February 24, 2019

Forthcoming: Matthew H. Birkhold, Characters Before Copyright (OUP, 2019) @OxUniPress

Matthew H. Birkhold, Assistant Professor of German and Assistant Professor of Law, The Ohio State University, is publishing Characters Before Copyright: The Rise and Regulation of Fan Fiction in Eighteenth-Century Germany (Oxford University Press, 2019). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
How did authors control the literary fates of fictional characters before the existence of copyright? Could a second author do anything with another author's character? Situated between the decline of the privilege system and the rise of copyright, literary borrowing in eighteenth-century Germany has long been considered unregulated. This book tells a different story. Characters before Copyright documents the surprisingly widespread eighteenth-century practice of writing fan fiction literary works written by readers who appropriate preexisting characters invented by other authors and reconstructs the contemporaneous debate about the literary phenomenon. Like fan fiction today, these texts took the form of sequels, prequels, and spinoffs. Analyzing the evolving reading, writing, and consumer habits of late-eighteenth-century Germany, Characters before Copyright identifies the social, economic, and aesthetic changes that fostered the rapid rise of fan fiction after 1750. Based on archival work and an ethnographic approach borrowed from legal anthropology, this book then uncovers the unwritten customary norms that governed the production of these works. Characters before Copyright thus reinterprets the eighteenth-century literary commons, arguing that what may appear to have been the free circulation of characters was actually circumscribed by an exacting set of rules and conditions. These norms translated into a unique type of literature that gave rise to remarkable forms of collaborative authorship and originality. Characters before Copyright provides a new perspective on the eighteenth-century book trade and the rise of intellectual property, reevaluating the concept of literary property, the history of moral rights, and the tradition of free culture.


Humor and Satire in Contemporary Europe Summer School July 14-20 2019

From the mailbox:

The second edition of the summer school Humor and Satire in Contemporary Europe: Cultural, Political and Legal Perspectives will take place at the University of Groningen (Netherlands) from 14 to 20 July 2019. The course will feature seminars and lectures on the following topics (among several others):

- Satire and populism in Europe and the US;
- Current debates on dark humor and its limits (Charlie Hebdo etc.);
- New forms of comedy and humor across media.

Other activities include a workshop for MA and PhD students, and one on interdisciplinary approaches to humor. More details, including a list of confirmed speakers, can be found here; the full programme will be uploaded soon. The deadline for application is 5 May 2019.

If you have any questions, please send an email to a.godioli@rug.nl or satire@rug.nl.

Reminder: Sisters in Crime Offering Grant To Buy Books For Research Projects

From the mailbox:

Via Barbara Fister, Gustavus Adolphus College

Sisters in Crime is offering a grant for up to $500 to buy books to support research projects that contribute to our understanding of the role of women or underrepresented groups in the crime fiction genre. The deadline for applications is April 1st. Please share with interested parties! There are some limitations because of our funding source - grant recipients must either be US citizens/legal residents of the United States or must be conducting research on US authors.

Details are here:

February 23, 2019

Call For Papers, Proposed Working Group on Embodied Reading, MLA Annual Convention

Proposed Working Group, Modern Languages Association, Annual Convention, January 9-20, 2020

Embodied Reading
Proposed working group, MLA Convention, Seattle, WA
Jan. 9-12 2020
Taking a cue from recent developments in somatic psychology toward embodied listening and embodied speaking, in this working group we will explore embodied reading as a practice that attends to bodily sensation and affective response as they emerge in the process of reading. For scholars engaged with materials that describe traumatic encounters—from the archive of slavery to the autopsy of Michael Brown to memoirs of sexual violence—a choice presents itself. Do I bracket my own revulsion, discomfort, boredom, rage, or pain? We invite papers that explore what happens when, instead of ignoring or suppressing the vagaries of sensation, we attend to bodily affects: to the catch of the breath the moment we learn where and how the bullet entered the body; to the tightening of the belly as we read of the deadly blow that struck the young girl. As a critical or scholarly practice, embodied reading accomplishes nothing, produces nothing: it is not so much an alternative to reading close or distant, deep or surface, but rather constitutes a place of commencement from which other critical reading modalities might follow. Embodied reading offers a new locus of attention from which scholarly practice becomes, perhaps, more sustainable, more connected to the rhythms of daily experience, of being-in-the-world. Please send 250-word abstracts to ccutchin@berkeley.eduby March 15. We invite papers on topics that (for example):
·     attend to the affective or bodily experience of reading triggering material (literary, archival, or journalistic)
·     reflect on one’s own personal experience of integrating embodiment practice, meditation, or other therapeutic techniques with literary scholarship
·     consider new developments in somatic psychology as they relate to literary studies
·     theorize how embodied reading can emerge in the classroom setting
·     situate embodied reading in relationship to e.g., disability studies, queer studies, or memory studies 
·     examine the relationship between the reader’s embodied experience and the emergence of meaning in the literary or filmic text

