October 30, 2013

Present at the Digital Creation...of Mary Shelley's Monster

If you're anywhere in or around New York City, tag October 31st on your calendar and head for the New York Public Library. You can check out (literally and digitally) Mary Shelley's Frankenstein notebooks and associated materials. More here from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

October 29, 2013

Rhetoric and Justice at Guantanamo

Brian Christopher Jones, Academia Sinica, Institutum Iurisprudentiae (IIAS), has published A Triumph of Ill Conceived Language: The Linguistic Origins of Guantanamo's 'Rough Justice' at 1 Hastings Law Journal Voir Dire 1 (2013). Here is the abstract.

Throughout the years, the Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay has witnessed an abundance of intriguing linguistic words and phrases. Yet the language that has had the most significant impact throughout the years has been the words and phrases used in the administration of justice regarding the detainees being held on terrorism charges. Wall St. Journal Supreme Court reporter Jess Bravin’s book, 'The Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay,' thoroughly chronicles how the use of military commissions came about for the first time since the Second World War, and pointedly demonstrates the abundance of problems they faced once established. In addition to telling the story of Marine Corps lieutenant colonel Stuart Couch, an earnest military prosecutor who later becomes exhaustively disenchanted with the commissions, the book chronicles the new linguistic frontiers in the American legal community. This piece analyzes how particular language used throughout the establishment and execution of the commissions significantly differed from American legal traditions. In particular, the essay focuses on four linguistic changes that had considerable influence: (1) From Due Process to “Full and Fair”; (2) From Classified to “Protected”; (3) From Custodial Interrogation to “Enhanced Interrogation”; and (4) From Acts of Terrorism to “Material Support for Terrorism.”
Download the essay from SSRN at the link. 

AIDEL's International Conference 2013 Set for November 14-16 In Verona

The Associazione Italiana Diritto e Letteratura (AIDEL) announces its International Conference 2013: "Pwers of Voices/Voices of Power" will be held in Verona from November 14 through November 16. Here is a link to the final program. The conference will include talks by Jeanne Gaakeer, Melanie Williams, Heinz Antor, Patrizia Nerozzi, Desiree Fondaroli, Cristina Costantini--and discussions of Shakespeare, Apuleius, Laurence Sterne, Supreme Courts and labor rights. It looks like it will be quite an interesting event.

A New Book On Artists' Moral and Human Rights

A new book announcement from Hart Publishing:


Freedom of Artistic Expression
Essays on Culture and Legal Censure
Paul Kearns
This book presents a unique and comprehensive examination of the human and moral rights of artists. In what is arguably the first exhaustive book-length account of artists' rights, Paul Kearns explores the problems associated with censorship, both from philosophical and legal perspectives, and focuses on the various ways in which the morality of art is legally regulated in different jurisdictions. In relation to human rights, English, French and American law, the law of the European Convention on Human Rights, European Union law and public international law are all closely scrutinised to discover the extent to which they offer protection for artistic freedom. The author also examines domestic and international law in respect of artists' moral rights, the law of copyright and related laws. In short, the book provides an original, and sometimes controversial, analysis of persistent concerns regarding the legal regulation of the arts universally, doctrinally and theoretically, and seeks to offer an holistic treatment which will appeal to art lawyers, artists and those interested in the future of the arts. 
The Author

Paul Kearns is a Senior Lecturer in Law in the University of Manchester, where he teaches Public International Law, Human Rights Law and, as a specialist yet popular topic, Law, Literature and Art. 

Book Details Oct 2013     260pp     Hbk     9781841130804     RSP: £50 / €65
DISCOUNT PRICE: £40 / €52  


To receive the 20% discount online please write ref: INLL in the voucher code field and click apply:


Or, please contact Hart Publishing by telephone or e-mail and quote reference INLL when placing your order

Hart Publishing Ltd, 16C Worcester Place, Oxford, OX1 2JW, UK
Telephone Number: 01865 517530; Fax Number: 01865 510710

October 28, 2013

From Inside Bars To Sitting for the Bar

From The Hollywood Reporter: NBC has ordered up a script of Shon Hopwood's memoir Law Man from Carol Mendelsohn and the result may be headed for the small screen. In his colorful youth, Mr. Hopwood was a bank robber. After jail time, and redemption, he finished up law school and will be clerking for a judge on the D.C. Circuit.

