February 27, 2018

Didikin on Law as a Linguistic Phenomenon

Anton Didkin, Higher School of Economics, has published Law as a Linguistic Phenomenon as Law and Language Special Workshop IVR Congress 2017, Lisbon, Book of Abstracts, p. 7-8. Here is the abstract.
Law as a regulator of behavior of subjects cannot be reduced fully to other ways of regulating behavior in society. Grounds of legally significant actions allows to define the context of the application of legal rules. Every legal term, following the argument of L. Wittgenstein, when it is used depends on the "context of use" and of those conventions of usage that exists at the moment. It follows that the interpretation of the rules cannot be based solely on principles of logic and to be absolutely neutral. On the one hand, "we follow the rule blindly" (L. Wittgenstein), but at the same time, repeatability of the behaviour of others and the opportunity to observe them (by analogy with mathematical rules of addition or multiplication) promotes "learning" and following the rules. From the point of view of analytical philosophy in this example, we see only the transformation of reality through linguistic forms, but from the point of view of the legal language legal environment of relationship is not determined by social context, but the linguistic forms that interpretive his physical actions in the procedural legal sense.
The full text is not available from SSRN.

Art and Conflict Workshop, June 25-26, 2018, Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Law School @thomgiddens @MelbLawSchool @unimelb

Art and Conflict Workshop
25-26 June 2018
VCA and Melbourne Law School
University of Melbourne

Works of art speak truths about war and conflict in a way that cannot be easily articulated by disciplines such as law or political science. As a result, scholars in these disciplines are increasingly paying attention to art made during conflict as well as the ‘work’ which art does in its aftermath. There is a need, however, to foster cross-disciplinary conversation about the methods and approaches undertaken by scholarship in this area. This two-day workshop is a series of events aimed at beginning a dialogue around these issues by PhD Candidates and Early Career Researchers.
Keynote Roundtable:
Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox (Artist); Professor Jon Cattapan (former Australian Official War Artist, Director of the Victorian College of the Arts); Professor Paul Gough (Artist, Pro-VC and Vice-President, College of Design and Social Context, RMIT); Ryan Johnston (University of Melbourne, former Head of Art, Australian War Memorial).
Other events include a special exhibition of art works from the Keynote speakers and other artists at the VCA; film screening of Until They’re Gone (Dir. C Lockett) and video Q & A with filmmakers; curatorial talk and session at the Ian Potter Museum of Art and workshop discussion around current works-in-progress.
Presenters and participants are invited to attend from a range of scholarly fields, not limited to law. Applications due by 6 April 2018.
See the Call for Papers here.

For further information on how to apply, see: https://artconflict.wordpress.com

Queries to: artconflictworkshop@gmail.com

Workshop organisers: Federica Caso (UQ); Shawna Lesseur (UConn); Laura Petersen (Melbourne); Stacey Vorster (Uva/Wits).

Colloquium: Law In/And/As Performance, March 24, 2018, University of Warwick @warwickuni @thomgiddens

Law In / And / As Performance Colloquium
March 24th 2018, 9.45am-4.15pm

Law In/And/As Performance is a one-day interdisciplinary research colloquium for those with an interest in the intersections of law and performance.

This one-day event will bring together researchers and practitioners across a range of disciplines to explore the current work being done in the field of law in/and/as performance. The programme will include keynote speakers, alongside panels exploring research and practice into law in/and/as performance.

Keynote speakers: 
Dr Kate Leader (University of York)
Dr Kate Leader is a Lecturer at York Law School with a PhD in Performance Studies entitled ‘Trials, Truth-Telling and the Performing Body’ (2008), a PhD in Law and an LLM in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice. Prior to her current post, she was an Associate Lecturer in Criminology and Theatre Studies at Birkbeck.

Prof Alan Read (King’s College London)
Prof Alan Read is Professor of Theatre and Director of the Performance Foundation at Kings College London and is the author of Theatre & Law (2016). His other publications include Theatre & Everyday Life (1993) and Theatre in the Expanded Field (2014).

Prof Peter Robson (University of Strathclyde)
Dr Maria Estrada-Fuentes (University of Warwick)
Dr Lucy Finchett-Maddock (University of Sussex)

Carey Young (University College London)
Yvonne Salmon (University of Cambridge)
Anna MacDonald (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Humanities Building, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL

Register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/law-in-and-as-performance-tickets-43343218734 

Please email Sean Mulcahy at sean.mulcahy@warwick.ac.uk 

February 22, 2018

The Campus Mystery Novel: Try One! @hbll

Courtesy of Brigham Young University Library, a lovely annotated bibliography of the campus mystery novel from 1920 to 2000.  Maybe I'll start with the intriguing but gory-sounding Off With Her Head by the Coles (1938) or Aaron Marc Stein's The Case of the Absent-Minded Professor (1943) or Scott Keech's Ciphered (1980). 

Filmmaker Shawn Rech Making a Follow-Up To "Making a Murderer"

Documentary filmmaker Shawn Rech is moving ahead with Convicting a Murderer, a follow-up to the Netflix hit Making a Murderer, the story of Steven Avery, who was convicted in the death of Teresa Halbach.

Mr. Rech received an Emmy nomination for the Showtime doc A Murder in the Park (2014).

