September 30, 2016

Berger-Walliser, Barton, and Haapio on Visualization and Legal Design

Gerlinde Berger-Walliser, University of Connecticut, Thomas D. Barton, California Western School of Law, and Helena Haapio, University of Vaasa, Department of Economics and Business Law; Lexpert, Ltd., are publishing From Visualization to Legal Design: A Collaborative and Creative Process in volume 54 of the American Business Law Journal (2017). Here is the abstract.
Although the law remains predominately focused on the written word, a growing body of scholarship and legal practice reflect a dramatic increase in the use of visualization in virtually every legal context. Three starting assumptions underpin our ideas of implementing visualization ideas and techniques into what we call “Legal Design” that may aid contract simplification: First, we examine the use of images in business documents and in statutes, rather than for advocacy. Moving away from adversarial settings offers several advantages. It permits us to illustrate the use of images in a broader range of practical legal applications. It also enables us to adopt the thinking, values, and methods of a non-traditional approach to lawyering and the law: “Preventive Law” or “Proactive Law” (combined here as “PPL”). Second, we offer guidelines for using images in conjunction with words rather than in isolation, since the law only rarely abandons its verbal expression. Realistically, visualization is almost always used in hybrid ways — combinations of words and images to enhance the effectiveness of communication. That seems unlikely to change, given the need for detail and refinement when the law is imposing duties on people. Finally, our method analyzes variables surrounding choices and consequences about the process of generating, transmitting, and using images to accompany legal language. Examining this dynamic can deepen our understanding of the information conveyed; it can also reveal the potential of visualization for creating spillover value for businesses or regulatory agencies that employ the images to advance legal and organizational effectiveness.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Manko on Fantasies of Selfhood in Legal Texts

Rafał Mańko, University of Amsterdam, Centre for the Study of European Contract law (CSECL); European Parliamentary Research Service, has published 'Reality is for Those Who Cannot Sustain the Dream': Fantasies of Selfhood in Legal Texts as 5 Wroclaw Review of Law, Administration, and Economics 24 (2015). Here is the abstract.
Confronting the law as a form of ideology is not an easy task, especially for lawyers very strongly attached to the internal point of view as part of their professional habitus. Despite this difficulty, the present paper aims at contributing to the ideological demistification of law by proposing to apply Slavoj Žižek’s critique of ideology to the legal field. In particular, the paper elaborates a specific methodology of subjecting legal texts to a critique of ideology by way of identifying the symptoms, i.e. points of breakdown of the ideological field which are simultaneously necessary for that field to achieve its closure. The paradox of symptoms is that they are inevitable for the ideological field, yet at the same time they undermine it, opening up a space for its critique. In this context, the aim of this paper is to confront the fundamental fantasies conveyed by legal ideology. The paper approaches ideological fantasies in strict connection with ideological interpellation, i.e. the process in which a human individual is transformed into a subject of ideology. Ideological interpellation of individuals into subjects is one of the chief operations of the law, which, in its current form, is based on the fundamental assumption that human beings are subjects of rights and duties. Directing the critique of ideology at legal texts aims at undermining the efficacy of the ideological grip held by the Symbolic order upon individuals by insisting on the classical Lacanian thesis that ‘the big Other does not exist’. On a practical level, critique of legal ideology performed by lawyers themselves can help to bring about a more reflexive approach to their participation in the principal practices of legal culture and can help to raise lawyers’ awareness regarding their role in society.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Adler on the Pleasures of Punishment: Complicity, Spectatorship, and Abu Ghraib

Amy Adler, New York University School of Law, has published The Pleasures of Punishment: Complicity, Spectatorship, and Abu Ghraib, in Photography in Punishment in Popular Culture 236 (Austin Sarat and Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., eds., 2015). Here is the abstract.
At the same time that the Supreme Court has come to insist on a radical distinction between representations of sex and violence as a matter of constitutional law, never have the two genres been more deeply intertwined, in popular entertainment, of course, but also in certain practices of punishment. This paper considers the phenomenon of “torture porn” to explore not only representations of torture and humiliation in popular culture, but also the ways in which popular culture has shaped practices of punishment. Here I explore photographs of Abu Ghraib (as well as other legal and cultural disputes over the disclosure of photographs of torture) to explore the ways in which the popular vernaculars of pornography and smart phone photography informed the practice of torture. I compare the photos to a burgeoning genre of reality TV shows from the same era in which in which the spectacle of humiliation, punishment and even torture plays a pivotal and seemingly pleasurable role in the drama. In both scenarios, I focus not only on the mixture of sexuality and violence, pleasure and punishment, but also on the critical role of the camera. Ultimately by analyzing the similarities between “torture porn” in popular entertainment and the visual materials produced at Abu Ghraib, I suggest a mutually productive relationship between popular culture and punishment.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link. 

