July 27, 2011

Classifying Legal Theory of the Early Twentieth Century

Herbert J. Hovenkamp, University of Iowa, College of Law, has published A Preface to Neoclassical Legal Thought. Here is the abstract.

Most legal historians speak of the period following classical legal thought as “progressive legal thought.” That term creates an unwarranted bias in characterization, however, creating the impression that conservatives clung to an obsolete “classical” ideology, when in fact they were in many ways just as revisionist as the progressives legal thinkers whom they critiqued. The Progressives and New Deal thinkers whom we identify with progressive legal thought were nearly all neoclassical, or marginalist, in their economics, but it is hardly true that all marginalists were progressives. For example, the lawyers and policy makers in the corporate finance battles of the 1920s, who advocated for the abolition of par value stock and the adoption of more forward looking theories of corporate valuation, were thoroughly marginalist in their reasoning, but by and large they were regarded by Progressives as the enemy.

Indeed, corporate finance and minimum wage policies are areas where progressive and corporation lawyers flipped against each other. On the minimum wage question, corporate interests in the early twentieth century generally clung to the classical and backward looking “wage fund” theory, which set an absolute limit on wages based on historically accumulated capital. Progressives embraced a forward looking marginal productivity theory. By contrast, in corporate finance, corporate interests generally rejected the view that corporate value should be driven by historically paid in capital as reflected in stated “par” value of shares. Rather, they believed that stated corporate value should be based on reasonable economic prospects, and that this made the concept of par value obsolete.
Neoclassicism in both economics and law was a big tent that fed different and inconsistent ideologies. Describing the successor ideology to classical legal thought as “progressive” does not do justice to the range of views that the successors had. Marginalism in economics led to influential legal theories about policy making, and about the relationship between interest groups and welfare. On one side, it led to progressivity in tax policy, championed by Progressive marginalist economist Edwin R.A. Seligman; and the idea that workers’ wages were limited by nothing more than the marginal contribution of each worker to the employer. Marginalism’s strong environmentalism also eventually led to greater egalitarianism in race policy, although that change was not reflected in the writing of the Progressives, who attempted to be both marginalist and genetic determinist. On the other side, marginalism also led to a comprehensive revision of corporate finance theory and the modern theory of the large corporation, in which shareholders are all but irrelevant. Marginalism also gave us public choice theory and its deep distrust of government, developed by such writers as Mancur Olson and Buchanan and Tullock in the 1960s. The theory was derived directly from models of competition in neoclassical economics, and the authors were all economists.

This essay briefly describes the contours of neoclassical legal thought, including its dramatic impact on constitutional adjudication and regulatory theory, corporate law and finance, labor law, race relations, and competition policy.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

Hegel, Law and the Environment

Pravin Jeyaraj has published Philosophy of Love: Hegel, Christianity and Environmental Law. Here is the abstract.

Much Christian opposition to Hegel's philosophy is based on the perception the dialectic supports cultural relativism and the idea that opposing truths can both be valid. This is a narrow interpretation of the dialectic and knowledge and that, more broadly, it reflects the contradictions and interdependence that exists between individual entities. This paper argues that the contradictory interdependence of Hegel's dialectic has its roots in Christian thought and Hegel's earlier theological writings. The paper then goes to suggest how this Christian Hegel could be helpful in developing a model for environmental law research.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

This paper was presented at a Christian Academic Network workshop on "Knowing in God's World" under the title "Reflections on methods of knowing".

Scandivavian Crime Writers Shed Light On Oslo Attacks

NPR is featuring the remarks of Scandinavian crime writers, who seem to have insights into last week's terrible attack on the government building and youth camp that left so many dead and wounded. Reporter Sylvia Poggioli cites novelist Anne Holt, a lawyer, former journalist, and former justice minister (1996-1997), who notes, "This boy [Breivik] is born in the best and richest country in the world, he has had every single chance of being happy, perfectly adjusted human being, but something went terribly wrong and we have to ask ourselves why." Ms. Holt's crime fiction features two different series, one centering on a married couple (a profiler and a police officer) and one featuring a retired police inspector.

Black Gold

Katia Fach Gómez, University of Zaragoza, has published Crude: The Real Price of Oil: A Legal Analysis. Here is the abstract.

Legal Analysis of the U.S. film "Crude".
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. (Note: the text is in Spanish).

July 26, 2011

Legal Writing and Legal Education

Erika Abner, Postgraduate Medical Education Office, and Shelley M. Kierstaed, Osgoode Hall Law School, have published Text Work as Identity Work for Legal Writers. Here is the abstract.

The authors conduct a conduct analysis of a number of first year and practitioner legal writing texts in order to examine whether and how these texts focus on the development of a legal identity; in particular, through creation of a personal, professional, or discoursal voice. The question of creation of a legal identity is significant, in part, because of the increased focus on teaching and learning professionalism and professional behaviors, both within law schools and in practice. The authors conclude that there is a limited focus within the texts on the identity work inherent in learning to write with authority under conditions of uncertainty. The social practice of writing tends to be under-emphasized.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

Bad Is Good

From the Chronicle of Higher Education: Kudos to  Sue Fondrie, of the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, whose immortal (?) sentence "Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories" wins her this year's first prize in the Annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Want more giftedly bad writing? Check out this year's winning entries here.

Winner in the Crime Section

Wearily approaching the murder scene of Jeannie and Quentin Rose and needing to determine if this was the handiwork of the Scented Strangler--who had a twisted affinity for spraying his victims with his signature raspberry cologne--or that of a copycat, burnt-out insomniac detective Sonny Kirkland was sure of one thing: he’d have to stop and smell the Roses.

Mark Wisnewski, Flanders, NJ


Five minutes before his scheduled execution, Kip found his thoughts turning to his childhood-- all those years ago before he had become a contract killer whose secret weakness was a severe peanut allergy, even back before he lost half of a toe in a gardening accident while doing community service-- but especially to Corinne, the pretty girl down the street whom he might have ended up marrying one day if she had only shown him a little more damn respect.

Andrew Baker, Highland Park, NJ

Dishonorable Mention:

The victim was a short man, with a face full of contradictions: amalgam, composite, dental porcelain, with both precious and non-precious metals all competing for space in a mouth that was open, bloody, terrifying, gaping, exposing a clean set of asymptomatic impacted wisdom teeth, but clearly the object of some very comprehensive dental care, thought Dirk Graply, world-famous womanizer, tough guy, detective, and former dentist.

Basil McDonnell, Vancouver, BC


The Cultural Study of Law and Lawyers

Rakesh K. Anand, Syracuse University College of Law, has published Advancing the Cultural Study of the Lawyer: Developing Three Philosophical Claims and Introducing a New Comparative Normative Inquiry at 3 Washington University Jurisprudence Review 107 (2010). Here is the abstract.

