September 17, 2013

Call for Papers, ASLCH

From James Martel, President, ASLCH: Information about next year's ASLCH's meeting, which will be held at the University of Virginia School of Law from March 10 to March 11.

March 10-11, 2014, University of Virginia, School of Law

We are pleased to announce that the Seventeenth Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities will be held at the University of Virginia School of Law, March 10-11, 2014. We invite your participation.  Please note, panel and paper proposals are due Tuesday, October 15th, 2013The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities is an organization of scholars engaged in interdisciplinary, humanistically-oriented legal scholarship. The Association brings together a wide range of people engaged in scholarship on legal history, legal theory and jurisprudence, law and cultural studies, law and literature, law and the performing arts, and legal hermeneutics. We want to encourage dialogue across and among these fields about issues of interpretation, identity, and values, about authority, obligation, and justice, and about law's place in culture.

This year’s conference theme is as follows:
 The Politics of Law and the Humanities: Crisis, Austerity, InstrumentalismHow will law and the humanities scholarship fare against the pressure of the science and technology paradigm that has now permeated the institutional frameworks of academia? Will it mime the general humanities and, as suggested by the defeatist pomp of many national “crisis reports”, merely retreat to its traditional position as the well-mannered guardian of liberal values? Will law and the humanities scholarship be subsumed under the science paradigm’s instrumental ethos by either taking on aims and objectives sanctioned by government policies or by domesticating its own political potential to address those very same policies? Or can we imagine more salutary alternatives to defeatism and instrumental subsumption?

The terrain is well known. The ongoing economic crisis has engendered a worldwide decline in funding for research in the humanities showing sharp decreases between 2009 and 2012 with funds almost cut in half each year. The global trend is also detectable at national levels, with growing gaps between public investment into STEM subjects and the humanities. But the changes do not merely concern the fiscal prioritization of diminishing resources. The social sciences, including law, are under constant political pressure as lawmakers question the value of curiosity-driven basic research. This pressure is then mirrored at the institutional level of individual law schools emphasizing their vocational remits at the expense of research and scholarship. And this research and scholarship is itself increasingly cast in reformist, practical, and “policy relevant” terms, and directed to issues of perceived topical and regulatory concern.

The implied allegation is simple enough: basic research in the humanities and social sciences is, if not obsolete, then at least a luxury we can’t afford in these times; because it cannot satisfy the more immediate needs of market-driven societies in the current economic climate, it is politically irrelevant.

But can we imagine new ways to claim – or, perhaps, to reclaim – our political relevance? Are we relevant in other, perhaps more radical ways? And if we are, how? Is there a politics that is specific to law and the humanities? Or can we articulate the limits to the conversation about “relevance” in a way accessible to minds focused on instrumentality? How might we respond to our critics, or do we ignore them?

Participants are encouraged to reflect on this broad, but not exclusive, conference theme.

In addition to sessions that connect to the theme, examples of other types of sessions we expect to organize include: History, Memory and Law; Reading Race; Law and Literature; Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism; Speech, Silence, and the Language of Law; Judgment, Justice, and Law; Beyond Identity; The Idea of Practice in Legal Thought; Metaphor and Meaning; Representing Legality in Film and Mass Media; Anarchy, Liberty and Law; What is Excellence in Interpretation?; Ethics, Religion, and Law; Moral Obligation and Legal Life; The Post-Colonial in Literary and Legal Study; Processes and Possibilities in Interdisciplinary Law Teaching.
We urge those interested in attending to consider submitting complete panels, and we hope to encourage a variety of formats-roundtables, sessions at which everyone reads the papers in advance, sessions in which commentators respond to a single paper. We invite proposals for session in which the focus is on pedagogy or methodology, for author-meets-readers sessions organized around important books in the field, or for sessions in which participants focus on performance (theatrical, filmic, musical, poetic).

How to register:ASLCH uses a two part registration system (this will all be explained in detail on the website). First you register your paper or panel and pay a $35 membership fee. Then after January 10th, 2014, assuming your paper or panel is accepted, you go back to the same website (an email will be sent on that day to remind you) and pay the conference fee.

Here is the link to register:
 Hotel information:
We have reserved rooms in three Charlottesville hotels.  The main conference hotel, where we have reserved 80 rooms, is Hyatt Place, a brand-new hotel.  It is a short drive from the Law School, and they have a shuttle service.  The rate we negotiated is $139/night plus tax.  To reserve, call +1 434 426 4428 and state that you are a part of the ASLCH. You must reserve a room in Hyatt Place by Sunday, February 9.

For those of you who would rather be walking distance from the law school, we have reserved 30 rooms at the Inn at Darden, a hotel owned and operated by UVA's Darden School of Business, about a 5-minute walk from the law school.  To reserve a room there, call +1 434 243 5000 or, if in the US, 1-434-243-5000 and state that you are a part of ASLCH.  The rate for the room is $135/night plus tax. You will need to reserve a room by Saturday, February 1.

In case both of these hotels fill, we have also reserved 30 rooms at the Courtyard Marriott University.  It is a short drive from the Law School, and if enough participants are staying there, we may be able to run a bus to the conference.  To reserve a room online, please go to and use the booking code ASLASLA or ASLASLB. You can also call +1 434 977 1700 and state that you are a part of ASLCH. The room rate is $169/night plus tax. You will need to reserve a room by Sunday, February 9.

If you have any questions you can email the hotel managers directly at these addresses:
Hyatt Place: Sheleigha Early ( at Darden: Bridget Merker ( Marriot: Alex Jobin (  Prizes and nominations:  We have the following awards that we give out at our annual conference. If you would like to nominate someone for the awards, please email the people listed below who is associated with that prize. Please note unless otherwise noted, all prizes nomination deadlines are the same: November 15th, 2013.
Julien Mezey Award
The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities invites submissions for the 2014 Julien Mezey 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 Assocations Annual Conference, hosted by the University of Virginia on March 10-11, 2014.

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 2014 award must have defended their dissertation successfully between September 1, 2012 and August 31, 2013.

For your nominations and submissions, please email Imani Perry at Applications and nominations are due by November 15, 2013
 The Austin Sarat Award
We are pleased to announce the Austin Sarat Award, a prize to be offered to a graduate student for a paper presented at an ASLCH annual conference. We are looking for papers that represent excellence in interdisciplinary thought, research and writing in the field of law, culture and the humanities. Although presentation of the paper at the conference is required to be eligible, the award winner will be chosen based upon finished papers submitted after the annual conference.
The deadline for this prize already passed (it was at the end of May, 2013) because we have the nomination process active while papers are still fresh in people’s mind. But keep this prize in mind for shortly after the 2014 conference ends. Please email Catherine Kellogg at with any questions.
 Graduate Student workshopThe Annual Law Culture and Humanities conference is pleased to offer a graduate student workshop designed for graduate students who are undertaking research that cuts across law, cultural studies, literature, philosophy, legal studies, anthropology, political science, economics. The workshop is designed to provide mentoring, practical advice on publishing and applying for work, as well as have some fun. Applications to the workshop should include a statement of research, a current curriculum vitae, and a short statement of the paper that each student will be presenting at the conference. There is limited space for the workshop, and so we cannot admit all (although we will do our best!). Please forward your application to by November 15.


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