November 28, 2018

CFP: Interface: Journal of European Languages and Literatures: Visual Discourse and Its Circulation Between Europe and Asia

From the mailbox:

Submission Deadline: March 31, 2019
Guest Editor: Go Koshino (Hokkaido University)

Visual Discourse and its Circulation between Europe and Asia
Language-focused discourses have long lost their privileged position in humanities since discourse came to be understood as any communicative social practice through which meaning is created. In interface Issue 9 we would like to focus on Visual Discourse (i.e., those social practices that depend extensively on visual cues for the production of meaning) and its Circulation between the East and the West. Pictorial texts (such as still and moving images, the built environment, etc.) are easy to get across language barrier on the one hand; on the other hand, the ambiguity of visual image can generate more cultural misunderstandings and even new meanings in the course of cross-cultural communication
While we very much welcome articles seeking to expand the realm of research in Visual Discourse, we also invite articles that pay attention to the boundary of visual text itself so as to examine the very nature of visuality in the multiple cultural contexts. Firstly, an important issue we would like to see discussed is translation (adaptation) between visual and other types of text and medium (literary, acoustic, etc.). Secondly, we would appreciate discussions of the effects in the meaning-creation of invisible elements (visually unrepresentable) appearing alongside the visual discourse, and which are often influenced by the historical, cultural, and political contexts.
interface Journal of European Languages and Literatures is inviting original unpublished papers written in English, French, German, Spanish Russian or Italian for interface Issue 9, to be published in June 2019 that could address, but need not be restricted to, the following topics:

-Transcultural and cross-genre translation (adaptation) including visual language.
-Visualization of invisible or invisiblization of visual factors in the process of cross-cultural interface
-Visual aspects of cultural commemoration and “memory-scape” on wars, revolutions, and other significant events
-Politics of visual representation in the media discourse.

Papers should be submitted online at no later than March 31, 2019.

All potential authors should consult our website for Author Guidelines

November 26, 2018

Call for Papers: 2019 University of Massachusetts Law Review Roundtable Symposium on Law and Media

From the mailbox:

The UMass Law Review has issued the following call for papers. Download the call in PDF here, and please share it with any interested scholarly communities.


November 14, 2018

We are pleased to announce the 2019 UMass Law Review Roundtable Symposium, currently titled “Law and Media.” In the age where the 24/7 news cycle and social media have impacted current politics and where data protection, personal branding, and technology have affected entertainment and media as well as the rule of law, an investigation of the relationship between law and the media of our current times is timely and warranted. Accordingly, the UMass Law Review seeks thoughtful, insightful, and original presentations relating to the impact of the law on media as well as the impact of media on the law.

Interested participants should submit a 500-word abstract to, with “Attn: Conference Editor – Symposium Submission” in the subject line by December 31st, 2018 for consideration. Selected participants will be notified by the end of January and invited to present their work at the 2019 UMass Law Review Symposium taking place in late March of 2019. Selected participants may also submit a scholarly work for potential publication in the 2019-2020 UMass Law Review Journal. If you have questions about submissions or the Symposium, please contact our Business/Conference Editor, Casey Shannon or Editor-In-Chief, Kayla Venckauskas ( We thank you in advance for your submission.


Kayla Venckauskas

Casey Shannon
Business/Conference Editor

Thornton on Challenging the Legal Profession a Century On: The Case of Edith Haynes @ANU_Law

Margaret Thornton, ANU College of Law, is publishing Challenging the Legal Profession a Century On: The Case of Edith Haynes in volume 44 of the University of Western Australia Law Review (2018). Here is the abstract.
This article focuses on Edith Haynes’ unsuccessful attempt to enter the legal profession in Western Australia. Although admitted to articles as a law student in 1900, she was denied permission to sit her intermediate examination by the Supreme Court of WA (In re Edith Haynes (1904) 6 WAR 209). Edith Haynes is of particular interest for two reasons. First, the decision denying her permission to sit the exam was an example of a ‘persons’ case’, which was typical of an array of cases in the English common law world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in which courts determined that women were not persons for the purpose of entering the professions or holding public office. Secondly, as all (white) women had been enfranchised in Australia at the time, the decision of the Supreme Court begs the question as to the meaning of active citizenship. The article concludes by hypothesising a different outcome for Edith Haynes by imagining an appeal to the newly established High Court of Australia.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Coffee on A Radical Revolution in Thought: Frederick Douglass on the Slave's Perspective on Republican Freedom @KCL_Law

Alan Coffee, King's College London, Dickson Poon School of Law, is publishing A Radical Revolution in Thought: Frederick Douglass on the Slave's Perspective on Republican Freedom in Radical Republicanism: Recovering the Tradition's Popular Heritage (Bruno Leipold, Karma Nabulsi and Stuart White, eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press) (forthcoming).
While the image of the slave as the antithesis of the freeman is central to republican freedom, it is striking to note that slaves themselves have not contributed to how this condition is understood. The result is a one-sided conception of both freedom and slavery, which leaves republicanism unable to provide an equal and robust protection for historically outcast people. I draw on the work of Frederick Douglass – long overlooked as a significant contributor to republican theory – to show one way why this is so. Focusing the American Revolution, the subsequent republican government established new political institutions to maintain the collective interests of the whole population. The political revolution was held in place by processes of public reason that reflected the values and ideas of the people that had rebelled. The black population, however, had not been part of this revolution. After emancipation, black Americans were required to accept terms of citizenship that had already been defined, leaving them socially dominated, subject to the prejudices and biases within the prevailing ideas of public discourse. Douglass argued that republican freedom under law is always dependent on a more fundamental revolution, that he calls a ‘radical revolution in thought’, in which the entire system of social norms and practices are reworked together by members of all constituent social groups – women and men, black and white, rich and poor – so that it reflects a genuinely collaborative achievement. Only then can we begin the republican project of contestatory freedom as independence or non-domination that today’s republicans take for granted.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