Listen to an interview with Mr. Hopwood here on NPR. More here from the Huffington Post.

October 25, 2013

The Establishment Clause, Religious Symbols, Endorsement, and Coercion

Claudia E. Haupt, Columbia University Law School, is publishing Active Symbols in 55 Boston College Law Review (2014). Here is the abstract.

Visual representations of religious symbols continue to puzzle judges. Lacking empirical data on how images communicate, courts routinely dismiss visual religious symbols as “passive.” This Article challenges the notion that symbols are passive, introducing insights from cognitive neuroscience research to Establishment Clause theory and doctrine. It argues that visual symbolic messages can be at least as active as textual messages. Therefore, religious messages should be assessed in a medium-neutral manner in terms of their communicative impact, that is, irrespective of their textual or visual form.
Providing a new conceptual framework for assessing religious symbolic messages, this Article reconceptualizes coercion and endorsement — the dominant competing approaches to symbolic messages in Establishment Clause theory — as matters of degree on a spectrum of communicative impact. This focus on communicative impact reconciles the approaches to symbolic speech in the Free Speech and Establishment Clause contexts and allows Establishment Clause theory to more accurately account for underlying normative concerns.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

October 24, 2013

A New Book On Law, Literature, and Narrative

Jose Calvo Gonzalez of the University of Malaga has published an interesting new book, Direito Curvo (Porto Alegre: Editora Livraria do Advogado, 2013). The title translates as Curvable Law. More information here. See the table of contents here.

"Suits" Returns For a Fourth Season

Suits, the USA legal drama, will be back on the USA network for a fourth season. More here from The Hollywood Reporter. The show, starring Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams, features ethically challenged attorneys at a high profile firm who take on interesting cases.

October 22, 2013

Where The Girls Aren't

Ryan A. Malphurs, Courtroom Sciences Inc., Jaime Bochantin, DePaul University, L. Hailey Drescher, University of Kansas, and Melissa Wallace Framer, Arizona State University, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, have published Too Much Frivolity, Not Enough Femininity: A Study of Gender and Humor at the U.S. Supreme Court. Here is the abstract.

The four authors in this study took on the exhilarating task of listening to 79 oral arguments in the Supreme Court’s 2011-2012 term. After two years spent recovering from oral argument overload, the authors have prepared a study that ingeniously tricks readers into reading a study on humor that is really about gender inequality at the Supreme Court and in the field of Law. Initially tallying instances of un-transcribed laughter, the authors — prompted by Hillary Clinton’s urging — began noticing gender and humor discrepancies between the justices and the advocates; what started as a simple humor tabulation devolved into important research. In the following study, the authors lull readers into complacency by offering data related to humor, but then shock their audience with serious data about gender inequality — ruining any fun that readers might have had. It’s true the authors show that the Supreme Court is far funnier than previously thought, and that Justice Scalia enjoys bullying Justice Breyer; however, potential readers should turn back now, because what follows is mind numbing boredom and “PC” discussions about gender veiled within a “humor” study.

The authors would like readers to know that the following study, if you haven’t been able to tell already, does not follow traditional scholarly conventions. “Why?” you may ask, because it would be boring and no one would read it, duh. The authors have endeavored to make this study both interesting in the data and entertaining to read — a truly ground-breaking feat in scholarly studies. Great risk comes with great rewards, and we’re just hoping someone other than ourselves will read this study.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

October 21, 2013

Another TV Lawyer Drama

The tv series Betrayal, based on the Dutch series Overspel, debuted on ABC on September 29, 2013 in a lineup that includes lead-ins of Once Upon a Time and Revenge. The show features Hannah Ware as Sara Hanley, a photographer married to prosecutor Drew Stafford (Chris Johnson), who begins a torrid affair with attorney Jack McAllister (Stuart Townsend), in-house counsel for a powerful businessman. Fairly soon, there's guilt, then murder, then conflict as Sara's husband and her lover clash in the courtroom.