September 28, 2016

An Early Review of the New Legal Drama "Conviction"

Tim Goodman reviews the new ABC legal drama Conviction for The Hollywood Reporter. For him  this law procedural is derivative and repetitive. So, he finds it a trial. It lacks appeal. He judges it deficient. In brief, he dislikes it. Oh, dear.

Conviction premieres October 3 at 10 a.m., 9 Central time.

Bandes @BandesSusan on What Executioners Can and Cannot Teach Us About the Death Penalty

Susan A. Bandes, DePaul University College of Law, is publishing What Executioners Can -- And Cannot -- Teach Us About the Death Penalty in volume 35 of Criminal Justice Ethics (2016). Here is the abstract.
Executioners and others who come into close proximity with the condemned often come to reject the death penalty. They reject it not only in individual cases, and not only on the ground that the death penalty is poorly implemented. They conclude that capital punishment is wrong. I argue that the perspective of the executioner helps illuminate the debate about whether to abolish capital punishment, and raises the troubling possibility that support for the death penalty can survive only at a great remove. The essay responds to a recent article by Jeffrie Murphy focusing on the question of whether executioners can take pride in their work. I contend that the better question is whether anyone ought to be asked to do such work. On this latter question, the perspective of the executioner sheds important light. Like Murphy, I draw on works by and about Albert Pierrepoint, the “last hangman” of Britain. I also draw on the perspectives of numerous executioners, wardens, chaplains and other death row personnel. I argue that their perspectives offer a powerful argument against the main rationale for the death penalty: retribution. If retribution is keyed to the offender’s character as well as his wrongful act, then post-conviction character ought to matter. The executioners’ accounts share a common theme: that death row inmates change over time and hold the potential for redemption.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Edwards on The Humanities in the Law School Curriculum

Linda H. Edwards, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Law, is publishing The Humanities in the Law School Curriculum: Courtship and Consummation in volume 21 of the Wake Forest Law Review (2016). Here is the abstract.
Today the humanities occupy a small corner of the law school curriculum. Might they instead become a more vibrant partner in legal education? Might law and humanities scholarship escape the pages of law reviews and teach us something important about how to read and understand the law? Despite the long theoretical dominance of legal realism in scholarly circles, much of legal education as we know it has remained mired in Langdell's formalist vision of the law — a vision of a narrow, abstract, impersonal system bereft of human meaning and value. But we can do better. We can approach law, and teach our students to approach law, not as a set of rules but as a form of life. If we decide to take up this life-giving journey, it is the humanities that can show us the way.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

The Toothsome Delights of Vampires

The Telegraph discusses a new edition of Christopher Frayling's landmark Vampyres, and notes that the belief in vampires has been with us for centuries.  The idea that the undead walk among us, and mean to do us harm dates from at least the Middle Ages, and authors have remade and transformed these very real fears into metaphors for all kinds of culture shock. Get me some hot chocolate, a nice blanket, flickering light from a fire, and a good thunderstorm. I'm ready for the next adaption of Dracula.

Nicolas Dissaux's New Book on Law, Literature, and Anatole France

Via Arnaud Coutant, Professor of Law, University of Rheims: Nicolas Dissaux, Professor, Université de Lille, has published Anatole France, Leçons de droit (Editions Mare & Martin, 2016). Here is a description of the book's contents (in French) from the publisher's website.
Louis Aragon tenait tout admirateur d’Anatole France pour un être dégradé… Bigre : le présent livre serait-il celui d’une bande de dégénérés ? Assurément non. Au demeurant, nul besoin d’admirer Anatole France pour en tirer profit. L’éternel oublié des lettres françaises mérite sans cesse d’être redécouvert. Le juriste, lui, y puisera à tout le moins d’utiles leçons de droit. Si France ne prisait pas beaucoup le droit, auquel il ne croyait guère, ses doutes s’avèrent justement revigorants. Désabusé, l’auteur dénonce les faux semblants des constructions juridiques. Il entend révéler l’envers du décor : derrière les lois, la force ; derrière les juges, la servilité ; derrière la propriété, les rapines ; derrière l’ordre public, la violence organisée etc. Non sans une part de systématisme, il prétend donner une leçon de lucidité, sondant les failles d’un édifice construit par et pour les possédants. Il dispense surtout une leçon de courage. Qu’il faille se méfier du discours juridique ne condamne en effet personne à le subir. Bien au contraire : si le Droit n’est qu’une représentation, s’il n’est pas figé dans une essence qu’il conviendrait seulement de connaître, s’il est objet de lutte, alors il faut agir pour faire bouger les lignes. Le savant fait place au politique. Anatole France, c’est aussi, c’est surtout cela : un intellectuel engagé. Chacune des contributions rassemblées dans ce volume le montre à sa manière.

