January 31, 2017

Joshua Tate Speaks on Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forests at LSU

Via Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Fred H. Frey Professor of  History, LSU:



The Modern History Colloquium presents a lecture by Professor Joshua Tate (SMU Law School) "Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forests" on Monday, February 13 at 12:00 PM, 236 Coates Hall, on the LSU Campus.

The year 2017 marks the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest issued by King Henry III of England. The Charter of the Forest allowed Englishmen to use certain common lands wrongly claimed by King John and his predecessors. Although the rights granted were narrower than the various procedural rights in Magna Carta, they had relevance for all the king’s subjects, not just the barons and great lords. This lecture will use these two charters as a jumping-off point for a discussion of what rights ought to be considered fundamental and whether Magna Carta deserves its longstanding reputation as one of the most important documents in legal history.

Joshua Tate’s research and teaching focus on legal history, property, and trusts and estates. He has been a full-time faculty member at SMU Dedman School of Law since the fall of 2005. He is currently engaged in a study of the development of property rights and remedies in medieval England, focusing on issues of jurisdictional conflict with regard to rights of presentation to churches. Society for Legal History.

Sixth Biennial Conference on Applied Legal Storytelling, Washington DC


Sixth Biennial Conference on Applied Legal Storytelling – Washington D.C.
American University’s Washington College of Law hosts the Sixth Biennial Conference on Applied Legal Storytelling July 11-13, 2017.
The 2017 conference will begin in the late afternoon/early evening of July 11. The next two days, July 12 and 13 will be devoted to a plenary session and presentations given in concurrent sessions. The conference will close with a dinner at the end of the day on July 13.  The dinner is part of the conference itself—designed to be a signature event that facilitates ongoing conversations.

Roland Barthes Explains Donald Trump

James McWilliams recommends Roland Barthes' classic Mythologies to decipher Donald Trump. More here in his essay for Pacific Standard. 

January 30, 2017

Forthcoming from Hart Publishing: Heritage, Culture, and Rights: Challenging Legal Discourses @hartpublishing

Forthcoming from Hart Publishing: Heritage, Culture and Rights: Challenging Legal Discourses (Andrea Durbach and Lucas Lixinski, eds.; 2017). Here is a description of the book's contents.
Cultural heritage law and its response to human rights principles and practice has gained renewed prominence on the international agenda. The recent conflicts in Syria and Mali, China's use of shipwreck sites and underwater cultural heritage to make territorial claims, and the cultural identities of nations post-conflict highlight this field as an emerging global focus. In addition, it has become a forum for the configuration and contestation of cultural heritage, rights and the broader politics of international law. The manifestation of tensions between heritage and human rights are explored in this volume, in particular in relation to heritage and rights in collaboration and in conflict, and heritage as a tool for rights advocacy. This volume also explores these issues from a distinctively legal standpoint, considering the extent to which the legal tools of international human rights law facilitate or hinder heritage protection. Covering a range of issues across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and Australia, this volume will be of interest to people working in human rights, heritage studies, cultural heritage management and identity politics around the world.

 Media of Heritage, Culture and Rights

Forthcoming From Hart Publishing in Paperback: Justin O'Brien's The Triumph, Tragedy, and Lost Legacy of James M. Landis @hartpublishing

Kamali on Law and Equity in a Medieval English Manor Court

Elizabeth Papp Kamali, Harvard Law School, has published Law and Equity in a Medieval English Manor Court in Texts and Contexts in Legal History: Essays in Honor of Charles Donahue 257 (Berkeley: Robbins Collections, 2016). Here is the abstract.
Through a close textual reading and contextual analysis of a short series of early fourteenth-century manorial court roll entries, this paper draws larger conclusions about the interplay between law and equity in a medieval English manor court. It follows a narrative thread focused on a single tenement, which was forfeited by a villein in 1317 due to his fugitive status. The forfeiture was described as permanent in the Great Horwood court roll, and the tenement was transferred by the lord to a new tenant immediately. However, over a decade later the villein’s widow successfully claimed dower in the tenement, and shortly thereafter her son succeeded in regaining the family’s possession of the purportedly forfeited land. The paper reveals the presence of competing interests among various members of the Great Horwood community; the selective marshaling of written evidence, manorial custom, and common law rules; and the exercise of equitable discretion in selecting the “rightful” tenant, possibly guided by extra-legal factors, such as the exigencies of famine. The paper also makes a methodological claim, arguing that a combined textual and contextual analysis of fragmentary evidence can reveal insights that might not come to light through other analytical approaches.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

January 26, 2017

Riverdale, a New Archie Series, Debuts On the CW @thecw @CW_Riverdale

The Hollywood Reporter reviews Riverdale, an updated, reinterpreted version of Archie and his friends. In this CW series, K. J. Apa, who plays Archie, quickly becomes involved in a murder mystery, along with his friends Betty, Veronica, and Judhead. It's not your parents', or your grandparents', Archie comics. Link here. The show airs Thursdays on the CW at 9 pm, 8 Central time.

