despite reporters’ speculation that Mae would plead insanity, her defense team centered its case on the alternative theories of justifiable homicide and accident. The jury instructions given in the case and filed with the Washoe County Court tell an even more interesting story of a judge who supplemented black-letter self-defense law with commentary on gender roles and the decline of men’s right to beat their wives. The newspapers, the defense lawyers, and ultimately the trial judge all seemed to see the case as one in which the deceased’s wrongful behavior — that is, his brutality toward the defendant — played a central role. Mae was acquitted because she killed a man widely perceived to have violated his duties toward her as a husband. Although she was a glamorous entertainer, her case resonated with the acquittal of many ordinary women accused of murdering their batterers in the late 1800s and early 1900s. 
Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

Judicial Use of the Phrase "The Perfect Storm"

Carol McCrehan Parker, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Law, has published The Perfect Storm, the Perfect Culprit: How a Metaphor of Fate Figures In Judicial Opinions, at 43 McGeorge Law Review 323 (2012). Here is the abstract.

After the publication of a book and release of a movie, both titled “The Perfect Storm,” the phrase, “it was a perfect storm,” entered the popular culture in apparently limitless contexts, including at least 140 judicial opinions. Apparently even by those who have never read the book or seen the movie, a reference to “a perfect storm” is understood to embody the story of a fishing boat lost in a terrible storm, in which multiple forces converged in a singular event to produce devastating consequences which could not have been foreseen or prevented. Nothing could have been done to prevent the damage, and no one is to blame.

This article discusses the construction of the perfect storm metaphor and examines how its narrative elements figure in judicial opinions. By emphasizing the convergence of forces, the metaphor promotes a view of multiple causation as “perfect” and separate from human agency. By emphasizing the singular quality of the storm, the metaphor invites arguments urging a highly contextualized reading and suggesting that since a perfect storm is unlikely to recur, any precedential effect of the case so described will be minimal. By conjuring up the awesome and mysterious forces of nature, the metaphor may work to absolve individuals of responsibility for the consequences of their own actions. In short, the perfect storm is the perfect culprit.

Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

July 17, 2012

New Book From Desmond Manderson

Desmond Manderson has published Kangaroo Courts and the Rule of Law--The Legacy of Modernism with Routledge. Here is the description of the book's contents from the publisher's website.

Kangaroo Courts and the Rule of Law -The Legacy of Modernism addresses the legacy of contemporary critiques of language for the concept of the rule of law. Between those who care about the rule of law and those who are interested in contemporary legal theory, there has been a dialogue of the deaf, which cannot continue. Starting from the position that contemporary critiques of linguistic meaning and legal certainty are too important to be dismissed, Desmond Manderson takes up the political and intellectual challenge they pose. Can the rule of law be re-configured in light of the critical turn of the past several years in legal theory, rather than being steadfastly opposed to it? Pursuing a reflection upon the relationship between law and the humanities, the book stages an encounter between the influential theoretical work of Jacques Derrida and MIkhail Bakhtin, and D.H. Lawrence's strange and misunderstood novel Kangaroo (1923). At a critical juncture in our intellectual history - the modernist movement at the end of the first world war - and struggling with the same problems we are puzzling over today, Lawrence articulated complex ideas about the nature of justice and the nature of literature. Using Lawrence to clarify Derrida’s writings on law, as well as using Derrida and Bakhtin to clarify Lawrence’s experience of literature, Manderson makes a robust case for 'law and literature.' With this framework in mind he outlines a 'post-positivist' conception of the rule of law - in which justice is imperfectly possible, rather than perfectly impossible. 

July 15, 2012

ASLCH Graduate Student Workshop 2013

From Linda Meyer, Quinnipiac College
The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities (ASLCH) will hold its second annual Graduate Student Workshop on March 21, 2013. The half-dayworkshop immediately precedes the ASLCH Annual Meeting to be hosted by Birkbeck, University of London on March 22-23, 2013.  Applicants may be graduate students from any discipline or law students with scholarly interests in Law, Culture, and the Humanities.
 The Graduate Student Workshop's aims are to promote the future development of the field of Law, Culture and the Humanities through the development of ourjunior colleagues by bringing together graduate students and established scholars in Law, Culture, and the Humanities. During seminars, panel discussions, informal conversation, and shared meals, we will discuss scholarly work, give feedback on student research projects, address issues pertinent to professional development, and facilitate scholarly networks between graduate and faculty colleagues by encouraging intellectual community.
 ASLCH Graduate Student Workshop Applications - the deadline for applications is 1st December 2012 - participants will be notified by 15th January. Applicants must register for the conference, re-send their conference paper abstract, and submit a one-page statement characterizing their doctoral or law school academic research and explaining how it relates to interdisciplinary research in law, culture, and the humanities.  Applicants must also submit a CV of no more than two pages along with their statement and abstract. These may be emailed to Stewart Motha at s.motha@bbk.ac.uk Please ensure that all files attached to emails bear the applicant's surname.
 Although our usual practice is to subsidize Thursday night’s accommodation for workshop participants, this year, the selected workshop participants will receive, for this special international conference, support for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights’ accommodation.