In America, law is a cultural practice, a type of social activity that generates a complete world of meaning. As such, it makes behavioral demands on those who participate in its form of experience. That is, it requires that those who take up its way of life act in certain ways. This fact -that law has an innate normativity, or an inherent ethics - is the organizing principle of the cultural study of the lawyer, a project that considers the implications of this condition for our thinking about law and about the work of law’s most representative figures, namely lawyers. This Article builds upon previous writing in the project and pursues two natural consequent lines of inquiry. First, it provides a more detailed account of three philosophical claims that the cultural study of the lawyer has made, either explicitly or implicitly, the purpose of which is to clarify certain intellectual positions of the project. Second, moving forward from the cultural study of the lawyer’s earlier exploration of how, at the most basic level, the behavioral demands of law differ from those associated with the moral form of experience, this Article begins a parallel discourse, reflecting on the behavioral demands of law and those of the cultural practice of economics, again specifically focusing on fundamental principles and their differential character. As with the earlier consideration of legal and moral prescription, the aim of this analysis is to make clear the distinction between the two cultural practices’ requirements on conduct - an analysis that in turn shows that, at his or her core, a lawyer is not an economic person (and therefore not a businessperson). Because the cultural study of the lawyer may be unfamiliar to some, this Article begins with an overview of the project, emphasizing in particular its intellectual setting and genealogy.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

A Recommended Reading List

In the ABA Journal's current issue, 30 Lawyers Pick 30 Books Every Lawyer Should Read.

July 25, 2011

Rhetoric and Legal Forms

Kirsten K. Davis, Stetson University College of Law, has published Legal Forms As Rhetorical Transaction: Competency in the Context of Information and Efficiency in volume 79 of the University of Missouri (Kansas City) Law Review (Spring 2011). Here is the abstract.

The increased production of legal forms by commercial publishers, the electronic availability of lawyer-produced documents through subscription-based and free Internet sites, and the increasing number of institutionally approved forms is creating a paradoxical and challenging environment for principled form use by lawyers. On one hand, courts, legislatures, and administrative agencies, for example, encourage, and even require, the use of forms in the practice of law. Commercial publishers tout the benefits of form use to sell legal formbooks and to entice lawyers to access subscription databases filled with contracts, pleadings, briefs, and motions. On the other hand, the same entities that encourage form use in some circumstances sternly admonish lawyers for using or relying on forms in others.

As the time constraints on lawyers become greater, legal practice becomes more global and multi-jurisdictional, and information increases exponentially and becomes more difficult to manage, lawyers, particularly lawyers new to practice or new to a particular practice area need to develop a principled approach to legal form use to ensure forms are used competently.

This article explores legal forms and proposes a rhetorical approach to understanding and using forms. This approach is unique because it uses rhetorical theory to define and categorize legal forms, and it offers specific suggestions for competent legal form use based on rhetorical theory.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Oscar Wilde and the Narrative of Sexual Identity

Laura I. Appleman, Willamette University College of Law, has published Oscar Wilde's Long Tail: Framing Sexual Identity in the Law at 70 Maryland Law Review 985 (2011). Here is the abstract.

This article argues that narrative has been the hidden link in the intersection between law and sexual identity, shaping and structuring the relationship between the two. The power of the hidden narrative continues to influence legal decisions today, most recently including the national debate on same-sex marriage. I contend that the basis for this complicated relationship began with a few critical 19th-century events, in particular the widely publicized trials of Oscar Wilde for the crime of sodomy. I aim to restore the camouflaged work of narrative to its rightful place in our understanding of sexual identity in the law. In so doing, I hope to not only dissect and expose the complex interrelationships between law, narrative, and sexuality, but also clarify the shifting dynamics of legal sexual identity. This Article asserts that only through recognizing the role of narrative in structuring our legal definition of sexual identity will we ever be able to understand how and why courts are deciding gay rights cases in the way they do.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

The Development of Culture and Legal Institutions In Seventeenth Century England

Peter Murrell, University of Maryland Department of Economics, and Martin Schmidt, University of Maryland, College Park, have published The Coevolution of Culture and Institutions in Seventeenth Century England. Here is the abstract.

We examine how cultural and institutional development interact with each other over time, constructing new annual measures of cultural dynamics and institutional development for a paradigmatic episode of change, seventeenth century England. The institutional measures reflect citations of cases and statutes appearing in later legal decisions, thereby capturing the growth of formal legal institutions weighted by usage. The cultural measures reflect frequency of word use in publications, interpreted using a model of social learning that elucidates the relationship between cultural diffusion and word frequency.

 We find that institutional development takes place over the whole period that we study (1559-1714). Especially fecund years are from the mid-1580's to the mid-1620's and from 1660-1680. There is no indication that the Glorious Revolution of 1688 spurred institutional development. The diffusion of modern ('whig') political culture is much more concentrated in time than is institutional development. Until 1640, the diffusion of whig culture is limited, but then dramatic change occurs, with over half of the cultural diffusion that we focus upon completed by 1660. The process of cultural change was largely completed by the time of the major constitutional legislation of the late 17th century. Vector-error-correction estimates of the relationships in the annual data suggest that culture and case-law coevolve but that statute law is a product of the other two.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

July 22, 2011

James Fitzjames Stephen and His Theory of Criminal Punishment

Marc O. DeGirolami, St. John's University School of Law, has published Against Theories of Punishment: The Thought of Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, in volume 9 of the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law (2012). Here is the abstract.

This paper reflects critically on what is the near-universal contemporary method of conceptualizing the tasks of the scholar of criminal punishment. It does so by the unusual route of considering the thought of Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, a towering figure in English law and political theory, one of its foremost historians of criminal law, and a highly prominent public intellectual of the late Victorian period. Notwithstanding Stephen’s stature and importance, there has as yet been no sustained effort to understand his views of criminal punishment. This article attempts to remedy this deficit. But its aims are not exclusively historical. Indeed, understanding Stephen’s ideas about the nature of punishment serves two purposes, one historical and the other theoretical.

The historical aim is to elucidate Stephen’s own thought, a subject which has been thoroughly contested and, unfortunately, deeply misunderstood. The primary culprit has been exactly the effort to pin down Stephen’s ideas about punishment as retributivist, or consequentialist, or a specific hybrid. The drive to systematize Stephen’s thought has had the regrettable effect of flattening it, in some cases unrecognizably. Though he followed Kant, Hegel, Beccaria, and Bentham, Stephen wrote at a time that preceded the full flowering of the philosophy of punishment by roughly a century, and his assumptions and arguments about the nature and purposes of punishment are an uncomfortable fit within the modern hard-edged methodology of punishment theory.