Anka Muhlstein's New Book "The Pen and the Brush" Explores the Link Between Art and Literature

From the New York Review of Books:


The Pen and the Brush: How Passion for Art Shaped Nineteenth-Century French Novels
I have often wondered why nineteenth-century French novelists were quite literally obsessed with painters and painting,” writes New York Review contributor Anka Muhlstein in her new book, The Pen and the Brush. “Read Stendhal, Flaubert, the Goncourt brothers, Anatole France, Huysmans, Maupassant, Mirbeau, and of course Proust, and you enter a world in which painting is surprisingly important.” Muhlstein will give a lecture based on the book, which was excerpted in the January 19, 2017 issue of the Review, and sign copies.

For more information, visit maisonfrancaise.as.nyu.edu.



 

More information about the book here at the publisher's website. T

We Were Told There'd Be Cake @plagiarismtoday @dorfonlaw

Diane Klein, University of La Verne College of Law, discusses the interesting Case of the Copycat Cake here (from Plagiarism Today, cross-posted from Dorf on Law). Oh, there are intellectual property and business law issues, but there's also popular culture--lots of things to chew on. Sweet. 

Jimenez on a Borgean Theory of Constitutional Interpretation

ICYMI: Marco Jimenez, Stetson University College of Law, published Towards a Borgean Theory of Constitutional Interpretation in volume 40 of the Pepperdine Law Review (2012). Here is the abstract.
This Article presents a reworking of Jorge Luis Borges’ short story, Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote, as applied to the U.S. Constitution. In Borges’ original story, which deals with important issues governing interpretation, the creation of meaning, and the ascertainment of original intent, Borges’ fictional scholar, Pierre Menard, undertakes to translate Cervantes’ Don Quixote for a modern audience by creating a Quixote that could have been written by Cervantes today. To do so, Menard begins by immersing himself in the world of 17th century Spain, much as an originalist today might immerse him or herself in 18th century America, as a first step in providing an accurate, yet modern, “translation” of the text. As he undertakes the process of translation, however, Menard comes to recognize that the words and phrases used by Cervantes have come to mean something quite different today. Further, he realizes that any change to the words themselves would fail to produce a truly modern translation of this canonical text because it would cause the loss of textual richness and interpretative understanding accumulated over generations. Therefore, in a stroke of genius, Menard recognizes that the best way to translate the Quixote to preserve the text’s modern meaning is to produce word-for-word, line-for-line “translation” of the antiquated original! It is important to note that Pierre Menard adamantly maintains that his word-for-word rendition of the original words is not simply a “copy” of the original text. Rather, as Borges’ original story suggests, Menard has actually produced a much more nuanced text than Cervantes, one that, though verbally identical, “is almost infinitely richer” in that the words penned by Cervantes no longer mean what they once did, but have become imbued with the accumulated historical understanding of many generations. The parallels to the current debate surrounding the interpretation (or translation, if you will) our own Constitution are unmistakable. The words no longer mean what they once did, and the best way to convey the current meaning of the Constitution is by using the antiquated words and phrases of the 18th century original. These words and phrases, though they have themselves remained the same, are now viewed through the lens of the historical events (e.g., the Civil War, Reconstruction, and New Deal) and judicial precedents (e.g., the Dred Scott decision, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Brown v. Board of Education) so powerful as to have changed the meaning (though not the spelling) of the words themselves! Therefore, in the text that follows, I have attempted to present these parallels by adapting Borges’ story to the U.S. Constitution. I have tried to keep as much of Borges’ original text as possible – including even the structure of his seemingly obscure academic footnotes – while changing what was necessary of the characters, footnotes, and themes to discuss legal, rather than literary, topics. More specifically, in my version of the story, I attempt to propose, through the text, and develop, through the footnotes, a theory of constitutional “interpretation as translation” based on the scholarship of Borges’ fictional character, Pierre Menard, as told by a law professor intimately familiar with Professor Menard’s work. In my version, Professor Menard takes it upon himself to update and revise the U.S. Constitution for the twenty-first century and, in so doing, is confronted with a difficult problem of preserving the document’s modern meaning. Professor Menard acknowledges that many of the original words, phrases, and clauses used by the Framers have taken on new meaning over time, or have lost their meaning altogether, which renders the process of interpretation particularly elusive and odious. In a deeply profound exploration of the meaning of meaning, Professor Menard comes to the stark realization that his project of updating the Constitution for the modern generation must necessarily consist not in interpreting the text, but in translating it. Having made this methodological leap, Professor Menard is next faced with the daunting task of choosing carefully the words, phrases, and clauses that will convey to the modern generation how the Constitution’s text, which was drafted over two centuries ago, should be understood today. Here, Professor Menard makes his second leap: given that the words of the constitution have become imbued with new meaning over time, in part due to historical circumstances, in part due to subsequent legislation, and in part due to judicial “interpretation” and development, the best way of “translating” the Constitution to capture and preserve how it is commonly understood today consists, ironically, in rewriting the text so that it is identical to the original! In undertaking this task, Professor Menard shows how constitutional “interpretation,” even (especially) while remaining faithful to the original text, can be better thought of not as an act of constitutional discovery, but one of constitutional creationism, in which the reader (usually a judge, but arguably the governed) creates meaning by translating and transforming the source text into something simultaneously new and familiar. This places Professor Menard’s theory in the unique position of both accepting textualism while rejecting its usual bedfellow, originalism, at least as that latter concept is commonly understood today. According to Professor Menard, original intent is relevant only to the extent that We The People of the here and now have interpreted this intent, but by this point, it is our contemporary translation (or interpretation, if you prefer) of the Founders’ intent, rather than the Founders’ intent itself, that ultimately controls and governs what we call meaning.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