Henry Thomas (remember him as the adorable Elliott in E.T.?) is all grown up as the son of businessman Thatcher Karsten, who's played by the wonderful James Cromwell (Farmer Hoggett in Babe). Others in this show include Wendy Moniz as Elaine McAllister, Jack's wife and Thatcher Karsten's daughter, Elizabeth McLaughlin as Valerie McAllister, Jack and Elaine's daughter, and Braeden Lemasters as Victor McAllister, Jack and Elaine's son.

Franklin & Bash Will Return For Another Season

TNT has renewed the legal series Franklin & Bash for a new season (its fourth). The show, which stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer, features two lawyers who delight in breaking the rules in order to win their cases.

October 17, 2013

The Influence of Robert M. Cover

Roy Andrew Partain, Soongsil College of Law, has published Ecologies of Paideic Law: Environmental Law and Robert M. Coverʼs Jurisprudence of 'Nomos and Narratives' , at 24 Hanyang Law Review 423 (2013). Here is the abstract.

This article provides an extensive introduction to the legal philosophy of Robert M. Cover and begins a discussion on how his principles of jurisgenesis could be applied in environmental law. This article suggests that a deeper appreciation of Cover’s jurisprudence could better assist in the development of climate change legislation.
Robert M. Cover was a legal scholar at Yale Law School who died in 1986, tragically early in his career, leaving many aspects of his innovative jurisprudence incomplete. Despite those circumstances, he has become one of the top-most cited legal scholars in American jurisprudence. In particular, he is best known for his “Nomos and Narratives” theory of law. Cover’s legal philosophy holds that the laws and narrative traditions of a culture cannot be critically separated, that they must be understood to operate intertwined. Further, he argued certain aspects of the narrative cultures must be included in the concept of law, in the corpus juris, alongside more explicit forms such as constitutions, legislations, and judicial decisions. Thus, Cover argued, legal scholars have been overly focused on one type of law to the neglect of other types of law.

Cover introduced the concept of paideic jurisgenesis and of jurispathic judges to counter the legal theories of H.L.A. Hart, Hans Kelsen, and Ronald Dworkin. Cover’s theory provides a more complete framework to answer Dworkin’s question of how judges resolve ‘hard’ legal cases. A ‘hard’ case exists when both sides of an adversarial courtroom can provide sound legal support for their arguments; Dworkin posited that jurisprudence is simply the investigation of how judges resolve that conflict. Whereas Hart, Kelsen and Dworkin saw a shortage of law, of a need to explain how law was created by judges, Cover concluded to the contrary that law actually existed in over-supply and that judges act to eliminate surplus laws to resolve ‘hard’ problems.

Cover balanced the development of paideic laws, i.e. narratively evolved laws, with the controls of imperial, i.e. governmental, legislation and jurispathic judges. Cover named this universe of legal meaning and context-rich interpretations ‘nomos’, borrowing from the Greek language for ‘law’. Cover proposed that social groups created laws via social cohesive narratives of obligations, coercion, and socially-endorsed enforcement. But this organic process of legislation could create too many overlapping legal systems as each society contains multiple social groups. Legislatures were seen by Cover as providing a democratic process to select Kelsenian Grundnormen to better align the diverse legal narratives of multiple social groups. Cover then saw the key role of judges as jurispathic, to eliminate legal chaos when too much law exists.

A legal scholar, in Cover’s world, has two roles. First, to observe and appreciate the organic and paideic narratives that create the laws in the legal scholar’s nomos-verse. Second, to provide the legal scientific understandings necessary to support the judiciary’s jurispathic duties. In both cases, a legal scholar has the opportunity to engage and interact in the development of law. A legal scholar can become engaged in the development of the paideic narratives and social dialogs that create paideic law. A scholar can assist in the development of the imperial legal structures that provide stability and unity to the social group. Cover was particularly interested in the development of Human Rights and Civil Rights laws, but his theories and techniques have found applications in many other areas of law.

This article provides a preliminary example of Cover’s theories in regards to the development of climate change legislation. The article takes notice of the historical problems to develop and enforce climate change legislation. The article examines Cover’s theories to uncover the practical legal and policy tools suggested by his theories of jurisprudence. The article suggests a list of methods wherein Cover’s theories could be applied to climate change legislation.

Donwload the article from SSRN at the link. 