CFP: Law, Literature, and Human Rights, MLA Annual Convention, Seattle, January 9-12, 2020

From the mailbox:

Call for Papers: 

Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, Seattle, January 9-12, 2020

Law, Literature, and Human Rights

Papers examining legal and literary articulations of human rights, broadly conceived, from Jus Gentium to the U.S. Constitution to the European Union. 250-500 word abstract and brief CV. 

Deadline for submissions: Sunday, 10 March 2019

Melissa J. Ganz, Marquette U (melissa.ganz@marquette.edu ); Christine L. Holbo, Arizona State U (christine.holbo@asu.edu )  

February 21, 2019

Stern on Reorienting the Connections Between Law and Literature @ArsScripta

Simon Stern, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, has published Literary Analysis of Law: Reorienting the Connections Between Law and Literature at 5 Critical Analysis of Law 1 (2018). Here is the abstract.
This special issue of Critical Analysis of Law, devoted to new work in law and literature, features articles that dispense with the choice between “law in literature” and “law as literature,” to ask how legal and literary forms, methods, concepts, and attitudes can be productively explored in tandem. Conventionally, when scholars ask how legal actors and problems are portrayed in literature, or how hermeneutic theory may shed light on statutory or constitutional interpretation, these questions are meant to help solve a legal problem, at a doctrinal or conceptual level. But once we abandon the requirement that literature serve as an assistant in this fashion, many new possibilities for the literary study of law come into visibility. The essays in this special issue explore some of those directions.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

February 20, 2019

Call For Papers: A Critical Guide To Civil Procedure

Call For Papers:

A Critical Guide to Civil Procedure

Call for Papers

Boston University School of Law (host; co-sponsors Seattle University and University of Washington)
Workshop Date: Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Abstract Deadline: March 15, 2019
Convenors: Portia Pedro, Brooke Coleman, Suzette Malveaux, & Elizabeth Porter

Civil Procedure is not a technocratic, neutral area of study, yet there is no collection of civil procedural scholarship engaging perspectives at the margins. In this workshop, we will discuss these perspectives. The workshop will support a book project that the convenors are editing.

The idea for the book project is to create a critical reference guide for the core civ pro concepts students learn every year. We envision a collection of essays - loosely keyed to traditional textbook topics - that reveal the relationship between civil procedural rules/doctrines and race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, class, and disability. In addition to basic civil procedure concepts like pleading, jurisdiction, discovery, and aggregate litigation, we hope to include a critical analysis of related topics such as rulemaking institutions, arbitration, and remedies.

This workshop will include authors who have already agreed to contribute to this book project, but we also want to bring in more voices. At the workshop, contributors will discuss a five-page precis of their essay (precis are to be submitted in advance of the workshop). The final essays should be roughly 10,000 words, including footnotes. (Essays should not include “Part I” basic background, but should center on the author’s critical analysis.) The essays for the book project are due by August 1, 2019.

If you are interested in participating in the workshop and contributing to the book, please submit an abstract and author biography (no longer than 500 words each) by March 15, 2019 to critcivpro@gmail.com. We will select papers by April 1, 2019.

The workshop will provide meals for contributors. Contributors must cover travel and lodging costs. Information about reasonably-priced hotels will be provided as the date approaches.  

