August 13, 2015

Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities Opens Its Call for Papers

From James Martel:

We are pleased to announce that the Nineteenth Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities will be held at the University of Connecticut Law School, in Hartford, CT on April 1-2nd, 2016. We invite your participation.  Please note, panel and paper proposals are due Thursday, October 15th, 2015
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.
If you have any general questions about the conference, please do not hesitate to ask me at For matters related to the program or its organization, please write to Simon Stern  I want to thank the members of the program committee, chaired by Simon Stern for all their hard work on the Call for Papers. 
This year’s conference theme is Reading Race, Writing Race and Living Race
 “Within the text of the law there is an afterlife of slavery … as matters of aesthetic and legal representation … as an aesthetics of legal representation”
–Stephen Best, The Fugitive's Properties: Law and the Poetics of Possession, 14
The question of race is central to historical and contemporary violence, to material conditions, reproduction and global politics. In the US, recent police violence against African Americans has again raised the ongoing question of the significance of lawful violence, of law’s complicity, in upholding the state. Penal law is implicated in the incarceration of African-Americans in the US, Aboriginal communities in Australia, and Indigenous peoples in Canada, demonstrating a settler-colonial preoccupation for using race and racial profiling to mask and further colonial ends. In the context of securitised responses to migration, the onshore refugee applicant speaks as an already criminalised subject, as ‘an illegal immigrant’ or as an ‘undocumented migrant’. Under the conditions of continuing colonization, statutory schemes such as Australia’s Northern Territory Intervention target Aboriginal populations and make such populations subject to state violence. These examples raise the urgent question of law’s relation to, and production of, violence through race. From transitional justice to human rights processes, race is foregrounded at scenes and struggles in which law seeks to respond to and adjudicate violence, and assert its own authority.

This conference seeks research drawn from multiple disciplines and jurisdictions that addresses the following questions: How might we think of the relations among law, culture, history, and the shaping of racial imaginaries? How is law complicit and productive of violence? How should we read the legal and cultural forms that produce the conditions of this violence? What kinds of legal, critical, and cultural practices can intervene in both this violence, and the conditions that are complicit with it? How might legal, critical, and cultural projects provide counter-narratives and counter-archives to the juridical imaginary of responsibility for historical and contemporary violence? How do historical and contemporary readings of race relate? Are anti-racist forms of law and state possible, and what would they look like? How might law be enlisted in the development of new racial formations? How should we re-think critical legal feminisms, and Marxism, through the category of race? How can we devise legal, critical and cultural forms that are attentive to race, and make visible this legal violence? What is the significance of ‘reading’ race—what is the materiality in the metaphor?

This conference seeks to develop conversations regarding the roles of representation, affect and imagination in the ongoing relationship of law to concepts of race, justice, sovereignty, captivity, history. We seek to examine legal and cultural practices of representation for their juridical, as well as cultural, effects. Questions of genre, narrative, and aesthetics are not only sites of critique, but also become potential sites of theoretical intervention, and intervention into projects of social justice.

In addition to sessions that connect to the conference theme, examples of other types of sessions we expect people to organize include: 
History, Memory and Law; 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. 
We urge those interested in attending to consider submitting complete panels, and we hope to encourage a variety of formats-roundtables, sessions at which everyone reads the papers in advance, sessions in which commentators respond to a single paper. We invite proposals for session 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).
If you are inclined to register sooner here is the link:

As you’ll see, we have a new system for registration. For the first round of registration our membership fee has gone up very slightly to $37.74. For the second round of registration, we will give you a code with which to register sometime around the new year.
We hope to see as many of you as possible in 2016 in Hartford!
Information about hotels and other information specific to the 2016 conference will follow. 

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