The theoretical aim concerns whether punishment theory might learn from its serious misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Stephen, whether and to what extent its own methodological assumptions ought to be adjusted in light of the paper’s historical reconstruction. The article claims that that they might be, and arguably should be. Perhaps more than any other writer on the subject, Stephen poses a powerful challenge to the methodology of systematization in punishment theory; his ideas are an extended argument that an allegiance to system renders thought about the reasons for punishment less rich and more monolithic than they otherwise might be. The article suggests, first, that punishment theorists ought to open themselves to historical scholarship as a source of illumination in fashioning, and perhaps modifying, their sophisticated normative accounts; and second, the theoretical perspective that is most capable of internalizing historical studies and ideas would adopt a pluralistic view of the justification of punishment. The reason for examining neglected historical views is that one may actually improve one’s theory by beclouding and complicating it with perspectives that do not match one’s existing prescriptive views. And the reason for inclining toward pluralistic theoretical accounts is that it is precisely their untidy and unsystematic methodological commitments which make it possible for theory to learn from history.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

July 21, 2011

Scandinavian Crime

Scandinavian crime fiction is suddenly in vogue--not just novels by Stieg Larsson (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) and Peter Høeg (Smilla's Sense of Snow)--but many more authors. Here's a roundup of articles discussing mystery writers from the area.

The BBC On Scandinavian Crime Fiction: Nordic Noir (video not available in US)
John Crace, Move Over, Inspector Rankin, The Guardian, January 23, 2009
Inspector Norse, The Economist, March 11, 2010
Boris Kachka, Number 1 With an Umlaut New York Magazine, 5/8/2011
Nathaniel Rich, Scandianavian Crime Wave, Slate (July 8, 2009)

In addition, check out the blog Euro Crime, devoted to British and continental European crime fiction, film and tv.

July 20, 2011

The Man Who Came To Steal Your Dinner

Helen A. Anderson, University of Washington School of Law, has published From the Thief in the Night to the Guest Who Stayed Too Long: The Evolution of Burglary in the Shadow of the Common Law. Here is the abstract.

Burglary has been evolving away from the common law crime almost as soon as Lord Coke defined it in 1641 as breaking and entering a dwelling of another in the night with the intent to commit a crime therein. It expanded early on to include breaking and entering buildings, not just dwellings, and the breaking requirement was little more than symbolic in many jurisdictions. But, sometime between the publication of the 1962 Model Penal Code and today, burglary lost its core, its actus reus: “entry.” In the majority of jurisdictions, burglary can now be accomplished by simply remaining in a building or vehicle with the intent to commit a crime. Not only does such an offense cover a wide range of situations, but it allows burglary to be attached to almost any crime that occurred indoors, and justify a significant additional penalty – even death. Burglary thus functions as a “location aggravator” for other crimes. Paradoxically, it may be the shadow of the common law crime that has obscured the breadth and significance of these changes. Burglary’s long tradition and pedigree gives an illusion of solidity to the charge, even when it no longer necessarily describes real criminal conduct beyond the target offense.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

This is the first survey of burglary in the United States since the Model Penal Code. It begins with a summary of burglary’s history from the common law definition through the first two centuries of the republic, then explains the Model Penal Code proposal for burglary – as well as the Model Code authors’ misgivings about the offense. The article then looks in detail at what happened in the states after the Model Penal Code – how the common law elements continued to erode until we ended up with today’s very thin crime. The article shows what this has meant: a serious crime with significant penalties that can be invoked in a range of situations, e.g., shoplifting, hold-up of a gas station, or murder by a houseguest. It concludes that burglary’s evolution has in some instances gone too far, and no longer necessarily describes a distinct offense. It is only the memory of the common law offense that keeps courts and lawmakers from recognizing how empty the crime has become.

July 19, 2011

The Philosophy of Law of Alain Badiou

Igor Stramignoni, London School of Economics, Law Department, has published Seizing Truths: Art, Politics, Law at Art and Law 73 (O. Ben-Dor, ed. Routledge, 2011). Here is the abstract.

The work of French philosopher Alain Badiou has been described as the most powerful alternative yet conceived in France to the various forms of postmodernism that arose after the collapse of the Marxist project. Art interests Badiou in its own right but also as both that which, in the twentieth century, eclipsed philosophy and as that which today philosophy, increasingly de-sutured from art, must imitate in order to make clear that there are truths after all. Badiou conceives of law, on the other hand, as part and parcel of a specific political machine that must continuously perform certain problematic exclusions if it is to keep the fiction of parliamentary democracy together. So how is the relationship between art and law, between the poet and the city, in Badiou’s oeuvre?

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

A shorter version of this essay was presented to the symposium on 'Law and Art: Ethics, Aesthetics and Justice', held at Tate Modern London in March 2010, and it was published in LSE Law, Society and Economy Working Papers 14/2010.

Women and Their Work In Early Twentieth Century U.S. Criminal Courts

Mae C. Quinn, Washington University, St. Louis, School of Law, has published 'Feminizing' Courts: Lay Volunteers and the Integration of Social Work in Progressive Reform, in Feminist Legal History: Essays on Women and Law, (Tracy A. Thomas & T. J. Boisseau eds.; NYU Press, 2011). Here is the abstract.

This essay, appearing as a chapter in FEMINIST LEGAL HISTORY: ESSAYS ON WOMEN (N.Y.U. PRESS 2011), uncovers groundbreaking court innovations employed by Judge Anna Moscowitz Kross. To date, Kross's work has gone largely unexamined by legal historians and court reformers. This essay describes how Kross, one of the nation's first women judges, sought to rethink the role and goals of criminal courts in order to meet and address social realities. Beginning in the 1930's she expanded the boundaries of criminal courts to permit female volunteer caseworkers and lay probation officers, as representatives of the larger community, to play a role in court operations. Her lay volunteer armies, which were seen as controversial and at times came under official scrutiny, continued their efforts over the course of several decades. What is more, many courts across the country replicated Kross's experiment without crediting her for her ideas. While this essay celebrates this largely forgotten historical figure and her work as an early judicial innovator, it also warns that social engineering efforts in criminal courts at the hands of lay counselors, both then and now, raise important questions that are worthy of further exploration. This essay, therefore, concludes by suggesting that today's criminal justice reformers might learn important lessons from Kross's attempts at judicial creativity that relied on private funding and private citizen participation in criminal court proceedings.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

The Political Career of Franz Boas

Alan H. McGowan, The New School for Liberal Arts, Eugene Lang College, has published Franz Boas and the Progressive Spirit, in Jewish Currents, Autumn 2010. Here is the abstract.

This article examines the political career of Franz Boas, called the Father of American Anthropology. In addition to being a pioneering anthropologist, Boas realized the impact that scientists could have on public policy. In addition to commenting on issues concerning race, he organized committees to defend free speech in educational institutions and elsewhere.
Download the text from SSRN at the link.

Via First Amendment Law Prof Blog.

July 18, 2011

Comparative Law and Legal History

Seán Patrick Donlan, University of Limerick, has published Remembering: Legal Hybridity and Legal History in the Comparative Law Review, June 2011. Here is the abstract.

An interest in contemporary, comparative legal and normative hybridity, or, "legal pluralism," around the globe has become increasingly common. But the hybridity of our own Western past, and the significance of this fact, is too often ignored.As part of a wider project on, "hybridity and diffusion," the mixtures and movements of state law and other norms, this article contributes to the process of ‘remembering’ this past. It does so to better prepare comparatists for the challenges of the present.

