August 28, 2014

Call For Papers: Special Issue of the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law

From Anne Wagner at the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law:

Expert in Legal Semiotics and Communication, Associate Professor
You are invited to contribute a paper to a special issue of the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law (IJSL) in English, Guest edited by Rafat Y. Alwazna. The special issue will be devoted to deal with issues related to Islamic Law. The themes of the issue include, but are not limited to the following:

• The translatability of Islamic Law
• The linguistic aspects of Islamic texts
• Terms and concepts peculiar to Islamic Law
• Differences in the interpretation of meanings and concepts among the four Sunni Schools of Law
• Legal reasoning within the realm of Islamic Law
• Islamic culture and its influence on Islamic legal rulings

Paper abstracts should be up to 200 words, and full papers should not exceed 15,000 words. All paper abstracts should be sent to

Important Dates:

Deadline for paper abstract submission is 1-10-2014.
Notification of abstract acceptance is 1-11-2014.
Deadline for full paper submission is 1-5-2015.
The special issue is expected to be published in 2015-2016.

For more information about the IJSL, please visit:

Queer Objects: A Symposium With Robyn Wiegman and Annamarie Jagose

From the Australian National University, announcement of a forthcoming Symposium:
‘The rejection of essentialism,’ David Halperin writes in How to be Gay (2012), ‘did not prevent the original founders of queer theory from asking “What do Queers want?”’. In her Object Lessons (2012), Robyn Wiegman explores the political and institutional effects of scholarly attachments to objects of knowledge. Queer theory is, for Wiegman, one of several ‘identity knowledges’ that share a commitment to social justice and that can teach us lessons about what and how we want.
More than two decades after queer theory’s emergence, presenters at this symposium are invited to engage with queer as an objectand with the object lessons of queer theory.
• Camp objects and aesthetics
• Screens and closets
• Queer knowledge: secrets and revelations
• Queer archives and ephemera
• Queer bodies and voices
• Antinormativity
• Queer as death drive / form of life.
For further information and to register your attendance please contact symposium convenor Monique Rooney:

August 26, 2014

ABA Journal Cartoon Caption Contest Open

The ABA Journal is running its September cartoon captioning contest. Submit your caption by September 14, 2014 and receive the title of Champion (for a month at least). See last month's winner here.

The Supreme Court Justice League of America

Per Steve Klepper of Balti­more's Kramon & Graham for the National Law Journal. (Requires subscription to view the entire SC effect). See more of Mr. Klepper's Supreme Court judicial action heroes here at the Maryland Appellate Blog.

August 25, 2014

Register Now For John Jay MOOC On Literature and Law of American Slavery

Registration is now open for John Jay College of Criminal Justice's MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on the Literature and Law of American Slavery. It is the first ever such course offered. It begins September 30, 2014 and lasts for eight weeks. Distinguished Professor of English John Matteson, who won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for his book, Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father, designed the curriculum and will lead the course instruction. More here at John Jay's webpage. 

August 18, 2014

Early Modern Ideas of Legal Pluralism

Richard J. Ross, University of Illinois College of Law & University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Department of History, and Philip J. Stern, Duke University Department of History, have published Reconstructing Early Modern Notions of Legal Pluralism in Legal Pluralism and Empires, 1500-1850 109-141 (Lauren Benton and Richard J. Ross, eds.; New York: New York University Press, 2013).

Legal pluralism occurs when two or more legal orders exert control within a given territory or over a particular social group and yet are not part of a single hierarchical “system” under a coordinating authority. Most historical scholarship on legal pluralism concentrates on its shifting structures in local contexts and on its political and economic implications. By contrast, our essay probes historical actors’ uses of political and religious thought to justify or undermine plural legal regimes in the late sixteenth through early eighteenth centuries. Historians of early modern political thought preoccupied with the rise of the modern state have lavished attention on ‘centralizing’ discourses, particularly theorists such as Bodin, Hobbes, and Pufendorf represented as champions of sovereignty. Against this tendency, we emphasize how ideological support for plural legal orders could be found in a wide range of intellectual projects. These ranged from debates over the right of resistance and the divine right of rulers, through historical work on the ancient Jewish commonwealth and theological disputes over which precepts “bound conscience,” and finally to writings on political economy and the place of family.