October 16, 2013

The History of European Legal Culture

Helge Dedek, Mc Gill University Faculty of Law, Institute of Comparative Law, is publishing When Law Became Cultivated: ‘European Legal Culture’ between Kultur and Civilization in Towards a European Legal Culture (G. Helleringer & K. Purnhagen eds.; C. H. Beck/Hart: Munich-Oxford, 2014) (forthcoming). Here is the abstract.

In this contribution, I invite the reader to approach the concept of ‘European legal culture’ from a historical perspective. Such an approach is helpful in two ways: first, it helps to attune one’s ear to the shades of meaning of ‘culture’ and to enhance awareness of the fact that ‘legal culture’ may have a different ring in different legal traditions. Second, as we shall see, it is the discourse on ‘legal culture’ itself, and especially the discourse on ‘European legal culture’, that seeks historical legitimacy by cultivating foundational narratives, invoking, in particular, the writings of the German Historical School and its most well-known proponent, Friedrich Carl von Savigny. I will present ‘snapshots’ of some of the foundational moments in the career of the concept of ‘legal culture’, and then, after a short comparison with contemporary English usage, set out to inquire which role ‘legal culture’ may be said to play in Savigny’s famous manifesto, Vom Beruf unserer Zeit für Gesetzgebung und Rechtswissenschaft (Of the Vocation of our Age for Legislation and Legal Science, written in 1814). I want to suggest that re-reading Savigny’s text with the historical semantics of ‘culture’ between the French ‘civilisation’ and the German ‘Kultur’ in mind will help us to see more clearly some aspects of the text that are at times obscured in its ‘culturist’ readings that are too eager to find a romantic conception ‘Volksgeistlehre’ in Savigny’s work. These often neglected aspects might hint to an openness toward the possibility of thinking a legal culture beyond the nation state, and might give us, perhaps counterintuitively, some useful cues for a reflection on possible theoretical approaches to a ‘European legal culture’.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link. 

Ada Lovelace Day

Even though we missed it by a day...a slight detour for a tribute to Ada Lovelace, unfortunately less well known as the mother of computer programming than as the daughter of George Gordon, Lord Byron and Anna Isabella Milbanke. More about remembering Ada and her work here at the Wellcome Trust's blog. A mini bio here by Agnes Scott College's Dr. Betty Toole.

October 14, 2013

Twelve Inquiring Jurors

Steven Lubet, Northwestern University School of Law, and Kevin Chang have published Stupid Juror Questions? as Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 13-32. Here is the abstract.

Everyone knows there is no such thing as a stupid question. Well, at least every parent, teacher, counselor, advisor, librarian and boss is evidently aware of the truth of that simple maxim. Nonetheless, the obvious utility of asking questions – seeking wisdom; requesting clarification; locating information – appears to have eluded certain high officials in the justice system of the United Kingdom, not to mention a raft of journalists, a clutch of parliamentarians, and a good swath of the British public, all of whom expressed consternation at a series of written questions posed by the jurors in a high profile, though relatively low stakes, criminal case. “Do we need IQ tests for juries?” wondered one pundit, who fumed that the jury’s questions had “exposed a breathtaking level of ignorance and stupidity.” Another echoed the thought, asking whether the jury was “stupid or just confused?” This article analyzes the ten infamous questions posed by the jury in the British trial of Vicki Pryce, who was accused of “perverting the course of justice” in an attempt to advance the political career of her now-former husband. Drawing upon legal history, criminal procedure, and cognition science, we conclude that the jury’s questions were far more perceptive than the court and the British pundits realized.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

Taking Ally Seriously

John Denvir, University of San Francisco School of Law, has published Romancing the Law: Ally McBeal and the Art of Subversive Comedy as a University of San Francisco Research Paper. Here is the abstract.