More here from brobible, here from Cleveland.com, here from Deadline. ,

Bellanova and González Fuster on Thinking Surveillance With/Again Netflix @ikkibop @FusterGloria @routledgebooks

Rocco Bellanova, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, and Gloria González Fuster, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB); Universidad Internacional de la Rioja (UNIR), are publishing No (Big) Data, No Fiction? Thinking Surveillance With/Against Netflix in The Politics and Policies of Big Data: Big Data Big Brother? (A. R. Saetnan, I. Schneider, and N. Green, eds., London: Routledge, Forthcoming)
Surveillance Studies often look at cultural products as pedagogical or heuristic devices, as if they were windows into the popular representation of surveillance practices. However, artworks may also be the (by-)products of consumers' surveillance. Online platforms like Netflix harvest vast amounts of data about clients' behaviour, so to predict their interests and produce more successful, profitable creations. In this chapter, we discuss how to think about surveillance with and against Netflix, focusing on the tensions between databases and narratives, and between politics and data-driven fiction. We explore how surveillance practices are both presented and performed when Big Data gleaned from viewers is used to tailor-script a series questioning mass surveillance, such as House of Cards. We argue that surveillance then displays itself as an embodied and transformative experience. While viewers can figure its inner workings in a more concrete manner, they are, at the same time, turned into data-breeding publics.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

February 21, 2018

Counter Exhibitions: Opening March 6, University of London @thomgiddens @GoldsmithsUofL

Opening: Tuesday 6 March, 6–8pm, all welcome 
Counter Investigations is the first UK survey exhibition of the work of Forensic Architecture, an independent research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London. 

Forensic Architecture’ is not only the name of the agency but a form of investigative practice that traverses architectural, journalistic, legal and political fields, and moves from theoretical examination to practical application. In recent years Forensic Architecture has undertaken a series of investigations internationally into state crimes and human rights violations, spanning events within war zones and instances of politically and racially motivated violence and killing.

Counter Investigations presents a selection of these investigations. As historically contextualised interrogations of contemporary social and political processes, they put forward a form of
counter forensics’, serving as sites for the pursuit of public accountability through scientific and aesthetic means, in opposition to the monopolisation of narratives around events by state agencies.

The exhibition outlines five key concepts that raise related historical, theoretical, and technological questions. Explored in an accompanying series of public seminars, they add up to a short course in forensic architecture.

Top: Detail from a mural plotting the narrative trajectories of different participants, both victims and perpetrators, in the enforced disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico in 2014. Image: Forensic Architecture, 2017

Exhibition supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and the Forensic Architecture Exhibition Supporters Circle

Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH

Solan on the Interpretation of Legal Language @brooklynlaw

Lawrence M. Solan, Brooklyn Law School, has published The Interpretation of Legal Language at 4 Annual Review of Linguistics 337 (2018). Here is the abstract.
In everyday interactions, we do our best to resolve linguistic vagueness, ambiguity, and other indeterminacies contextually. When these problems arise in the interpretation of authoritative legal texts, by contrast, it is not abundantly clear what context is relevant, or even legitimate. This article discusses approaches that legal analysts take in resolving linguistic indeterminacy. The most basic principle is reliance on the “ordinary meaning” of a term in dispute, on the assumption that this default interpretation is most likely to be within the intention of the drafters. However, there is no clear understanding of what “ordinary meaning” means or how to find it. Most recently, judges and legal scholars have turned to using linguistic corpora to assist in determining ordinary meaning in such cases. Other cases, focusing on the resolution of syntactic or semantic ambiguity, are less common. Courts in these cases sometimes resort to legally based “tiebreakers,” such as the rule of lenity, which requires courts to resolve ambiguity in favor of the accused in criminal cases.
The full text is not available for download.

February 20, 2018

Baldy Center For Law and Social Policy Now Accepting Applications For Fellowships (Deadline Extended) @baldycenter

Reminder: Baldy Center For Law & Social Policy is accepting applications for fellowships until March 9, 2018 (deadline extended)
The Baldy Center plans to award several fellowships commencing in Fall 2018 to scholars pursuing important topics in law, legal institutions, and social policy. Applications are invited from junior and senior scholars from law, the humanities, and the social sciences. Fellows are expected to participate regularly in Baldy Center events, but otherwise have no obligations beyond vigorously pursuing their research. Fellows receive standard university research privileges (access to university libraries, high-speed Internet, office space, computer equipment, phone, website space, working paper series, etc.) and are encouraged to develop collaborative research projects with SUNY Buffalo faculty members where appropriate. Those who wish to teach a course to aid their research or gain teaching experience can be accommodated on a case-by-case basis. Post-Doctoral Fellowships are available to individuals who have completed the PhD or JD but have not yet begun a tenure track appointment. Post-Doctoral Fellows will receive a stipend of $40,000 and may apply for up to $2,000 in professional travel support. Post-doctoral Fellowships will ordinarily be for a period of two years Mid-Career and Senior Fellowships are available to established scholars who wish to work at the Center, typically during a sabbatical or research leave. Awardees will receive a living expense allowance of $1,800 per month during the period of their residence.

February 19, 2018

Hohmann on the Treaty 8 Typewriter: Tracing the Roles of Material Things in Imagining, Realising, and Resisting Colonial Worlds @DrJessieHohmann

Jessie M. Hohmann, Queen Mary, University of London, has published The Treaty 8 Typewriter: Tracing the Roles of Material Things in Imagining, Realising and Resisting Colonial Worlds at 5 London Review of International Law 1 (2017). Here is the abstract.
This article focuses on one material object: a typewriter on which Western Treaty 8 was recorded in 1899. Following the typewriter allows a close reading of the material practices of colonialism in Canada’s northwest, affords us an opportunity to interrogate how international legal authority is mediated through objects, and shows how objects provide opportunities to resist and contest colonial authority.
The full text is not available for download.

Bastias Saavedra on Possession, Ownership, and Land Sales on the Chilean Frontier (1790-1830)

Manual Bastias Saavedra, University of Bremen, Centre of European Law and Politics (ZERP), has published The Lived Space: Possession, Ownership, and Land Sales on the Chilean Frontier (1790-1830) at Historia Critica 67. Here is the abstract.
By looking into sales of indigenous land in the territory of Valdivia between 1790 and 1830, this article discusses how legal interactions were tied to the local spaces of rural habitation. Since ownership was linked with possession and use in Spanish colonial law, local social relations and shared local knowledge were crucial for determining legal ownership and ensuring the validity of land transfers. This article provides insights into how law operated in newly integrated colonial spaces, and reveals that land transfers did not yet constitute purely contractual relations but were instead socially negotiated transactions involving different levels of authority and dependency.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

February 18, 2018

The Serial Killer in Popular Culture @bucketorange

Bucket Orange magazine discusses how television portrays serial killers and criminal profiling. Here's the link.

