March 25, 2019

ICYMI: Julia Laite, Common Prostitutes and Ordinary Citizens: Commercial Sex in London, 1885-1960 (2011) @JuliaLaite

Here ICYMI:  More from Julia Laite, Reader in Modern History, University of London:

Common Prostitutes and Ordinary Citizens: Commercial Sex in London, 1885-1960 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.

Between 1885 and 1960, laws and policies designed to repress prostitution dramatically shaped London's commercial sex industry. This book examines how laws translated into street-level reality, explores how women who sold sex experienced criminalization, and charts the complex dimensions of the underground sexual economy in the modern metropolis.


Anderson on Peremptory Challenges at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century

April Anderson, Independent Scholar, has published Peremptory Challenges at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century: Development of Modern Jury Selection Strategies As Seen in Practitioners’ Trial Manuals. Here is the abstract.
Peremptory strikes on the basis of race, national origin, religion, and class are well-known problems in modern jury selection, and have led to calls to abolish peremptory strikes altogether. Defenders of peremptory strikes argue that they are a fixture of the common law system that should not be discarded because of a few abuses. This Article explores how and why strategic jury selection developed in the United States by looking at previously unstudied primary source materials: nineteenth-century trial-attorneys’ practice guides. Peremptory challenges and voir dire are difficult to study because court records often leave them out. Even when strikes are recorded, an attorney’s strategy may not be evident to the outsider. But practice guide materials reveal these strategies, demonstrating that nineteenth-century attorneys used peremptory strikes to eliminate jurors based on stereotypes regarding race, national origin, religion, and class. They also show how a number of features of the modern American jury selection system—most notably, extended pretrial questioning of jurors—were expanded from their more limited common law forms to make it easier for lawyers to either respond to particular social prejudices in American society or to make discriminatory peremptory challenges. These findings have important implications for the modern-day debate over peremptory challenges. While proponents of peremptory challenges point to their ancient origins as justification for keeping them, a historical perspective shows that modern jury selection looks nothing like its English common law progenitor. Analysis of turn-of-the-century practices, the beginnings of the procedures we use now, exposes modern abuses as part of a trend that began in the 1800s. Simply put, the problems reformers now point to are not recent abuses that have crept in to an ancient system. They have existed for as long as the jury selection procedures we know have been practiced. Modern jury selection and abusive tactics grew up simultaneously in the 1800s as a reaction to the country’s social divisions, suggesting that discrimination as a trial strategy is inevitable in a heterogeneous society where courts allow extended voir dire and unfettered peremptory challenges.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

ICYMI: Laite on Prostitutes and Legal Identity in Early Twentieth Century London @JuliaLaite

ICYMI: Julia A. Laite, Taking Nellie Johnson's Fingerprints: Prostitutes and Legal Identity in Early Twentieth Century London, 65 History Workshop Journal 96 (Spring 2008).

March 19, 2019

Heinze on An Anti-Liberal Defense of Free Speech @Eric_Heinze

Eric Heinze, Queen Mary University of London, School of Law, is publishing An Anti-Liberal Defense of Free Speech: Foundations of Democracy in the Western Philosophical Canon in the Oxford Handbook of Law and Humanities (forthcoming). Here is the abstract.
Western democracies have determined the extent and limits of free expression largely within rights-based frameworks. As captured by Mill’s classically liberal “harm principle”, expression is permitted except insofar as legislatures and courts deem it to cause some unacceptable harm. Through a review of certain texts foundational for democracy, however, we can identify principles different from the standard liberal principles. Beginning in ancient Athens, we discover that questions of legal legitimacy invariably become questions of civic participation; and civic participation is nothing if not expression. It is no exaggeration to suggest that Western political philosophy altogether begins with that observation: Plato’s Crito presents the West’s first systematic enquiry into the question of legal legitimacy – that is, the question of when the law can bind us through moral rightness, beyond sheer physical coercion. The law binds us precisely to the extent of the freedom we have enjoyed to disagree with it.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

Sepper on Sex in Public

Elizabeth Sepper, Washington University School of Law, is publishing Sex in Public in volume 129 of the Yale Law Journal. Here is the abstract.
This Article recounts the first history of sex in public accommodations law—a history essential to debates that rage today over gender and sexuality in public. Just fifty years ago, not only sexual minorities but also cisgender women were the subject of discrimination in public. Restaurants and bars displayed “men-only” signs. Women held secondary-status in civic organizations, like Rotary and Jaycees, and were excluded altogether from many professional bodies, like press clubs. Sports—from the Little League to the golf club—kept girls and women from achieving athletic excellence. Insurance companies and financial institutions subsumed married women’s identities within those of their husbands. Over the course of the 1970s, the feminist movement protested and litigated against sex discrimination in public accommodations. They secured state laws opening up commerce and leisure for “full and equal enjoyment” by both sexes. At the time “sex” was added to state public accommodations laws, feminists, their opponents, and government actors understood sex equality in public to signify more than equal access to the public sphere. It also implicated freedom from the regulation of sexuality and gender performance and held the potential to transform institutions central to dominant masculinity, like baseball fields and bathrooms. This history informs the interpretation of public accommodations laws in controversies from same-sex couples’ wedding cakes to transgender people’s restroom access.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Tourists as Post-Witnesses in Documentary Film: Sergei Loznitsa's Austerlitz and Rex Bloomstein's KZ @cardiffuni

David Clarke, Cardiff University, is publishing Tourists As Post-Witnesses in Documentary Film: Sergei Loznitsa's Austerlitz (2016) and Rex Bloomstein's KZ (2006) in the Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Forthcoming. Here is the abstract in English and Spanish.
English abstract: This article compares two documentary films that address an apparent crisis of post-witnessing at memorials that commemorate the victims of National Socialism. In the context of contemporary debates about appropriate behaviour for tourists at sites of “dark” or “difficult” heritage, Sergei Loznitsa’s Austerlitz (2016) and Rex Bloomstein’s KZ (2006) take very different approaches to observing the act of visiting concentration camp memorials. Whereas Loznitsa adopts an observational documentary mode, constructing a cultural hierarchy between the touristic observer and the cinematic observer at memorials in Germany, Bloomstein’s film uses a participatory mode to prompt the viewer to consider the complexities of the affective-discursive practice of tourists engaging with the suffering of victims at the Mauthausen memorial in Austria. The article argues that Bloomstein’s decision to adopt a participatory approach is more productive in allowing us to think about the significance of responses to victims’ suffering at such sites.