The television sitcom Ally McBeal drew large audiences and won many awards, but the series also had detractors who felt that it demeaned both women lawyers and the legal profession. People loved and hated the show, but no one has thought it a serious commentary on the American legal system.
I think it is time to take Ally McBeal seriously. I believe that its creator David E. Kelley has used the narrative devices of romantic comedy to make a subtle but powerful critique of the American legal system and to suggest a new future for law. It is an excellent example of what I call subversive comedy.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

Call For Papers

From Bob Jarvis, Nova Southeastern Law Center, news of a publication opportunity in the area of U.S. legal history (pedagogy):

The October 2013 issue of the American Journal of Legal History (www.ajlh.org) contains a symposium on teaching legal history in U.S. law schools.  As a follow-up, the symposium’s essays are going to be republished in a book entitled “Teaching Legal History:  Comparative Perspectives.”  The book’s publisher is the esteemed London firm of Wildy, Simmonds & Hill.
 Because the space available in the book is greater than what was available in the Journal, we are seeking additional contributions that follow the style of the existing essays.  Accordingly, we would be pleased to receive your submission.  The operational details are as follows:
 1)      Completed essays are due by February 15, 2014 and should be e-mailed, preferably in Word, to Professor Bob Jarvis, Nova Southeastern University, at jarvisb@nova.edu.  This deadline is firm and extensions will not be possible.  Acceptance/declination decisions will be made as soon after the deadline as possible.
 2)      Essays cannot exceed 1,500 words and should describe how you teach the course and why you teach it as you do.  The word length will be strictly enforced and footnotes, if any, should be kept to a minimum.
 3)      While we’re open to a wide variety of styles and approaches, we really want practical (as opposed to theoretical) pieces.   In other words, we want to know what people are really doing in their classrooms when they teach legal history.
 4)      Although we appreciate that many folks include a lot of legal history in their non-legal history courses (particularly if they teach, for example, constitutional law), this book, like the symposium, is limited to actual legal history courses taught in U.S. law schools.
 5)      Lastly, if you do not have access to a copy of the Journal, please e-mail Bob Jarvis for a sample essay.

October 9, 2013

Fox Ramps Up a New Legal Drama

Experienced showrunner Howard Gordon (24, Homeland) is putting together a new legal drama with 24 executive producer Evan Katz for Fox. The show, Trial of the Century, which will feature Richard Shepard as director, will star a Latina attorney "working on a unique high profile case." But who will play the "young Latina attorney"? Stay tuned.

More here from The Hollywood Reporter.

October 8, 2013

The Blood Libel Legend

John Obi Ifediora, University of Wisconsin, has published The Blood Libel Legend: Its Longevity and Popularity. Here is the abstract.

Jewish ritual murder accusations, in their common apprehension, refer to alleged killing of Christians by Jews in furtherance of religious rites, or specifically Jewish practice. The blood libel, however, is a special variant, and a subset of the broader ritual murder accusation, and came much later into the panoply of accusations leveled at the Jews in the Middle Ages. This essay seeks to address the explanations given by scholars for the popularity and longevity of the blood libel as it touches on the following aspects of the legend: what gave rise to the blood accusations in the Middle Ages when the consequences were so horrific and brutal? Who “first” made the accusations against the Jews in medieval times, and who stood to benefit from such charges, or were they occasioned by economic, social, and religious circumstances that defined medieval Europe? But most importantly, what sustained and popularized it from the twelfth to the twentieth century?
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

Love As a Contract

Martha M. Ertman, University of Maryland School of Law, has published Love and Contracts in Don Quixote in Don Quixote: Interdisciplinary Connections 251 (Matthew D. Warshawsky and James A. Parr, eds.; Newark, NJ: Juan de la Cuesta, 2013). Here is the abstract.

Viewing love as a contract seems, initially, like mistaking windmills for giants, or a peasant girl for a grand lady. This chapter seeks, like Don Quixote, to convince readers to suspend their practiced views of everyday relationships in order to see them in a new light. What seems crazy at first glance may come to look as good, and sometimes better, than the more conventional view. As a law professor, I usually write about love and contracts by focusing on legal opinions and statutes, and recently I have added real-life stories from books and newspapers, as well as my friends, family, colleagues, and students. But if I am right that love and contracts often complement instead of oppose each other, then my argument that contracts shape the beginning, middle, and demise of love relationships ought to hold true in fiction as well, especially for the jump-off-the-page characters and situations in Don Quixote. Applying this analysis to Don Quixote invites new readings, and may even bring yet more readers to this brilliant text.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link. 

More On the LHI/Cardozo Blood Libel Conference

More on the Blood Libel Conference, sponsored by the Law and Humanities Institute and Cardozo Law School, here. The Conference takes place at Cardozo, November 14-15.