Rosenbury @UFLawDean on Mary Jo Frug's Life, Work, and Scholarly Impact

Laura A. Rosenbury, University of Florida, Levin College of Law, is publishing Channeling Mary Joe Frug in volume 50 of the New England Law Review (2016). Here is the abstract.
This brief essay commemorates the work of Mary Joe Frug upon the twenty-fifth anniversary of her murder, analyzing the ongoing impact of her scholarship in the classroom and in scholarly debates. In particular, Frug’s work inspired the three questions that have structured my teaching and scholarship for over a decade: How does law participate in constructions of gender? How should law participate in constructions of gender? Who wins and who loses? The essay describes how students respond to these questions in the classroom and how the questions have influenced my scholarship analyzing how relationships construct gender and identity. Most of all, the essay mourns the loss of Frug’s ongoing contributions to these important dialogues.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

Kramer on Moral Realism as a Moral Doctrine

Matthew H. Kramer, Churchill College, Cambridge University; University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law, has published There's Nothing Quasi About Quasi-Realism: Moral Realism as a Moral Doctrine as University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 42/2016. Here is the abstract.
This paper seeks to clarify and defend the proposition that moral realism is best elaborated as a moral doctrine. I begin by upholding Ronald Dworkin’s anti-Archimedean critique of the error theory against some strictures by Michael Smith, and I then briefly suggest how a proponent of moral realism as a moral doctrine would respond to Smith’s defense of the Archimedeanism of expressivism. Thereafter, this paper moves to its chief endeavor. By differentiating clearly between expressivism and quasi-realism (or moral realism as a moral doctrine), the paper highlights both their distinctness and their compatibility. In so doing, it underscores the affinities between Blackburnian quasi-realism and moral realism as a moral doctrine. Finally, this paper contends ─ in line with my earlier work on these matters ─ that moral realism as a moral doctrine points to the need for some reorienting of meta-ethical enquiries rather than for the abandoning of them.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 27, 2016

Munzer on Secularization, Anti-MInority Sentiment, and Cultural Norms in the German Circumcision Controversy

Stephen R. Munzer, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, has published Secularization, Anti-Minority Sentiment, and Cultural Norms in the German Circumcision Controversy at 37 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 503 (2015). Here is the abstract.
After an appellate court made circumcision of minors effectively illegal in the absence of a medical justification, the German Parliament passed a statute that restored, with some limitations, the right of parents to seek ritual circumcisions for their sons. Between these events, a fierce controversy broke out in Germany involving Jews, Muslims, and other Germans. Whereas circumcision without medical indication is rare among most Germans, it is a common religious practice in Jewish and Muslim communities in Germany. The debate tapped into ongoing discussions of German cultural norms, German secularization, and a long history of anti-Semitism and a much shorter history of anti-Muslim sentiment in Germany. It also tapped into the religious and traditional practices - sometimes converging, sometimes diverging - of Jews and Muslims. This Article discusses the range of opinions on religious circumcision among Germans and other Europeans. It disentangles the social factors at work in the debate and analyzes the court decision and the new statute. It also examines some recent decisions under the new statute and explores problems with the statute's application. Given that roughly 700 million boys worldwide have undergone ritual circumcision, the German controversy has global implications. This Article shows that at day's end, the debate turns on issues of toleration and multiculturalism. It is scarcely possible to resolve this - debate without asking, "What is a child?" If a child is a proto-member of his parents' religious community and has only a weak right to bodily integrity, or if the risk-benefit ratio favors circumcision and the parents have a broad scope of consent, then circumcision without medical indication might be legally and morally permissible. Parents might then have discretion to place on his body a permanent physical symbol of his expected or hoped for religious affiliation as an adult. Yet if a child has a strong right to bodily integrity, and circumcision is not medically indicated, then the permanent physical modification of his body with a symbol of Jewish or Muslim identity might be problematic, and circumcising him for aesthetic or other nonreligious reasons might likewise be problematic.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Dennis @ProfALDennis on Black Contemporary Social Movements, Resource Mobilization, and Black Musical Activism