January 25, 2017

Murray on Performance Artist Rafa Esparza's Work and a Legal Analysis of Police Brutality and Police Killings of People of Color

Yxta Maya Murray, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, is publishing Rafa Esparza's Red Summer in the Fordham Urban Law Journal Online. Here is the abstract.
This essay analyzes the contributions that performance artist Rafa Esparza’s 2016 action “Red Summer” offers to legal analyses of police brutality and police killings of people of color. Building on the Demosprudence jurisprudence of Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres, as well as the author’s work on “artifacts” (studying relationships between visual and performance art and law), the author considers how Esparza’s invocation of grief and anguish combats official disdain of anti-police brutality social movements and etiolated legal responses to police killings.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Stanford Center for Law and History Now Accepting Fellowship Applications

From the mailbox:

Stanford's Center for Law and History is now accepting applications for a fellowship position.
 The Center:
 The Stanford Center for Law and History, directed by Professor Amalia Kessler, brings together faculty and students from across Stanford University’s many schools and departments (and beyond) to participate in a broad range of conferences, workshops, and lectures devoted to examining the multifaceted interrelationships between law and history (without geographic, temporal, or other subject-area limitations).
 The Goal:
 This fellowship is intended for people who have completed (or will soon
complete) their training in law and history and who seek to pursue an academic career at the intersection of the two fields.
 The Fellowship:
 The Stanford Center for Law and History is a residential fellowship that provides an opportunity to conduct research in the dynamic environment of Stanford University.  We prefer two-year fellowships to help the fellow complete a significant body of independent scholarship, but we are willing to consider one-year terms.  We expect that fellows will dedicate most of their time to pursuing their proposed research projects but will also devote some time to organizing and implementing other Center activities, including an ongoing workshop series and an annual conference.  Fellows are encouraged to become part of a lively law-school-wide community of individuals with an interest in academia by attending weekly faculty lunch seminars and by participating in activities with the other fellows at Stanford Law School to learn more about one another’s scholarship and about academic life more generally.  In addition, fellows are encouraged to attend and participate in the broad range of lectures and workshops available within the broader university, including inter alia, the History Department and the Stanford Humanities Center.
 For the 2017-2018 fellowship, we will provide a workspace, a competitive salary, and a generous benefits package.  Applicants who have completed (or are soon to complete) both a J.D. and a Ph.D in history are strongly preferred.
 The Application Process:
 All applicants should apply through the Stanford Careers website, https://stanfordcareers.stanford.edu/job-search?jobId=73767, and should include the following: (1) a CV; (2) a sample of academic writing; (3) a research proposal of no more than five double-space pages (briefly outlining past work but focused primarily on research to be undertaken during the fellowship); and
(4) official transcripts of all academic work pursued in college, as well as in graduate programs.  In addition, (5) applicants should provide two letters of recommendation, to be emailed directly by the recommenders themselves to Molly Pahkamaa at mpahkama@law.stanford.edu.
 All applications should be submitted no later than Tuesday, February 28, 2017.

Thom Giddens on Crime and Comics:An Overview of the Intersection and Its History, University of Edinburgh School of Law, January 25, 2017 @ThomGiddens @ChloeJSKennedy

Thom Giddens, St. Mary's University, London, presents a lecture on Crime and Comics: An Overview of the Intersection and its History, at the University of Edinburgh, School of Law, January 25, 2017). 