Social scientific and jurisprudential work on legal pluralism has focused a set of canonical problems. Should we focus on jurisdictional or normative accounts of pluralism? How can we distinguish the “legal” from the “non-legal,” a dispute that centers on whether to include in pluralist models the norms of families and civil society organizations? How can we model the complex dialectic relation of state and nonstate systems of order? To the extent that this work relies on a historical account spanning the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, it assumes that a once rich medieval legal pluralism withered as European statebuilding consolidated crown control of law with the ideological support of theories of sovereignty. The intellectual foundation for — if not the practice of — legal centralism arose in this period. The frequent invocation of Bodin, Suarez, Grotius, Hobbes, and Pufendorf as the founding theorists of sovereignty and legal centralism creates the impression that pluralistic thinking was impoverished or on the wane. The central ambition of our article is to provide an alternative historical genealogy for legal scholars of pluralism. Workaday legal pluralism did not struggle against a predominantly hostile intellectual climate. Many discourses supported pluralism. And the most emphatic theorists of a powerful singular sovereign were often responding to intellectual projects that valorized pluralism.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link. 

August 15, 2014

New Issue of Law and Humanities Now Available

The June 2014 issue (volume 8, no. 1) of Law and Humanities is now available. Here is the table of contents.

Gary Watt, Editorial  at iii.

Ronnie Lippens, The Light of High Modern Discipline: Viewing the Birth, Life and Death of the Disciplinary Society in William Hogarth, Joseph wright of Derby and Edward Hopper  at 1-18.

Barbara J. Shapiro, 'Beyond Reasonable Doubt': The Neglected Eighteenth-Century Context  at 19-52.

Paul Raffield, The Trials of Shakespeare: Courtroom Drama and Early Modern English Law, at 53-76

Desmond Manderson, AD 2014: A Review of Eve Darian-Smith: Laws and Societies in Global Contexts--Contemporary Approaches, at 77-87. 

Leslie J. Moran, Visual Law: A Review of Lief Dahlberg, ed.: Visualising Law and Authority: Essays on Legal Aesthetics, at 88-95.

Ian Ward, Impressions of Bagehot: A Review of Frank Prochaska: The Memoirs of Walter Bagehot (Yale University Press, 2013), at 96-103

Gary Watt, Creative Voices--Student Writing in Law and Literature at 104-110

Sean Mulcahy, Can a Literary Approach to Matters of Legal Concern Offer a Fairer Hearing than that Typically Offered by the Law? at 111-135.

Paul Raffield, Student Lawyer-Playwrights and the Theatre of Law, at 136-145.

Call For Papers: U.S. Feminist Judgments Project

From Bridget Crawford, Pace Law School, comes this Call for Papers:
The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project seeks contributors of revised opinions and commentary for an edited collection entitled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court. This edited volume is a collaborative project among feminist law professors and others to rewrite, from a feminist perspective, key Supreme Court decisions relevant to gender issues. Editors Kathy Stanchi, Linda Berger and Bridget Crawford seek prospective authors for 20 to 25 rewritten Supreme Court opinions covering a range of topics including reproductive rights, equal protection, the state’s use of criminal power, privacy, the family, women’s political participation, Title IX, employment discrimination and substantive due process. The editors also seek authors for commentaries of 1,500 to 2,500 words to put into context each of the rewritten cases.
The U.S. Feminist Judgments project was inspired by the successful collection and publication in Britain of Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice, edited by Rosemary Hunter, Clare McGlynn, and Erika Rackley. This volume, which included feminist versions of twenty-three key British decisions from the Court of Appeal and House of Lords, was published in 2010 and has been very well received. Like the sister project in Britain, the U.S. Feminist Judgments Project endeavors to pioneer “a new form of critical socio-legal scholarship” that illustrates how cases could have been decided differently had a feminist method been employed. We believe that U.S. Supreme Court law is ripe for this kind of scholarly treatment.
Those who are interested in rewriting an opinion or providing the commentary on one of the rewritten opinions should fill out an application here:
Applications are due by September 15, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. eastern. Editors will notify accepted authors and commentators by October 7, 2014. First drafts of rewritten opinions will be due on February 1, 2015. First drafts of comments on the rewritten opinions will be due on March 15, 2015. The editors are in the process of identifying a publisher; publication of the final volume is anticipated for late 2015.
A list of cases tentatively scheduled for rewriting is available here:
Applicants may indicate their preferences among the list of cases. Applicants also may suggest other cases for rewriting. The tentative cases were chosen with the input and advice of an Advisory Panel of distinguished U.S. scholars including Kathryn Abrams, Katharine Bartlett, Devon Carbado, Mary Anne Case, Erwin Chemerinsky, April Cherry, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Martha Fineman, Margaret Johnson, Sonia Katyal, Nancy Leong, Catharine MacKinnon, Rachel Moran, Melissa Murray, Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Nancy Polikoff, Dorothy Roberts, Dan Rodriguez, Susan Ross, Vicki Schultz, Dean Spade, Robin West, and Verna Williams.

