January 22, 2015

Amherst College Press Announces a New Series Devoted to Law, Literature, and Culture

Announcement of a new publishing initiative:

Laws | Literatures | Cultures
Austin D. sArAt series editor 
Editorial Advisory Board:
Peter Brooks Princeton University
susAn sAge HeinzelmAn University of Texas at Austin
BernADette meyler Stanford University
rAvit reicHmAn Brown University
eric slAuter University of Chicago

The crossroads of  legal scholarship and literary criticism has, over more than forty years of  writing and research, become a busy intellectual intersection. As a ground of  inquiry, law and literature has transformed from a novel set of  proposals to a mature field of  study and writing, with well-established perspectives and positions, courses offered for both undergraduates and law students, and the emergence of  its own journals. Writers who have shaped the field include legal and political theorists, jurists, literary scholars, ethnographers, and historians.

Despite these accomplishments it remains the case, as Kenji Yoshino observed nearly ten years ago, that “law and literature has been caught in limbo for a particularly long time.”1 The early division in the field between law- in-literature and law-as-literature has been exhaustively explored. The time is ripe for the encouragement and
development of  new approaches in the field, pathways offering the possibility of  greater insights and new analyses of challenges confronting societies in a variety of  cultures and legal orders.

Laws, Literatures, and Cultures, a new series supported by the Amherst College Press, will provide a forum for this work. As a digital-first, open-access scholarly publisher, the Amherst College Press offers scholars working at the intersections of  these questions new tools for supporting research and publishing—and the potential of  greatly increased impact through immediate and unfettered access to titles we produce.

In our new series, we are seeking work that will set law, literature, and culture in new dialogues, exploring the textual dimensions and cultural work of  law and the legal frameworks of  literature. Law and literature have for millennia been closely allied, as means of  persuasion and the creation of  cultural norms.  Seting law and literature in juxtaposition permits a mapping from one to the other that often produces startling and important results. In addition, we seek work that draws literary, legal, and/or cultural analysis together in the serviced of  exploring and understanding specific social and political problems and that attends carefully to the exploration of  history.

We also seek work expanding the consideration of  these questions to cultural settings, literary traditions, and legal systems outside the common law. Of  particular interest are works that define and argue a thesis drawing on both textual and non-textual sources for which a multimodal, digital presentation offers unique expressive power.

Laws, Literatures, and Cultures will entertain proposals for works of  all forms, from longer, traditional monograph- length studies to collections of  shorter works. We are open as well to projects with no clear parallel in the print tradition. In the case of  all our works we will subject submissions to a rigorous process of  peer review and evaluation.. Upon release, works will be supported by the Press’s commitment to creating pathways to annotation and comment from the community of  scholars and students engaging with our work. While developed in the first instance as web-based and downloadable digital works, books in the series will also be prepared and released as printed works through a print-on-demand pathway.
For information: acpress@amherst.edu

1 Kenji Yoshino, “The City and the Poet,” Yale Law Journal 114 (2005), 1837.

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