Spanish abstract: Este artículo compara dos documentales que giran en torno a una aparente crisis del post-testimonio en monumentos a las víctimas del nacionalsocialismo. En el contexto del debate actual sobre cómo deben comportarse los turistas en lugares de herencia “oscura” o “difícil”, Austerlitz (2016), de Sergei Loznitsa, y KZ (2006), de Rex Bloomstein, observan de forma muy diferente el acto de visitar antiguos campos de concentración. Mientras Loznitsa adopta un modo de observación documental, construyendo una jerarquía cultural entre el observador turístico y el cinemático, Bloomstein opta por un modo participativo para exhortar al espectador a considerar las complejidades de las prácticas afectivo-discursivas de los turistas que se comprometen con el sufrimiento de las víctimas. El artículo argumenta que la decisión de Bloomstein de adoptar un enfoque participativo es más productivo a la hora de propiciar nuestra reflexión sobre el significado de las respuestas al sufrimiento de las víctimas en esos lugares.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

March 18, 2019

McGoldrick on The Dormant Commerce Clause: The Origin Story and the "Considerable Uncertainties"--1824 to 1945

James M. McGoldrick, Pepperdine University School of Law, is publishing The Dormant Commerce Clause: The Origin Story and the 'Considerable Uncertainties'—1824 to 1945 in the Creighton Law Review. Here is the abstract.
The doctrine that Congress’ commerce power all by itself limits the state power to regulate interstate commerce is called the Dormant Commerce Clause, or sometimes the Negative Commerce Clause, because any limits are not specifically stated but rather are implicit from the grant of power to Congress. Marshall gave the Dormant Commerce Clause doctrine its name in Black-Bird Creek, his most famous case other than Gibbons to raise the dormant clause issue, but again he did not see the issue as controlling. And thus the Dormant Commerce Clause was born. As the Wayfair Court summarized the dormant commerce clause test, the modern version of the dormant commerce clause has evolved into two major components: First, state and local laws that discriminate against interstate commerce are virtually per se invalid. Second, a balancing test is used to determine if evenhanded laws impose an unreasonable burden. One of the most interesting aspects of Wayfair’s summary of the Dormant Commerce Clause test is that it leaves out any mention of the direct/indirect portion of the test. Marshall’s rational for the Dormant Commerce was modified, if not rejected, by Cooley v. Board of Wardens. Cooley emphasized that some subjects needed uniformity while other subjects needing diversity. This was called the Subject Test or the Doctrine of Selective Exclusivity. Gibbons, Black Bird Creek, and Cooley all mulled about for over a hundred years before the Court in 1945 in Southern Pacific v. Arizona, citing both Black Bird Creek and Cooley, summarized what it viewed as the then current state of the dormant commerce clause, “Although the commerce clause conferred on the national government power to regulate commerce, its possession of the power does not exclude all state power of regulation.” The Court continued, “Ever since Willson v. Black-Bird Creek Marsh Co., and Cooley v. Board of Wardens, it has been recognized that, in the absence of conflicting legislation by Congress, there is a residuum of power in the state to make laws governing matters of local concern which nevertheless in some measure affect interstate commerce or even, to some extent, regulate it.” Southern Pacific undertook a straightforward balancing of competing interest between the harm to interstate commerce and the importance of the state interest. Southern Pacific largely replaced Cooley’s subject test for more sophisticated balancing of competing interest approach. As the Court put it in Wayfair, “Though considerable uncertainties were yet to be overcome, these precedents [Gibbons, Black Bird Creek, and Cooley] still laid the groundwork for the analytical framework that now prevails for Commerce Clause cases.” This article will try to provide some light to those over 100 years of “considerable uncertainties” between Cooley and Southern Pacific, a period of time when the Court among other developments tried to reconcile the Gibbons’ exclusivity and Cooley’s selective exclusivity views of the Dormant Commerce Clause. The modern application of Dormant Commerce Clause test will be saved for another time.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Mohr on Leo Kohn and the Law of the British Empire @UCDLawSchool

Thomas Mohr, Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin, has published Leo Kohn and the Law of the British Empire as UCD Working Papers in Law, Criminology & Socio-Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12/2019. Here is the abstract.
Leo Kohn’s 1932 publication, The Constitution of the Irish Free State, is widely recognised as the leading textbook on the Irish 1922 constitution. Many aspects of this constitution have been reproduced or have influenced the provisions of the current Irish constitution of 1937. This ensures that Kohn’s book continues to be cited in major Irish court cases and scholarly works on law and history. Yet the 1922 constitution also contained a large number of provisions that were not reproduced in the 1937 constitution. These provisions concerned important aspects of British Imperial law and reflected the demands of the 1921 Treaty that created a special constitutional link between the Irish Free State and Canada and a secondary link to the other Dominions of the British Commonwealth and Empire. Kohn’s analysis of these provisions constitutes one of the most radical and politicised aspects of his book. While this article focuses on Kohn’s book and other legal works produced by him it does not purport to serve as a definitive biography of the man himself. Instead, this article challenges the accuracy of Kohn’s analyses relating to points of British Imperial law. In some instances, Kohn’s analyses were accurate in the context of 1932 when his book was published, but attempts to backdate these conclusions to the time of the birth of the Irish Free State constitution in 1922 are open to serious challenge. Despite these realities, Kohn’s conclusion that aspects of British Imperial law were nothing more than “archaic symbols” whose “meaningless for Ireland was writ large on every page” have had a profound impact on Irish law and historiography. This article also argues that Kohn’s attempts to minimise the significance of these aspects of British Imperial law may also have been influenced by his long-term ambition to draft a constitution for a Jewish State within the British Mandate of Palestine.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

March 17, 2019

Forthcoming from Desmond Manderson: Danse Macabre (Cambridge University Press)

Desmond Manderson, Australian National University, is publishing Danse Macabre: Temporalities of Law in the Visual Arts (Cambridge University Press) (forthcoming June 2019). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
The visual arts offer refreshing and novel resources through which to understand the representation, power, ideology and critique of law. This vibrantly interdisciplinary book brings the burgeoning field to a new maturity through extended close readings of major works by artists from Pieter Bruegel and Gustav Klimt to Gordon Bennett and Rafael Cauduro. At each point, the author puts these works of art into a complex dance with legal and social history, and with recent developments in legal and art theory. Manderson uses the idea of time and temporality as a focal point through which to explore how the work of art engages with and constitutes law and human lives. In the symmetries and asymmetries caused by the vibrating harmonic resonances of these triple forces - time, law, art - lies a way of not only understanding the world, but also transforming it.