Via @ChloeJSKennedy and @ThomGiddens

January 24, 2017

Joe Sacco at Queen Mary University, March 21, 2017, To Discuss Law and the Humanities

Via @maksdelmar:

Inaugural Queen Mary Conversation in Law and the Humanities: Joe Sacco

21 March 2017

 

Time: 6:30 - 9:00pm 
 
Venue: Peston Lecture Theatre, the Graduate Centre, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road E1 4NS United Kingdom

The Department of Law is delighted to welcome renowned graphic novelist Joe Sacco for the inaugural Queen Mary Conversation in Law and the Humanities.
An on-stage interview with Joe Sacco will be conducted by Dr Maks Del Mar and Professor Penny Green. The aim of the new flagship series is to invite scholars and practitioners working in the arts and humanities to discuss the role of law in their work, and to thereby showcase the most cutting edge practice and research in law and the humanities.

More information at the website here.

First International Conference on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, February 8-10, 2017, St. Mary's University, London

Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery International Conference

First International Conference on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking


Where: St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London
When: Wednesday 8th – Friday 10th February 2017
With the aim of using research to fill the knowledge and evidence gaps experienced by policymakers and practitioners, the conference will provide a space to promote debate and encourage collaboration on addressing the subject of human trafficking and modern slavery, with contributions from UK and international experts. Discussions between policymakers, practitioners and researchers will identify evidence gaps and tailor research to these needs.
Wednesday afternoon will begin with the official launch of the Centre by a Senior Cabinet member, followed by a high-level panel that discusses the current state of the response to modern slavery, both in the UK and globally, with a view to how we move forward.
On Thursday morning, we begin with a scene setting panel, where different government departments will outline their priorities and key evidence gaps. The subsequent panels will then focus on where research is going and identify areas for further examination.
Panels focus on:
  • Victim identification and care
  • Targeting perpetrators
  • Partnership approaches
  • Definitional challenges
  • Corporate responsibility
  • Labour exploitation
The Home Office Modern Slavery Research team will also host a workshop with Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Bernard Silverman to discuss improving the evidence base on modern slavery offenders
Speakers
  • Mr Kevin Hyland, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner for the UK
  • Caroline Haughey, Barrister, Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act, 2016
  • Professor Bernard Silverman, Chief Scientific Adviser, Home Office
  • Kate Roberts, Human Trafficking Foundation
  • Professor Kokunre Agbontaen-Eghafona, University of Benin, Nigeria
  • James Cockayne, United Nations University
  • Monique Villa, Thompson Reuters Foundation
  • Mick Clarke, Chief Executive, The Passage, London
Download the full agenda (PDF)
Tickets for the conference can be booked online. For further information please contact sasha.jesperson@stmarys.ac.uk.

Green on Constitutional Truthmakers @olemisslaw

Christopher R. Green, University of Mississippi School of Law, has published Constitutional Truthmakers. Here is the abstract.
Many disputes in constitutional theory — in particular, disputes over forms of originalism and non-originalism — would be far clearer if they employed two distinctions that philosophers have drawn repeatedly in dealing with the nature of reality. First, we should distinguish constitutional epistemology from constitutional ontology. Constitutional epistemology (together with epistemically-freighted constitutional pragmatics) tells us who decides questions of constitutional interpretation: the distribution of interpretive authority between government and citizens, between and within branches of government, and for all of these interpreters, the distribution of such authority over time. It tells us what burdens of proof govern different interpreters’ determinations, and what sorts of evidence might satisfy those burdens. Akin to the Erie/Hanna regime, such “procedural” matters of constitutional epistemology and pragmatics could be changed radically even if the underlying “substance” of constitutional interpretation — what makes claims about the Constitution true or false — stays the same, and vice-versa. Attention to this epistemic-ontological distinction undermines or complicates recent arguments against originalism by Richard Fallon, Daniel Farber, Martin Flaherty, Helen Irving, Andrew Koppelman, Suzanna Sherry, and David Strauss, as well as a classic argument by Justice Jackson, but also raises trouble for arguments for originalism by the late Justice Scalia and Lawrence Solum. Epistemic vices of either a fixed-meaning or a common-law Constitution cannot undermine a constitutional theory’s ontological virtue — if it possesses it — of accurately representing our actual Constitution, and epistemic virtues cannot compensate for the ontological vice of wrongly identifying the Constitution itself. Second, as a precursor to assessing constitutional theories’ ontological virtues, we should classify forms of originalism or non-originalism based on their constitutional truthmakers. Do they have any at all? Do they have more than one? Pragmatists deny the existence of any truthmaker external to the practice of judging, while pluralists point to more than one. Truthmakerless constitutional theories like those of Judge Posner, Eric Segall or the early Felix Frankfurter cannot vindicate “wrong the day it was decided” (WTDIWD) data from the Court itself, and irreducibly plural constitutional theories like those of Philip Bobbitt cannot vindicate such data in cases where constitutional modes conflict. An integrated constitutional truthmaker like that proposed by the early Richard Fallon, which sets out a criterion for picking winning and losing constitutional arguments then different modes clash, has a distinct ontological advantage over pragmatist or irreducibly plural constitutional theories. Even a theory merely positing an unknown proper commensuration of conflicting constitutional arguments into answers for particular cases — that is, a reducible pluralism — can vindicate WTDIWD data in a way pragmatism and Bobbitism cannot. Single-truthmaker forms of living constitutionalism are thus ontologically preferable to no-truthmaker or multiple-truthmaker forms. We can then ask (as I do and will do in earlier and future work) whether that single truthmaker matches, or does not match, the “this Constitution” to which Article VI refers, and to which, on a naïve view of our current practices, current officeholders swear an oath.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