Financial Assistance: Convenors may allocate limited funds to help cover partial travel expenses or accommodations for a small number of selected participants. If you wish to be considered for financial assistance, please submit a separate written request, specifying your city of departure and an estimate of travel costs, along with your abstract submission. We regret in advance that we are unable to provide full financial assistance to participants. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Brooke Coleman (colemanb@seattleu.edu)
Suzette Malveaux (suzette.malveaux@colorado.edu)
Portia Pedro (ppedro@bu.edu)
Elizabeth Porter (egporter@uw.edu)

Suzette Malveaux
Provost Professor of Civil Rights Law
Director, Byron R. White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law
University of Colorado

February 18, 2019

Hollingsworth on the Power of African-American Women Voters in Lexington's School Suffrage, 1895-1902: History of the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Movement

Randolph Hollingsworth has published Power of African-American Women Voters in Lexington's School Suffrage, 1895-1902: Race and the History of the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Movement. Here is the abstract.
Women suffragists in the U.S. included partial suffrage through participation in school-related elections as one of their strategies to reach full citizenship rights. Kentucky had already pointed the way for this strategy when in 1838 a statewide law passed protecting the right of female taxpaying heads-of-households in rural areas to vote on matters related to the new common school system. The leaders of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association (KERA) sought to build on this precedent during the 1890 Kentucky constitutional convention that offered the possibility of the legislature to grant women the right to vote. When the charters of cities of the second-class (i.e., Lexington, Covington and Newport) were up for revision in 1894, the General Assembly included what the KERA lobbyists were hoping for – the right for women in second-class cities to vote on school-related issues. By then, women in fifteen other states had successfully lobbied for legislation for partial suffrage (or full suffrage in some Western territories and states). This presentation will chronicle the evolution of school suffrage laws of Kentucky, focusing on the 1901 school board election in Lexington and the revocation of school suffrage in 1902. That election cycle evidenced a large percentage of African-American women whose registration totals favored the Republican Party. However, only half of the registrants ended up casting a vote – leading to the election of a Democratic Party ticket that year. The unusual numbers of black women voters threatened the racially conservative norm, and in January 1902, the Kentucky legislature repealed the partial suffrage law. The political backlash over the racial disproportionality of women voters in this election exposed the Kentucky partisan feuds of the time, however the issue of race control was at the core of the reasoning for revoking even this limited attempt at partial suffrage in Kentucky. This paper argues that race mattered more than partisan politics, class or social standing in determining the outcome of suffrage laws for women in Kentucky.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Pfander on Dicey's Nightmare: An Essay on the Rule of Law

James E. Pfander, Northwestern University School of Law, is publishing Dicey's Nightmare: An Essay on the Rule of Law in the California Law Review. Here is the abstract.
The British constitutional lawyer A.V. Dicey argued in the nineteenth century that the common law, as administered by superior courts, better ensured government accountability than did written constitutions. Dicey taught us to focus less on constitutional promises and more on the practical effectiveness of judicial remedies. This Essay builds on Dicey by offering a comparative assessment of military encroachments on the rights of the nation’s citizens during times of war. Rather than comparing British common-law norms to European constitutionalism, as Dicey did, this Essay compares nineteenth-century common law as applied in the courts of the United States to the constitutionally-inflected rules that those courts apply today. This Essay focuses its comparison on three common-law remedies: habeas to secure release from military detention; trespass to obtain an award of damages for wrongful or abusive military confinement; and tort and contract-based compensation for the military’s destruction or taking of property. The modern Supreme Court has recalibrated each of these common-law regimes and now evaluates the legality of the military’s actions almost exclusively in constitutional terms. As Dicey might have predicted, the shift away from hard-edged common-law rules to open-ended constitutional balancing corresponds to a marked loss of relative remedial effectiveness. This Essay examines some of the factors that have shaped the remedial decline, as reflected in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Ziglar v. Abbasi. It then offers suggestions as to how the Court might keep the infrastructure of rights enforcement in better repair.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Cunningham and Egbert on Scientific Methods for Analyzing Original Meaning: Corpus Linguistics and the Emoluments Clauses @ClarkGSULaw