Danse Macabre 

March 11, 2019

Call for Abstracts: JurisApocalypse Now! Law in End Times, December 2-4, 2019 (LLHAA)

Southern Cross University School of Law and Justice, in partnership with the Law, Literature and the Humanities Association of Australasia (LLHAA), is proud to convene and organise the 2019 LLHAA conference titled JurisApocalypse Now! Law in End Times, which will be held at Southern Cross University Gold Coast Campus on 2-4 December 2019.

The conference will explore the intersection of legality, temporality and eschatology, the normatively uncertain and yet inherently creative space originated by the conflicting encounter between the orderly desire of law and the entropic tendency of apocalyptic narratives, with both forces cast against the backdrop of the ever-­deferred notion of time itself.

Furthermore, the conference is organised in conjunction with the 2019 Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ) conference, titled Survive, Thrive, Die: Law in End Times, which will be held on 5-7 December 2019, still at Southern Cross University Gold Coast Campus. The two conferences, although distinct and separate, are nonetheless connected by a shared overarching theme, and are articulated around a shared Postgraduate Day, which will be held on the 5th December. Scholars are invited, in a profoundly interdisciplinary manner, to participate in either or both conferences.

For further information, or if you have any query about the conferences, please visit

Southern Cross University School of Law and Justice, in partnership with the Law, Literature and the Humanities Association of Australasia (LLHAA), is proud to convene and organise the 2019 LLHAA conference titled JurisApocalypse Now! Law in End Times, which will be held at Southern Cross University Gold Coast Campus on 2-4 December 2019.

The conference will explore the intersection of legality, temporality and eschatology, the normatively uncertain and yet inherently creative space originated by the conflicting encounter between the orderly desire of law and the entropic tendency of apocalyptic narratives, with both forces cast against the backdrop of the ever-­deferred notion of time itself.

Furthermore, the conference is organised in conjunction with the 2019 Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ) conference, titled Survive, Thrive, Die: Law in End Times, which will be held on 5-7 December 2019, still at Southern Cross University Gold Coast Campus. The two conferences, although distinct and separate, are nonetheless connected by a shared overarching theme, and are articulated around a shared Postgraduate Day, which will be held on the 5th December. Scholars are invited, in a profoundly interdisciplinary manner, to participate in either or both conferences.

For further information, or if you have any query about the conferences, please visit

Submission deadline: 31 July 2019

The Organising Committee invites the submission of abstracts of original work. Abstracts can be submitted for consideration for an oral presentation or a hard copy poster.
The Organising Committee will endeavour to notify presenters whether their proposed paper has been accepted at the beginning of each month following the abstract’s submission.

Submissions can be made using the following link:

March 8, 2019

Law Text Culture: Call For Proposals @popgoesthelegal @law_text

Law Text Culture: Call for Proposals for Volume 24 (2020), due May 1, 2019 

The Editorial Board of Law Text Culture is seeking proposals for the 2020 edition of the Journal (Volume 24), due for publication in December 2020.

Law Text Culture is a transcontinental, peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal which aims to produce fresh insights and knowledges about law and jurisprudence across three interconnected axes:

Politics: engaging the relationship of force and resistance

Aesthetics: eliciting the relationship of judgment and expression

Ethics: exploring the relationship of self and other.

The annual thematic special issue, curated by guest editors, is selected by the editorial board. Each issue explores its theme across a range of genres, with scholarly essays and articles sitting alongside visual and literary engagements. In this way, Law Text Culture excites unique intersectional and interdisciplinary encounters with law in all its forms.

Proposals by potential guest editors should include: a concise description of the proposed theme; a draft call for papers setting out the aims and concepts of the issue; and how it fits within the remit of the journal; an indication of the intended authors and how they are to be identified/contacted (eg whether the proposal arises out of a seminar series, conference or workshop); the range of genres (poetry, scholarly essays, visual arts etc) expected to be included; an explanation of how the copy-editing will be completed, including whether the guest editor/s will secure appropriate funding for copy-editing (usually approx $1000), or undertake the copy-editing themselves; and brief details of the guest editor(s).

Proposals should be 1000 words (approx) and should be emailed to the Managing Editor by close of business 1 May 2019.

For further information, including the role of guest editors, and the journal style guide, please visit: LTC at LIRC. Details on the editors and themes of previous editions of Law Text Culture are available at: UOW Research Online. Associate Professor Cassandra Sharp Managing Editor Law Text Culture School of Law, University of Wollongong NSW Email:

Abrams on References To Television Shows in Judicial Opinions and Written Advocacy (Part I) @mobarnews

Douglas E. Abrams, University of Missouri School of Law, has published References to Television Shows in Judicial Opinions and Written Advocacy (Part I) at 75 Journal of the Missouri Bar 25 (Jan.-Feb. 2019). Here is the abstract.
Professor Abrams authors a column, Writing it Right, in the Journal of the Missouri Bar. In a variety of contexts, the column stresses the fundamentals of quality legal writing - conciseness, precision, simplicity, and clarity.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

March 6, 2019

Call For Proposals: Persons in Poetry and Law: Proposel Panel for MLA 2020

From the mailbox:

Call For Proposals: Persons in Poetry and Law

Proposed Panel for MLA 2020
January 9-12, 2020
Seattle, WA
 What relationships exist between poetic and legal invocations of personhood? What emerges in examining the formal strategies involved in processes of invocation? Seeking papers that put poems and legal texts in conversation. Please send 300-word proposals to Talia Shalev ( by Wednesday, March 11, 2019.