January 23, 2017

January 21, 2017

January 20, 2017

It's Sherlock! @WhatInTheHill @sjwilder100

Via LSU Libraries' Special Collections Blog, a post by scholar Kristopher Melchosky. on what makes Sherlock Holmes so distinctive and attractive as a character.

January 19, 2017

Brooks on the Use of Narrative in the Interplay of Law and the Humanities

Peter Brooks, Center for Human Values, Princeton University, is publishing Clues, Evidence, Detection: Law Stories in volume 25 of Narrative (January 2017). Here is the abstract.
This essay raises questions about ways in which law and the interpretive humanities might intersect in such manner as to offer real insight one to another. Specifically, it addresses the use of narrative in the law, and its analytic study. Stories, I argue, are not events in the world, but the way we tell events, a crucial distinction sometimes unrecognized in legal opinions. Examples analyzed include the doctrine of “inevitable discovery” articulated by the Supreme Court in Nix v. Williams, juxtaposed to the creation of a seeming inevitability in the stories of Sherlock Holmes. These issues are further clarified through a discussion of historian Carlo Ginzburg’s reflections on the “huntsman’s paradigm” and the workings of “retrospective prophecy.” The essay then turns more closely to the analysis of narrative, particularly the end-determined nature of narrative meaning, and to the one Supreme Court case I am aware of that discusses narrative in an analytic way: Justice Souter’s opinion in Old Chief v. U.S. Further examples are drawn from rape adjudication (Rusk v. Maryland) and post-conviction petitions for relief (Mickens v. Taylor). If narrative, telling the facts, plays so important a role in law, shouldn’t the law arm itself with more tools in the analysis of narrative? The notion of law as language, including its grammar and its rhetoric, deserves a place in legal study.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Newman on the Legality of the Agreement in The Merchant of Venice @WFULawSchool

Joel S. Newman, Wake Forest University School of Law, has published If Shylock Had a Lawyer at 7 Wake Forest J. L. & Pol'y S. S. 21 (2016). Here is the abstract.
In Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice,” the “pound of flesh” agreement was notarized. Presumably, pursuant to European custom, the notary would have drafted the agreement. Had the events of the play taken place today, any notary who drafted such an agreement would be in violation of Italian law. Had Shylock consulted a modern American lawyer, drafting the agreement, or even agreeing to the representation in the first place, would have been a violation of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

January 18, 2017

Law and Literature in Herman Meville and Heinrich von Kleist @newcriterion

ICYMI:

Martin Greenberg, The Difficult Justice of Melville & Kleist, The New Criterion, March 2005.

A New Play About Roe v. Wade Opens In Washington D.C.

Richard Harris writes for Slate about a new play opening in Washington, D.C. that's based on the historic Roe v. Wade decision. The playwright, Lisa Loomer (Girl, Interrupted) had anticipated that when Roe opened, the President would be Hillary Clinton and the political atmosphere would be much more friendly to the work's subject matter. More here.

More about the play and its playwright here (from the New York Times) and here (from Ms. magazine). 

Charles Dickens and Copyright Law @dkluft

Nice piece on Charles Dickens and copyright law, from David Kluft, at JDSupra.  Mr. Kluft traces the English author's interest in copyright back at least as far as The Pickwick Papers, which he dedicated to Thomas Talfourd, an early champion of copyright law.

More about Sir Thomas, lawyer, MP, and author, and the model for the character Tommy Traddles in David Copperfield, here.