Gould on Legal Duplicity and the Scapegoat Mentality in Paul Laurence Dunbar's Jim Crow America @rrgould

Rebecca Gould, College of Arts and Law, University of Birmingham; Harvard University, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, is publishing Justice Deferred: Legal Duplicity and the Scapegoat Mentality in Paul Laurence Dunbar's Jim Crow America in Law & Literature. Here is the abstract.
Although best known as a poet, African-American writer Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) developed a unique voice in his fiction. This essay explores the bifurcation Dunbar discerned between the law as an instrument of justice and as a stabilizer of the segregationist status quo in Jim Crow America. Dunbar creates characters who are systematically scapegoated for crimes they did not commit in order to expose the law’s precarious relationship to justice. His treatment of lynching as a paradigmatic manifestation of the scapegoat mechanism links this practice to a political theory of violence, whereby the innocent are punished for the crimes of the guilty, and society requires their sacrifice in order to redeem its guilt. Without relinquishing his faith in the law, Dunbar used prose narratives to expose the disjuncture between law and justice made manifest by the US Supreme Court’s rationalization of racial discrimination in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). Beyond considering the light Dunbar’s fictions shed on the relationship between law and justice, I locate these interventions within a longer history of thinking about the role of the writer as a scapegoat who enables society to sin without experiencing guilt.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Cavangh on The Imperial Constitution of the Law Officers of the Crown @edward_cavanagh

Edward Cavanagh, University of Cambridge, is publishing The Imperial Constitution of the Law Officers of the Crown: Legal Thought on War and Colonial Government, 1719–1774 in the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History (2018). Here is the abstract.
The rule of conquest came to receive different applications for different parts of the British Empire. How this happened, and who was responsible for it happening, are the interests of this article. Calling upon court reports, parliamentary records, and correspondence between various officeholders in the early Hanoverian government, attention will be drawn in particular to the attorney general and the solicitor general (the law officers of the crown) and the advice they offered upon the governance of colonies between 1719 and 1774. Focusing upon the conventions that pertain to war and conquest in Ireland, the Caribbean, India, and North America, this article reveals inconsistency in doctrine, but consistency in the procedures by which law officers of the crown acquired influence over proceedings in the houses of parliament and in the courts of common law and equity. Just as often in their formal capacities as in their informal capacities, the attorney general and the solicitor general were pivotal to the development of the imperial constitution, in constant response, as they were, to the peculiar demands of various colonies and plantations in the British Empire.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Goldmann on The Entanglement of Sovereignty and Property in International Law @MattHGoldmann

Matthias Goldmann, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law; Goethe University Frankfurt - Research Center SAFE; Goethe University Frankfurt - Cluster of Excellence Normative Orders; Goethe University Frankfurt, has published The Entanglement of Sovereignty and Property in International Law: From German Southwest Africa to the Great Land Grab? Here is the abstract.
This article argues that an intricate entanglement existed between sovereignty and property in German Southwest Africa. Germany’s control over Southwest Africa depended considerably on European settlements, which received logistical, financial, and military support by Germany. The result was a symbiotic relationship between the government and private economic actors, a form of state capitalism under which private settlements contributed to the establishment of territorial control, a prerequisite of sovereign power. Contractual relationships suggesting formally equal relationships, and during and after the genocide, a mix of arguments drawing on tort law and an idea of formal legality, provided crucial justification for the assumption of territorial control. This description contradicts standard accounts of sovereignty, which tend to turn a blind eye on private property. The article discusses the implications of these findings for today’s international law, including for state responsibility for transnational corporations and the so-called Great Land Grab, the acquisition of vast lands in Africa by foreign public and private agents.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

November 22, 2018

ICYMI: Davison-Vecchione on How the EU Is Like the Marvel Universe @dejdavisonvec

ICYMI: Daniel Davison-Vecchione, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, has published How is the EU like the Marvel Universe? Legal Experientialism and Law as a Shared Universe at 30 Law and Literature 185 (2017). Here is the abstract.
This article considers the ontological and epistemological questions about European Union (EU) law raised by the phenomenon known as constitutional pluralism, and the challenge this presents to theories of law based on the concept of a legal system. It does so by heuristically comparing the EU legal order and the “Marvel Universe” of Marvel Comics, as both an extension and critique of Ronald Dworkin's analogy between interpreting law and writing a chain novel. The article explicates the concept of a “storyworld” in narrative theory and discusses the Marvel Universe's significance in this respect. It then outlines the similarities between EU law and the Marvel Universe, using the concept of a storyworld to build and apply a theoretical framework that can move beyond orthodox views of constitutional pluralism. Lastly, the article uses these insights to begin laying the groundwork for a new theory of law termed “legal experientialism,” which understands law as an irreducible world that is both experienced and constructed through our collective interpretive practices.