Sawers on Race and Property After the Civil War: Creating the Right To Exclude

Brian Sawers, Georgetown University Law Center, is publishing Race and Property After the Civil War: Creating the Right to Exclude in volume 87 of the Mississippi Law Journal (2018). Here is the abstract.
This Article uncovers a lost history of property, showing the role that race and white supremacy played in the development of modern trespass law. Property law does not change in response to economic opportunities, evolving to ever-more efficiency. Instead, property law reflects political power. At times, the political process may reorient property law to produce a larger surplus. Oftentimes, politics produce redistribution from the weak to the powerful. States closed the range to coerce blacks into working for white landowners for low wages and under bad conditions. Southern society as a whole suffered from the planter’s greed. Low wages and cruel laws impoverished not only black and white sharecroppers, but the entire region. Changing property law was a core element of the program of legal aggression that began with the black codes and continued with Jim Crow.
The full text is not available from SSRN.

Bradley and Siegel on Madisonian Liquidation and the Originalism Debate @curtisabradley @NeilScottSiegel

Curtis Bradley and Neil Siegel, both of Duke University School of Law, have published Historical Gloss, Madisonian Liquidation, and the Originalism Debate as Duke Law School Public Law & Legal Theory Series No. 2019-15. Here is the abstract.
The U.S. Constitution is old, relatively brief, and very difficult to amend. In its original form, the Constitution was primarily a framework for a new national government, and for 230 years the national government has operated under that framework even as conditions have changed in ways beyond the Founders’ conceivable imaginations. The framework has survived in no small part because government institutions have themselves played an important role in helping to fill in and clarify the framework through their practices and interactions, informed by the realities of governance. Courts, the political branches, and academic commentators commonly give weight to such post-Founding governmental practice in discerning the Constitution’s separation of powers. That approach has been referred to as the “historical gloss” method of constitutional interpretation, based on language that Justice Frankfurter used to describe the concept in his concurrence in the Youngstown steel seizure case. Some originalist commentators, however, have advanced a potentially competing approach to crediting post-Founding practice, which they refer to as “liquidation,” an idea that they ascribe to James Madison and certain other members of the Founding generation. To date, there has not been any systematic effort to compare gloss and liquidation, even though the differences between them bear on the constitutionality of a range of governmental practices relating to both domestic and foreign affairs in the fields of constitutional law and federal courts. This Article fills that gap in the literature. We first provide an account of what must be shown in order to establish historical gloss. Our account focuses on longstanding governmental practices that have proven to be stable—that is, practices that have operated for a significant amount of time without generating continued inter-branch contestation. We then consider the extent to which the liquidation concept differs from that of gloss and whether those differences render liquidation more or less normatively attractive than gloss. We argue that a narrow account of liquidation, offered by Professor Caleb Nelson, most clearly distinguishes liquidation from gloss, but that it does so in ways that are normatively problematic. We further argue that a broader account of liquidation, recently offered by Professor William Baude, responds to those normative concerns by diminishing the distinction between liquidation and gloss, but that significant differences remain that continue to raise normative problems for liquidation. Finally, we question whether either scholar’s account of liquidation is properly attributed to Madison.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

February 24, 2019

Forthcoming: Matthew H. Birkhold, Characters Before Copyright (OUP, 2019) @OxUniPress

Matthew H. Birkhold, Assistant Professor of German and Assistant Professor of Law, The Ohio State University, is publishing Characters Before Copyright: The Rise and Regulation of Fan Fiction in Eighteenth-Century Germany (Oxford University Press, 2019). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
How did authors control the literary fates of fictional characters before the existence of copyright? Could a second author do anything with another author's character? Situated between the decline of the privilege system and the rise of copyright, literary borrowing in eighteenth-century Germany has long been considered unregulated. This book tells a different story. Characters before Copyright documents the surprisingly widespread eighteenth-century practice of writing fan fiction literary works written by readers who appropriate preexisting characters invented by other authors and reconstructs the contemporaneous debate about the literary phenomenon. Like fan fiction today, these texts took the form of sequels, prequels, and spinoffs. Analyzing the evolving reading, writing, and consumer habits of late-eighteenth-century Germany, Characters before Copyright identifies the social, economic, and aesthetic changes that fostered the rapid rise of fan fiction after 1750. Based on archival work and an ethnographic approach borrowed from legal anthropology, this book then uncovers the unwritten customary norms that governed the production of these works. Characters before Copyright thus reinterprets the eighteenth-century literary commons, arguing that what may appear to have been the free circulation of characters was actually circumscribed by an exacting set of rules and conditions. These norms translated into a unique type of literature that gave rise to remarkable forms of collaborative authorship and originality. Characters before Copyright provides a new perspective on the eighteenth-century book trade and the rise of intellectual property, reevaluating the concept of literary property, the history of moral rights, and the tradition of free culture.


Humor and Satire in Contemporary Europe Summer School July 14-20 2019

From the mailbox:

The second edition of the summer school Humor and Satire in Contemporary Europe: Cultural, Political and Legal Perspectives will take place at the University of Groningen (Netherlands) from 14 to 20 July 2019. The course will feature seminars and lectures on the following topics (among several others):

- Satire and populism in Europe and the US;
- Current debates on dark humor and its limits (Charlie Hebdo etc.);
- New forms of comedy and humor across media.

Other activities include a workshop for MA and PhD students, and one on interdisciplinary approaches to humor. More details, including a list of confirmed speakers, can be found here; the full programme will be uploaded soon. The deadline for application is 5 May 2019.

If you have any questions, please send an email to or

Reminder: Sisters in Crime Offering Grant To Buy Books For Research Projects

From the mailbox:

Via Barbara Fister, Gustavus Adolphus College

Sisters in Crime is offering a grant for up to $500 to buy books to support research projects that contribute to our understanding of the role of women or underrepresented groups in the crime fiction genre. The deadline for applications is April 1st. Please share with interested parties! There are some limitations because of our funding source - grant recipients must either be US citizens/legal residents of the United States or must be conducting research on US authors.