Clark D. Cunningham, Georgia State University College of Law, and Jesse Egbert, Northern Arizona University, have published Scientific Methods for Analyzing Original Meaning: Corpus Linguistics and the Emoluments Clauses, presented at the Fourth Annual Conference of Law & Corpus Linguistics (2019), as Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Paper. Here is the abstract.
In interpreting the Constitution's text, courts "are guided by the principle that '[t]he Constitution was written to be understood by the voters; its words and phrases were used in their normal and ordinary as distinguished from their technical meaning'." District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 576 (2008). According to James Madison: "[W]hatever respect may be thought due to the intention of the Convention, which prepared and proposed the Constitution, as a presumptive evidence of the general understanding at the time of the language used, it must be kept in mind that the only authoritative intentions were those of the people of the States, as expressed through the Conventions which ratified the Constitution." In looking for "presumptive evidence of the general understanding at the time of the language used" courts have generally relied on dictionary definitions and selected quotations from texts dating from the period of ratification. This paper presents a completely different, scientifically-grounded approach: applying the tools of linguistic analysis to "big data" about how written language was used at the time of ratification. This data became publicly available in Fall 2018 when the website of the Corpus of Founding Era American English (COFEA) was launched. COFEA contains in digital form over 95,000 texts created between 1760 and 1799, totaling more than 138,800,000 words. The authors illustrate this scientific approach by analyzing the usage of the word emolument by writers in America during the period covered by COFEA, 1760-1799. The authors selected this project both because the interpretation of two clauses in the Constitution using emolument are of considerable current interest and because the meaning of emolument is a mystery to modern Americans. The District of Columbia and State of Maryland are currently suing President Donald Trump alleging that his continued ownership of the Trump Hotel in Washington puts him in violation of Constitutional prohibitions on receiving or accepting "emoluments" from either foreign or state governments. The President's primary line of defense is a narrow reading of emolument as "profit arising from an office or employ." The authors accessed every text in COFEA in which emolument appeared - over 2500 examples of actual usage - and analyzed all of these examples using three different computerized search methods. The authors found no evidence that emolument had a distinct narrow meaning of "profit arising from an office or employ." All three analyses indicated just the opposite: emolument was consistently used and understood as a general and inclusive term. The authors have filed an amicus brief in support of neither party in the pending 4th Circuit appeal in the Trump Hotel case, reporting the results of the research described in this article. The brief is available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3334017. Egbert is a professor of applied linguistics who has co-authored or co-edited three books and more than 60 peer-reviewed publications. Cunningham is a law professor who has written previously about applying linguistics to the interpretation of legal texts, including Plain Meaning and Hard Cases, 103 Yale L.J. 1561 (1994); Using Common Sense: A Linguistic Perspective on Judicial Interpretations of 'Use a Firearm,', 73 Wash. U. L.Q. 1159 (1995); and A Linguistic Analysis of the Meanings of 'Search' in the Fourth Amendment: A Search for Common Sense, 73 Iowa L. Rev. 541 (1998).
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Registration For ASLCH Conference Deadline: Early Bird Rate Ends February 20, 2019 @Law_Cult_Huma


The deadline for registration for the ASLCH Conference in Ottawa this year (March 22-23) at the early bird rate is Wednesday, February 20. Registration fees rise $75 after that date. More here.

Chapman on Rethinking Establishment Clause Jurisprudence

Nathan S. Chapman, University of Georgia School of Law, has published Money for Missionaries: Rethinking Establishment Clause History as University of Georgia School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-10. Here is the abstract.
In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Supreme Court stated two principles that continue to animate Establishment Clause doctrine. The first is that courts should look to founding-era history—especially the history of "religious assessments," or taxes used to fund churches—to interpret the Establishment Clause. The second is that, based on this history, the government may provide limited secular goods to religious schools, but the Establishment Clause prohibits the government from directly funding religious education. What Everson ignored, and what subsequent legal scholarship has likewise overlooked, is that the founding-era government did directly fund religious education: from the Revolution to Reconstruction, the federal government partnered with Christian missionaries to "civilize" American Indians. Initially ad hoc, this practice was formalized with the Civilization Funds Act of 1819, which authorized the government to distribute $10,000 per year to "persons of good moral character" to educate and "civilize" the tribes. For over fifty years, the government funded Christian missionaries who incorporated religious instruction and worship into their curricula. Curiously, no one ever raised a constitutional objection. This Article is the first to provide a thorough analysis of the government-missionary partnerships and to explore why no one objected to their constitutionality. The evidence strongly suggests eighteenth and nineteenth-century Americans supported them because of a shared view of social progress that merged Christianization, education, and civilization. They simply could not have imagined separating Christianity and education. This evidence reshapes the conventional narrative of the historical development of non-establishment norms in the United States, especially the centrality of the Jeffersonian "taxpayer conscience" objection to religious assessments. This history also has important implications for Establishment Clause doctrine. The challenge is ascertaining a constitutional principle from a practice that itself went unquestioned. The history does, however, suggest that the government may directly fund general education, even when that education entails incidental voluntary religious instruction. This principle complements the theoretical norm of "substantive neutrality" and supports the Supreme Court's current doctrinal trajectory of easing restrictions on government funding of religious education.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Cedrone on the Values of Words