More about serial killers and tv here, from Garin Pirnia at Complex, and here, some information about the serial killer trope, from TV Tropes.

Paste Magazine offers a list of memorial serial killers here. And here, a 2013 article from The Hollywood Reporter about our interest in the subject.

Here, a selected bibliography:

Jane Caputi, The New Founding Fathers: The Lore and Lure of the Serial Killer in Contemporary Culture, 13 Journal of American Culture 1 (1990).

Brian Jarvis, Monsters, Inc.: Serial Killers and Consumer Culture, Crime, Media, and Culture (2007).

David Schmid, Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2005).

Mark Seltzer, Serial Killers: Death and Life in America's Wound Culture (Routledge, 1998).

Philip L. Simpson, Psycho Paths (Southern Illinois University Press, 2000).

February 17, 2018

ICYMI: Soucek on Not Representing Justice: Ellsworth Kelly's Abstraction in the Boston Courthouse @BRSoucek

ICYMI: Brian Soucek, University of California, Davis, School of Law, has published Not Representing Justice: Ellsworth Kelly's Abstraction in the Boston Courthouse at 24 Yale Jounal of Law and the Humanities 287 (2012). Here is the abstract.
The $10 billion worth of federal courts constructed over the past two decades are filled with major works of abstract art that the government touts as “inherently democratic,” since they are said to mean anything viewers think they mean. This claim is as mistaken about abstract art as it is about democracy; it fails to recognize that courts are democratic not in the relativistic manner of the voting booth, but because of their commitment to fair and public proceedings followed by reasoned deliberation. Ellsworth Kelly’s monochromes in Boston’s federal courthouse present a stark test of the potential politics of abstract public art. Kelly’s aim — to teach viewers “the rapture of seeing” — is puzzling within a courthouse, where the “blindness” of justice is more often emphasized. I claim that Kelly’s emphasis on sight makes sense only when we shift our focus from judges and judging—the predominant focus of courthouse art—to an often overlooked party in adjudication: the public, whose role as spectator is fundamental to truly democratic courts.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

February 16, 2018

Tranter on Envisioning and Programming Digital Legality From SyFy's Caprica @GriffLawSchool

Kieran Mark Tranter, Griffith Law School, is publishing I, Archive: Envisioning and Programming Digital Legality from SyFy's Caprica in Envisioning Legality: Law, Culture and Representation (Tim Peters and Karen Grawley, eds., Routledge, 2018). Here is the abstract.
This chapter charts the demise of the paper archival system of modern law and envisions the key features of its digital successor through SyFy’s short-lived TV show Caprica. Having shown the features of digital legality as inhuman speed, autonomy and hybridity, it is argued that legal theorising needs to become proficient in understanding the schematics of digital legality and its programming. In particular focus should be on establishing pause moments in the code that allow the human and the analogue to manifest and participate in digital legality.
Download the chapter from SSRN at the link.

Just Rawling Along: A Theory of Justice: The Musical! @JusticeMusical

Proving that one can set anything to music, John Rawls is coming to the London stage. Well, sort of. (It has already played at the Edinburgh Fringe). On February 19, A Theory of Justice: The Musical! debuts at the Arts Theatre. Josh Seymour directs. More here.  Edinburgh Fringe trailer here.

The work is two hours, plus an intermission, so seems not a long piece, and not only not in pages. 

A Series on Law and the Arts at the University of Malaga Faculty of Law @jcalvo11

Beginning March 9, the University of Malaga School of Law is hosting a series of seminars on Art and Law. The March 9th lecture features Professors Jose Calvo Gonzalez and Maria Pina Fersini discussing law and architecture. On April 12, Professor Felipe Navarro Martinez will discuss law and literature, Professor Jose Manuel Cabra Apalategui will discuss law and music, and Professor Cristina Monereo Atienza will discuss law and photography. On May 3, Professor Jose Francisco Alenza Garcia will discuss law in Game of Thrones.

More here.

February 15, 2018

Jeff Daniels To Star in To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway Later This Year @Jeff_Daniels

Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom, The Martian, Godless) is starring as Atticus Finch in Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of Harper Lee's iconic To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway. His co-stars include Celia Keenan-Bolger (Scout), and Stark Sands (Horace Gilmer).Others attached to the project include LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Stephen McKinley Henderson. The director is Bartlett Sher.

The play opens December 13. More here from Variety. 

Mr. Daniels is brave; trying to get an audience to forget Gregory Peck in the Finch role is like trying persuade viewers to think about someone other than Laurence Olivier as Hamlet. (Don't think about elephants! Don't think about elephants!) Well, Kenneth Branagh does, I think, pull it off in the 1996 version. Are Richard Burton (1964), Benedict Cumberbatch (2015), and Nicol Williamson (1969) equally good? I can't decide.