Details are here:

February 23, 2019

Call For Papers, Proposed Working Group on Embodied Reading, MLA Annual Convention

Proposed Working Group, Modern Languages Association, Annual Convention, January 9-20, 2020

Embodied Reading
Proposed working group, MLA Convention, Seattle, WA
Jan. 9-12 2020
Taking a cue from recent developments in somatic psychology toward embodied listening and embodied speaking, in this working group we will explore embodied reading as a practice that attends to bodily sensation and affective response as they emerge in the process of reading. For scholars engaged with materials that describe traumatic encounters—from the archive of slavery to the autopsy of Michael Brown to memoirs of sexual violence—a choice presents itself. Do I bracket my own revulsion, discomfort, boredom, rage, or pain? We invite papers that explore what happens when, instead of ignoring or suppressing the vagaries of sensation, we attend to bodily affects: to the catch of the breath the moment we learn where and how the bullet entered the body; to the tightening of the belly as we read of the deadly blow that struck the young girl. As a critical or scholarly practice, embodied reading accomplishes nothing, produces nothing: it is not so much an alternative to reading close or distant, deep or surface, but rather constitutes a place of commencement from which other critical reading modalities might follow. Embodied reading offers a new locus of attention from which scholarly practice becomes, perhaps, more sustainable, more connected to the rhythms of daily experience, of being-in-the-world. Please send 250-word abstracts to ccutchin@berkeley.eduby March 15. We invite papers on topics that (for example):
·     attend to the affective or bodily experience of reading triggering material (literary, archival, or journalistic)
·     reflect on one’s own personal experience of integrating embodiment practice, meditation, or other therapeutic techniques with literary scholarship
·     consider new developments in somatic psychology as they relate to literary studies
·     theorize how embodied reading can emerge in the classroom setting
·     situate embodied reading in relationship to e.g., disability studies, queer studies, or memory studies 
·     examine the relationship between the reader’s embodied experience and the emergence of meaning in the literary or filmic text

CFP: Law, Literature, and Human Rights, MLA Annual Convention, Seattle, January 9-12, 2020

From the mailbox:

Call for Papers: 

Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, Seattle, January 9-12, 2020

Law, Literature, and Human Rights

Papers examining legal and literary articulations of human rights, broadly conceived, from Jus Gentium to the U.S. Constitution to the European Union. 250-500 word abstract and brief CV. 

Deadline for submissions: Sunday, 10 March 2019

Melissa J. Ganz, Marquette U ( ); Christine L. Holbo, Arizona State U ( )  

February 21, 2019

Stern on Reorienting the Connections Between Law and Literature @ArsScripta

Simon Stern, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, has published Literary Analysis of Law: Reorienting the Connections Between Law and Literature at 5 Critical Analysis of Law 1 (2018). Here is the abstract.
This special issue of Critical Analysis of Law, devoted to new work in law and literature, features articles that dispense with the choice between “law in literature” and “law as literature,” to ask how legal and literary forms, methods, concepts, and attitudes can be productively explored in tandem. Conventionally, when scholars ask how legal actors and problems are portrayed in literature, or how hermeneutic theory may shed light on statutory or constitutional interpretation, these questions are meant to help solve a legal problem, at a doctrinal or conceptual level. But once we abandon the requirement that literature serve as an assistant in this fashion, many new possibilities for the literary study of law come into visibility. The essays in this special issue explore some of those directions.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

February 20, 2019

Call For Papers: A Critical Guide To Civil Procedure

Call For Papers:

A Critical Guide to Civil Procedure

Call for Papers

Boston University School of Law (host; co-sponsors Seattle University and University of Washington)
Workshop Date: Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Abstract Deadline: March 15, 2019
Convenors: Portia Pedro, Brooke Coleman, Suzette Malveaux, & Elizabeth Porter

Civil Procedure is not a technocratic, neutral area of study, yet there is no collection of civil procedural scholarship engaging perspectives at the margins. In this workshop, we will discuss these perspectives. The workshop will support a book project that the convenors are editing.

The idea for the book project is to create a critical reference guide for the core civ pro concepts students learn every year. We envision a collection of essays - loosely keyed to traditional textbook topics - that reveal the relationship between civil procedural rules/doctrines and race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, class, and disability. In addition to basic civil procedure concepts like pleading, jurisdiction, discovery, and aggregate litigation, we hope to include a critical analysis of related topics such as rulemaking institutions, arbitration, and remedies.

This workshop will include authors who have already agreed to contribute to this book project, but we also want to bring in more voices. At the workshop, contributors will discuss a five-page precis of their essay (precis are to be submitted in advance of the workshop). The final essays should be roughly 10,000 words, including footnotes. (Essays should not include “Part I” basic background, but should center on the author’s critical analysis.) The essays for the book project are due by August 1, 2019.

If you are interested in participating in the workshop and contributing to the book, please submit an abstract and author biography (no longer than 500 words each) by March 15, 2019 to We will select papers by April 1, 2019.

The workshop will provide meals for contributors. Contributors must cover travel and lodging costs. Information about reasonably-priced hotels will be provided as the date approaches.  