July 14, 2012

Job Posting: Rhetoric and Public Culture, Indiana University, Bloomington

Assistant Professor in Rhetoric and Public Culture Indiana University, Bloomington

Indiana University, Department of Communication and Culture, seeks an Assistant Professor in Rhetoric and Public Culture focused on the rhetorical critique of law and/or public policy with an orientation toward civic engagement.  This is a tenure-track position, which requires a strong research agenda, a commitment to excellence in teaching, and a PhD completed prior to August 2012.

In addition to teaching graduate courses in rhetoric and public culture that reflect core requirements and more specialized areas of expertise in law and/or public policy, the person filling this position is expected to teach undergraduate courses in areas such as freedom of speech, argumentation and advocacy, and legal communication.  Ideally, this person would help to mentor undergraduate students aiming for careers in law, government, and non-government organizations as well as enhance linkages with the interdisciplinary Political and Civic Engagement Program (PACE), the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (which maintains a campus debate program), and the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions.

Applicants should send via email a letter of application, curriculum vitae, writing sample, and three letters of recommendation to:  Robert Ivie, Chair, RPC Search Committee c/o Amy Cornell, Assistant to the Chair, Department of Communication and Culture atcmcl@indiana.edu> or to RPC Search Committee, 800 East Third Street, Bloomington, IN 47405.  Email applications preferred.  Review of applications will begin on September 28th, 2012 and continue until the position is filled.

Indiana University is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.  The university actively encourages applications of women, minorities, applicants with disabilities, and members of other underrepresented groups

Invitation and Call For Participation: Northeast Regional Law and Society Meeting, January 2013

Northeast Regional Law and Society Meeting
January 11-12, 2013
Amherst College

Invitation and Call for Participation

You are cordially invited to participate in the third Northeast Regional Law and Society Conference which will be held at Amherst College on January 11 and 12, 2013. This meeting is intended for law and society scholars from New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

We have designed this conference to bring together faculty and graduate students from the region's diverse community of law and society scholars for two days of intellectual exchange and community building. We hope to provide a collegial, informal, and small setting in which to explore law and society as a field, to introduce scholars to the field, to discuss areas in which our research agendas need to be developed, to engage debates about the various theories which animate our work, and to establish an intellectual forum for sustained and engaged conversation.  The meeting will provide the occasion for a lively mix of small group discussions, presentations, debates, and social gatherings, all designed to encourage spirited dialog and collegial conversation.

We will be organizing sessions of the following types:

  1. Paper Presentation Sessions. In these sessions we will have one paper and two commentators who read and discuss the paper and in which the paper which they discuss would be circulated in advance to those who would like to attend the session We invite scholars interested in having their work be the focus of such a session to send a one page abstract of your paper as an e-mail attachment in Word or RTF to northeastlaw@amherst.edu by October 1st, 2012.  

  1. Critical Intervention Sessions.  For these sessions we will revisit classic texts in the field and/or leading scholars will pose questions about, and moderate discussions of, key research areas. Examples of the kinds of topics considered in past years: legal consciousness, law and war, psychoanalysis and law, and race and racial justice.

We will also have a plenary speaker.

You are invited to attend without presenting work, to submit a proposal to present work in a paper presentation session, or to volunteer to serve as a chair/commentator.

If you are interested in serving as a chair/commentator, please send an e-mail to northeastlaw@amherst.edu by October 1st, 2012 indicating your willingness to serve and your areas of expertise/interest.

If you have any questions please contact Austin Sarat at adsarat@amherst.edu or 413-542-2308.