November 21, 2018

van Domselaar on Iris Murdoch and Legal Decision-Making

Iris van Domselaar, Amsterdam Law School, University of Amsterdam, has published All Judges on the Couch? On Iris Murdoch and Legal Decision-Making. Here is the abstract.
Drawing upon our everyday experiences, there is nothing radical about thinking that moral life is largely taken up by our efforts to obtain a clear vision of the situations we find ourselves in and to respond accordingly. However, despite having experiential plausibility, vision-based approaches to morality are quite rare within moral philosophy. The moral philosophy of Iris Murdoch, in which ‘vision’ commands center stage, is a notable exception. However, as Murdoch herself was largely evasive on matters of public morality, thus far the potential relevance of Murdoch’s moral philosophy for the law - a public institution par excellence - has hardly been addressed. In this chapter, the author investigates what a Murdochian approach to legal decision-making might amount to and identifies some crucial issues that such an approach must further explore.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Wake Forest Law Review Symposium on Cognitive Emotion and the Law, February 22, 2019 @WFULawReview @LloydEsq @ljewel

The Wake Forest Law Review is sponsoring a symposium on Cognitive Emotion and the Law, Friday, February 22, 2019. It will include many eminent speakers and cover a number of interesting topics. Here's a description of the symposium.
This symposium will bring together experts from academia, legal practice, neuroscience, philosophy, and communication to explore emotion and other affective experience. It will delve into common core themes regarding cognitive emotion and the law, and it will explore the brain science underlying emotion and reason. This symposium will further discuss how law students, law professors, lawyers, and judges can use principles of emotional intelligence to foster better legal reasoning and results as well as to foster health, respect, and inclusivity. This symposium will also examine specific areas where greater emotional intelligence can enlighten all of us. These specific areas include racism, homophobia, sexism, extreme rhetoric, public health, and responses to public disasters.

More about the event here.

November 19, 2018

Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice Issues CFP @rapoportcenter

From the mailbox:

The Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice has posted a Call for Papers for its Working Papers Series. More information below:

Dedicated to interdisciplinary and critical dialogue on international human rights law and discourse, the Rapoport Center’s Working Paper Series (WPS) publishes innovative papers by established and early-career researchers as well as practitioners. The goal is to provide a productive environment for debate about human rights among academics, policymakers, activists, practitioners, and the public.
Authors from all disciplines and institutions are welcome to submit papers on any topic related to human rights.
Submissions undergo a rigorous selection process by the WPS interdisciplinary editorial committee, which includes graduate students and faculty from across the University of Texas. The WPS committee provides detailed comments and feedback to authors before the paper is published online.
Publication in the WPS does not preclude future publication elsewhere; in fact, many of our working papers have since been published in academic journals and edited volumes.
For the 2018-9 series, the Editorial Committee is accepting submissions on a rolling basis.
For more information, please visit: contact

McMurtry-Chubb on Inheritance as Reparations in John Grisham's "Sycamore Row" @genremixtress

Teri A. McMurtry-Chubb, Mercer University School of Law, is publishing The Rhetoric of Race, Redemption, and Will Contests: Inheritance as Reparations in John Grisham's Sycamore Row in volume 48 of the University of Memphis Law Review (2018). Here is the abstract.
When Henry “Seth” Hubbard renounced his formally drawn wills and created a new holographic will on the day of his suicide, one that excluded his children, grandchildren, and ex-wives, and gave the bulk of his estate to his housekeeper and caretaker, a will contest was imminent. That Seth Hubbard was a white man living in rural Mississippi and his housekeeper, a Black woman, made the will contest illustrative of our ongoing national discomfort with slavery, the Confederacy, and the respective obligations of and responsibilities to the descendants of both. This is John Grisham’s Sycamore Row, a novel in which the reader journeys to discover the mysteries behind Seth Hubbard’s will, his intentions, his burden as a witness to a lynching over his ancestor’s land, and the fate of the descendants of the formerly enslaved who worked and settled that land known as Sycamore Row only to see its destruction when they asserted their right to it. Seth’s act of bequeathing the bulk of his estate to a stranger made family through blood spilled over stolen land and stolen, broken Black bodies is an important start to an important discussion: Who bears responsibility to the survivors of domestic terrorism, white supremacy, and for the benefits that white privilege bestows? The will contest encapsulates the rhetoric of race and redemption; in Sycamore Row Hubbard’s estate acts as reparations. This Article explores the rhetoric of race, redemption, and reparations in Sycamore Row and as it plays out in American jurisprudence in three parts. Part II explores how the will contest in Sycamore Row illustrates arguments for and against reparations. Specifically, it evaluates how Aristotle’s Persuasive Appeals logos (using evidence and epistemology to persuade), pathos (using emotions to persuade), and ethos (using character to persuade) become racialized in the nomos (the normative universe where they function), both in Seth Hubbard’s will and the will contest that follows, and as used as appeals in reparations litigation. Part III uses interdisciplinary narrative theory to interrogate the language of Seth Hubbard’s will as his cultural narrative of race, racism, and redemption. It also considers how Seth’s story is a story of American racism that ends differently from our current American story. Seth’s story is a doorway to hope and a different way of viewing obligations and responsibilities to redress racial wrongs. In the final section, Part IV, the Article turns to the concept and practice of reconciliation, specifically how Seth Hubbard’s actions through his will, the backlash from his family, and the reverberations throughout Clanton, Mississippi provide a glimpse of racial reconciliation in practice. Hubbard’s will and the context for its creation demonstrate that racial reconciliation begins with acknowledgment of harm done, presents a plan to address the harm, and contains an action or action(s) to implement the plan. While Hubbard’s is one will, his will is a roadmap for the nation, as comprised of individual actors, to acknowledge and address racial harms and for racial reconciliation. The Article concludes with a call to disrupt the dangerous racial rhetoric that renders our country brittle and prone to shattering, threatening America with irreparable brokenness.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

November 16, 2018

Greenlead, Chung, and Mowbray on the Launch of the Foundations of the Common Law Library (1215-1914) @grahamgreenleaf