The article was published in June 2011 in the Comparative Law Review (see http://www.comparativelawreview.com/ojs/index.php/CoLR). Note that the article is formatted somewhat differently there and anyone citing the article should consult the published version.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Widows' Pensions In the Early Nineteenth Century

Kristin A. Collins, Boston University School of Law, has published 'Petitions Without Number': Widows' Petitions and the Early Nineteenth-Century Origins of Marriage-Based Entitlements, forthcoming in the Law & History Review. Here is the abstract.

Between 1792 and 1858, Congress enacted approximately seventy-six public law statutes granting cash subsidies to large classes of military widows. War widows’ pensions were not wholly unknown in Anglo-American law before this time, but the widows’ pension system of the early nineteenth century was distinctive in both scope and kind: Congress rejected the class-based approach that had characterized war widows’ pensions of the eighteenth century by pensioning widows of rank-and-file soldiers, not just widows of officers, and by extending pensions to widows of veterans. This significant equalization and expansion of widows’ pensions resulted in the creation of the first broad-scale system of marriage-based entitlements in America. This article seeks to explain the blossoming of this system and argues that widows’ petitioning efforts played a central role. Unlike the women who used the petition to oppose slavery and Indian removal during the same period, widows seeking pensions did not overtly challenge socio-political conventions by petitioning Congress. Rather, in both locution and purpose, widows’ pension petitions conformed to and reinforce dominant views concerning men’s and women’s social roles and responsibilities. And it was precisely the conformist nature of widows’ petitions that made them effective in precipitating the development of a substantial system of public marriage-based entitlements. Attention to these overlooked sources helps explain the emergence of marriage-based entitlements in American law, and enables us to construct a more textured picture of how, in the early nineteenth century, the law shaped women’s lives and women shaped the law.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

July 16, 2011

Look To the Writers

The July 2011 issue of the Texas Bar Journal features an article by Douglas E. Abrams, What Great Writers Can Teach Lawyers And Judges: Wisdom From Plato To Mark Twain To Stephen King (Part I).

As Professor Abrams (University of Missouri, Columbia) writes in his article,

Like most other close analogies, analogies between literature and legal writing may be imperfect at their edges. “Literature is not the goal of lawyers,” wrote Justice Felix Frankfurter nearly 80 years ago, “though they occasionally attain it.”“The law,” said Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes even earlier, “is not the place for the artist or the poet.”

Despite some imperfections across disciplines, advice from well-known fiction and non-fiction writers can serve lawyers and judges well because law, in its essence, is a literary profession heavily dependent on the written word. There are only two types of writing — good writing and bad writing. As poet (and Massachusetts Bar member) Archibald MacLeish recognized, good legal writing is simply good writing about a legal subject. “[L]awyers would be better off,” said MacLeish, “if they stopped thinking of the language of the law as a different language and realized that the art of writing for legal purposes is in no way distinguishable from the art of writing for any other purpose.”

As Justices Frankfurter and Holmes intimated, the tone and cadence of non-lawyer writers might vary from those of professionals who write in the law. Variance aside, however, the core aim of any writer, lawyers and judges included, remains constant — to convey ideas through precise, concise, simple, and clear expression.
[Footnotes omitted].

July 13, 2011

Fellowships Available

From Panu Minkkinen, Professor of Legal Theory, School of Law, University of Leicester


In August 2011, a call for applications will be announced for the Law in a Changing World doctoral programme, co-ordinated by the University of Helsinki. Twelve full-time graduate school positions will be announced for the period 1 January 2012-31 December 2015.

Law in a Changing World (LCW) includes almost all higher education institutes in Finland conducting legal research and offering legal education. The call for applications will be published in the daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat on Sunday, 14 August 2011, and on the programme’s web page at www.helsinki.fi/omm/english/index.htm. The closing date for applications is Thursday, 8 September 2011.

The LCW programme has received 20 posts for doctoral students some of which will be filled during the second application round in the beginning of 2012. The latter group will begin their work on 1 September 2012. Unsuccessful applicants may be admitted as affiliated researchers to the LCW programme.

The doctoral students will focus on completing a doctoral thesis in the field of legal studies. Their tasks will include a limited amount of teaching and administrative work. The students must register in one of the participating Finnish universities to carry out the doctoral studies.

Salaries will be based on levels 1-4 of the job requirement level chart for teaching and research staff in the salary scales of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointees will be paid a salary component based on personal work performance.

The application must include the following information and appendices:

- a research plan for a doctoral thesis (max 8 pages)

- a personal plan for the execution of the degree including participation in the LCW programme (max 5 pages)

- a Curriculum vitae and list of publications (or an academic portfolio including these documents)

- a statement from the supervisor (and other possible references)

- relevant documents indicating proficiency and skills in English

- information on possible previous funding

For further information, please contact Director of the doctoral school, Prof Kimmo Nuotio (kimmo.nuotio@helsinki.fi), tel. +358 9 1912 2013, or Coordinator, post-doctoral researcher, Dr Suvianna Hakalehto-Wainio (suvianna.hakalehto-wainio@helsinki.fi), tel. +358 9 1912 2465.

Further details of the LCW programme can be found at www.helsinki.fi/omm/english/index.htm

July 11, 2011

Reeling In the Lawyers

From the Blog of Legal Times, news of a movie that takes a critical (as in uncomplimentary) look at trial lawyers. InJustice is set to debut on the Reelz Channel tonight, July 11, at 10 p.m., 9 Central time.

New DVDs

Out on July 12: The Lincoln Lawyer, starring Marisa Tomei and Matthew McConaughey, based on the
Michael Connelly novel. Also available now: the re-release of Tell It To the Judge, a 1949 comedy about a judicial nominee Marsha Meredith (Rosalind Russell) who may not be confirmed because she's (horrors) divorced. Worry not: ex-hubby Pete (Robert Cummings), also an attorney, still loves her and wasn't really involved with Another Woman (Marie McDonald).

New Books

Some new books that may be of interest:

Cassidy-Welch, Megan, Imprisonment in the Medieval Religious Imagination, c. 1150-1400 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

Caudill, David S., Stories About Science in Law: Literary and Historical Images of Acquired Expertise (Ashgate Press, 2011).

Chanter, Tina, Whose Antigone? The Tragic Marginalization of Slavery (State University of New York Press, 2011).

Exploring Courtroom Discourse: The Language of Power and Control (Anne Wagner and Le Cheng, eds.; Ashgate Press, 2011).

Schwabach, Aaron, Fan Fiction and Copyright: Outsider Works and Intellectual Property Protection (Ashgate Press, 2011).

Sherberg, Michael, The Governance of Friendship: Law and Gender in the Decameron (Ohio State University, 2011).