Thornton and Roberts on Women Judges, Private Lives: (In)Visibilities in Fact and Fiction @ANU_Law @hj_roberts_ @GenderANU

Margaret Thornton and Heather Roberts, both of the Australian National University College of Law, have published Women Judges, Private Lives: (In)Visibilities in Fact and Fiction at 40 University of New South Wales Law Journal 761 (2017). Here is the abstract.
Once unseen, women are now visible in increasing proportions on the bench in common law courts, although this reality has generally not percolated into fictional worlds, where ‘the judge’ is invariably male. Fiona, cast by Ian McEwan as the protagonist, in The Children Act, is a notable exception. In the novel, McEwan directs our gaze beyond the traditional separation of judicial identity into public/private (visible/invisible) facets of life and raises questions regarding the impact of life on law, and law on life. This article draws on McEwan’s work to illuminate a study of how judicial swearing-in ceremonies tell the stories of Australian women judges. At first glance, this may seem an unusual pairing: The Children Act is an international best-selling work of fiction whereas the official records of court ceremonial sittings are a somewhat obscure body of work largely overlooked by scholars. However, the speeches made in welcome in open court on these occasions by members of the legal profession and by the new judge in reply, offer glimpses of the attributes of women judges not discernible in formal judgments. These ‘minor jurisprudences’ challenge the familiar gendered stereotypes found in the sovereign body of law.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

February 14, 2018

Kramer on Hart and the Metaphysics and Semantics of Legal Normativity @cambridgelaw

Matthew H. Kramer, University of Cambridge Faculty of Law, has published Hart and the Metaphysics and Semantics of Legal Normativity as University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 18/2018. Here is the abstract.
A number of philosophers in recent years have maintained that H.L.A. Hart in "The Concept of Law" propounded an expressivist account of the semantics of the legal statements that are uttered from the internal viewpoint of the people who run the institutions of legal governance in any jurisdiction. Although the primary aim of this article is to attack the attribution of that semantic doctrine to Hart, the article will begin with some metaphysical matters – the matters of reductionism and naturalism – that often lie behind the development of expressivist approaches to the semantics of normative discourse. After briefly exploring those metaphysical concerns (to which I will return later), the article will begin its main discussion by rehearsing the distinction between the semantics and the pragmatics of utterances. It will then delineate the doctrine of expressivism which the aforementioned philosophers have in mind when they ascribe that doctrine to Hart. Although I will make reference to a few such philosophers, I will focus chiefly on an article by Kevin Toh that has been the fountainhead of all the subsequent attributions of expressivism to Hart. As will be argued herein, Toh and like-minded philosophers have gone astray in imputing to Hart a semantic version of expressivism. Notwithstanding that Hart’s theory of law can aptly be characterized as expressivist, that characterization is appropriate only when expressivism is understood as an account of the pragmatics of legal statements rather than as an account of their semantics.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

February 13, 2018

Call For Nominations: Julien Mezey Dissertation Award @Law_Cult_Huma

The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities invites submissions for the Julien Mezey Dissertation Award. This annual prize is awarded to the dissertation that most promises to enrich and advance interdisciplinary scholarship at the intersection of law, culture and the humanities.
The 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 2018 award must have defended their dissertations successfully between September 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017.

Nominations for the 2018 award must be received on or before
Febrrary 23, 2018.  Nominations should be sent to kbshoemaker@wisc.edu

February 12, 2018

Hawk on English Competition Law Before 1900

Barry E. Hawk, Fordham University School of Law, has published English Competition Law Before 1900 as a Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper. It is forthcoming in the Antitrust Bulletin. Here is the abstract.
English competition law before 1900 developed over the course of many centuries beginning in the medieval period. That development reflected changes in political conditions, economic theories, and broader cultural values. English competition law mirrored the historical movements in England from the medieval ideal of fair prices and just wages to 16th and 17th century nation state mercantilism to the 18th and 19th century Industrial Revolution, laissez faire capitalism and freedom of contract. The development of English competition law is rich in insights for modern antitrust issues like the adaptability of case law and legislation to changing economic conditions, the role of economic theories in the formulation of legal rules, and the role of political and social values in competition policy. Today the predominant if not exclusive emphasis on economics in the application of modern antitrust laws has resulted in a quasi-regulatory system far more technical, specialized and narrowly focused than the case making of generalist English common law judges. Modern antitrust law adapts well to changes in economic theories and conditions but it is less adaptable than English common law to shifts in political and social values. This lack of adaptability is viewed by most commentators as a beneficial insulation of decision-making from political or social influences. Proponents of non-economic policy concerns (like fear of concentration for political or social reasons), on the other hand, are forced to formulate their concerns in economic terms because of the prevailing view that only economics counts in antitrust. They would have had an easier task under the English common law.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

"Let's Hear It For Dear Leader!" On Tyrants Writing Poetry @ArsScripta @CEUPress

A new book from Central European University Press explores why dictators are so drawn to expressing themselves in verse, and what that attraction might reveal about their leadership style. Hmmm...love the art but hate the artist? Tyrants Writing Poetry (Konstantin Kaminskij and Albrecht Koschorke, eds., Central European University Press, eds., 2018).
As conventional understanding would have it, the sometimes brutal business of governing can only be carried out at the price of distance from art, while poetic beauty best flourishes at a distance from actions executed at the pole of power. Dramatically contradicting this idea is the fact that violent rulers are often the greatest friends of art, and indeed draw attention to themselves as artists. Why do tyrants of all people often have a particularly poetic vein? Where do terror and fiction meet? The cultural history of totalitarian regimes is unwrapped in ten case studies, in a comparative perspective. The book focuses on the phenomenon that many of the great despots in history were themselves writers. By studying the artistic ambitions of Nero, Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler, Mao Zedong, Kim Il-sung, Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Saparmurat Nyyazow and Radovan Karadzic, the studies explore the complicated relationship between poetry and political violence, and open our eyes for the aesthetic dimensions of total power. The essays make an important contribution to a number of fields: the study of totalitarian regimes, cultural studies, biographies of 20th century leaders. They underscore the frequent correlation between tyrannical governance and an excessive passion for language, and prove that the merging of artistic and political charisma tends to justify the claim to absolute power.
More about the book here.