Sixteenth Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities

From Linda Meyer, Quinnipiac College
Call for Papers
 16th Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities University of London, Birkbeck March 22 and March 23, 2013
  Sculpting the Human: Law, Culture and Biopolitics
  In recent times, diverse thinkers and artists including Foucault, Derrida, Esposito, Malabou, Coetzee, Agamben, Latour, Kentridge, Nancy, Butler and Brown have raised, or attempted to re-articulate, the question of ‘the human.’ The ASLCH meeting at Birkbeck, London, invites you to (re-)consider transformations in contemporary legal arrangements in light of emerging theoretical, cultural, economic, aesthetic, philosophical, and socio-political understandings or interrogations of the ‘human’. Tapping diverse conceptualizations of the indeterminacy frequently associated with the human, conference participants are invited to engage contemporary analyses of humans, others and legal forms.
 The question of the human is, in many ways, an age-old one.  In other ways, however, it is peculiarly ours as we face current debates on what it is to qualify as human, in-human or animal life. These might include, but need not be limited to, discussions on: changing political cultures of disqualified lives; re-negotiating the subjects of postcolonial governance; understanding new forms of life politics and the associated determinations of life sciences; literary and artistic chronicles of intersecting orders and disorders; science fiction’s utopian or dystopian futures; the use of warbot and drone technologies; geographies of beastly spaces; histories and ethnographies that highlight the ordering required to exact popular hierarchies; the reframed spirit of bodies; visions of who may be tortured, or locked away as inhuman; critical images of human and animal rights; deployed governmental homologies between beasts and sovereigns; biopolitical frames that prefigure subjects through statistics, demography, neuroscience but also via ‘immunization’, ‘plasticity’, and so on.
 Law is a place where these orders, distinctions and divisions are frequently navigated, constituted, articulated, shared and enforced. The narratives, rights, justifications, punishments and neglect represented or contested through law intimate the legal codes by which humans and others are drawn into orders of the governed. Participants are encouraged to reflect on this broad, but not exclusive, conference theme.
 Paper and panel proposals will be accepted until Oct 15.  For more information and registration instructions:  www.regonline.com/16thannualmeetingLCH>
 For those interested in applying for our graduate student workshop or Austin Sarat graduate student presentation award:
http://www.law.syr.edu/academics/centers/lch/graduate_student_workshop.html  For those interested in applying for our Julien Mezey dissertation award:

July 13, 2012

Shakespearians In Court

From the Blog of Legal Times, coverage of the lawsuit brought by the DC-based Shakespeare Theatre Company against its landlord, Lansburgh Theater, Inc. The company is alleging that Lansburgh Theater wants to force it out of its present home and consequently has raised its rent. A lot. Lansburgh says the company's lease was up. Lansburgh removed the case, originally filed in DC Superior Court, to federal court; the federal judge has now sent it back. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.

July 10, 2012

Does "Wings" Hold the Key To the ACA Decision?

The Wall Street Journal's Jess Bravin blogs here that Chief Justice Roberts's mention of the 1927 film "Wings" may point toward an explanation of his opinion in the recent health care decision. Commentators on the WSJ post sharply disagree.

July 7, 2012

Hey, Olympiad! Who's Your Daddy?

Frank Deford traces the history of the modern Olympics to the work of William Penny Brookes, in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, England, and notes the particular English contribution to international sporting competitions.

July 3, 2012

Andy Griffith Dies (1926-2012)

Andy Griffith, who starred in two legal tv shows, has died at the age of 86. Mr. Griffith, who played the gentle and wise Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry, North Carolina in "The Andy Griffith Show" in the 1960s and later Ben Matlock in "Matlock" from 1986 to 1995, became a familiar face not just in the US but around the world as well as a pop culture icon. Grampa Simpson on "The Simpsons" is a faithful "Matlock" fan, and in one episode of the show, the Mayor of Springfield decides to rename the downtown expressway the "Matlock Expressway" as a vote-getting ploy.

Mr. Griffith got his start as a  comedian. One of his most famous monologues was "What It Was, Was Football,"  which he later recorded, and which became a hit single. He starred in the movies A Face In the Crowd (1957) and No Time For Sergeants (1958), and several other films throughout his long career, and made a number of tv movies. He was also known for his recordings. More here from NPR.

Selected Bibliography

Neil Genzlinger, Sheriff Who Gave Stature To Small-Town Smarts, New York Times, July 4, 2012, at A1.

Gail Levin Richmond, Matlock, in Prime Time Law: Fictional Television as Legal Narrative (Robert M. Jarvis & Paul Joseph eds., Carolina Academic Press, 1998) at 55.

July 2, 2012

June Issue of Law, Culture, and the Humanities

The June 2012 issue of Law, Culture, and the Humanities, "Heeding the Call of Justice: Humanistic Perspectives on Contemporary Affairs," includes

Robin Wagner-Pacifici, Occupy Wall Street: The Return of the Repressed

Susanna Lee, Revisiting the Parent-Child Analogy: Implications for Law and Judgment

George Pavlich, Legal Judgment and Cape Colonial Law

Gavin Byrne, Authenticity as a Justification for Precedent

Dawn Watkins, Alexander Pope and the Rape of the Lock--Conciliation or Judgment?

Lori G. Beaman, Is Religious Freedom Impossible in Canada?

Ivan Crozier and Gethin Rees, Making a Space For Medical Expertise: Medical Knowledge of Sexual Assault and the Construction of Boundaries Between Forensic Medicine and the Law in Late Nineteenth-Century England

Mark E. Button, "Hubris Breeds the Tyrant": The Anti-Politics of Hubris from Thebes to Abu Ghraib

Joan Kee, Connisseurship and Its Potential in Matters of Copyright

Leticia Barrera, Relocalizing the Judicial Space: Place, Access, and Mobilization in Judicial Practice in Post-Crisis Argentina