Michael J. Cedrone, Georgetown University Law Center, is publishing On the Values of Words in volume 23 of the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute. Here is the abstract.
Mary Norris's Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen and Kory Stamper's Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries use observations about language as a touchstone for a nuanced examination of language, culture, and law in a changing world. In so doing, they point to deeper truths about the use of language and its consequences. Law students, lawyers, and law professors will benefit from journeying with Norris and Stamper towards the goal of crafting prose that is clear, accurate, and inclusive. In particular, the legal community will benefit from the books' efforts to define consistent, binding linguistic rules and the books' reflections on the consequences of language as a medium for conveying law.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Geraldine Heng's The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages Wins PROSE Award In World History @PROSEAwards @cambUP_History

ICYMI: Geraldine Heng, University of Texas, Austin, has published The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages (Cambridge University Press, 2018).
In The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages, Geraldine Heng questions the common assumption that the concepts of race and racisms only began in the modern era. Examining Europe's encounters with Jews, Muslims, Africans, Native Americans, Mongols, and the Romani ('Gypsies'), from the 12th through 15th centuries, she shows how racial thinking, racial law, racial practices, and racial phenomena existed in medieval Europe before a recognizable vocabulary of race emerged in the West. Analysing sources in a variety of media, including stories, maps, statuary, illustrations, architectural features, history, saints' lives, religious commentary, laws, political and social institutions, and literature, she argues that religion - so much in play again today - enabled the positing of fundamental differences among humans that created strategic essentialisms to mark off human groups and populations for racialized treatment. Her ground-breaking study also shows how race figured in the emergence of homo europaeus and the identity of Western Europe in this time.
This book has just received the 2019 PROSE Award in World History.

February 16, 2019

Castilho on The Press and Brazilian Narratives of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" @celso_thomas

ICYMI: Celso Thomas Castilho has published The Press and Brazilian Narratives of Uncle Tom's Cabin: Slavery and the Public Sphere in Rio de Janiero, ca. 1855, at 76 The Americas 77 (2019). Here is the abstract.
In March 1855, a literary newspaper in Rio de Janeiro printed the first installment of Nísia Floresta's “Páginas de uma vida obscura,” a serialized short story inspired by Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). Seven more chapters followed, keeping “Páginas” in the public eye for months. The Jornal do Commercio, arguably the national paper of record, mentioned the story in its announcements. Floresta (pseudonym of Dionísia Gonçalves Pinto, 1810–1885) centered her storyline on the Congo-born Domingos, the “Brazilian Tom,” who exemplified the attributes of Christian virtuosity and resignation found in Stowe's internationally famous novel. Set in the nineteenth century, “Páginas” begins with the ten-year-old Domingos's enslavement on the African coast, and highlights the human devastation of the internal slave trade through his movements across Minas Gerais and on to Porto Alegre and Rio de Janeiro. It ends with Domingos's death, at age 54, grief-stricken over his son's recent passing. In part, Floresta's “Páginas” emerged from the Brazilian schoolteacher's longstanding critiques of patriarchy, nation, and education. Twenty years earlier, Floresta had drawn from Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman to write Direito das mulheres e injustiça dos homens (1832), a book that went through three editions in its first decade. More directly though, Floresta had connected to the so-called “Tom mania” while living in Paris in 1852. The following year, back in Rio, she wrote a pamphlet on women's education—Opúsculo humanitário (1853)—that parsed key aspects of Uncle Tom's Cabin, among a larger discussion of women's achievements internationally. Two Rio newspapers excerpted the pamphlet, and, boldly, published the chapters focused on Uncle Tom. This attention in the press raised the profile of a book the public already knew to be controversial, as newspapers had earlier carried reports of port authorities seizing shipments of Uncle Tom's Cabin in Rio, Salvador, and Fortaleza. In writing “Páginas,” then, two years after the Opúsculo, Floresta not only carried forward her literary dialogue with Stowe, but also posed the work as a challenge to the status quo. “Páginas” was necessary, she explained, because “slavery is not an issue of concern in the press.” If overstated, given that the topic of slavery was quite prevalent in public discourse, Floresta's assertion nonetheless signals an opportunity for scholars to probe further into the relationship between slavery and the public sphere in the mid nineteenth century. More specifically, it suggests connections to be explored between the press and the early reception of Uncle Tom's Cabin in Brazil, and, more broadly, connections between the representations of slavery in the press, and the institution's enduring legitimacy.