January 17, 2017

Call For Papers: Litigating Women: Negotiating Justice In Courts of Law, From Around 1100 to Around 1750

Call for papers: Litigating Women: negotiating justice in courts of law, c. 1100-c. 1750. Here is a description of the event from the website.
We are pleased to announce a two-day symposium on the female litigant in the medieval and early modern period (c.1100-c.1750) to be held at Swansea (Singleton Campus) on June 28 & 29, 2017.
The intention is to bring scholars together in order to explore womens access to legal redress and to shed new light on individuals lived experiences of the law. We are seeking 25-minute papers from researchers (of all career-stages) working on any aspect of the history of women litigating in the courts across the known world during this broad timeframe. We welcome work on all courts, regions, jurisdictions, ethnicities, languages and religious and confessional identities, and on any aspect of those histories or historiographies. Post-graduate students are encouraged to apply (a reduced rate will be available). Topics and approaches might include: The operation of gender in the courts. The practicalities of litigation: travel, subsistence, accommodation, planning and expense. The impact of a womans life-stage, status or ethnicity on her experience at law. The womans voice and barriers to its audibility. Visual or textual representation of the female litigant. Specific case-studies and longue dur perspectives. Historiography and where do we go from here?
Applicants are invited to submit by 21 January 2017 a proposal of 250-300 words, together with a short biography for inclusion in the programme.
Please submit to: e.cavell@swansea.ac.uk or womenhistlaw@swansea.ac.uk
More information also available here. 

Law and Star Trek: A Talk By Professor Fabrice Defferrard @FDefferrard1 @thewssociety

Professor Fabrice Defferrard presents a talk on Thursday, February 23, 2017, at The Signet Library, Parliament Square, Edinburgh, on law and Star Trek, based on his book Le droit selon Star Trek, which will be published in the UK (I think fairly soon). Here's more from the WS Society's website.

Call For Papers On the 60th Anniversary of Roland Barthes' "Mythologies" @PanuMinkkinen

From Panu Minkkinen, an invitation to participate in a symposium on Roland Barthes' Mythologies on the 60th anniversary of its publication.

In 1957, the French literary theorist Roland Barthes (1915-1980) published Mythologies (Seuil, 1957), his most influential book, and perhaps one of the best-known books written by a 20th century French thinker. The book was a collection of fifty-three individual essays and a lengthy afterword that was meant to elucidate the theoretical vision that had informed the foregoing texts. The essays themselves dealt with a wealth of phenomena of modern life ranging from advertising, consumption, and mass media to cinema, sports, and popular culture. Barthes’s main claim in these short vignettes was that the phenomena that the essays dealt with were generally imposed on us in a ‘mythological’ manner.
 What are the ‘new mythologies’ of our ‘post-truth’ world? Are they different? Or are we still dealing with the same themes that Barthes identified as meaningful? What form do myths take in an openly anti-intellectual environment? Are mythological analyses and semioclasm even possible anymore? Or are today’s myths too politically resistant, like the MDR microbes that have become such a menacing part of our everyday lives?
Consider this an invitation to wonder about these and other related questions in the spirit of Barthes’s book.

More here from Professor Minkkinen's blog. 

January 16, 2017

Call For Papers, Association of Young Legal Historians Annual Forum, May 31-June 1, 2017

The Association of Young Legal Historians is holding its 23rd Annual Forum May 31st-June 1st, 2017, at the Universita Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Dipartimento di Giuriprudenzia. The theme of the forum is History of Law and Other Humanities: Views of Legal Culture Across Time. More here.

Deadline for submissions of abstracts and other materials is March 15, 2017.

January 15, 2017

Another Look at Mary Shelley's Frankenstein From @FutureTenseNow and Its Partners

Future Tense, New America, Slate, and Arizona State University are running an interesting series of posts devoted to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The series begins with A Cheat Sheet Guide to Frankenstein, and continues with posts on why the novel continues to be relevant, why we use the prefix "Franken" to signal monstrosity (think "Frankenfood"), and other intriguing information. Fun and informative.

Call For Papers: Mimesis on Trial @OxfordCEMS

From the Centre for Early Modern Studies, via @ChloeJSKennedy


Call for Papers: Mimesis on Trial

Merton College, Oxford
20 May 2017
What is the connection between verisimilitude as a literary device and its legal use in the credible narration of facts? How do we construe the relation between the marvellous and the probable? What do early modern notions of likelihood and verisimilitude look like, if accounts of real-life criminal trials cite miracles and divine interventions as discoverers of the truth? Early modern Europe saw new modes and criteria of evidence-evaluation emerge, as new criminal codes and judicial systems were established. How has the work of social historians, directing us to ‘fiction in the archives’ affected how literary critics see the shaping of probability – of discoveries, denouements, trial outcomes – in early modern prose fiction and drama? How does recent scholarly work on the importance of oaths and binding language, on witness credibility, on inquisitions, jury trials, on the rhetorical criteria of suspicion and on the circulation of news affect current thinking about literary and dramatic narrative? Can we revisit, in this context, Auerbach’s conception of Western literature’s achievement as supremely mimetic, as representing ‘the entire human individual’?