More On Law and Poetry

Joseph P. Tomain, University of Cincinnati College of Law, is publishing Reading Poets in St. John's Law Review (forthcoming). Here is the abstract.

Lawrence Joseph, the poet, has been the subject of a symposium published by the University of Cincinnati Law Review. Lawrence Joseph, the nonfiction novelist, has been similarly honored by the Columbia Law Review. With the publication of The Game Changed, his work should be so recognized and he should be given scholarly attention as a critic/essayist. Joseph the lawyer/poet/scholar has developed a jurisprudence of his own. Joseph’s jurisprudence, however (and to the good), cannot be reduced to a single word like originalism, or even a label like liberal democratic (though he may be in fact). Rather, the resultant jurisprudence refracts off a multitude of ideas and attitudes contained within the book’s various prose pieces. In this Essay, I will first describe the mechanics of The Game Changed, and will then identify and briefly comment upon several of those ideas and attitudes that comprise Joseph’s jurisprudence that go Into It.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

October 3, 2013

Lawyers and Poetry

Pleasure Boat Studio has published a new anthology of poems inspired by the practice of law. Lawyer Poets and That World We Call Law: An Anthology of Poems About the Practice of Law is edited by James R. Elkins, of West Virginia University College of Law, who also edits the Legal Studies Forum. Here's a description of the volume, provided by the publisher.

The book sells for $22.50, and is available through the publisher's website, which is offering a 20 percent discount (offer good until December 1st, 2013) or through bookstores or online through Amazon.com.

The Blues Brothers and the First Amendment

Julien Mailland, Indiana University Department of Telecommunications & University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication, has published The Blues Brothers and the American Constitutional Protection of Hate Speech: Teaching the Meaning of the First Amendment to Foreign Audiences, at 21 Michigan State International Law Review 451 (2013). Here is the abstract.
Skokie, Illinois, 1978. A retired black and white police car is stuck in traffic before a bridge where a political rally is being held by Nazis of the American Socialist White People’s Party. In the car, two men, wearing black suits, black hats, and black sunglasses, stand idle. The Nazis’ venomous leader delivers a racist and violence-mongering speech, which infuriates the onlookers. The Nazis are protected from the angry crowd of hecklers by a line of police. One of the men in black calmly states: “I hate Illinois Nazis,” as the other slams the gas pedal, charges the ranks of the brownshirts and stampedes them off the bridge into the water, to the cheers of the crowd. As they drive off, the soaked Nazi commander vows revenge. (THE BLUES BROTHERS (Universal Studios 1980). Long Synopsis).This scene from the 1980 blockbuster comedy The Blues Brothers is a popular cultural expression of a uniquely-American legal provision: the constitutional protection of hate speech by virtue of the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The legal regime for hate speech in the United States has no equivalent anywhere in the world and is baffling to non-Americans. Europeans, in particular, whose countries served as the locus of Nazism’s horrors, tend to hold the U.S. constitutional protection of hate speech in disbelief, before shaking their heads in contempt and concluding something along the lines of “those crazy Americans.” This protection of hate speech, however, makes a lot of sense in the American context. In this paper, I argue that the aforementioned scene from The Blues Brothers has great potential to elucidate the meaning of the constitutional protection of hate speech, and, more broadly, of the First Amendment, for a non-American audience. I propose that the scene be used by comparative jurists teaching the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. I focus the comparison between the United States and France, for “France and the United States start from such different assumptions regarding freedom of speech and the relationship between speech and other rights that it is virtually impossible to reconcile their competing approaches,” a situation that creates deep cultural misunderstandings, which in turn can be reconciled using this case study. France is also relevant because it is one of the countries that has taken the most aggressive stance against American companies in the context of Nazi speech distributed globally over the Internet, which has resulted, in particular, in Yahoo!, Inc. and its executives being criminally prosecuted in France for violation of anti-hate speech laws. Fostering mutual understanding between the U.S. and France is therefore particularly important in this age of global digital information distribution.In Part I, I first theoretically ground the argument that consumption of cultural artifacts is a prerequisite to understanding the law of a country, and beyond it, the country’s people and society themselves (I). Part II involves a detailed case study of the aforementioned scene from The Blues Brothers as such an artifact, in order to lift the veil on the cultural signified hidden beyond the legal signifier that is the First Amendment, and foster mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other peoples (II). I conclude that the Blues Brothers’ Nazi scene should be used by comparative jurists teaching the meaning of the First Amendment to foreign audiences, as an aid to shine a light on the cultural, social, and political principles that ground the constitutional protection of hate speech in the United States.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Law and Equity in Chinua Achebe's "Arrow of God"