Graham Greenleaf, University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law, Philip Chung, University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law, and Andrew Mowbray, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Law have published Speaking Notes: Launch of the Foundations of the Common Law Library (1215-1914), IALS, University of London, 3 October 2018. Here is the abstract.
It is now more than 800 years since the Magna Carta of 1215, soon after which English law started to document its history. In some ex-colonies of the British Empire, the common law has been part of their legal history for over 200 years. This presentation sets out the background to the Foundations of the Common Law Library (1215-1914), and the launch of a free access Prototype of the Library. This project is based on collaboration between thirteen free access Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) from across the common law world. Their pre-1915 content is now searchable from one location on the Commonwealth Legal Information Institute (CommonLII). As of 3 October 2018, the Prototype Library includes 100 databases containing over 500,000 searchable items, from 1220-1914. There are 179,000 cases; 24,000 legislation items; 300,000 gazettes; and 3,000 other items, primarily legal scholarship but also some treaties. There is substantial content from 32 pre-1915 jurisdictions. The paper includes examples of searches of the Library and different ways by which search results can be displayed. In particular, the interconnections between cases over time, and across geographical boundaries is illustrated. The necessary conditions for development from a Prototype to the fully developed Library are discussed. The role of the common law as part of the intangible cultural heritage of mankind is considered.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

November 15, 2018

Scardamaglia on A Legal History of Lithography @abscard @GriffLawSchool

Amanda Scardamaglia, Swinburne Institute of Technology, has published A Legal History of Lithography at 1 Griffith Law Review 1 (2017). Here is the abstract.
Charles Troedel (1835–1906) was a master printer and lithographer and founder of the firm Troedel & Co. He was also the forgotten face behind the production of much of Australia’s earliest existing and surviving advertising material including posters, labels and other visual ephemera. These works, many of which were registered for colonial copyright and trade mark protection, provide a graphic history of nineteenth-century Australia, speaking to the prevailing state of commerce, culture, social trends and colonial norms. Inexplicably, Troedel’s role in the production of this capsule history has been overlooked. The legal dimension to this history and the relationship between lithography and intellectual property law has also been overlooked – in terms of the stylistic evolution of commercial signifiers and the legal mechanisms which served to protect these graphical expressions. This article uses Troedel’s archive of lithographs as the proxy through which to examine how lithography facilitated and shaped the production of early copyright and trade marks in Australia and more specifically, how lithography, as the technological arrangement mediating early colonial Australian society, was responsible for transforming advertising in nineteenth-century Australia, and the legal categories under which such advertising was defined.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Maks del Mar on Educating the Legal Imagination @QMSchoolofLaw

Maks del Mar, Queen Mary School of Law, University of London  has published Educating the Legal Imagination in a Special Issue of Law and Method.

The pdf is available through the link.

November 14, 2018

Position Announcement: Center for the Study of Law and Religion: Digital Scholarship Fellow @LawandReligion

Position Announcment

The Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University is hiring a Digital Scholarship Fellow to lead the Center’s development of innovative digital scholarship tools for research, scholarly collaboration, publication, dissemination, and pedagogy.  The Center for the Study of Law and Religion is a global leader in the field of law and religion. Founded at Emory University in 1982, the Center’s mission is to produce and promote path-breaking scholarship, teaching, and public programs on the interaction of law and religion around the world. To fulfill this mission, the Center offers six degree programs and dozens of courses, edits three book series and the Journal of Law and Religion, and runs international and interdisciplinary research projects. To learn more about the Center, visit  To apply, visit Job Description The Digital Scholarship Fellow leads the Center for the Study of Law and Religion’s development of innovative digital scholarship tools for research, scholarly collaboration, publication of research, dissemination of research, and pedagogy. The Fellow is responsible for maintaining and improving the Center’s current online platforms, including the Center’s website and social media; researching and introducing new developments and best practices in digital scholarship to the Center; collaborating with Center leadership to incorporate digital scholarship into the Center’s scholarly initiatives; and collaborating with faculty teaching in law and religion to incorporate digital scholarship into classroom pedagogy. The Digital Scholarship Fellow will report to the Managing Director. This is a three-year fellowship with renewal and promotion subject to review of the position and performance after year two. Position Duties 
  • Maintain the Center’s current online platforms including website maintenance and posting of new content to the website; distribution of email communication; and social media communications.
  • Develop and implement a digital communications strategy for the Center, to include an audit and proposals for use of social media, email communications, and the Center website.
  • Research and propose new tools or methods for accomplishing the Center’s goals of promoting research, disseminating scholarship, and building collaborative academic conversations in law and religion.
  • Consult with Center leadership, including focus area leaders, to identify possibilities for digital scholarship during the development of new initiatives and projects.
  • Collaborate with teaching faculty to incorporate digital scholarship into the classroom.
  • Serve as a resource for affiliated scholars interested in developing digital scholarship tools for research, publication, or pedagogy.
  • Engage with the Center for Digital Scholarship and other Emory University units to leverage the resources for digital scholarship available at Emory University.
  • Attend professional conferences and meetings on digital scholarship and digital humanities.
  • May teach or co-teach courses.
  • May publish scholarly or popular manuscripts on innovations, best practices, and developments in digital scholarship.
 Required Qualifications 
  • JD, PhD, or equivalent degree in a field related to the Center’s scholarship, such as legal studies, religious studies, theology, political science, or philosophy.
  • Demonstrated engagement with academic scholarship through publications or academic presentations.
  • Knowledge and experience in developing or maintaining a website.
  • Knowledge and experience in using social media platforms.
  • Knowledge and experience in the area of digital scholarship or digital humanities.
  • Demonstrated ability to learn and apply new technologies and software programs.
  • Demonstrated initiative and ability to work independently.
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate and work with a team of professional staff and faculty.
  • Demonstrated ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
  Preferred Qualifications 
  • Proven ability to secure project-based grant funding.
  • Prior experience with Cascade CMS, Salesforce CRM, and/or email marketing software.
  • Classroom or online teaching experience.
 Posting is scheduled to close Nov. 23, 2018 To apply, visit 