Andrea Dennis, University of Georgia Law School, is publishing Black Contemporary Social Movements, Resource Mobilization, and Black Musical Activism in volume 79 of Law and Contemporary Problems (2016). Here is the abstract.
In the last few years a grassroots social movement has emerged from the Black community. This movement aims to eliminate police and vigilante violence against Blacks nationwide. Blacks in America have long been subjected to this violence, and the issue has recently captured the country’s attention. Multiple groups are pressing for change, including Ferguson Action, Black Lives Matter, Say Her Name, and the leaderless social media effort organized by DeRay McKesson and Johnetta Elzie, to name a few. These fledgling activist groups have already experienced some success, garnering public attention and government response. As it currently stands, this nascent civil-rights movement has the potential to advance racial justice in twenty-first century America, but its path is not without obstacles. According to social-movement theory, the ability of activists to further marshal support is vital to the continued development of this civil-rights movement. Whether engaging in street-level activism or pursuing formal change through judicial, legislative, or electoral processes, movement organizers will have to think rationally and strategically about resource mobilization and oppositional forces. At a minimum, they must amass money and manpower for their activities, establish group credibility in the eyes of their participants and the public, and remain sensitive to the costs of movement participation imposed by government officials and counter-movements. To address these concerns, social-movement theory and history reveal that Black music and musicians can and should play a key role in Black America’s next-generation battle for criminal justice and civil rights. Social-movement activists should draw Black musicians, especially hip-hop artists, into the movement fold, encouraging Black musicians to initiate a massive wave of cultural activism.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Klaus Stierstorfer and Daniela Carpi's New Book on Diaspora, Law, & Literature

New in October: Diaspora, Law and Literature (Klaus Stierstorfer and Daniela Carpi, eds., DeGruyter, 2016) (Law & Literature; 12). Here is a description of the book's contents from the publisher's website.
[T]he well-known challenges of international migration have triggered new departures in academic approaches, with 'diaspora studies' evolving as an interdisciplinary and even transdisciplinary field of study. Its emerging methodology shares concerns with another interdisciplinary field, the study of the relations between law and literature, which focuses on the ways in which the two cultural practices of law and literature mutually negotiate each other and on the question after the ontological commensurability of the domains. This volume offers, for the first time, an attempt to provide an interface between these overlapping interdisciplinary endeavours of literary studies, legal studies, and diaspora studies. In doing so, it explores new approaches and invites new perspectives on diasporas, migration and the disciplines that study them, hopefull also adding to the cultural resources of coping with a swiftly changing social landscape in a globalizing world.


Daniela Carpi and Marett Leiboff's New Book on Fairy Tales in a Legal Context

New: Fables of the Law: Fairy Tales in a Legal Context (Daniela Carpi and Marett Leiboff, eds., DeGruyter, 2016) (Law & Literature; 13). Here is a description of the contents from the publisher's website.
The latest development concerning the metaphorical use of the fairy tale is the legal perspective. The law had and has recourse to fairy tales in order to speak of the nomos and its subversion, of the politically correct and of the various means that have been used to enforce the law. Fairy tales are a fundamental tool to examine legal procedures and structures in their many failings and errors. Therefore, we have privileged the term "fables" of the law just to stress the ethical perspective: they are moral parables that often speak of justice miscarried and justice sought. Law and jurists are creators of "fables" on the view that law is born out of the facts (ex facto ius oritur) so that there is a need for narrative coherence both on the level of the case and the level of legislation (or turned the other way around: what does it mean if no such coherence is found?). This is especially of interest given the influx of all kinds of new technologies that are "fabulous" in themselves and hard to incorporate in traditional doctrinal schemes and thus in the construction of a new reality.

 Via @maksdelmar.

September 25, 2016

Fictional Crimes Past

Past Offfences @pastoffences is a blog devoted to reviewing and discussing crime fiction generally written before 1987 and apparently mainly European crime and mystery fiction. The news is entertaining, and the reviews cover books, films, and events. 

Each month the editor devotes some time to fiction written in a particular year: this month it's 1907. Fun to read if your tastes run to classic works, and you'd like to discover more obscure authors in the genre.