August 4, 2014

Law, Race, and Place

Mae Kuykendall, Michigan State University College of Law, has published Restatement of Place in volume 79 of the Brooklyn Law Review (2014). Here is the abstract.

Images and intuitions of place are ubiquitous in human thought. Dominion over place is one of the first anchors of the conception of law, providing a rationale for sovereign control over defined land boundaries. Place is also embedded in attempts to define rights and regulate conduct. For example, in slave times in the United States, the rights of masters and the duties of slaves were conceived within an assumption of proximity, duties of obedience, and a return consideration of paternalism and care. At the same time, slaves’ bodies became a tradable commodity and their labor an input into commodity pricing on international markets, thereby combining a place-anchored rationale in the governing legal rationalization with faceless commerce across borders in human bodies and forced labor. Ideas about place have increased in visibility in the regulation of the female body, with attempts to map the body and demarcate permissible, or public and observable parts of the body fairly subject to control over a place. With the increased mobility of people, both en masse and using modern travel for individual transit, and with the arrival of cyber reality, the importance of place is in transition. At the same time, place has mystical meanings, manifested in the impulse to claim as sacred sites of death by accident or by mass destruction. The demand is expressed by improvised memorials such as roadside crosses and formal designations of a site such as the World Trade Center for commemoration as well as commerce. Law must mediate the competing interests implicated by differing views of the social needs affecting such sites. This Article explores these and other contexts for the uncertain moral weight in law of place as a guiding factor for rules and decisions. Place has no overarching theory in law. In light of its many contexts, place is a complex and subtle factor in law. The task of fashioning a Restatement of Place across many dimensions is by no means patently manageable, but a sustained effort should bear fruit. The ambiguities in our collective understanding of place as an orienting feature of our legally relevant interactions merit close study, organizing theory, and reformist efforts.

Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

A Playwright's Thomas Jefferson

Mae Kuykendall, Michigan State University College of Law, has published Sandra Seaton's 'A Bed Made in Heaven'; Family, Race, and Law in Nineteenth-Century America in volume 41 of Midwestern Miscellany (2014). Here is the abstract.

This essay seeks to enter into the imaginative understanding created by playwright Sandra Seaton in 'A Bed Made in Heaven', her play about Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings, and the familial setting they shared with his children from his marriage with the deceased Martha Jefferson and Hemings’s blood relatives, especially her mother Elizabeth Hemings. Because Seaton creates a portrait of family connection, with foibles, outside pressures, and resentments, she allows a generous reading of Jefferson as a person. In her rendering, he is a man divided between deep loyalty to a family yet unwilling to defy the political force of public opinion. She presents his family debates, in which he asks family members to accept outside forces and insult as a given in their lives and to accept his split between his intimate racial ties and his public support for racist ideas and laws. The result is a generous reading of one family bond. The play does not offer a morally fraught, political and historical assessment of Jefferson as a bad or a good man. Rather, it traces the complex familial history of Americans living today in the legacy of unreadable connections across the pre-Civil War racial divide, many (most) made only of brutality, some of family compromise in a setting that implicates a member in injustice, and all clouded by the enslavement of women family members. Seaton strives to capture the family complexity in the close quarters of Monticello, a home crowded with memories, resentments, and clashing needs and pretensions.

Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

Law and Hispanic Literature: A New Publication

Our friend José Calvo González of the University of Malaga Faculty of Law tells us of the publication of
Derecho y Literatura Hispánica, a special issue of the journal Studi ispanici  for 2014. Professor Calvo is the editor of this 368 page issue which includes the very interesting contents listed below.

José Calvo González
Presentación, pp. 11-20
Jesús Rodríguez-Velasco
Voz Muerta. Poética social y retóricas notariales en las Siete Partidas, pp. 21-40
Maximiliano A. Soler Bistué
A viva voz. La fuerza jurídica del relato en la fazaña castellana bajomedieval, pp. 41-50
Jennifer Darrell
«Contaré un caso»: la justicia y el poder en Lazarillo de Tormes, pp. 51-68
Luis Galván Moreno
La justicia en algunos autos bíblicos de Calderón, pp. 69-80
Antonio Barnés Vázquez
Don Quijote y Preciosa ante lo justo, pp. : 81-90
María Pilar García Negro
Iusfeminismo de Rosalía de Castro como refundación de la Auctoritas: autor, autoría, autoridad, pp. 91-100
Cristina Monereo Atienza
Cuestión social y derechos de la mujer en La esfinge maragata, de Concha Espina, pp. 101-116
Juan Antonio García Amado
Sobre las paradojas inmanentes a todo Derecho. A propósito del cuento La Ley, de Max Aub
pp. 117-128


José Calvo González
Los espectros de Dreyfus en Darío: del non-engagement al non-alignement, en epílogo, pp. 129-148
Carmelo Delgado Cintrón
Dominación colonial y expresión literaria: desde Aleluyas hasta Seva, pp. 149-172
Daniel Rojas Pachas
Ejercicio del poder como arquitectura carcelaria en El Señor Presidente y Arturo, la estrella más brillante, pp. 173-186
Felipe Navarro Martínez
El infierno tan temido y los círculos de la verdad, pp. 187-198 (12)
Roberto González Echevarría
El derecho romano en la constitución de Macondo, pp. 199-214
Peter Popp
Para una lectura jurídico-literaria de Crónica de una muerte anunciada desde la responsabilidad individual y colectiva, pp. 215-230
Daniel J. García López
Los espacios de la norma y los monstruos de Copi, pp. 231-248
Carlos Fradique-Méndez
Casos jurídicos en las "Niñas tristes", pp. 249-264
Felipe Fucito
La pregunta de sus ojos: una concepción del imaginario jurídico, pp. 265-248
Jaime Francisco Coaguila Valdivia
Tramas de violencia en Abril Rojo, de Santiago Roncagliolo, pp. 285-294
Carlos Ramos Núñez
La justicia y los jueces en el Sueño del celta de Mario Vargas Llosa, pp. 295-313


Juan López de Cuéllar y Vega
Declamación histórica y jurídica en defensa de la poesía, pp. 314-336
José Calvo González
Derecho poético en Rosalía de Castro: Vae Victis (Selbstjustiz), pp. 337-340
Claudio Antonio Castañeda, Manuel de J. Jiménez
Sobre la Iuspoética, pp. 341-354

See Walter Run

Scott Shimick, SUNY, Geneseo, is publishing Heisenberg's Uncertainty: An Analysis of Criminal Tax Pretextual Prosecutions in the Context of Breaking Bad's Notorious Anti-Hero, in the Tulsa Law Review. Here is the abstract. 