Calling Alan Smithee @mental_floss

Courtesy of Stacy Conradt, here are some stories of "non-existent" writers who received credit for scripts they didn't actually scribble. In each case, the works earned Oscar nominations, so that was some epic scribbling. In some cases, as in Woody Allen's The Front, the real author was blacklisted and couldn't get work under his real name. In some he didn't want credit in his own name. What is authorship, anyway?

This article was published in Mental Floss. (I just love that magazine). 

February 11, 2018

Spy/Not Spy @saltpublishing

From novelist Guy Ware, at Salt Publishing's blog: Ten spies who weren't actually spies. Discussion ranges from Leonard Mosley's "The Druid" to Roger O. Thornhill (remember "North by Northwest"?) to some very literary speculation about Satan in Paradise Lost.

Some good reading for a Sunday afternoon, especially if one goes back to check out the original sources (JFF--Just For Fun). 

February 10, 2018

Bilbo Baggins, Defendant: Law In Tolkien @MizzouLaw

HATTS (Historical and Theatrical Trial Society) of the University of Missouri School of Law has announced the trial of Bilbo Baggins of Bags End, The Shire, for stealing the Arkenstone of Thrain. The trial will take place on Wednesday, April 4, in the Law School's Courtroom.

Law in J. R. R. Tolkien's saga Lord of the Rings (LOTR) is an interesting subject. Below are some cites (including blogposts) that discuss the question.

Omar Ha-Redeye and Jacob Kaufman, Lord of the Rings as Property Law, Law Is Cool

Charles Lincoln, IV, The Silmarillion and the Lord of the Rings as a Lens Into Constitutional Interpretation: A Possible Synthesis of Natural and Positive Law

Graham McAleer, Tolkien's Establishment, Law and Liberty

Michael Martinez, A Discussion of Law in Middle-Earth

Christina Sterbenz, 6 Laws From Lord of the Rings (Business Insider)

J. R. R. Tolkien, Law and Customs Among the Eldar, from Morgoth's Ring (1993).

Jonathan A. Watson, Tolkien, Aquinas, and the Law.  Another link:

Then of course there's

Edward Castronova, The Renaissance of Natural Law: Tolkien, Fantasy, and Video Games

Brent Lang, Warner Brothers, Tolkien Estate Settle Massive "Lord of the Rings" Lawsuit, Variety 

Kathryn Rubino, Court Investigates Whether Being Compared To Gollum Is Insulting, Above the Law

Oh, and

Elie Mystal, Departure Memo From Middle Earth Burns the Bridge of Khazad-Dum, Above the Law

Follow the Precious.

February 9, 2018

Gendered Emotions in History: Website and Conference @thomgiddens, @maksdelmar

The launch of a new website devoted to the study of gendered emotions in history, and a conference on the subject, June 29, 2018, at the University of Sheffield.

Speaking of America's Most Wanted...@mental_floss

"Till the One Day When the Lady Met This Fellow" @Slate @craigtimes

Craig Pittman floats a theory explaining exactly how they "all became the Brady Bunch," here for Slate. It's straight out of Strangers on a Train. Exactly when was that one day when Mike and Carol first met? Is Alice an accomplice? And what, if anything, do the children know? Calling the Law & Order folks.

Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha."

[Do we need an "It's a joke, folks" alert?]

February 8, 2018

"The Good Place"'s Good Profs--Philosophically Speaking @chronicle @CQuintanaDC @UCLA @ClemsonUniv

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, a discussion of the profs who help the TV series The Good Place find its philosophical footing. 

New From Jonathan Abrams: All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of "The Wire" @Jpdabrams @ringer

The definitive oral history of the iconic and beloved TV show The Wire, as told by the actors, writers, directors, and others involved in its creation Since its final episode aired in 2008, HBO’s acclaimed crime drama The Wire has only become more popular and influential. The issues it tackled, from the failures of the drug war and criminal justice system to systemic bias in law enforcement and other social institutions, have become more urgent and central to the national conversation. The show’s actors, such as Idris Elba, Dominic West, and Michael B. Jordan, have gone on to become major stars. Its creators and writers, including David Simon and Richard Price, have developed dedicated cult followings of their own. Universities use the show to teach everything from film theory to criminal justice to sociology. Politicians and activists reference it when discussing policy. When critics compile lists of the Greatest TV Shows of All Time, The Wire routinely takes the top spot. It is arguably one of the great works of art America has produced in the 20th century. But while there has been a great deal of critical analysis of the show and its themes, until now there has never been a definitive, behind-the-scenes take on how it came to be made. With unparalleled access to all the key actors and writers involved in its creation, Jonathan Abrams tells the astonishing, compelling, and complete account of The Wire, from its inception and creation through its end and powerful legacy.

More from The Ringer here. 

February 7, 2018

Island and Mainland: Perspectives on Law and Humanities, Conference at St. Mary's University, February 27, 2018 @thomgiddens

Via @thomgiddens:

Registration now open:  Perspectives on Law and Humanities, February 27, 2018: St. Mary's University, London.