Financial Assistance: Convenors may allocate limited funds to help cover partial travel expenses or accommodations for a small number of selected participants. If you wish to be considered for financial assistance, please submit a separate written request, specifying your city of departure and an estimate of travel costs, along with your abstract submission. We regret in advance that we are unable to provide full financial assistance to participants. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Brooke Coleman (
Suzette Malveaux (
Portia Pedro (
Elizabeth Porter (

Suzette Malveaux
Provost Professor of Civil Rights Law
Director, Byron R. White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law
University of Colorado

February 18, 2019

Hollingsworth on the Power of African-American Women Voters in Lexington's School Suffrage, 1895-1902: History of the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Movement

Randolph Hollingsworth has published Power of African-American Women Voters in Lexington's School Suffrage, 1895-1902: Race and the History of the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Movement. Here is the abstract.
Women suffragists in the U.S. included partial suffrage through participation in school-related elections as one of their strategies to reach full citizenship rights. Kentucky had already pointed the way for this strategy when in 1838 a statewide law passed protecting the right of female taxpaying heads-of-households in rural areas to vote on matters related to the new common school system. The leaders of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association (KERA) sought to build on this precedent during the 1890 Kentucky constitutional convention that offered the possibility of the legislature to grant women the right to vote. When the charters of cities of the second-class (i.e., Lexington, Covington and Newport) were up for revision in 1894, the General Assembly included what the KERA lobbyists were hoping for – the right for women in second-class cities to vote on school-related issues. By then, women in fifteen other states had successfully lobbied for legislation for partial suffrage (or full suffrage in some Western territories and states). This presentation will chronicle the evolution of school suffrage laws of Kentucky, focusing on the 1901 school board election in Lexington and the revocation of school suffrage in 1902. That election cycle evidenced a large percentage of African-American women whose registration totals favored the Republican Party. However, only half of the registrants ended up casting a vote – leading to the election of a Democratic Party ticket that year. The unusual numbers of black women voters threatened the racially conservative norm, and in January 1902, the Kentucky legislature repealed the partial suffrage law. The political backlash over the racial disproportionality of women voters in this election exposed the Kentucky partisan feuds of the time, however the issue of race control was at the core of the reasoning for revoking even this limited attempt at partial suffrage in Kentucky. This paper argues that race mattered more than partisan politics, class or social standing in determining the outcome of suffrage laws for women in Kentucky.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Pfander on Dicey's Nightmare: An Essay on the Rule of Law

James E. Pfander, Northwestern University School of Law, is publishing Dicey's Nightmare: An Essay on the Rule of Law in the California Law Review. Here is the abstract.
The British constitutional lawyer A.V. Dicey argued in the nineteenth century that the common law, as administered by superior courts, better ensured government accountability than did written constitutions. Dicey taught us to focus less on constitutional promises and more on the practical effectiveness of judicial remedies. This Essay builds on Dicey by offering a comparative assessment of military encroachments on the rights of the nation’s citizens during times of war. Rather than comparing British common-law norms to European constitutionalism, as Dicey did, this Essay compares nineteenth-century common law as applied in the courts of the United States to the constitutionally-inflected rules that those courts apply today. This Essay focuses its comparison on three common-law remedies: habeas to secure release from military detention; trespass to obtain an award of damages for wrongful or abusive military confinement; and tort and contract-based compensation for the military’s destruction or taking of property. The modern Supreme Court has recalibrated each of these common-law regimes and now evaluates the legality of the military’s actions almost exclusively in constitutional terms. As Dicey might have predicted, the shift away from hard-edged common-law rules to open-ended constitutional balancing corresponds to a marked loss of relative remedial effectiveness. This Essay examines some of the factors that have shaped the remedial decline, as reflected in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Ziglar v. Abbasi. It then offers suggestions as to how the Court might keep the infrastructure of rights enforcement in better repair.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Cunningham and Egbert on Scientific Methods for Analyzing Original Meaning: Corpus Linguistics and the Emoluments Clauses @ClarkGSULaw

Clark D. Cunningham, Georgia State University College of Law, and Jesse Egbert, Northern Arizona University, have published Scientific Methods for Analyzing Original Meaning: Corpus Linguistics and the Emoluments Clauses, presented at the Fourth Annual Conference of Law & Corpus Linguistics (2019), as Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Paper. Here is the abstract.
In interpreting the Constitution's text, courts "are guided by the principle that '[t]he Constitution was written to be understood by the voters; its words and phrases were used in their normal and ordinary as distinguished from their technical meaning'." District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 576 (2008). According to James Madison: "[W]hatever respect may be thought due to the intention of the Convention, which prepared and proposed the Constitution, as a presumptive evidence of the general understanding at the time of the language used, it must be kept in mind that the only authoritative intentions were those of the people of the States, as expressed through the Conventions which ratified the Constitution." In looking for "presumptive evidence of the general understanding at the time of the language used" courts have generally relied on dictionary definitions and selected quotations from texts dating from the period of ratification. This paper presents a completely different, scientifically-grounded approach: applying the tools of linguistic analysis to "big data" about how written language was used at the time of ratification. This data became publicly available in Fall 2018 when the website of the Corpus of Founding Era American English (COFEA) was launched. COFEA contains in digital form over 95,000 texts created between 1760 and 1799, totaling more than 138,800,000 words. The authors illustrate this scientific approach by analyzing the usage of the word emolument by writers in America during the period covered by COFEA, 1760-1799. The authors selected this project both because the interpretation of two clauses in the Constitution using emolument are of considerable current interest and because the meaning of emolument is a mystery to modern Americans. The District of Columbia and State of Maryland are currently suing President Donald Trump alleging that his continued ownership of the Trump Hotel in Washington puts him in violation of Constitutional prohibitions on receiving or accepting "emoluments" from either foreign or state governments. The President's primary line of defense is a narrow reading of emolument as "profit arising from an office or employ." The authors accessed every text in COFEA in which emolument appeared - over 2500 examples of actual usage - and analyzed all of these examples using three different computerized search methods. The authors found no evidence that emolument had a distinct narrow meaning of "profit arising from an office or employ." All three analyses indicated just the opposite: emolument was consistently used and understood as a general and inclusive term. The authors have filed an amicus brief in support of neither party in the pending 4th Circuit appeal in the Trump Hotel case, reporting the results of the research described in this article. The brief is available at SSRN: Egbert is a professor of applied linguistics who has co-authored or co-edited three books and more than 60 peer-reviewed publications. Cunningham is a law professor who has written previously about applying linguistics to the interpretation of legal texts, including Plain Meaning and Hard Cases, 103 Yale L.J. 1561 (1994); Using Common Sense: A Linguistic Perspective on Judicial Interpretations of 'Use a Firearm,', 73 Wash. U. L.Q. 1159 (1995); and A Linguistic Analysis of the Meanings of 'Search' in the Fourth Amendment: A Search for Common Sense, 73 Iowa L. Rev. 541 (1998).
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Registration For ASLCH Conference Deadline: Early Bird Rate Ends February 20, 2019 @Law_Cult_Huma


The deadline for registration for the ASLCH Conference in Ottawa this year (March 22-23) at the early bird rate is Wednesday, February 20. Registration fees rise $75 after that date. More here.