Commentators have roundly criticized pretextual prosecutions, such as prosecuting Al Capone for tax evasion rather than bootlegging, arguing that the government should minimize the use of pretextual prosecutions. However, pretextual prosecutions serve as a valuable tool for law enforcement.
In Breaking Bad, Walter White becomes a violent criminal who produces and sells narcotics. Throughout the series, he is very careful to conceal or destroy any evidence linking him to the violence and drug trafficking. However, as the bootleggers and gangsters of the Prohibition-era learned, the government holds the trump card, criminal tax prosecution. By charging drug traffickers with criminal tax fraud, the government can imprison dangerous criminals without having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the drug traffickers actually produced and sold narcotics. This article examines criminal tax fraud statutes and methods of proof, analyzing these statutes and methods in the context of whether Walter White should have fled from prosecution. Through this analysis, this article demonstrates the value of pretextual criminal tax fraud prosecutions.

Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

Call For Panel and Paper Proposals, Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities, 18th Annual Meeting

The Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities will hold its Eighteenth Annual Meeting at the Georgetown University Law Center, March 6-7, 2015. 
Panel and paper proposals are due Wednesday, October 15th, 2014. 
Below is a description of the call for papers and proposals, a statement of the Association's mission, and information on registration from ASLCH President James Martel.
The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities is an organization of scholars engaged in interdisciplinary, humanistically-oriented legal scholarship. The Association brings together a wide range of people engaged in scholarship on legal history, legal theory and jurisprudence, law and cultural studies, law and anthropology, law and literature, law and the performing arts, and legal hermeneutics. We want to encourage dialogue across and among these fields about issues of interpretation, identity, and values, about authority, obligation, and justice, and about law's role as a constituent part of cultures and communities.
This year, the Association will not have a specific conference theme in order to encourage the broadest range of participation possible.  The Program Committee believes that the diversity of the Association's members is its strength and that the themes that emerge from the conference should arise organically from the various interests of the members, without an overarching subject-matter directive.  Accordingly, we encourage proposals of panels or papers around any of the broad themes that engage with law, culture, and the humanities.  Examples of types of sessions the conference has featured in the past include:
History, Memory and Law; Reading Race; Law and Literature; Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism; Speech, Silence, and the Language of Law; Judgment, Justice, and Law; Beyond Identity; The Idea of Practice in Legal Thought; Metaphor and Meaning; Representing Legality in Film and Mass Media; Anarchy, Liberty and Law; What is Excellence in Interpretation?; Ethics, Religion, and Law; Moral Obligation and Legal Life; The Post-Colonial in Literary and Legal Study; Processes and Possibilities in Interdisciplinary Law Teaching.
However, these should be viewed as examples only.  Any proposals that interrogate law as a cultural form or view law through the lens of the humanities are welcomed.  We urge those interested in attending to consider submitting complete panels, and we hope to encourage a variety of formats, including roundtables, sessions at which everyone reads the papers in advance, sessions in which commentators respond to a single paper, and so on. We also invite proposals for sessions in which the focus is on pedagogy or methodology, for author-meets-readers sessions organized around important books in the field, or for sessions in which participants focus on performance (theatrical, filmic, musical, poetic).
How to register:ASLCH uses a two part registration system (this will all be explained in detail on the website). First you register your paper or panel and pay a $35 membership fee. This should be done by October 15th, 2014, assuming your paper or panel is accepted, you go back to the same website (an email will be sent on that day to remind you) and pay the conference fee. All panelists will be notified about their acceptance before the new year.
Here is the link to register: 

Registration Open for Central States Law Schools Association 2014 Scholarship Conference, October 2014

Registration is now open for the Central States Law Schools Association 2014 Scholarship Conference, which will be held on Friday, October 10 and Saturday, October 11 at the Louisiana State University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We invite law faculty from across the country to submit proposals to present papers or works in progress. Here is a link to the registration page.

CSLSA is an organization of law schools dedicated to providing a forum for conversation and collaboration among law school academics. The CSLSA Annual Conference is an opportunity for legal scholars, especially more junior scholars, to present working papers or finished articles on any law-related topic in a relaxed and supportive setting where junior and senior scholars from various disciplines are available to comment. More mature scholars have an opportunity to test new ideas in a less formal setting than is generally available for their work. Scholars from member and nonmember schools are invited to attend.