July 7, 2011

Call For Papers

Special Issue of the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law

Visual Semiotics of the Spaces We Inhabit

Edited By Sarah Marusek, Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii Hilo

In our everyday lives, we live and dwell in a variety of places that, upon first consideration, do not seem either legal or political. Upon closer examination, the spaces where we live and do things reveal a uniquely visual semiotics of place that generate meaning and contestation through structure, signage, and symbolism. As sites of power. these places can be urban, rural, or simply in between. The ways in which power manifests itself here is as law, legality, governance. Visual representations of meaning in our quotidian terrain of habitation constitute our relationships and govern who we are and how we understand our place in the world. The visual engagement with the semiotic construction of who we are as individuals, as a collective, and the presence of both within different communities is visibly marked by the banal as well as by the overtly distinct. In the routine places of our lives, identities fostered by rules and structures challenge us to reconsider how we conceptualize ourselves, each other, the state, and the spectrum of rights therein. Themes of consumption, reproduction, sexuality, religion, ownership, race, ethnicity, equality, access, death, and culture contribute to this visually semiotic relationship between law, power, and place.

The International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, a peer-reviewed international journal published by Springer, will publish a special issue on “Visual Semiotics of the Spaces We Inhabit”. Articles are invited to focus specifically, but not exclusively, upon the following ideas:

1. Spatiality that gives meaning to how and where we live

2. Visible constructions of governmentality and discipline

3. Everyday contestation of rights involving a visual sense of legality

4. Constitutive approach to law involving semiotics

5. Meaning of law through visual symbols, cues, and other modes of semiotic communication

Comparative and interdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcome.

Article proposals in US English (max. 1000 words) will be sent to Sarah Marusek marusek@hawaii.edu no later than 15 March 2012.

Date of submission: Article proposal in US English (max. 1000 words) to be submitted by 15 March 2012.

Decision for authors: 15 April 2012

Full paper submission: Full papers to be submitted by 15 December 2012 for the blind peer-reviewing process.

Length of papers: between 7,500 words and 10,000 words

Volume of publication: volume 27

Anne Wagner, Ph. D., Associate Professor, Université du Littoral Côte d'Opale (France)

Research Professor, China University of Political Science and Law (Beijing - China)


Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - http://www.springer.com/law/journal/11196

Series Editor, Law, Language and Communication - Ashgate Publisher (http://www.ashgate.com/Default.aspx?page=3916)

President of the International Roundtables for the Semiotics of Law - http://www.semioticsoflaw.com/

Editor for SemiotiX New Series - http://semioticon.com/semiotix/

Ceremonies of Law Conference, Wollongong, December 2011: Information and Call for Papers

From Marett Leiboff, Associate Professor
Faculty of Law, University of Wollongong

The Legal Intersections Research Centre of the Faculty of Law, University of Wollongong, is hosting a joint conference of the Law Literature and Humanities Association of Australasia and the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand on 7 – 9 December 2011. The conference will provide a unique opportunity for dialogue and exchange between scholars, practitioners and policy based researchers working in and around the questions to be addressed by the conference.

We would be delighted if you could participate in the conference. We would also be grateful if you could forward this email to colleagues who might be interested in participating. Detailed information about the call for papers, the conference themes, the associations, registration, and the location are available on the conference website: http://www.uow.edu.au/law/LIRC/conference2011/index.html. For any further conference enquiries, please contact: conference2011@uow.edu.au.

NSW 2522

 +61 2 4221 3456
Fax: +61 2 4221 3188

July 6, 2011

Doing Them In, Domestically

Agatha Christie and the rest of the cosy mystery writers were onto something, but they got some of their inspiration from life. As Deborah Blum writes in this article for Lapham's Quarterly, cooks, manufacturers, and killers (and they might have been the same folks) have for centuries accidentally and purposefully "done in" those around them. And the government and scientists have been trailing along behind slowly catching up.

Sometimes the culprits were food additives.

Oh. Charming.

Read on. It's great stuff. But don't read it around mealtime.

[T]he ancients were also fully aware that foods could be dangerous without human help, hence the warnings regarding meat consumption. And they’d learned from long-time experience that even routinely safe foods carried unexpected risks. Consider the wonderfully bizarre story of “mad honey” and the Greek army commanded by Xenophon in 401 bc. Returning from an unsuccessful raid in Persia, Xenophon’s men raided beehives along the eastern edge of the Black Sea, acquiring a treasure trove of local honey. By day’s end, the raiding party was immobilized. They were like men “greatly intoxicated,” wrote Xenophon, whose army was suffering from nausea, inability to walk straight, and lethargy. Over three centuries later, the Roman general Pompey’s troops also encamped by the Black Sea and gorged themselves on the local honey. Pompey lost three squadrons to the enemy fighters who had deliberately placed honeycombs in the path of his troops.

Borax came first on the list, partly because it was so widely used by meat processors. Derived from the element boron, it slowed decomposition but could also react with proteins and firm them up, giving rotting meat a more shapely appearance. Borax had thus figured in the “embalmed beef” scandal of the Spanish-American War, in which officers in the U.S. Army accused their suppliers of shipping tins of refrigerated beef that was treated with “secret chemicals” and canned beef that was no more than a “bundle of fibers.” “It looked well but had an odor similar to that of a dead human body after being injected with preservatives,” an Army medical officer wrote of the refrigerated meat, adding that when cooked, the product tasted rather depressingly like boric acid.

New Publication: The Collected Essays of John Finnis, Volumes I-V

New from Oxford University Press:

The Collected Essays of John Finnis, Volumes I-V


For over forty years John Finnis has pioneered the development of a new classical theory of natural law, a systematic philosophical explanation of human life that offers an integrated account of personal identity, practical reason, morality, political community, and law. The core of Finnis' theory, articulated in his seminal work Natural Law and Natural Rights, has profoundly influenced later work in the philosophy of law and practical reason, while his contributions to the ethical debates surrounding nuclear deterrence, abortion, and sexual morality have been a powerful, and controversial exposition of the practical implications of his theory of natural law.

The Collected Essays of John Finnis brings together 122 papers, including over two dozen previously unpublished works. Thematically arranged, the five volumes provide ready access to his contributions across central areas of modern practical philosophy - the philosophy of practical reason; the philosophy of personal identity and intention; political philosophy; the philosophy of law; and the philosophy of revelation and the role of religion in public life. Fully cross-referenced, cross-indexed, and introduced by the author, the Collected Essays reveal the connections and coherence of the different branches of Finnis' work, showing the full picture of his philosophical contribution for the first time.

Covering topics from the nature of divine revelation, the morality of abortion, to the adoption of Bills of Rights, the work in these volumes offer a unique insight into the intellectual currents and political debates that have transformed major areas of public morality and law over the last half century. Together with the new edition of Natural Law and Natural Rights, they will be an essential resource for all those engaged with the philosophy of law and broader questions in practical philosophy.


Provides access to the full range of John Finnis's work across legal, political, and moral philosophy, and theology

Includes thirty-three essays published here for the first time

The essays engage with the central intellectual currents shaping modern ethical and political debates, from the foundational to the practical level

Each volume features an original introduction by the author drawing together his work on the area
Product Details

2176 pages; 9.2 x 6.1;

ISBN13: 978-0-19-958004-0

ISBN10: 0-19-958004-9

About the Author(s)

John Finnis is Professor of Law and Legal Philosophy at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of University College. He is Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame.