September 24, 2016

Turner @christor on Perceiving Law

Christian Turner, University of Georgia Law School, has published Perceiving Law as UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-33. Here is the abstract.
The more we examine what is behind our most difficult legal questions, the more puzzling it can seem that we continue both to disagree strongly and, yet, to cooperate. If law is a reasoned enterprise, how is it that we are neither torn apart nor homogenized by our long social practice of it? I resolve this puzzle, and arrive at a richer understanding of law, using the idea of modeling familiar from the natural sciences and mathematics. I show both that theorists can model legal systems as abstract systems of institutions, information flows, and institutional processing or reasoning and that the participants in a legal system themselves maintain and evaluate models of this sort. Understanding law this way clarifies numerous problems ranging from pluralism to legal interpretation. This work emphasizes four major points of the theory: (1) An individual’s perception of law is an act of empathetic model-identification, model-building, and attitudinal judgment with respect to a perceived, ongoing instance of cooperation. (2) All such models can be described as systems of information-connected institutions that each (a) receive inputs from other institutions, (b) process those inputs according to sets of reasons, and (c) produce informational output. (3) Each institution is modeled by its participants as (a) maintaining its own set of reasons for decisionmaking, those reasons terminating in a local, ultimate rule of recognition but also (b) possessing rules that take account of the information produced by other institutions, such rules coming in various flavors of scrutiny and deference. (4) The human conceptual system generates many such models depending on the question being asked and produces judgments through simulation. The fact that such modeling happens at many different scales, depending on the question contemplated, explains theoretical disagreement and agreement, otherwise puzzling problems of pluralism, and the moral/legal interface.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 23, 2016

Star Trek's Legacy: The EU Takes Note

The French TV network ARTE (funded by the European Union) has produced a number of tv episodes in honor of Star Trek's 50th anniversary. Each four-minute video has a particular theme (origins, the ST economy, etc.)  Here's a list.

Episodes 1, 3, and 8 discuss law-related themes, and all are worth watching. Episodes are in English or there are English-language subtitles.

Via @F_Defferrard.

September 21, 2016

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


We are pleased to announce that the Twentieth Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities will be held at Stanford Law School in Palo Alto, California March 31-April 1, 2017. We invite your participation.  Please note, panel and paper proposals are due Friday October 28th, 2016.

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 anthropology, 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 role as a constituent part of cultures and communities.
Examples of sessions we anticipate people will organize include:
History, Memory and Law; 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).
Abstracts for proposed papers should be no more than 250 words.
Proposals for panels should include three papers (or, exceptionally, four papers). Panel proposals should specify a title and a chair; the panel chair may also be a panel presenter. Paper presenters may appear more than once in the conference program.


The registration form is available at this link:
A reminder that the ASLCH uses a two part registration system. First you register your paper or panel and pay a $37.74 membership fee. When/if your paper or panel is accepted, you pay the conference fee. All panelists will be notified about their acceptance as soon as possible.  We hope to see as many of you as possible in 2017 at Stanford!

Hotel Information

Information about hotels and other information specific to the 2017 conference will follow.


If you have any general questions about the conference, please do not hesitate to contact Karl Shoemaker (kbshoemaker [a] For matters related to the program or its organization, please write to William Rose (wrose [at] 

Call for Papers: International Association for Media and History, July 10-13, 2017

CFP: Media and History, Crime, Violence, and Justice, July 10-13, 2017, Paris, France

27th Conference of the International Association for Media and History

MEDIA AND HISTORY: CRIME, VIOLENCE AND JUSTICE is the main topic of the conference and a special section will also deal with international and comparative approaches to media history. Workshops for younger scholars will be organized.

Confirmed keynote speakers (there will be other plenary sessions with professionals and filmmakers):
Carrie Rentschler, William Dawson Scholar of Feminist Media Studies, McGill University
Francesco Casetti, Thomas E. Donnelley Professor of Humanities and Film and Media Studies, Yale University.

Call for Papers:

The relations between media and the acts or representations of crime, violence and justice are evolving through history. The openness of this call for papers is voluntary chosen in order to receive diverse and critical proposals dealing with this broad topic. Most of the time, it is through media that we encounter conflicts and violence; from news formats to fictional accounts; from traditional media such as newspapers, film, radio and television to ‘newer’ interactive media. Such media coverage is very frequently linked to debates on law and order. How can an open society react to crime and violence? Often, the relationship between conflict and crime and their representation can cause various conflicts.
First, media can become tools of propaganda, war and discrimination. They are then not only ways to communicate information but they are also part of performativity and action. Second, media can become a target of violence themselves, whether or not in totalitarian states or countries where the freedom of speech is restricted. Third, in each historical context, ‘new’ media inventions can produce an atmosphere of fear and violent contest or censorship, especially when they disturb existing (political) power patterns or structures. Fourth, media and communication technologies are also an essential part of social movements and political activism by offering spaces of visibility and instruments of contestation aimed at social change that can lead to situations of conflict and confrontations within the public sphere.
These various relations of media to crime, violence and justice are not new. Numerous scholars work or have worked on this topic by focusing on media and law, politics, journalism, media activism, war, (cultural) diplomacy or likewise the narration and mediatization of war, conflicts, punishment, violence, crime and justice. The latter are not only an essential part of news and the journalistic, political agenda, but they are also essential when it comes to fictional formats such as film or television series. Depending on historical, political and cultural premises, the signification and definition of crime and violence in media and law texts ask the question of the circulation and understanding of these concepts in society. This conference aims to (re)think the historical relations between media, crime, violence and justice also in order to offer new insights into more recent forms of this very complex interplay. Scholars and practitioners from various disciplines and approaches (history – media and communication studies – law – politics, gender, queer and feminist studies – sociology – anthropology – economy etc.) are welcome to submit papers and panel proposals that deal critically with the following topics:
- Historical representation/mediatization/definitions of crime, violence and justice in news or informational formats, film, documentaries, television drama or radio plays
- Historical approaches to media events related to crime, violence and justice.
- The production and reception of news and fiction dealing with crime, violence and justice
- Media historical approaches to symbolic and physical violence
- The crime scene, the criminal and the victims in news and fiction
- Historical (media-) constructions of the judge, the lawyer or secret service agents
- ‘New’ media inventions as aggregators of fear, conflict or censorship
- The historical role of media and technologies in social and political protest, movements and activism, leading sometimes to conflicts and violence
- The historical (international) relations of legal public entities, diplomacy, the police and the military with journalists and media institutions
- Media as targets of violence and crime
- The role of media archives for the historiography and memory of crime, violence and justice
- Media, history and criminology
- The history of cybercrime
- Legal actions attacking or protecting media content and their producers or audiences/users
There is also one special area dedicated to the question of international approaches to media history. Panel and paper proposals in this field are warmly welcome. The idea is to have space for epistemological, theoretical, practical and also comparative discussions on how media history is thought and experienced in different cultural areas: what kinds of archives are accessible, in creation or needed, the place of media history in academia etc.


September 20, 2016

Kerr on Interpreting the Rapper in an Internet Society

Andrew Jensen Kerr, Georgetown University Law Center, is publishing Rap Exegesis: Interpreting the Rapper in an Internet Society in the Columbia Journal of Race and Law. Here is the abstract.
The Law and Literature movement has had limited influence on the work of lawyers and judges. But a rap lyric’s dual quality as aesthetic and “truth” document makes it uniquely amenable to literary interpretation. The competing problems: lyrics are meant to be heard and not read, and the ambition of the contemporary rapper is no longer to be didactic or suggest authenticity. The #rapgame has changed. I argue the internet rapper is the paradigm of creative identity. The guiding questions for this Article are how the law should respond to the individual who lives life as art, and if the social knowledge project will lead to the crowdsourcing of hermeneutics of both rappers and legal texts.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Call For Papers: Art in Law in Art Conference, University of Western Australia, July 5, 2017


From Jani McCutcheon, Director of Law and Society, Faculty of Law, University of Western Australia 
We are pleased to announce that The University of Western Australia Law School will host the Art in Law in Art Conference on 4 & 5 July 2017. We look forward to welcoming you, and are now calling for papers for this conference. Please click Here for the call for papers. 
The Art in Law in Art Conference will be held in the beautiful Perth Cultural Precinct at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth. Art in Law in Art is an interdisciplinary conference investigating the broad themes of how law sees visual art, and how visual art sees law.
The Conference will be an exciting mix of different perspectives from international experts on the art-law nexus, as scholars, practitioners and artists come together and exchange ideas.
The Conference has two main themes: 1. Art in Law: law touches upon a range of legal topics and areas, and this theme explores the full breadth and depth of issues. 2. Law in Art: this theme explores how law is perceived and represented by artists and theorists. This theme explores the broad question of how the law is perceived in the theory and practice of visual art.
Confirmed speaker: Carey Young, visual artist. Please visit the conference website at for updated information about the conference, and to register your interest.
We would very much appreciate your help in bringing this conference to the attention of your colleagues, and anyone who might be interested in attending, whether as a paper presenter or otherwise.
If you require further information, please contact the conference convenor, Jani McCutcheon, at
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in Perth in July 2017.

September 18, 2016

For Your Consideration: Ars Technica @arstechnica Explains Mr. Robot

ICYMI: Ars Technica @arstechnica (with writers such as Nathan Mattise and Jonathan M. Gitlin) has been discussing the series Mr. Robot @whoismrrobot (USA Network) and its themes to law, politics, and pop culture since it premiered. The writers tackle these issues with gusto, and the pieces are informative and lively. Here are links to some essays.

Mr. Robot's Attention To Detail Even Extends To Campy, '80s Horror Flicks

Mr. Robot's First Season Was a Compelling Descent Into Madness

Mr. Robot's Tech Guru

You can also listen to podcasts about the show and its ins and outs: General link

Decrypted, episode 1 (season 2)

September 17, 2016

Sexual Violence and the TV Drama

In a column for the Globe and Mail, writer and producer Ellen Vanstone discusses how rape has become a mainstay of tv scripts, for shows ranging from fantasy series such as Game of Thrones to procedurals such as Law & Order to thrillers such as The Americans. 

