July 31, 2007

New Casebook on Law and Popular Culture

LEXIS/NEXIS has published a new casebook on Law and Popular Culture. The contributors are David Papke (editor), Marquette, Melissa Cole Essig, Esq., Peter Huang, Temple, Lenora Ledwon, St. Thomas, Diane Mazur, University of Florida, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Georgetown, Philip Meyer, Vermont, Binny Miller, American University, and yours truly. From David's intro: "Law and Popular Culture is the first classroom text to examine the full range of American law-related popular culture. The text resembles a traditional casebook, but it contains relatively few cases or appellate opinions. Instead the text's fourteen chapters include discussions of various contemporary topics, numerous notes and questions, and well over one hundred excerpts from articles by leading law and popular culture scholars."

The book includes the following chapters: Studying Law and Popular Culture; Law Students, Lawyers and Legal Ethics, Clients, Witnesses, Judges, Juries, Tort Law, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Family Law, Business Law, International Law, and Military Law. Each chapter is organized around five films that illustrate that chapter's topic.

The title is ready for fall adoption.

Cross-posted to the Seamless Web.

Law and Lit in International Law

Ed Morgan, University of Toronto Law School, has published The Aesthetics of International Law(University of Toronto Press). Here's a description of the contents.
International law is a fundamentally modern phenomenon. Tracing its roots to the skeletal nineteenth-century pronouncements of the ‘law of nations,’ the discipline took shape in the elaborate treaty structures of the post-First World War era and in the institutions and tribunals of the post-Second World War period. International law as scholars know and study it today is a product of modernism.

In The Aesthetics of International Law, Ed Morgan engages in a literary parsing of international legal texts. In order to demonstrate how modernist aesthetics are imbued in these types of legal narratives, Morgan makes a direct comparison between international legal documents and modern (as well as some immediately pre- and post-modern) literary texts. He demonstrates how the same intellectual currents that flow through the works of authors ranging from Edgar Allen Poe to James Joyce to Vladimir Nabokov, are also present in legal doctrines ranging from the law of war to international commercial disputes to human rights.

By providing a comparative, interdisciplinary account of the modern phenomenon, this work seeks to highlight the ways in which judges, lawyers, and state representatives artfully exploit the narratives of international law. It demonstrates that just as modernist literature developed complex narrative techniques as a way of dealing with the human condition, modern international law has developed parallel argumentative techniques as a way of dealing with international political conditions.

Cross posted to the Seamless Web.

July 25, 2007

Twelve Angry Men

Robert P. Burns, Northwestern University School of Law, has published "Twelve Angry Men: A Jury Between Fact and Norm," in the Chicago-Kent Law Review for 2007. Here is the abstract.
This short essay was written for a symposium marking the fiftieth anniversary of the classic film's appearance. With a great cast, it remains perhaps the most compelling portrayal of an American jury in action. I begin by noting eight details in Twelve Angry Men which are so obvious that their significance may be difficult to discern. I then discuss the significance of the film's being a drama, indeed, a drama about a drama. I discuss the kind of truth that a dramatic portrayal of the jury can aspire to and what it can add to social scientific accounts. Finally, I identify the six dramatic tensions that define the film's meaning.

Download the entire essay from SSRN here.

[Cross-posted to the Seamless Web].