Island and Mainland: Perspectives on Law and HumanitiesCentre for Law and Culture
St Mary’s University
27 February 2018
The scholarly practices of law and humanities are far from unitary. Law and humanities has different styles, variable approaches, multiple concerns, hazy limits, moveable foundations. It cannot be stratified into a singular order of knowing—be it legal or humanistic. But it might be said to have something to do with reacting against the black letter techniques and ideals that have emerged to dominate recent forms of legal scholarship and pedagogy. It might also be said to have something to do with wider traditions of meaning-making and ethical reflection—traditions that are by no means exclusive to a legal realm of activities (if we can delineate such a realm). It might also be said to be connected with analysis of the various and plural forms of normative orders that populate contemporary societies. Terms like ‘materiality’, ‘form’, ‘culture’, and ‘critique’ appear relevant, but perhaps not determinative or exhaustive.
Amidst these shifting imaginaries of what constitutes law and humanities, it might be possible to pick out certain traditions of thought, specific styles of engagement. These approaches—be they branded ‘law, culture, and the humanities’, ‘cultural legal studies’, or ‘law and humanities’—might even be said to have geographic progeny, with their scope and language somehow seeming to be dependent upon whether they emerged on an island or a mainland. This metaphor of island and mainland (although perhaps not a metaphor) is distinctly Eurocentric, but the island in question perhaps thinks of itself as not quite part of any particular continent. Thus, the study of law and humanities in England takes on ‘Anglo-American’ stylings. The mainland, meanwhile, has a ‘continental’ feel—whatever that might mean. And what of the antipodean ‘cultural legal studies’ that emerges from a further geographic remove from both island and mainland? Is this, too, an identifiable style of legal humanities thinking?
Such provocations no doubt produce responses, disagreements, accusations of generalisation, of overlooking cross-pollinations and—from certain viewpoints—the arbitrariness of all boundaries and categories. Perhaps. Perhaps we should talk through such complexities, with conversations between and about different perspectives on law and humanities, from those inhabiting and hailing from various islands and mainlands. For the scholarly practices of law and humanities—whilst variable, moveable, and multiple—are of huge value in a world that seems, perhaps, to be forgetting something important.
Draft programme:0945 - 1000: Welcome and Tea/Coffee
1000 - 1200: Session 1
Emanuele Conte
Connal Parsley
Discussant: Thomas Giddens
1200 - 1230: Lunch
1230 - 1430: Session 2
Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos
Anne Wagner
Discussant: Angela Condello
1430 - 1500: Tea/Coffee
1500 - 1700: Session 3
Angela Condello
Thomas Giddens
Discussant: Luke Mason
End: 1700

Call for Papers: Law, Comics, Justice: Graphic Justice Research Alliance Annual Conference, St. Francis College, October 20, 2018 @thomgiddens @LexComica

CFP and announcement of the Law, Comics, Justice Graphic Justice Research Alliance Annual Conference, St. Francis College, October 20, 2018. More here.

Cooking With the Legal Humanities, Via @dphourigan @thomgiddens

Via Thom Giddens's wonderful blog, Law, etc, a law and humanities related recipe. From the Land of Oz, it's Spaghetti Carbonara à la Hourigan. More here. Never let it be said that law and the humanities only nourishes the intellect.

Call for Papers: Graphic Justice: Law, Comics, and Related Visual Media, SLSA Annual Conference, March 27-29, 2018, University of Bristol Law School @thomgiddens

Via @thomgiddens:
Graphic Justice: Law, Comics, and Related Visual Media

This stream invites submissions exploring the intersections of law and justice with comics, graphic fiction, and related visual media. Critical interest in the comics medium has exploded in recent decades, and is steadily growing within the legal academy. Indeed, comics and graphic fiction—and their related visual emanations, including film, video games, and wider ‘geek culture’—are of huge and on-going significance to law, justice, and legal studies.

On a socio-cultural level, comics are historically embroiled in debates of free speech whilst today they inspire countless pop culture adaptations—from television to cinema to video games, as well as performance activities such as cosplay—and can be seen to reflect and shape popular visions of justice, morality, politics, and law. On the level of content, from mainstream superhero narratives tackling overt issues of justice, governance and authority, to countless themes related to morality, justice, and humanity in stories within and far beyond the mainstream, comics are rich with legal material. On the level of form, the comics medium’s unique and restless blending of different media and types of representation (text, image, visuality, aesthetics, inter alia) radically opens up discourse beyond the confines of the word, enabling greater critical engagement amidst our increasingly visual age. On the level of production, comics are a complex art-form, with multiple creators working in individual, group, commercial, and industrial contexts, raising questions of ownership and exploitation—issues exacerbated by comics’ transmedia proliferation.

In short, comics and their related visual media bring rich cultural, practical, and aesthetic contexts and mediations to long-standing and emerging legal problems and settings. Broad questions framing this ‘graphic justice’ intersection might include: ​ What are the relationships between comics and related visual media, and law—culturally, socially, formally, theoretically, jurisprudentially...? How can we use comics and related visual media in law—in practice, education, theory, research...? Can we consider comics as objects of legal regulation in their own right—raising issues of definition, ownership, consumption, value...?

The crossover between law, comics, and related media is an expansive and open one. The examples above are merely indicative of possible issues and questions; the graphic justice stream welcomes submissions for papers that traverse any potential intersection between law and comics or related visual media—all broadly defined. ​

Conveners Thomas Giddens (thomas.giddens@stmarys.ac.uk); Angus Nurse (a.nurse@mdx.ac.uk); and David Yuratich (David.Yuratich@rhul.ac.uk)

February 5, 2018

Carey Young Presents "Performing the Law," March 6, 2018 @SladeSchool @BirkbeckLaw @thomgiddens

Carey Young, Artist, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London, and Honorary Research Fellow, School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London, will present Performing the Law, March 6, 2018, from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Jeremy Bentham Room, Wilkins Building, UCL, Gower Street, London.

More here.

ICYMI: Herz on The Art of Justice: The Judge's Perspective @hartpublishing

ICYMI: Ruth Herz, Research Associate, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford,The Art of Justice: The Judge's Perspective (Hart Publishing 2012).
This book presents a unique and intriguing collection of drawings of courtroom scenes. Entering the courtroom wearing his robe, Judge Pierre Cavellat literally had a secret up his sleeve. Hidden in it were pens and pencils, which he used to sketch the scenes he observed from his bench. Throughout a 40-year judicial career in one of France's more important regional appellate courts, Cavellat produced hundreds of illuminating drawings and paintings depicting the court proceedings but also the main actors: the prosecutors, defence counsel, his fellow judges, the defendants, witnesses, policemen, the general public, as well as the courtroom itself and its architecture. The resulting vivid and uncensored impressions give an unprecedented insight into how a judge perceives his profession and the institution of justice as a whole. Given the scarcity of written autobiographies by judges, and their reluctance to lay bare their inner feelings and thinking, the images reveal, in a candid and immediate fashion, the deeply hidden emotions, ambiguities and fantasies of a judge going about his work. The author, a judge herself, interprets the images through the lens of her own judicial experience, exploring how judges think and act and how their thinking is constructed through their education, professional training, gender and class. In doing so she exposes how personal background, history and experience play an additional, sometimes conflicting, role in 'judgecraft'. While relevant to both practitioners and students of law this book should also appeal to the wider public.