A Selected Bibliography 

Lisa M. Cuklanz, Rape on Prime Time: Television, Masculinity, and Sexual Violence (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999).

Lisa M. Cuklanz, Rape on Trial: How the Mass Media Construct Legal Reform and Social Change (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995).

Molly Haskell, From Reverence To Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies (2d ed., University of Chicago, 1987).

Lee Ann Kahlor and Matthew S. Eastin,  Television's Role in the Culture of Violence Toward Women: A Study of Television Viewing and the Cultivation of Rape Myth Acceptance in the United States, 55 Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 215-231 (2011).

Sarah Projansky, Watching Rape: Film and Television in Post-Feminist Culture (NYU Press, 2001).

September 16, 2016

When There's Toxin in the Text: Some Cites To Agatha Christie's Uses of Poisons in Her Mysteries

I should have published this post yesterday, on the anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth, but no harm, no foul, so to speak.

As you may know, Mrs. Christie worked in a hospital dispensary during the First World War, where she first learned a great deal about drugs--and poisons, and she used that information to great advantage in her many mystery novels. Fiction and pharmaceuticals worked quite well for her, from her very first publication, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. A good many of her works deal with some kind of poison as a weapon of death, as scholars point out.

Erin Blackmore writes more about Dame Agatha's real life knowledge and her use of it in her literary career in her essay for JSTOR Daily, Agatha Christie, Pharmacist.

More about poison in Agatha Christie from The Guardian, here from The New Yorker, HubPages, and Wired.

Delfini on Instances of the Civil Law in the North American Common Law Tradition

Newly published in the Italian Law Journal:

F. Delfini, Instances of Civil Law in North American Common Law Tradition: Cause and Consideration in Quebec and Louisiana Civil Codes, 2 Italian Law Journal 87 (2016).

More here.

Star Trek's Attractive Vision of the Future

September 15, 2016

By Any Other's Name: A Conference on Law, Authorship, and Appropriation, October 28-29, 2016

Coming soon:

By Any Other's Name: A Conference on Law, Authorship, and Appropriation, October 28-29, 2016, on the campus of Louisiana State University.

The Louisiana State University School of Theatre, College of Music and Dramatic Arts and LSU Law Center in conjunction with the LSU Office of Research and Economic Development and the Law and Humanities Institute present “By Any Other Name: A Conference on Law, Authorship and Appropriation” October 28 and 29 on the campus of LSU.
The conference will bring together scholars, performers, and students to discuss law and authorship in the face of challenges issued by artists who engage in appropriation—the practice of taking the works of others to rethink or recreate new works.

September 13, 2016

Rosenbury @UFLawDean on Postmodern Feminist Legal Theory

Laura A. Rosenbury, University of Florida College of Law, is publishing Postmodern Feminist Legal Theory: A Contingent, Contextual Account in Feminist Legal Theory in the United States and Asia: A Dialogue (Cynthia Grant Bowman, ed.; 2016) (Forthcoming). Here is the abstract.
Of all of the existing schools of feminist legal thought, postmodern feminist legal theory is the most difficult to define and categorize. Postmodernism itself is not a fixed concept. Moreover, the various approaches to postmodernism challenge and resist attempts to establish foundational truths or universal meanings. Feminist legal theory rooted in postmodernism therefore necessarily eschews stable understandings of feminism, law, and theory in favor of understandings that are fluid and shifting. If one embraces these principles, any attempt to conceptualize postmodern feminist legal theory immediately becomes contingent and contextual, if not also suspect. This Essay nonetheless analyzes the ways that legal scholars in the United States have developed and deployed postmodern feminist legal theory over the past thirty years. In doing so, the Essay provides one approach to postmodern feminist legal theory rooted in context and time. The Essay also highlights some of the distinctive aspects of postmodern feminist legal theory in this time and location, situating it in relation to other schools of feminist legal thought. Finally, the Essay emphasizes why these distinctions matter by viewing two areas of feminist law reform through this conceptualization of postmodern feminist legal theory.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

September 12, 2016

A UK Radio Drama Explores Domestic Abuse

The popular Radio 4 drama The Archers has wrapped up a long story arc with a not guilty verdict in the trial for attempted murder of major character Helen Tichenor. She was accused after fighting back against her husband Rob, who had abused her for years. The story galvanized listeners across the UK.