The Centre for Early Modern Studies at the University of Oxford invites proposals for 20-minute papers on topics that engage with the literary-critical history of mimesis, and/or with questions of likelihood, verisimilitude, proof and probability in literary or legal texts of the early modern period. Papers are welcome on English or European materials, on prose fiction, on drama, on legal cases, and from all disciplinary perspectives.

Please send abstracts of up to 300 words and a brief biography to natasha.simonova@ell.ox.ac.uk by 15 March 2017.

January 14, 2017

Forthcoming from Oxford University Press @OxUniPress: The Oxford Handbook of English Law and Literature

BOLO! via @maksdelmar The Oxford Handbook of English Law and Literature, 1500-1700 (Lorna Hutson, ed., Oxford, forthcoming) (Oxford Handbooks).
This Handbook triangulates the disciplines of history, legal history, and literature to produce a new, interdisciplinary framework for the study of early modern England. Scholars of early modern English literature and history have increasingly found that an understanding of how people in the past thought about and used the law is key to understanding early modern familial and social relations as well as important aspects of the political revolution and the emergence of capitalism. Judicial or forensic rhetoric has been shown to foster new habits of literary composition (poetry and drama) and new processes of fact-finding and evidence evaluation. In addition, the post-Reformation jurisdictional dominance of the common law produced new ways of drawing the boundaries between private conscience and public accountability. Accordingly, historians, critics and legal historians come together in this Handbook to develop accounts of the past that are attentive to the legally purposeful or fictional shaping of events in the historical archive. They also contribute to a transformation of our understanding of the place of forensic modes of inquiry in the creation of imaginative fiction and drama. Chapters in the Handbook approach, from a diversity of perspectives, topics including forensic rhetoric, humanist and legal education, Inns of Court revels, drama, poetry, emblem books, marriage and divorce, witchcraft, contract, property, imagination, oaths, evidence, community, local government, legal reform, libel, censorship, authorship, torture, slavery, liberty, due process, the nation state, colonialism, and empire.

January 13, 2017

Frye on the History of Motion Pictures as Evidence @brianlfrye

Brian L. Frye, University of Kentucky College of Law, has published Reflections on Motion Picture Evidence. Here is the abstract.
Courts have long admitted motion pictures as evidence. But until recently, making motion pictures was expensive and cumbersome. Today, making motion pictures is cheap and easy. And as a result, people make so many of them. As Cocteau predicted, the democratization of motion pictures has enabled people to create new forms of motion picture art. But it has also enabled people to create new forms of motion picture evidence. This article offers a brief history of motion picture evidence in the United States, and reflects on the use of motion picture evidence by the Supreme Court.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

January 12, 2017

Law and Literature Stream at SLSA 2017

Law and Literature

Historically, in an era of discontent characterised by political and economic uncertainty, legal scholarship has often taken an aesthetic turn, at least in part as a response to a yearning for the beautiful which belongs to the imagery of liberation. The aesthetic dimension constitutes the raw material of human experience and represents free play of the imagination which in turn enables our understanding of the world through the senses as alternately beautiful and monstrous, alluring and repellent. Without the influence of aesthetics in the construction of legal concepts and practices, law would lose much of its persuasive power. Equally, our sensate relation to these enduring symbols and metaphors constitutes a productive force which underpins the formation, and signals the legitimacy, of legal principle and judgment. The influence of those aesthetic forms which rely primarily on imagistic language – such as poetry and the novel – is at least partially due to their cultural embeddedness, just as the legal tradition is itself simultaneously a co-producer, by-product and a significant constituent of modern culture. Papers are welcomed on issues of interpretation, identity, values, authority, obligation, resistance, resilience and justice, the place of law in modern culture, or on any aspect of law in literature or law as literature. ​ 

Conveners Julia J A Shaw and David Gurnham

More here.

January 11, 2017

A New Blog on Law and Language @LloydEsq

ICYMI: a new-ish blog from Harold Anthony Lloyd, Professor of Law at Wake Forest School of Law. It's called Law & Language; Professor Lloyd publishes on philosophy, poetry (including his own work), legal education, rhetoric, politics, and other things that interest him. Check out his blog here.

Call For Papers: Special Issue on Law and the Jewish Family, Jewish Law Association Studies

Via Susan Sage Heinzelman:

CFP: Special Issue on Law and the Jewish Family 

For a special issue of Jewish Law Association Studies on the Jewish Family, the editors seeks papers examining law and/or Jewish law on the Jewish family. We will accept papers taking historical, comparative, doctrinal or philosophical perspectives. Please send inquiries and proposals by January 31, 2017 to the editors: Miryam Segal (miryam.segal@qc.cuny.edu) and Harry Fox (harryfox@chass.utoronto.ca). 