Call For Papers

From Andrew Majeske, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Save the Date/Call For Papers

Third Biennial Literature and Law Conference

• Conference Date:

o TENTATIVE DATE March 30, 2012 (Friday). Please check conference website for confirmation of final conference date—this date will be posted in mid-September.

• Conference Location

o John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY) (59th Street and 10th Avenue). The conference will take place on the newly expanded John Jay campus, near Lincoln Center in Manhattan. The facilities include a brand new, state of the art conference center.

• Conference Organizer and Contact Person

o Andrew Majeske, ajmajeske@gmail.com

• Conference Theme and Overview:

o Theme: The Idea of Justice

o Overview: This conference aims to bring scholars of literature and law into an interdisciplinary setting to share the fruits of their research and scholarship. Generally this full day conference consists of between 8 and 10 paper panels and roundtables, two talks by prominent speakers, and a post-conference reception. The conference fee will be $75, which will be payable by credit card through a link on the conference website.

• Conference Speakers

o Amartya Sen, Keynote Speaker: The conference’s keynote speaker is Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics, the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University and, until recently, the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He has served as President of the Econometric Society, the Indian Economic Association, the American Economic Association and the International Economic Association. He was formerly Honorary President of OXFAM and is now its Honorary Advisor. Of particular interest to this conference is Professor Sen’s celebrated 2009 book, The Idea of Justice. His other books, which have been translated into more than thirty languages, include Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (2006), The Argumentative Indian (2005), Rationality and Freedom (2002), Development as Freedom (1999), Inequality Reexamined (1992), The Standard of Living (1987), On Ethics and Economics (1987), Resources, Values and Development (1984), Choice, Welfare and Measurement (1982), Poverty and Famines (1981), and On Economic Inequality (1973, 1997) . His research has ranged over a number of fields in economics, philosophy, and decision theory, including social choice theory, welfare economics, theory of measurement, development economics, public health, gender studies, moral and political philosophy, and the economics of peace and war.

o George Anastaplo, Feaured Speaker: The conference’s featured speaker is Professor George Anastaplo from Loyola University School of Law in Chicago, whose life and career been devoted to the idea of justice, both in theory and practice. Professor Anastaplo is the author of more than 15 books, and innumerable articles, including The Constitutionalist: Notes on the First Amendment (1971, 2005), But Not Philosophy: Seven Introductions to Non-Western Thought (2002), The Thinker as Artist: From Homer to Plato & Aristotle (1997), The American Moralist: On Law, Ethics and Government (1992), The Constitution of 1787: A Commentary (1989), The Artist As Thinker: From Shakespeare to Joyce (1983) and Human Being and Citizen: Essays on Virtue, Freedom, and the Common Good (1975). Professor Anastaplo, during his Illinois Bar interview in 1950, took a principled stand against McCarthy era questions asking about his political affiliations, and whether he believed in a right of revolution—he cited the Declaration of Independence to support his view that he and all Americans believe or should believe in such a right. The committee interviewing him was not pleased with his responses, and as a consequence, he has never been admitted to the Bar. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, in his dissent in Professor Anastaplo’s case seeking admission to the Illinois Bar (In Re Anastaplo 1961—which Anastaplo lost 5-4), vigorously defended Anastaplo’s position on first amendment grounds and asserted, among other things, that “we must not be afraid to be free”—Justice Black arranged for this quote, and others from his dissent, to be read at his funeral.

• Call For Papers and Panels

o We invite proposals for papers and panels that address topics that relate the humanities & arts (especially literary texts (broadly conceived)), to this year’s conference theme, the “idea of justice.” Of particular interest are papers and panels that in addition engage aspects of Professor Sen’s book, The Idea of Justice, or that attempt to integrate the theory with the practice of justice, and/or that engage and compare differing notions and perspectives of justice.

• CFP Deadline

o Please submit abstracts (250 words or less) to Andrew Majeske, ajmajeske@gmail.com, by Friday, January 13, 2012.

• The Daily Show/The Colbert Report

o A limited number of “Daily Show” and/or “The Colbert Report” tickets may be available for the evening before the conference (Thursday March 29) on a first-requested basis. We have succeeded in obtaining a small block of these for the prior two conferences. These shows are taped in studios only a few blocks walk from John Jay.

• Conference Website

o More information will be available in September 2011 at http://litandlawjjay.blogspot.com/

July 4, 2011

Alchemy As Opera

Damon Albarn has composed an opera about Dr. Dee, Elizabeth I's alchemist. The New York Times' Jon Pareles discusses the work, which premieres at the Manchester International Festival, here.

The Music Trade In Georgian England

A new book from Ashgate concentrates on music publishing and IP rights in Georgian England. Here's a description of the contents and an introduction to the contributors.

In contrast to today's music industry, whose principal products are recorded songs sold to customers round the world, the music trade in Georgian England was based upon London firms that published and sold printed music and manufactured and sold instruments on which this music could be played. The destruction of business records and other primary sources has hampered investigation of this trade, but recent research into legal proceedings, apprenticeship registers, surviving correspondence and other archived documentation has enabled aspects of its workings to be reconstructed.

The first part of the book deals with Longman & Broderip, arguably the foremost English music seller in the late eighteenth century, and the firm's two successors – Broderip & Wilkinson and Muzio Clementi's variously styled partnerships – who carried on after Longman & Broderip's assets were divided in 1798. The next part shows how a rival music seller, John Bland, and his successors, used textual and thematic catalogues to advertise their publications. This is followed by a comprehensive review of the development of musical copyright in this period, a report of efforts by a leading inventor, Charles 3rd Earl Stanhope, to transform the ways in which music was printed and recorded, and a study of Georg Jacob Vollweiler's endeavour to introduce music lithography into England.

The book should appeal not only to music historians but also to readers interested in English business history, publishing history and legal history between 1714 and 1830.

Contents: Preface; Part I Longman, Broderip and Their Successors: Chronology of the business begun by James Longman; Longman and Broderip, Jenny Nex; Broderip and Wilkinson, Michael Kassler; Clementi's music business, David Rowland; Clementi as publisher, David Rowland. Part II Music Sellers' Catalogues: A Case Study: The periodical music collections of John Bland and his successors, Yu Lee An. Part III The Legal Context: The development of musical copyright, John Small. Part IV New Technologies: Earl Stanhope's 'letter-music', Michael Kassler; Stanhope's novel musical instruments, Michael Kassler; Vollweiler's introduction of music lithography to England, Michael Kassler; Summary of legal cases; Index of persons.

About the Editor: Michael Kassler is an Australian musicologist. His works include Samuel Wesley (1766-1837): A Source Book (written with Philip Olleson), Charles Edward Horn's Memoirs of his Father and Himself, Music Entries at Stationers' Hall, 1710-1818, The English Bach Awakening: Knowledge of J. S. Bach and his Music in England 1750-1830, and A. F. C. Kollmann's Quarterly Musical Register (1812): An Annotated Edition with an Introduction to his Life and Works, all published by Ashgate.