Call For Proposals: Conference on Literature, Law, and Psychoanalysis, 1890-1950, University of Sheffield, April 11-13, 2019

Literature, Law and Psychoanalysis, 1890-1950

A conference at the University of Sheffield, April 11-13, 2019
The twentieth-century was a period of worldwide literary experiment, of scientific developments and of worldwide conflict. These changes demanded a rethinking not merely of psychological subjectivity, but also of what it meant to be subject to the law and to punishment. This two-day conference aims to explore relationships between literature, law and psychoanalysis during the period 1890-1950, allowing productive mixing of canonical and popular literature and also encouraging interdisciplinary conversations between different fields of study.

The period examined by the conference included: developments in Freudian psychoanalysis and its branching in other directions; the founding of criminology; continuing campaigns and reforms around the death penalty; landmark modernist publications; the ‘Golden Age’ of detective fiction; and multiple sensational trials (Wilde, Crippen, Casement, Leopold and Loeb, to name but a few). Freud’s followers, like Theodor Reik and Hans Sachs, would publish work on criminal law and the death penalty; psychoanalysts were sought after as expert witnesses; novelists like Elizabeth Bowen would serve on a Royal Commission investigating capital punishment; while Gladys Mitchell invented the character of Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley as a literary detective-psychoanalyst.

We therefore hope to consider areas including literature’s connection with historical debates around crime and punishment; literature and authors on trial and/or on the ‘psychiatrist’s couch’;and literature’s effect on debates about human rights. The event is linked to and partly supported by an AHRC project on literature, psychoanalysis and the death penalty, but the aim of this conference is much wider. Interdisciplinary approaches, especially from fields such as psychoanalysis, philosophy, law or the visual arts, are particularly encouraged. We also welcome papers on international legal systems and texts. All responses are welcome and the scope of our interdisciplinary interests is flexible, with room in the planned programme for strands of work that might be more or less literary.

Possible topics might include:

psychoanalysis in the real or literary courtroom;
literary form and the insanity defence;
canonical authors as readers of crime fiction and vice versa;
censorship cases;
the influence of famous legal cases on literary productions or on psychoanalytic theory;
influences of criminology and criminal psychology on literature;
representations of new execution methods (for example, the gas chamber and the electric chair);
portrayals of restorative versus retributive justice;
literary responses to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
relationships between modernism and Critical Legal Studies (CLS).

Please send 250 word paper proposals or 300 word proposals for fully formed panels to Dr Katherine Ebury at by 28th November 2018. 

See the website for more information:

November 13, 2018

Newly Published: Yann Robert, Dramatic Justice: Trial by Theater in the Age of the French Revolution (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018)

Yann Robert, University of Illinois, Chicago, has published Dramatic Justice: Trial by Theater in the Age of the French Revolution (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
For most of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, classical dogma and royal censorship worked together to prevent French plays from commenting on, or even worse, reenacting current political and judicial affairs. Criminal trials, meanwhile, were designed to be as untheatrical as possible, excluding from the courtroom live debates, trained orators, and spectators. According to Yann Robert, circumstances changed between 1750 and 1800 as parallel evolutions in theater and justice brought them closer together, causing lasting transformations in both. Robert contends that the gradual merging of theatrical and legal modes in eighteenth-century France has been largely overlooked because it challenges two widely accepted narratives: first, that French theater drifted toward entertainment and illusionism during this period and, second, that the French justice system abandoned any performative foundation it previously had in favor of a textual one. In Dramatic Justice, he demonstrates that the inverse of each was true. Robert traces the rise of a "judicial theater" in which plays denounced criminals by name, even forcing them, in some cases, to perform their transgressions anew before a jeering public. Likewise, he shows how legal reformers intentionally modeled trial proceedings on dramatic representations and went so far as to recommend that judges mimic the sentimental judgment of spectators and that lawyers seek private lessons from actors. This conflation of theatrical and legal performances provoked debates and anxieties in the eighteenth century that, according to Robert, continue to resonate with present concerns over lawsuit culture and judicial entertainment. Dramatic Justice offers an alternate history of French theater and judicial practice, one that advances new explanations for several pivotal moments in the French Revolution, including the trial of Louis XVI and the Terror, by showing the extent to which they were shaped by the period's conflicted relationship to theatrical justice.
Dramatic Justice

Lost in Alice's Wonderland

For BBC Culture, Hephzibah Anderson considers Alice in Wonderland's hidden meanings. Some critics have found sexual imagery, others allusions to drug use. As Ms. Anderson writes,
But it’s not all sex and drugs. Another strand of criticism views Alice as a political allegory. When our heroine leaps after the White Rabbit, she ends up in a place that, for all its zany, disconcerting strangeness, is ruled over by a quick-tempered queen – Dodgson reputedly had mixed feelings about Queen Victoria even though she loved his book – and has a shambolic legal system, much like Victorian Britain. And how does Alice act in this strange land? Befuddled by the natives’ way of doing things, she tries to impose her own values with very nearly calamitous results. Couldn’t the novel therefore be an allegory for colonisation? There’s also the question of The Walrus and the Carpenter, the poem that Tweedledum and Tweedledee recite to Alice. According to some interpretations, the carpenter is Jesus and the walrus Peter, with the oysters as disciples. Others insist that it’s about Empire, with the walrus and the carpenter representing England, and the oysters its colonies. Even J.B. Priestley weighed into the debate, suggesting that the walrus and the carpenter are instead archetypes of two different types of politician.
There are more interpretations possible. Read the entire essay here. 