 Media of The Art of Justice

ICYMI: Heritage, Culture, and Rights (Andrew Durbach and Lucas Lixinski, eds., Hart Publishing, 2017) @hartpublishing

ICYMI: Heritage, Culture, and Rights (Andrea Durbach and Lucas Lixinski, eds., Hart Publishing, 2017).
Cultural heritage law and its response to human rights principles and practice has gained renewed prominence on the international agenda. The recent conflicts in Syria and Mali, China's use of shipwreck sites and underwater cultural heritage to make territorial claims, and the cultural identities of nations post-conflict highlight this field as an emerging global focus. In addition, it has become a forum for the configuration and contestation of cultural heritage, rights and the broader politics of international law. The manifestation of tensions between heritage and human rights are explored in this volume, in particular in relation to heritage and rights in collaboration and in conflict, and heritage as a tool for rights advocacy. This volume also explores these issues from a distinctively legal standpoint, considering the extent to which the legal tools of international human rights law facilitate or hinder heritage protection. Covering a range of issues across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and Australia, this volume will be of interest to people working in human rights, heritage studies, cultural heritage management and identity politics around the world.

 Media of Heritage, Culture and Rights

Lynch on the Role of Circuit Courts in the Formation of United States Law in the Early Republic @hartpublishing

New from Hart Publishing: David Lynch, English Circuit Judge (ret.), Honorary Fellow and Visiting Research Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University, The Role of Circuit Courts in the Formation of United States Law in the Early Republic (2018).
While scholars have rightly focused on the importance of the landmark opinions of the United States Supreme Court and its Chief Justice, John Marshall, in the rise in influence of the Court in the Early Republic, the crucial role of the circuit courts in the development of a uniform system of federal law across the nation has largely been ignored. This book highlights the contribution of four Associate Justices (Washington, Livingston, Story and Thompson) as presiding judges of their respective circuit courts during the Marshall era, in order to establish that in those early years federal law grew from the 'inferior courts' upwards rather than down from the Supreme Court. It does so after a reading of over 1800 mainly circuit opinions and over 2000 original letters, which reveal the sources of law upon which the justices drew and their efforts through correspondence to achieve consistency across the circuits. The documents examined present insights into momentous social, political and economic issues facing the Union and demonstrate how these justices dealt with them on circuit. Particular attention is paid to the different ways in which each justice contributed to the shaping of United States law on circuit and on the Court and in the case of Justices Livingston and Thompson also during their time on the New York State Supreme Court.
Media of The Role of Circuit Courts in the Formation of United States Law in the Early Republic

A Competition To Illustrate a New Edition of Sherlock Holmes' Adventures and Memoirs

The Guardian publishes the finalists in its competition to illustrate a new edition of The Selected Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Here they are.

Muller on What's Old Is New Again: The Nineteenth Century Vote Registration Debates and Lessons About Voter Identification Disputes @derektmuller

Derek T. Muller, Pepperdine School of Law; University of Iowa College of Law, has published What's Old is New Again: The Nineteenth Century Vote Registration Debates and Lessons About Voter Identification Disputes at 56 Washburn Law Journal 109 (2017). Here is the abstract.
There is a raging debate over the administration of elections, which is undoubtedly familiar to many. There has been a significant increase in a particular kind of election law pertaining to how states go about administering elections. These laws have largely been promulgated by Republicans and target election fraud — actual or perceived — in an attempt to restore some integrity to the electoral process. Democrats, for the most part, have opposed these laws and often critiqued them as a kind of voter suppression tactic, one that disproportionately burdens racial minorities, the poor, and those who have recently moved into a precinct. Over the years, these positions have hardened into fairly partisan and seemingly intractable positions. This story, of course, is also the story of the voter registration debates in late nineteenth century America. This Article sketches that history and offers some general reasons why voter registration laws moved from controversial to generally-accepted. It then offers some comparisons to current controversies over voter identification laws. It concludes with potential lessons for the future administration of such laws and possible means of resolving seemingly intractable disputes.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Lesaffer on The Lore and Laws of Peace-Making in Early-Modern and 19th-Century European Peace Treaties @TilburgLawNews

Randall Lesaffer, Tilburg Law Schoo; KU Leuven Faculty of Law, has published The Lore and Laws of Peace-Making in Early-Modern and 19th-Century European Peace Treaties. Here is the abstract.
As the works of Gentili and Vattel exemplify, the writers of the law of nations of the 16th to 18th centuries largely construed the legal conception of peace on the basis of their conception of war. The nature of peace was dictated by the nature of war. In this, their theories gelled with peace treaty practice. Whereas some of the dualistic logic of the justice and legality of war transpired in the twin pair of amnesty and restitution clauses, early modern peace treaties were designed to deal with the consequences of war under the conception of legal war. They were founded on the assumption that all belligerents had a right to wage the war and equally enjoyed the protection and benefits of the laws of war. This created space to disregard claims of right and justice and negotiate a compromise without having to heed too many legal constraints with relation to pre-existing rights and claims. The triumph of legal over just war in peace treaties, albeit not in the discourse of the justification of war itself, was a logical consequence of the ascendancy of the sovereign state.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