Yu Lee An is Librarian in Scholarly Information, University of Technology, Sydney. Her recent Ph.D. dissertation was on Music Publishing in London from 1780 to 1837 as reflected in Music Publishers' Catalogues of Music for Sale.

Jenny Nex is Curator of Musical Instruments, Royal College of Music. She has published widely on musical instrument makers in Georgian England based upon archival research of their activities.

David Rowland is Professor of Music and Dean of Arts at the Open University and Director of Music at Christ's College, Cambridge. His books include A History of Pianoforte Pedalling, The Cambridge Companion to the Piano, Early Keyboard Instruments: A Practical Guide and The Correspondence of Muzio Clementi.

John Small is a private researcher based in Sydney. He has worked for the National Library of Australia and as an information technology manager for the Australian Broadcasting Authority.

July 3, 2011

Dictionaries, Language and the WTO

Bradly J. Condon, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), School of Law and Bond University - School of Law, has published  Language Discrepancies in WTO Law

The purpose of this paper is to establish a starting point for the discussions on linguistic discrepancies. Section I outlines the problem of discrepancies between English, French and Spanish versions of WTO legal texts. Section II provides examples of the types of issues and discrepancies that can arise and provides a preliminary categorization of discrepancies. Section III surveys discrepancies in the Agreement on Safeguards.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

Understanding Plain Meaning

Stephen C. Mouritsen has published The Dictionary Is Not a Fortress: Definitional Fallacies and a Corpus-Based Approach to Plain Meaning at 2010 Brigham Young University 1915. Here is the abstract.

"Plain meaning," said Judge Frank Easterbrook, "as a way to understand language is silly. In interesting cases, meaning is not 'plain'; it must be imputed; and the choice among meanings must have a footing more solid than a dictionary."

This paper proposes an empirical method for determining the "ordinary meaning" of statutory terms; an approach grounded in a linguistic methodology known as Corpus Linguistics. I begin by addressing a number of commonly held, but ultimately erroneous assumptions about the content and structure of dictionaries – assumptions that find their way into judicial reasoning with alarming frequency.

I then outline an approach to the resolution of lexical ambiguity in statutory interpretation – an approach based on Corpus Linguistics methods. Corpus Linguistics is an empirical methodology that analyzes language function and use by means of large electronic databases called corpora. A corpus is a principled collection of naturally occurring language data, typically tagged with grammatical content and searchable in such a way that the ordinary use of a given term in a given context may be ascertained.

Though Corpus Linguistics is not a panacea, the methodology has the potential to remove the determination of ordinary meaning from the black box of the judge's mental impression and render the discussion of the ordinary meaning of statutory terms one of tangible and quantifiable reality.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

July 2, 2011

Law and Communications Theory

Mark Greenberg, UCLA School of Law and Department of Philosophy, has published Legislation as Communication? Legal Interpretation and the Study of Linguistic Communication in Philosophical Foundations of Language in the Law (A. Marmor & S. Soames eds.; Oxford University Press, 2011).

According to a view – really a family of related views – that has considerable currency at the moment, philosophy of language and linguistics have a direct bearing on the content of the law. I call this view the communicative-content theory of law or, for short, the communication theory. According to the communication theorists, the study of language and communication reveals that the full linguistic meaning of an utterance is what the speaker or author communicates by the utterance – call it communicative content – which may go well beyond the literal meaning of the words. (On the standard understanding, communicative content is constituted by the content of certain specific communicative intentions of the speaker.) The communication theorists conclude that a statute's contribution to the content of the law is its communicative content. In this chapter, I grant many of the assumptions of the communication theorists and then argue that there are many candidates for a statute’s contribution to the content of the law, including different linguistic and mental contents. The study of language can be important in helping us to make and clarify such distinctions, but beyond this information-providing role, it has nothing to say about which, if any, of these candidates constitutes a statute’s contribution to the law. The communication theory therefore lacks the resources to say what any statute’s contribution is. Ultimately, I suggest that trying to understand legislation on the model of communication is misguided because legislation and legislative systems have purposes that have no parallel in the case of communication and that may be better served if a statute’s contribution to the content of the law is not constituted by what is communicated by the legislature.
Download the text from SSRN at the link.

Using Trials As Teaching Materials

Rupert Macey-Dare, St. Cross College, Oxford, has published True Crime - Guilty or Not Guilty - David Bain. Here is the abstract.
This paper is a cut down version of Advocacy Masterclass – Retrial of David Bain, but with detailed analysis and answers removed. This shorter paper is designed for use in classroom teaching and examination of real courtroom advocacy, e.g. with students watching and discussing the video links and stepping in to read out trial transcripts and re-enact examples whenever necessary.

Early on the morning of Monday 20 June 1994, five members of the Bain family: Robin (58), Margaret (5'7 and their teenage children Arawa (19), Laniet (18) and Stephen (14) were slaughtered in the family home at 65 Every St, Dunedin, New Zealand. There was one survivor, the eldest son, David Bain (22), a student of music and classics at Otago University, who reported the scene of carnage after his morning paper round. Next year, on 29 May 1995, David Bain was himself convicted on all five counts of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, without parole for the first 16 years.

Fourteen years later, on 6 March 2009, and after two references from the New Zealand Governor General, three hearings by the New Zealand Court of Appeal and a final, quashing review by the Privy Council, the stage was set for one of most notorious criminal cases in New Zealand and Commonwealth history, the retrial of David Bain.

How did the two sides fight this case? Who won the advocacy battle and what techniques, explicit and implicit, did they use? What was the verdict, indeed, what could or should it have been?
Download the text from SSRN at the link.

A jury initially convicted David Bain of the murders of his family in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1995. He was retried and acquitted in 2009.

July 1, 2011

Interpretation In Legal Reasoning

Timothy A. O. Endicott, University of Oxford Faculty of Law, has published Legal Interpretation in the Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law (A. Marmor ed., Routledge, 2012). Here is the abstract.

The focus of this work is the role of interpretation in “legal reasoning,” defined to mean "finding rational support for legal conclusions (general or particular)". My argument is that each of the following aspects of legal reasoning need not involve interpretation: 1. Resolving indeterminacies as to the content of the law; 2. Working out the requirements of abstract legal provisions; 3. Deciding what is just; 4. Equitable interference with legal duties or powers or rights; 5. Understanding the law. I do not claim that interpretation is unimportant to legal reasoning, but that most legal reasoning is not interpretative. Much of what is commonly called “interpretation” can be done with no interpretation at all.
Download the text from SSRN at the link.