A short bibliography on Alice in Wonderland and law.

Kristin Brandser, Alice in Legal Wonderland: A Cross-Examination of Gender, Race, and Empire in Victorian Law and Literature, 24 Harv. Women's L. J. 221 (2001).

Jay Dratler, Jr., Alice in Wonderland Meets the U.S. Patent System, 38 Akron L. Rev. 299 (2005).

Parker B. Potter, Jr., Wondering About Alice: Judicial References to Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, 28 Whittier L. Rev. 175 (2006-2007).

November 12, 2018

Rosenmueller on Two Kingdoms in a Multi-Tiered Empire @MTSUNews

Christoph Rosenmueller, Middle Tennessee State University, has published Two Kingdoms in a Multi-Tiered Empire: New Spain and New Galicia in the Mid-Eighteenth Century as Max Planck Institute for European Legal History Research Paper Series No. 2018-10. Here is the abstract.
This article casts light on the structure of the Spanish empire by focusing on the relations between two American kingdoms, New Spain and New Galicia. New Spain comprised the heartland of colonial Mexico, and New Galicia lay to its northwest. New Spain enjoyed significant status and to a degree controlled New Galicia and other dependent realms. By the mid-eighteenth century, the viceroy of New Spain sent inspectors, appointed treasury officials, and even wrested the mining camp of Bolaños from New Galicia. Yet New Galicia insisted on its autonomy. Its president resisted the viceregal interventions and finally succeeded in recovering jurisdiction over Bolaños. The relationship between the two North American kingdoms therefore differed from that between other constituent regions of the empire. The kingdom of Quito, for example, was fully subordinate to the Peruvian viceroy in Lima. The empire can therefore be described as multi-tiered and not exclusively characterized by the hegemony of Madrid/Castile over its overseas possessions. Instead, the empire consisted of uneven and overlapping ties between a group of core kingdoms and their dependent territories, and their relations changed over time.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

McAdams and Corre on New Light on the Trial of Billy Budd

Richard H. McAdams, University of Chicago Law School, and Jacob Corre have published New Light on the Trial of Billy Budd as University of Chicago Public Law Working Paper No. 684. Here is the abstract.
We add to the extensive literature on Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor, with a careful inquiry into the legal questions it poses. Our ultimate position is that Captain Vere is neither clearly a hero nor clearly a villain. Instead, the novel embraces ambiguity by intentionally arming each side of the debate with considerable firepower, leaving readers with a quandary that would have been familiar to Herman Melville’s contemporaries, as it was parallel to the national debate over the 1842 case of the USS Somers, where the captain had ordered the summary execution of three suspected mutineers. In his influential writing on Billy Budd, Professor Richard Weisberg is correct to criticize what was, previous to him, an unreflective consensus valorizing Vere. However, Weisberg and his defenders are equally wrong to offer a one-sided attack on Vere, as if there were no case for his decision to summarily try and execute Billy Budd. To the contrary, the background history of the “Great Mutiny” of 1797, the narrator’s description of naval law and custom, and a careful analysis of the Somers case, all demonstrate that the case for Vere is as strong as the case against.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Greenhouse on Reading Durkheim in Darkness

Carol Greenhouse, Princeton University, has published Reading Durkheim in Darkness at 45 Journal of Law and Society 664 (2018). Here is the abstract.
This article is a contribution to the occasional series dealing with major books that have influenced the authors. Previous contributors include Stewart Macaulay, John Griffith, William Twining, Carol Harlow, Geoffrey Bindman, Harry Arthurs, André‐Jean Arnaud, Alan Hunt, Michael Adler, Lawrence O. Gostin, John P. Heinz, Roger Brownsword, Roger Cotterrell, and Nicola Lacey. I have chosen Émile Durkheim's Division of Labor in Society (1893). As for many social scientists, Division was part of my introduction to anthropology, especially for its key concepts of collective consciousness and social solidarity. A standard reading of it formulates Durkheim's idea of law as the expression of collective consciousness; however, later circumstances of rereading gave me a sense of his own doubts on this very possibility. As my ethnographic work has increasingly focused on the strategic aggrandizement of federal power in the United States, I have been surprised to find myself repeatedly reaching for Durkheim's book – particularly for its association of the value of social science with the vulnerability of modern society to democratic crisis.
The full text is not available from SSRN.

November 8, 2018

Tobia on Testing Original Public Meaning @kevin_tobia

Kevin P. Tobia, Yale University; ETH Zurich, has published Testing Original Public Meaning. Here is the abstract.
Various interpretive theories recommend using dictionaries or corpus linguistics to provide evidence about the “original public meaning” of legal texts. Such an interpretive inquiry is typically understood as an empirical one, aiming to discover a fact about public meaning: How did people actually understand the text at the time it became law? When dictionaries or corpora are used for this project, they are empirical tools, which might be reliable or unreliable instruments. However, the central question about these tools’ reliability remains unanswered: Do dictionaries and corpus linguistics reliably reflect original public meaning? This paper develops a novel method to assess this question. It begins by examining the public meaning of modern terms. It compares people’s judgments about meaning to the verdicts that modern dictionaries and corpus linguistics deliver about (modern) public meaning. Eight experimental studies (total N = 1,327) reveal systematic divergences among the verdicts delivered by ordinary concept use, dictionary use, and corpus linguistics use. For example, the way in which people today apply the concept of a vehicle is systematically different from the way in which people apply the modern dictionary definition of a “vehicle” or the modern corpus linguistics data concerning vehicles. Strikingly similar results arise across levels of legal expertise; participants included 999 ordinary people, 230 “elite-university” law students (e.g. at Harvard and Yale), and 98 United States judges. These findings provide evidence about the reliability of dictionaries and corpus linguistics in estimating modern public meaning. I argue that these studies also provide evidence about these tools’ reliability in estimating original public meaning, in historical times. The paper develops both the positive and critical implications of these experimental findings. Positively, the results reveal systematic patterns of the use of dictionaries and corpora. Corpus linguistics tends to generate prototypical uses, while dictionaries tend to generate more extensive uses. This discovery grounds normative principles for improving the use of both tools in legal interpretation. Critically, the results support five argumentative fallacies that arise in legal-interpretive arguments that rely on corpus linguistics or dictionaries. More broadly, the results suggest that two central methods of determining original public meaning are surprisingly unreliable. This shifts the argumentative burden to public meaning originalism and other theories that rely upon these tools; those theories must provide a non-arbitrary account of these tools’ use and a demonstration that such methods are, in fact, reliable.
Donwload the article from SSRN at the link.