February 2, 2018

Neelam and Zaidi on a Postmodern Study of Environmental Conversion from Natural to Technological in Neuromancer Through the Lens of Ecocide @GreatDismal

Asma Neelam, National University of Modern Languages, and Saba Zaidi, Sardar Bahadur Khan Women's University, Department of English, have published A Postmodernist Study of Environmental Conversion from Natural to Technological in Neuromancer Through the Lens of Ecocide. Here is the abstract.
The pervasive urbanization and technology advancement has almost destroyed the natural order that has caused Ecocide. Humanity is facing a hard time of climatic change and habitat destruction. Although the level of public awareness related to environmental issues has been increased yet this is not sufficient enough to regenerate the old balance of nature. Deterioration in the ecosystem is depicted in most of the Postmodern literature as a constant shift from natural to technological. The cities of today that boast of steel and glass skyscrapers, flyovers, signal towers and elevated freeways (that have greatly influenced nature and humanity) are in an artificial state of make-believe, chaos and doubt. Gibson’s Cyberpunk novel Neuromancer (1984) is an apt example of such kind of chaos, fragmentation, doubt and artificiality that pervades in our society. Neuromancer is a depiction of reality/artifice and natural/unnatural. It is a prophetic discourse of our own not too distant future. This study aims to depict that how Neuromancer represents the artificial and synthetic world of our times. The study is based upon a Postmodernist stance of Ecocide that aspires to signify the depiction of today’s world in the Cyberpunk literature through the novel Neuromancer. Thereof, it equally aims to highlight the significance of Cyberpunk as a Postmodernist genre of literature that is representative of the contemporary society.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

February 1, 2018

Schlegel on Teaching Law in a Bureaucratic Age @UBSchoolofLaw

John Henry Schlegel, University of Buffalo School of Law, is publishing To Dress for Dinner: Teaching Law in a Bureaucratic Age in volume 66 of the Buffalo Law Review (2018). Here is the abstract.
A significant change in economic or social life is likely to change the meaning of higher, including graduate, education for students. The changes that followed the Great Inflation of the 1970s and the Great Recession that began in 2008 surely did. Teachers experience such changes as a gradual alteration of the interests and expectations found in the river of students passing through their classrooms. Eventually, a gradual shift in these interests and expectations can no longer be understood as a difference in degree, but as a difference in kind. For an honorable teacher, the experience of such a difference in kind poses the question of what should be done when ingrained teacher expectations seriously diverge from the reality that is the lives of students. I explore this question by contrasting my understanding of what it is to be a teacher with the understanding of a figment of my imagination, an Aristotelian teacher, a comparison made with the aid of two good stories: A novel, The Leopard, by Giuseppe Lampedusa, and a movie, Wild River.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Call For Chapter Abstracts: Migration, Identity, and Belonging: Defining Borders and Boundaries of the Homeland @routledgebooks @thomgiddens

From the mailbox: via @thomgiddens and sheinz@austin.utexas.edu

Call for Chapter Abstracts

Deadline for 750-word proposals: March 1, 2018
This call is for chapter proposals for a book that is under contract with Routledge, titled Migration, Identity, and Belonging: Defining Borders and Boundaries of the Homeland, edited by Kumarini Silva and Margaret Franz.
Final selection decisions will be made by April 2018. Final essays (of 3500-5000 including references and notes) are due November 2018. 
For proposal submissions or queries: Kumarini Silva, kumi@email.unc.edu and Margaret Franz, mfranz@live.unc.edu


The resurgence of virulent nationalism in the US and Western Europe, the expulsion of the Rohinga from Myanmar, and the perpetual containment of refugees off the coast of Christmas Island remind us that even as commodities and capital move relatively seamlessly through national boundaries, people do not. In fact, scholars ranging from Aiwha Ong, Gloria Anzaldúa, Etiènne Balibar, and Robert DeChaine, show that the boundaries and borders defining who belongs and who does not proliferate in the age of globalization although they may not coincide with national jurisdictions. This is because the border is at once material and symbolic, crystallizing how belonging is mediated by material relations of power, capital, and circuits of communication technology on the one side and representations of identity, nation, and homeland on the other. This edited collection of essays asks how these boundaries are made and sustained. How do you know when you belong to a country? What kinds of feelings, schemes of representation, media ecologies, and material conditions link body and nation? In other words, when is the nation-state a homeland? We seek chapters that attend to these questions through the prism of borders, boundaries, and borderlands.  You can direct your proposal to the general theme, or to one of the following sections:

I. Territories, Sovereignties, and Legal Geographies

II. Mediated Circuits of Belonging 

III. Narrating Families, Narrating Homelands


The resurgence of virulent nationalism in the US and Western Europe, the expulsion of the Rohinga from Myanmar, and the perpetual containment of refugees off the coast of Christmas Island remind us that even as commodities and capital move relatively seamlessly through national boundaries, people do not. In fact, scholars ranging from Aiwha Ong, Gloria Anzaldúa, Etiènne Balibar, and Robert DeChaine, show that the boundaries and borders defining who belongs and who does not proliferate in the age of globalization although they may not coincide with national jurisdictions. This is because the border is at once material and symbolic, crystallizing how belonging is mediated by material relations of power, capital, and circuits of communication technology on the one side and representations of identity, nation, and homeland on the other. This edited collection of essays asks how these boundaries are made and sustained. How do you know when you belong to a country? What kinds of feelings, schemes of representation, media ecologies, and material conditions link body and nation? In other words, when is the nation-state a homeland? We seek chapters that attend to these questions through the prism of borders, boundaries, and borderlands.  You can direct your proposal to the general theme, or to one of the following sections:
I. Territories, Sovereignties, and Legal Geographies
II. Mediated Circuits of Belonging 
III. Narrating Families, Narrating Homelands