Assocation for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities Open For Proposals For Next Year's Conference

From Professor Linda Meyer, Quinnipiac College of Law

Call for Participation: 15th Annual ASLCH Conference

March 16-17, 2012

Texas Wesleyan School of Law (Fort Worth, TX)

The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities is an organization of scholars engaged in interdisciplinary, humanistic legal scholarship. The Association brings together a wide range of people engaged in scholarship on legal history, legal theory, jurisprudence, law and cultural studies, law and literature, law and the performing arts, and legal hermeneutics. We want to encourage dialogue across and among these fields about questions of meaning, value, and interpretation, particularly as they bear upon ideas or issues of justice, identity, authority, and obligation, and more broadly, an understanding of law’s place in culture. How do ideas of justice change over time and under what conditions? How does law appear in the cultural imagination? What are the linguistic, literary, and cultural processes at work in the law, and what are its institutional processes? How is the legal subject conceptualized and mobilized, and what are the limits on its freedom and authority?

We invite scholars with interests across the range of areas, fields, and disciplines encompassed by Law, Culture and the Humanities to organize panels or submit proposals for individual paper presentations. Examples of recent panel topics include:

Interpreting Cases, Creating Law

Roundtable: Dead Certainty: The Death Penalty and the Problem of Judgment

Imagining Rights in the Era of Globalization

Explorations in Law, Science, and Governance

What Can the Humanities Offer to Law?

Humanistic Critiques of Legal Education

Law and the Sacred

Visual Media and The Law

Underwriting Society: Law and Literature as Mutual Modes of Imagining Community

(The complete programs from past conferences are available on the ASLCH website: http://www.law.syr.edu/academics/centers/lch/past.html)

We urge those interested in participating to consider submitting complete panels or session proposals. We welcome a variety of formats and subjects, such as: panels; roundtables; film screenings and performance art; sessions in which the focus is on pedagogy; sessions that create a space for participants to join in a directed reading of a text (e.g., a lyric poem); author-meets-readers sessions, which provide a forum for conversation about a recently published book in the field; sessions in which commentators respond to a single paper or issue, or in which the chair presents the papers and the authors respond.

Ideally, traditional panels should include NO MORE THAN 3 PAPERS. All panel proposals should indicate the name of the chair. In most cases having a discussant is desirable, and the discussant can be, but does not have to be, the chair. All panels should be planned in such a way that 30 minutes of the 1 hour and 45 minutes generally allotted for sessions is reserved for discussion/comments by the audience. Proposals must indicate whether a “smart room” with computer, audio or video presentation technology will be needed. More detailed instructions about participation rules and limits are listed on the first page of the online conference submission system, but please note that we will accept a maximum of NO MORE THAN ONE PAPER AND ONE ROUNDTABLE presentation for any individual participant, although participants may chair more than one panel. Additionally, each paper submission [abstract] is limited to 150 words, and because the site will not save partial submissions, it is important to have all the information for your proposed paper or panel completed before you begin the submission process.

We would also welcome you to volunteer to serve as a chair and/or discussant, whether you are submitting a paper proposal or not. If you would like to serve as a chair and/or discussant, please indicate the areas or subjects of your interest/expertise.

We will accept proposals for panels, papers, roundtables, and other session proposals, and volunteers to serve as panel chairs or discussants, from July 1 until October 15, 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: To submit proposals, please go to the online submission site: http://www.regonline.com/15thannualmeetingLCH

As it becomes available, additional information about accommodations and other conference matters, will be posted to the, "ASLCH Annual Conference Information" page on the ASLCH webpage at: http://www.law.syr.edu/academics/centers/lch/conference.html.

Participants will be notified by December 31, 2011. We cannot promise that we will be able to accommodate all proposals.

Questions, please contact Matthew Anderson (manderson@une.edu)

Call for Nominations, Dissertation Award, Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities

From Professor Linda Meyer, Quinnipiac College of Law

Julien Mezey Dissertation Award

The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities invites submissions for its 2012 Julien Mezey Dissertation Award. This annual prize is awarded to the dissertation that most promises to enrich and advance interdisciplinary scholarship at the intersection of law, culture and the humanities. The award will be presented at the Association's 2012 annual meeting, which will be hosted by Texas Wesleyan University School of Law on March 15-17, 2012.

The Association seeks the submission of outstanding work from a wide variety of perspectives, including but not limited to law and cultural studies, legal hermeneutics and rhetoric, law and literature, law and psychoanalysis, law and visual studies, legal history, legal theory and jurisprudence. Scholars completing humanities-oriented dissertations in SJD and related programs, as well as those earning PhDs, are encouraged to submit their work. Applicants eligible for the 2012 award must have defended their dissertations successfully between September 1, 2010 and August 31, 2011.

The deadline for nominations for the 2012 award is November 1, 2011. On or before that date, each nominee must submit the following:

1) a letter by the nominee detailing the genesis, goal, and contribution of the dissertation;

2) a letter of support from a faculty member familiar with the work;

3) an abstract, outline, and selected chapter of the dissertation;

4) contact information for the nominee.

All materials should be sent to:

Leonard Feldman, lfeldman@hunter.cuny.edu

Award finalists will be notified by December 1, 2011. Finalists must then submit an electronic version of the entire dissertation. The winner will be determined by early February and invited to the 2012 ASLCH annual meeting in Dallas. ASLCH will pay travel and lodging costs.

Questions should be addressed to Leonard Feldman, lfeldman@hunter.cuny.edu.

Call for Applications, Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities, Graduate Student Workshop

From Professor Linda Meyer, Quinnipiac College of Law

The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities (ASLCH) welcomes applications for its first ever Graduate Student Workshop, to be held March 15, 2012. The half day Workshop immediately precedes the ASLCH Annual Meetings, to be hosted by Texas Wesleyan University School of Law March 16-17, 2012. Applicants can be graduate students from any discipline or law students with scholarly interests in Law, Culture, and the Humanities.

The Workshop’s aims are to promote the future development of the field of Law, Culture and the Humanities through the development of our junior colleagues by bringing together graduate students and established scholars in Law, Culture, and the Humanities. During seminars, panel discussions, informal conversation, and shared meals, we will discuss scholarly work, give feedback on student research projects, address issues pertinent to professional development, and facilitate scholarly networks between graduate and faculty colleagues by encouraging intellectual community.

The Graduate Student Committee of ASLCH for 2011-2012, who will be planning the Workshop, includes Paul A. Passavant, Chair (Department of Political Science, Hobart and William Smith Colleges), Austin Sarat (Departments of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought and Political Science, Amherst College), Stewart Motha (Kent Law School, University of Kent), Marianne Constable (Department of Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley), and Ravit Reichman (Department of English, Brown University).

ASLCH will subsidize the participation of up to 15 successful graduate student applications. The deadline for applications is Friday December 2, 2011. Applications should be sent electronically to Professor Paul A. Passavant, Department of Political Science, Hobart and William Smith Colleges (Passavant@hws.edu).

Applications should include a Curriculum Vitae (CV), the title and abstract of the student’s proposed paper for the ASLCH Annual Meetings March 16-17, 2012, and a letter not longer than two pages describing the student’s status in graduate school, the student’s dissertation or significant interest in Law, Culture, and the Humanities, and what the student hopes to gain from attending the Workshop.