McCutcheon on The Misconception of Literary Characters as Copyright Works @UWALawSchool

Jani McCutcheon, University of Western Australia Law School, is publishing Works of Fiction: The Misconception of Literary Characters as Copyright Works in the Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA. Here is the abstract.
This article critiques US jurisprudence, commentary and industry practice suggesting that fictional literary characters constitute separate copyright works distinct from the literary works in which they are situated. The scholarship on this jurisprudence tends to lament the ambiguity of the courts’ character delineation standards, and the inconsistency of court decisions applying them, but rarely, if ever, questions the legitimacy and coherence of the character-as-work doctrine. The paper will argue that the doctrine is fundamentally misconceived. It evolved from the fragile foundation of a casual obiter comment in an infringement analysis and morphed confusedly into an entrenched, though misunderstood, principle. The article will explain the unstable foundation of the character-as-work doctrine with reference to the concept of a ‘work’ in copyright law and its relationship to the fixation doctrine. The article argues that the nature of literary characters precludes them from being clearly and consistently identified and thus perceptible in a copy for the purposes of fixation. It explains how the character-as-work doctrine ignores the nature of literary characters; confuses subsistence standards; fosters illusory rights, rights hyperextension and lazy infringement analyses; and encourages character ‘evergreening’ beyond the copyright term.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

November 6, 2018

Call For Papers: Vertigo: Fake news/real theory: A Seminar at ANU College of Law

The Australian National University College of Law Centre for Law, Arts, and the Humanities presents a Seminar on Vertigo: Fake news/real theory.

The event takes place on December 12, 2018.

The ANU contemporary critical theory group is hosting a one-day seminar exploring law, art, politics, and society in the 21st century.

This event will feature short papers of no more than 15 minutes that make an intervention or articulate an argument with succinct vigour, leaving plenty of room for lively and even contentious discussion.

We particularly encourage the attendance and participation of HDR students from a wide range of disciplines, as well as from early career and established scholars working on critical theory and critical legal theory.
The call for papers closes November 10.

More here.

Polsky on The Concepts of Fundamental Law and Constitution in 18th Century Russia

Sergey Polskoy, National Research University, Higher School of Economics, has published The Concepts of Fundamental Laws and Constitution in the 18th Century Russia as Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 169/HUM/2018. Here is the abstract.
In this article, we attempt to trace the semantic changes two key concepts of the Modern period - fundamental law and constitution underwent at the 18th century and investigates how these European concepts were adapted and used in the Russian political language. The concept of the constitution and fundamental laws in eighteenth-century political discourse had differing connotations: while the constitution was used mainly to describe the form of government, the concept of fundamental laws referred to historically developing legal traditions which have been adopted as norms of political law. The most radical vision of constitution in the 18th century went further than identify it with the fundamental law, demanding that the latter should enshrine the principles of civil rights and liberties of the Nation, and the legal guarantees thereof. However, this radical view, arising at the end of the century, was far from universal, and the discussion around various understandings of this concept was still to continue for many years.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

November 5, 2018

Call For Submissions: Julien Mezey Dissertation Award--Deadline December 7, 2018 @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 2019 award must have defended their dissertations successfully between November 1, 2017 and October 31, 2018.

Nominations for the 2019 award must be received on or before
7 December 2018
Each nominee must submit the following:
1) a letter by the nominee detailing the genesis, goal, and contribution of the dissertation;
2) a letter of support from a faculty member familiar with the work;
3) an abstract, outline, and selected chapter of the dissertation;
4) contact information for the nominee.

All materials and any questions should be sent to: Professor Simon Stern at

Award finalists will be notified as soon as possible. Finalists must then submit an electronic version of the entire dissertation. The winner will be determined by early January and invited to the ASLCH annual meeting. ASLCH will pay travel and lodging costs.