Courtroom Artists and Law @ThomGiddens

January 10, 2017

Lloyd on Cognitive Emotion and the Law @LloydEsq

ICYMI: Harold Anthony Lloyd, Wake Forest University School of Law, is publishing Cognitive Emotion and the Law in the Law & Psychology Review. Here is the abstract.
Many wrongly believe that emotion plays little or no role in legal reasoning. Unfortunately, Langdell and his “scientific” case method encourage this error. A careful review of analysis in the real world, however, belies this common belief. Emotion can be cognitive, and cognition can be emotional. Additionally, modern neuroscience underscores the “co-dependence” of reason and emotion. Thus, even if law were a certain science of appellate cases (which it is not), emotion could not be torn from such “science.” As we reform legal education, we must recognize the role of cognitive emotion in law and legal analysis. If we fail to do this, we shortchange law schools, students, and the bar in grievous ways. We shortchange the very basics of true and best legal analysis. We shortchange at least half the universe of expression (the affective half). We shortchange the importance of watching and guarding the true interests of our clients, which interests are inextricably intertwined with affective experience. We shortchange the importance of motivation in law, life, and legal education. How can lawyers understand the motives of clients and other relevant parties without understanding the emotions that motivate them? How can lawyers hope to persuade judges, other advocates, or parties across the table in a transaction without grasping affective experience that motivates them? How can law professors fully engage students while ignoring affective experience that motivates students? Finally, we shortchange matters of life and death: emotions affect health and thus the very vigor of the bar. Using insights from practice, modern neuroscience, and philosophy, I therefore explore emotion and other affective experience through a lawyer’s lens. In doing this, I reject claims that emotion and other affective experience are mere feeling (though I do not discount the importance of feeling). I also reject claims that emotion and other affective experience are necessarily irrational or beyond our control. Instead, such experience is often intentional and quite rational and controllable. After exploring law and affective experience at more “macro” levels, I consider three more specific examples of the interaction of law and emotion: (i) emotion, expression, and the first amendment, (ii) emotion in legal elements and exceptions, and (iii) emotion and lawyer mental health. To provide lawyers and legal scholars with a “one-source” overview of emotion and the law, I have also included an Appendix addressing a number of particular emotions.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. Scott Fruehwald calls it one of the best legal education articles of 2016.

Koehlert-Page on Breading Bad Facts: How Intriguing Contradictions in Fiction Can Teach Lawyers to Re-Envision Harmful Evidence

Cathren Koehlert-Page, Barry University School of Law, is publishing Breaking Bad Facts: How Intriguing Contradictions in Fiction Can Teach Lawyers to Re-Envision Harmful Evidence in volume 13 of Legal Communication & Rhetoric (JAWLD) (2016). Here is the abstract.
Walter White is the “nerdiest old dude” that Jesse Pinkman knows. His students ignore him, laugh at him, and make fun of him at his after school job at the car wash. His home décor and personal fashion could best be described as New American Pathetic. And yet by the end of the hit television series, Breaking Bad, White is a feared multi-million dollar drug lord known as Heisenberg. He has killed multiple foes. He has lied. He built an empire, and, despite being chased by the DEA, the cartels, and various other murdering sociopaths, he has still left money for his family. The contradiction seems enormous, and, yet, it draws us in. It creates curiosity and somehow not only remains believable but actually breathes a more realistic-seeming life into this fiction character. By viewing contradictions through this storytelling lens, lawyers faced with seemingly contradictory facts in a trial or an appellate case can craft a more realistic and ethical narrative. In so doing, they can create greater logical cohesion and underscore their theory of the case. Previous scholarship on harmful evidence focuses on the effects of disclosing harmful facts or focuses on techniques regarding disclosure. This article takes those ideas to the next level by re-envisioning this seemingly contradictory evidence to see it as an integral part of a coherent whole. This concept is new in legal skills but has roots in legal skills precedent. This article explores fiction works like Breaking Bad and the book Room and shows how aspects of those works appear in actual cases, such as the United States Supreme Court prison-overcrowding case, Brown v. Plata, the exoneration of Eddie Joe Lloyd, or the battered spouse case, Weiand v. State. In the end, if the client’s ultimate assertion is true, then the attorney cannot merely break those “bad” facts. The attorney can show those facts in a new light so that they are no longer harmful and are actually a part of the client’s story. This article aids judges grappling with story’s role in law or with issues in the examples, such as prison overcrowding or wrongful convictions, lawyers seeking to overcome harmful evidence, applied legal storytelling scholars, skills professors, law students, and even fiction writers or literary criticism scholars.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.