Olubukola Olugasa, Babcock University School of Law and Security Studies, has published Interplay of Law and Equity in Chinua Achebe's 'Arrow of God'.

The late literary legend, Chinua Achebe, may have been celebrated in many ways for his immense contributions to humanity through profound literary works that will perpetually remain beneficial to the world. But hardly have we appreciated his works from legal perspective. Interestingly, in many less developed academic environments, scholars tend to limit their research and academic publications to stereotypes within frameworks of fragmented subjects; fragmented subjects of study for teaching convenience. Perhaps that disposition has restricted robust interdisciplinary research and approach to exploring the real essence of literary works of scholars like Chinua Achebe. It is not peculiar to Nigeria. This paper seeks to bring to life the legal issues deducible from the trilogy of Chinua Achebe, namely 'Things Fall Apart', 'No Longer at Ease' and 'Arrow of God'. The events in the trilogy show the dilemma of the protagonists in responding appropriately to the changing circumstances of the unwritten and unspoken customary laws of their times. The challenge of choice of appropriate discretion in the face of dynamics of change has foisted on every man the need to take deep consideration of the position of law and equity, even within the shortest possible time, before making a choice. The choice made ultimately determines the fate of man. That appears to be what in literary parlance is couched in the expression 'character is fate'. The approach here begins and goes beyond socio-legal perspective to doctrinal analyses of the story in the novel. The paper concludes by using the discourse to reflect the position of a Nigerian in the context of the interplay of law and equity against his customary law requirements, the challenges and the need for reforms and repositioning of customary law in Nigeria’s legal system.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

Performing Law

Richard K. Sherwin, New York Law School, has published Law as Performance: Presence and Simulation in the Theater/Courtroom. Here is the abstract.
Contemporary theatrical performances and courtroom performances are increasingly grappling with the same challenge, namely: how to respond to world loss, the steadily advancing process of dematerialization. A growing number of cultural productions, including law, oscillate between virtual reality effects (the screen-based sensorium of heightened baroque sensation) and bodily presence. We are torn between reflexive meaning construction, on the one hand, and the material recuperation of reference and perception, on the other. In this essay, I ask what lessons multi-media theater may hold for the contemporary performance of law? I conclude that the current neo-baroque condition of world loss, and the familiar baroque strategy of proliferating form to distract us from metaphysical anxiety, poses serious political and legal challenges. Absent an appropriate response, unchecked growth in ongoing processes of de-realization, dis-ownership, and de-responsification may ultimately threaten the continued legitimation of law’s claim to power in the digital age.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

October 2, 2013

Spanish Law and Religion

Rafael Palomino, Facultade de Derecho, Universidad Complutense, has published Manual Breve de Derecho Eclesiástico del Estado (Spanish Law and Religion in a Nutshell). Here is the abstract.

Manual breve de Derecho eclesiástico del Estado español. El manual comprende 10 capítulos sobre elementos fundamentales del Derecho estatal en materia religiosa.
Spanish Law and Religion in a Nutshell. Ten chapters of the fundamentals of Spanish Law and Religion.

Download the two hundred page document, which is in Spanish, at the link.

October 1, 2013

Repeat: Call for Papers and Registration: Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities


Seventeenth Annual Conference
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, 2013
The 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, Instrumentalism
How 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 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 www.marriott.com/chodt 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 (sheleigha.early@hyatt.com)
Inn at Darden: Bridget Merker (reservations@darden.virginia.edu)
Courtyard Marriot: Alex Jobin (Alex.Jobin@crestlinehotels.com)

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 iperry@princeton.edu. 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 ckellogg@ualberta.ca with any questions.

Graduate Student workshop
The 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 ckellogg@ualberta.ca by November 15.