Wilson on the Legal Foundations of White Supremacy @Erika_K_Wilson

Erika K. Wilson, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, College of Law, has published The Legal Foundations of White Supremacy, 11 DePaul Journal for Social Justice 1 (2018). From the introduction:
The election of former President Barack Obama, the country’s first African-American president, temporarily changed the discourse around race in America. Despite America’s sordid racial history, President Obama’s election was hailed as evidence that race was no longer a salient factor in meting out opportunities—that the country was finally “post-racial.” Indeed, some even went so far as to suggest that his election signified “the gradual erosion of ‘whiteness’ as the touchstone of what it means to be American.” Recent events have upended this “post-racial” narrative. In the wake of the racially charged election of Donald J. Trump and the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, race generally and white supremacy specifically are again taking center stage. For many, the reemergence of the kind of overt manifestations of white supremacy that were unveiled in Charlottesville was particularly jarring. It forced many people to grapple with the reality that white supremacy, a phenomenon that many believed had been relegated to a historical footnote, still exists and is stronger than ever. Yet those such as myself who examine race critically have long been aware that the fissures caused by race generally and white supremacy specifically, never went anywhere, notwithstanding the election of the country’s first self-identified African-American president. Race generally and white supremacy specifically are embedded into the framework of most American social institutions. As a result, now more than ever, it is imperative that we critically examine all forms and manifestations of white supremacy. This paper focuses on a very important part of white supremacy — the legal foundations of white supremacy. The central thesis of this paper is that American law has historically played a vital role in constructing white supremacy. While America has eliminated overt race-conscious laws that favor whites, the law continues to play a critical role in maintaining white supremacy today. Unless and until we commit to understanding the history of the law in constructing white supremacy and the ways in which modern iterations of law continue to perpetuate white supremacy, white supremacy will remain an enduring feature of American society.
Download the article via the link given.

November 2, 2018

ICYMI: Etienne Madranges, Les Palais de Justice (2011) @LexisNexisFr @etimad


Etienne Madranges, Les palais de justice de France (Lexis/Nexis, 2011).

Ce livre est la mémoire du patrimoine judiciaire français dans sa diversité, avec ses aspects parfois émouvants, parfois somptueux, et des anecdotes étonnantes. Des centaines de palais, du plus simple au plus solennel. L'auteur a voulu montrer au grand public la richesse, les curiosités, les endroits et objets insolites des temples de la Justice de France. Il en a visité plus de 1 000 et a pu, avant la fermeture récente de 200 tribunaux, fixer par l'image tous ces lieux chargés d'histoire(s). Fidèle à son habitude, il a réalisé seul cet ouvrage : totalité des photos et des textes, recherches documentaires, mise en pages, maquette.
C'est en effet son regard qu'il veut faire partager au lecteur. 
Vous allez admirer des meubles magnifiques, des sièges rares, des pendules faites sur mesure, des plafonds colorés et des fresques, vous arrêter aux 500 barres des témoins, mais aussi apprécier l'évolution de l'architecture judiciaire, vous rendre au tribunal de la mine, de la pêche, du sel, au tribunal peint par Cocteau, au bailliage, à la cour des appeaux, à la viguerie, à la maison des plaids, visiter les parlements richement décorés, les temples à colonnes et les palais contemporains transparents.
Vous vous étonnerez devant le nombre des allégories de la Justice, des symboles religieux, maçonniques, républicains, royaux, impériaux... et vous pourrez contempler la chasuble d'un Saint, un cheval à la place du juge, un miroir transpercé par des balles, des graffitis anciens poignants, des piloris et des fourches patibulaires, le sac de l'affaire pendante, le carreau sur lequel on reste, et même des colonnes dans une forêt ou apprendre qu'un magistrat est enterré dans une réplique de tribunal.
Un immense travail de recherche et plus de 700 sites à découvrir en 5 400 photos.
Né en 1951, Étienne Madranges est magistrat, universitaire et historien. De formation scientifique et juridique, diplômé de l'Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris, il a présidé des organismes internationaux ainsi que l'Institut National de la Jeunesse, appartenu à plusieurs cabinets ministériels, administré des associations nationales et des fondations, enseigné dans diverses universités et grandes écoles et a été organiste. 

Concepteur de divers dispositifs en faveur des jeunes et des handicapés, rédacteur d'un traité international et de textes législatifs et réglementaires, il a également été directeur d'administration centrale, comme directeur national de la jeunesse, de l'éducation populaire et de la vie associative au ministère de la Jeunesse et des Sports. Avocat général à la cour d'appel de Paris, il a été, auprès du Garde des Sceaux, responsable de la mission patrimoine du ministère de la Justice. 
Adepte de la lumière et de la couleur, il parcourt régulièrement le monde à la recherche de belles images. Il a pris plus de 500 000 clichés dans les édifices civils et religieux d'une soixantaine de pays, visitant notamment les palais de justice et prisons les plus divers sur les cinq continents.
Son livre "Regards sur le Palais dans la Cité" demeure l'ouvrage de référence sur le Palais de Justice de Paris, ses secrets et ses allégories. Par ailleurs spécialiste de l'art sacré, il a consacré un livre de photos au thème millénaire de l'Arbre de Jessé. Il a en projet d'autres ouvrages sur l'art.

Laura Little, Guilty Pleasures: Comedy and Law in America (Oxford University Press, 2018) @templelaw @OxUniPress

Forthcoming from Oxford University Press: Laura Little, Temple University School of Law, Guilty Pleasures: Comedy and Law in America (2018). Here, from the publisher's website, is a description of the book's contents.
Few people associate law books with humor. Yet the legal world--in particular the American legal system--is itself frequently funny. Indeed, jokes about the profession are staples of American comedy. And there is actually humor within the world of law too: both lawyers and judges occasionally strive to be funny to deal with the drudgery of their duties. Just as importantly, though, our legal system is a strong regulator of humor. It encourages some types of humor while muzzling or punishing others. In a sense, law and humor engage a two-way feedback loop: humor provides the raw material for legal regulation and legal regulation inspires humor. In Guilty Pleasures, legal scholar Laura Little provides a multi-faceted account of American law and humor, looking at constraints on humor (and humor's effect on law), humor about law, and humor in law. In addition to interspersing amusing episodes from the legal world throughout the book, the book contains 75 New Yorker cartoons about lawyers and a preface by Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor for the New Yorker.

Cover for 

Guilty Pleasures