Chapman on Rethinking Establishment Clause Jurisprudence

Nathan S. Chapman, University of Georgia School of Law, has published Money for Missionaries: Rethinking Establishment Clause History as University of Georgia School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-10. Here is the abstract.
In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Supreme Court stated two principles that continue to animate Establishment Clause doctrine. The first is that courts should look to founding-era history—especially the history of "religious assessments," or taxes used to fund churches—to interpret the Establishment Clause. The second is that, based on this history, the government may provide limited secular goods to religious schools, but the Establishment Clause prohibits the government from directly funding religious education. What Everson ignored, and what subsequent legal scholarship has likewise overlooked, is that the founding-era government did directly fund religious education: from the Revolution to Reconstruction, the federal government partnered with Christian missionaries to "civilize" American Indians. Initially ad hoc, this practice was formalized with the Civilization Funds Act of 1819, which authorized the government to distribute $10,000 per year to "persons of good moral character" to educate and "civilize" the tribes. For over fifty years, the government funded Christian missionaries who incorporated religious instruction and worship into their curricula. Curiously, no one ever raised a constitutional objection. This Article is the first to provide a thorough analysis of the government-missionary partnerships and to explore why no one objected to their constitutionality. The evidence strongly suggests eighteenth and nineteenth-century Americans supported them because of a shared view of social progress that merged Christianization, education, and civilization. They simply could not have imagined separating Christianity and education. This evidence reshapes the conventional narrative of the historical development of non-establishment norms in the United States, especially the centrality of the Jeffersonian "taxpayer conscience" objection to religious assessments. This history also has important implications for Establishment Clause doctrine. The challenge is ascertaining a constitutional principle from a practice that itself went unquestioned. The history does, however, suggest that the government may directly fund general education, even when that education entails incidental voluntary religious instruction. This principle complements the theoretical norm of "substantive neutrality" and supports the Supreme Court's current doctrinal trajectory of easing restrictions on government funding of religious education.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Cedrone on the Values of Words

Michael J. Cedrone, Georgetown University Law Center, is publishing On the Values of Words in volume 23 of the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute. Here is the abstract.
Mary Norris's Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen and Kory Stamper's Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries use observations about language as a touchstone for a nuanced examination of language, culture, and law in a changing world. In so doing, they point to deeper truths about the use of language and its consequences. Law students, lawyers, and law professors will benefit from journeying with Norris and Stamper towards the goal of crafting prose that is clear, accurate, and inclusive. In particular, the legal community will benefit from the books' efforts to define consistent, binding linguistic rules and the books' reflections on the consequences of language as a medium for conveying law.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Geraldine Heng's The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages Wins PROSE Award In World History @PROSEAwards @cambUP_History

ICYMI: Geraldine Heng, University of Texas, Austin, has published The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages (Cambridge University Press, 2018).
In The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages, Geraldine Heng questions the common assumption that the concepts of race and racisms only began in the modern era. Examining Europe's encounters with Jews, Muslims, Africans, Native Americans, Mongols, and the Romani ('Gypsies'), from the 12th through 15th centuries, she shows how racial thinking, racial law, racial practices, and racial phenomena existed in medieval Europe before a recognizable vocabulary of race emerged in the West. Analysing sources in a variety of media, including stories, maps, statuary, illustrations, architectural features, history, saints' lives, religious commentary, laws, political and social institutions, and literature, she argues that religion - so much in play again today - enabled the positing of fundamental differences among humans that created strategic essentialisms to mark off human groups and populations for racialized treatment. Her ground-breaking study also shows how race figured in the emergence of homo europaeus and the identity of Western Europe in this time.
This book has just received the 2019 PROSE Award in World History.

February 16, 2019

Castilho on The Press and Brazilian Narratives of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" @celso_thomas

ICYMI: Celso Thomas Castilho has published The Press and Brazilian Narratives of Uncle Tom's Cabin: Slavery and the Public Sphere in Rio de Janiero, ca. 1855, at 76 The Americas 77 (2019). Here is the abstract.
In March 1855, a literary newspaper in Rio de Janeiro printed the first installment of Nísia Floresta's “Páginas de uma vida obscura,” a serialized short story inspired by Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). Seven more chapters followed, keeping “Páginas” in the public eye for months. The Jornal do Commercio, arguably the national paper of record, mentioned the story in its announcements. Floresta (pseudonym of Dionísia Gonçalves Pinto, 1810–1885) centered her storyline on the Congo-born Domingos, the “Brazilian Tom,” who exemplified the attributes of Christian virtuosity and resignation found in Stowe's internationally famous novel. Set in the nineteenth century, “Páginas” begins with the ten-year-old Domingos's enslavement on the African coast, and highlights the human devastation of the internal slave trade through his movements across Minas Gerais and on to Porto Alegre and Rio de Janeiro. It ends with Domingos's death, at age 54, grief-stricken over his son's recent passing. In part, Floresta's “Páginas” emerged from the Brazilian schoolteacher's longstanding critiques of patriarchy, nation, and education. Twenty years earlier, Floresta had drawn from Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman to write Direito das mulheres e injustiça dos homens (1832), a book that went through three editions in its first decade. More directly though, Floresta had connected to the so-called “Tom mania” while living in Paris in 1852. The following year, back in Rio, she wrote a pamphlet on women's education—Opúsculo humanitário (1853)—that parsed key aspects of Uncle Tom's Cabin, among a larger discussion of women's achievements internationally. Two Rio newspapers excerpted the pamphlet, and, boldly, published the chapters focused on Uncle Tom. This attention in the press raised the profile of a book the public already knew to be controversial, as newspapers had earlier carried reports of port authorities seizing shipments of Uncle Tom's Cabin in Rio, Salvador, and Fortaleza. In writing “Páginas,” then, two years after the Opúsculo, Floresta not only carried forward her literary dialogue with Stowe, but also posed the work as a challenge to the status quo. “Páginas” was necessary, she explained, because “slavery is not an issue of concern in the press.” If overstated, given that the topic of slavery was quite prevalent in public discourse, Floresta's assertion nonetheless signals an opportunity for scholars to probe further into the relationship between slavery and the public sphere in the mid nineteenth century. More specifically, it suggests connections to be explored between the press and the early reception of Uncle Tom's Cabin in Brazil, and, more broadly, connections between the representations of slavery in the press, and the institution's enduring legitimacy.