More here from the Guardian:

'Frighteningly relevant and superbly handled': readers on the Archers' verdict

The BBC:

Verdict revealed:

The Telegraph:

The Archers Trial Verdict:

Goluboff's Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of 1960s: A New Book From Oxford University Press

Risa L. Goluboff, University of Virginia School of Law, has published Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of the 1960s (Oxford University Press, 2016). Here is a description of the book's contents (from the publisher's website).  


Call For Papers: Special Issue of Journal of Popular Film and Television: Korean Popular Cinema and Television

Via @electricchieu and @HerFilmProject

Special Issue for Journal of Popular Film and Television: Korean Popular Cinema and Television in the 21st Century

deadline for submissions: 
June 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Jihoon Kim/Chung-ang University
contact email: 
Call for Submissions to a Special Issue:
Korean Popular Cinema and Television in the 21st Century

Edited by Jihoon Kim, Dept. of Film Studies, Chung-ang University, South Korea

During the last several years, both Korean cinema and Korean television dramas (and K-pop tracks/stars as well, to be sure) have gained not simply dramatically increased popularity beyond the Pan-Asian scope of the first ‘Korean wave (hallyu)’ (across North and South Americas and Europe), but also critical attention in the academia of cinema studies, cultural studies, and East Asian/Korean studies. Despite these situations, previous studies on Korean cinema and television have highlighted only a limited set of texts: despite a couple of recent edited collections dedicated to nationally popular genre films such as horror and film noir, most scholarly writings on Korean cinema have still privileged films directed by so-called ‘auteurs’ (Kim Ki-duk, Hong Sang-soo, Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon-ho, and Lee Chang-dong) that were already established in global film culture and academia, thus leaving unexamined a series of popular Korean films that have not simply had enormous commercial success in the domestic box office but also had notable cultural influences on Korean audiences’ collective desire, historical imaginary, and optical unconscious. Likewise, most of the existing studies on Korean television have discussed only a few canonical television dramas in the first Korean wave era. The academia’s failure to catch up with the rapidly growing popularity of Korean network and cable television programs on both domestic and transnational levels has left to be uncharted territories many important key cultural texts during the last few years. These include recent television dramas that enjoyed either domestic critical attention (for instance, the Reply series [1997, 1994, 1988], Misaeng (2014), and Signal [2016]) or transnational spectatorship and stardom (for instance, My Love from the Star [2013-4] and Descendants of the Sun [2016]), as well as various reality TV programs across different formats and subjects (Infinity Challenge, Running Men, music competition shows [Superstar K, K-Pop Star, Show Me the Money, Un-pretty Rap Star, and Produce 101], and Food/Cooking TV programs). 
This special issue of Journal of Popular Film and Television aims to fill these wide vacancies in the current scholarship of Korean cinema and television studies, thereby expanding its scope into critical investigations of the previously unexamined key texts and genres, their relations to Korea’s social, political, and cultural contexts, and their transnational appeals from industrial and cultural perspectives. Possible topics include, but not are limited to:
- Genre conventions and their subversion/mixture (the films of Bong Joon-ho, Ryu Seung-wan, Kim Ji-woon, and Na Hong-jin)
- Recent Korean film noir/thriller movies and their treatment of the society’s political and economic antinomies (New World [2013], Veteran [2015], Inside Men [2015])
- Social reality dramas or films based on the true story (Silenced [2011], The Attorney[2013], Han Gong-ju [2013])
- Recent Korean blockbuster films, their (CGI) technology/aesthetics/pleasures (Thieves[2012], Roaring Currents [2014], Ode to My Father [2014])
- Historical films/costume dramas and their historical imaginary, including the imagery of the colonial/postcolonial history (Masquerade [2012], Assassination [2015], The Handmaiden [2016])
- Transnational popular films/dramas, including their stardom and industry
- Cultural nostalgia in popular films and TV dramas/reality shows (The Attorney, Ode to My Father, the Reply series, and the television shows [Sugarman (2016), for instance] on the 1990s’ pop music)
- Key recent Korean television dramas, narratives, styles, and their cultural identities (class struggle, gender, sexuality, religion, generational difference, Pan-Asian identity)
- Korean reality TV programs across different genres and formats (including music competition shows and Food/cooking TV)
- Korean TV’s spreadability, transnational impacts and participatory fan culture

The CFP encourages a variety of academic, historical, critical, analytical, and theoretical approaches, as well as submissions from authors in the popular press. Submissions should be limited to twenty-five pages, double-spaced, and conform to MLA style. Please include a fifty-word abstract and five to seven key words to facilitate online searches. Send an electronic copy no later than June 30, 2017 to Jihoon Kim(