February 14, 2019

NBC Working On New Legal Drama "Bluff City Law"

From Variety:

NBC is casting a pilot for a new legal drama, Bluff City Law.  The show centers on a civil rights lawyer and his daughter (played by Caitlin McGee), who leaves a corporate law firm to help him with his cases. We should expect the usual family drama as well. More here.

Deadline Hollywood has a short article; link here.

February 11, 2019

ICYMI: Liverpool Law Review's Special Issue on Reimagining Justice: Aesthetics and Law @LivUni_Law

Call For Nominations: Peter Gonville Stein Book Award in Legal History

From the mailbox: The American Society for Legal History announces a call for nominations for the Peter Gonville Stein Book Award. The ASLH awards this prize for the best book in legal history written in English. Below is the call for nominations.
The Peter Gonville Stein Book Award is awarded annually for the best book in legal history written in English. This award is designed to recognize and encourage the further growth of fine work in legal history that focuses on all non-US regions, as well as global and international history. To be eligible, a book must sit outside of the field of US legal history and be published during the previous calendar year. Announced at the annual meeting of the ASLH, this honor includes a citation on the contributions of the work to the broader field of legal history. A book may only be considered for the Stein Award, the Reid Award, or the Cromwell Book Prize. It may not be nominated for more than one of these three prizes.

The Stein Award is named in memory of Peter Gonville Stein, BA, LLB (Cantab); PhD (Aberdeen); QC; FBA; Honorary Fellow, ASLH, and eminent scholar of Roman law at the University of Cambridge, and made possible by a generous contribution from an anonymous donor. Read more about Dr. Stein here.

For the 2019 prize, the Stein Award Committee will accept nominations of any book (not including textbooks, critical editions, and collections of essays) that bears a copyright date of 2018 as it appears on the printed version of the book. Translations into English may be nominated, provided they are published within two years of the publication date of the original version.

Nominations for the Stein Award (including self-nominations) should be submitted by March 15, 2019. Please send an e-mail to the Committee at and include: (1) a curriculum vitae of the author (including the author’s e-mail address); and (2) the name, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number of the contact person at the press who will provide the committee with two copies of the book. This person will be contacted shortly after the deadline. (If a title is short-listed, four further copies will be requested from the publisher.)

Please contact the committee chair, Matthew Mirow, with any questions at

ICYMI: Branco on Exploring Justitia Through Eowyn and Niobe @LivUni_Law

ICYMI: Patricia Branco, Exploring Justitia Through Éowyn and Niobe: On Gender, Race and the Legal, 38 Liverpool Law Review 63 (2017). Here is the abstract.
The image of Lady Justice, a white woman, sometimes appearing with her eyes veiled and other times unveiled, at times bearing scales and/or a sword in her hands, still is a common and popular feature of legal culture in many parts of the world. This is an image of justice that is found everywhere, from courthouses to cartoons. However, one may ask: “Who is this woman?”; Is she really a worthy representative of justice?; Or even a commendable representative of women? Thus, in this article, it is proposed to question the image of Lady Justice and the interpretations that have been associated with it, as well as the standards of conduct required of, and imposed upon, women both inside and outside the legal profession. The article will consider a range of arguments related to such questions, particularly on the issues of gender and race, by using two female characters: Éowyn (from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings) and Niobe (from the Wachowskis’s The Matrix). The two characters are women who have some significance in both plots. Through them, I will establish some similarities and differences with Justitia, namely the need to be disguised as men or embrace male attitudes (a similar process concerning women in the legal profession, for example); the use of weapons (specifically, the sword, and, hence, the necessary analysis of women as law breakers, in contradiction to the image of Justitia); and finally some key issues relating to the representation of women of colour.
Download the article at the link.

Law and Humanities Spring School RomaTre University Department of Law Call For Applications

From the mailbox:


Law and Humanities Spring School
15-18 April 2019
RomaTre University Department of Law, Via Ostiense 161, 00154 Rome

The Law and Humanities Spring School is a collaboration between the RomaTre University, the Australian National University and the University of Lucerne. The programme is designed to provide a broad insight into topics at the intersection between law and the humanities, and into the principles and practices of law-and-humanities studies. The school will bring together postgraduate students working across law and the humanities with leading specialists in the discipline(s), providing a valuable opportunity for intellectual training and exchange. 

The school will take place over four consecutive days, from Monday 15 to Thursday 18 April 2019. The full programme can be found here.

Applications are invited from doctoral candidates and advanced graduate students with an interest in interdisciplinary work in law and the humanities. Please send a brief letter of motivation (in English, max. 1 page) and a CV to The deadline for submission is Friday 15 March 2019.

February 9, 2019

Shakespeare and the Law 2019: An Event Sponsored by the Federalist Society, McCarter & English, and the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company

On February 12, 2019 at

New England Conservatory Black Box Theater
225 St. Botolph Street
Boston, MA 02115

The Federalist Society, McCarter & English, and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company 
Shakespeare and the Law 2019 
Belief and the Burden of Proof through the Lens of Six of the Bard's Plays

The Boston Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society, McCarter & English, and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC), present the 16th Annual Shakespeare and the Law Program. This year's program takes on the themes of belief and the burden of proof  through the lens of six of Shakespeare’s plays, Cymbeline, Hamlet, Henry IV, Part 1, Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure and Othello.  Following a staged reading of brief scenes from each of the plays, judges, prosecutors, attorneys, activists and commentators will discuss and debate how allegations of impropriety should be measured and judged in the courtroom, the workplace, the college campus, and the Congressional hearing room. The panel discussion will be moderated by Jennifer Braceras and Judge Nancy Gertner.

More information here.