February 14, 2019

NBC Working On New Legal Drama "Bluff City Law"

From Variety:

NBC is casting a pilot for a new legal drama, Bluff City Law.  The show centers on a civil rights lawyer and his daughter (played by Caitlin McGee), who leaves a corporate law firm to help him with his cases. We should expect the usual family drama as well. More here.

Deadline Hollywood has a short article; link here.

February 11, 2019

ICYMI: Liverpool Law Review's Special Issue on Reimagining Justice: Aesthetics and Law @LivUni_Law

Call For Nominations: Peter Gonville Stein Book Award in Legal History

From the mailbox: The American Society for Legal History announces a call for nominations for the Peter Gonville Stein Book Award. The ASLH awards this prize for the best book in legal history written in English. Below is the call for nominations.
The Peter Gonville Stein Book Award is awarded annually for the best book in legal history written in English. This award is designed to recognize and encourage the further growth of fine work in legal history that focuses on all non-US regions, as well as global and international history. To be eligible, a book must sit outside of the field of US legal history and be published during the previous calendar year. Announced at the annual meeting of the ASLH, this honor includes a citation on the contributions of the work to the broader field of legal history. A book may only be considered for the Stein Award, the Reid Award, or the Cromwell Book Prize. It may not be nominated for more than one of these three prizes.

The Stein Award is named in memory of Peter Gonville Stein, BA, LLB (Cantab); PhD (Aberdeen); QC; FBA; Honorary Fellow, ASLH, and eminent scholar of Roman law at the University of Cambridge, and made possible by a generous contribution from an anonymous donor. Read more about Dr. Stein here.

For the 2019 prize, the Stein Award Committee will accept nominations of any book (not including textbooks, critical editions, and collections of essays) that bears a copyright date of 2018 as it appears on the printed version of the book. Translations into English may be nominated, provided they are published within two years of the publication date of the original version.

Nominations for the Stein Award (including self-nominations) should be submitted by March 15, 2019. Please send an e-mail to the Committee at steinaward@aslh.net and include: (1) a curriculum vitae of the author (including the author’s e-mail address); and (2) the name, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number of the contact person at the press who will provide the committee with two copies of the book. This person will be contacted shortly after the deadline. (If a title is short-listed, four further copies will be requested from the publisher.)

Please contact the committee chair, Matthew Mirow, with any questions at mirowm@fiu.edu

ICYMI: Branco on Exploring Justitia Through Eowyn and Niobe @LivUni_Law

ICYMI: Patricia Branco, Exploring Justitia Through Éowyn and Niobe: On Gender, Race and the Legal, 38 Liverpool Law Review 63 (2017). Here is the abstract.
The image of Lady Justice, a white woman, sometimes appearing with her eyes veiled and other times unveiled, at times bearing scales and/or a sword in her hands, still is a common and popular feature of legal culture in many parts of the world. This is an image of justice that is found everywhere, from courthouses to cartoons. However, one may ask: “Who is this woman?”; Is she really a worthy representative of justice?; Or even a commendable representative of women? Thus, in this article, it is proposed to question the image of Lady Justice and the interpretations that have been associated with it, as well as the standards of conduct required of, and imposed upon, women both inside and outside the legal profession. The article will consider a range of arguments related to such questions, particularly on the issues of gender and race, by using two female characters: Éowyn (from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings) and Niobe (from the Wachowskis’s The Matrix). The two characters are women who have some significance in both plots. Through them, I will establish some similarities and differences with Justitia, namely the need to be disguised as men or embrace male attitudes (a similar process concerning women in the legal profession, for example); the use of weapons (specifically, the sword, and, hence, the necessary analysis of women as law breakers, in contradiction to the image of Justitia); and finally some key issues relating to the representation of women of colour.
Download the article at the link.

Law and Humanities Spring School RomaTre University Department of Law Call For Applications

From the mailbox:


Law and Humanities Spring School
15-18 April 2019
RomaTre University Department of Law, Via Ostiense 161, 00154 Rome

The Law and Humanities Spring School is a collaboration between the RomaTre University, the Australian National University and the University of Lucerne. The programme is designed to provide a broad insight into topics at the intersection between law and the humanities, and into the principles and practices of law-and-humanities studies. The school will bring together postgraduate students working across law and the humanities with leading specialists in the discipline(s), providing a valuable opportunity for intellectual training and exchange. 

The school will take place over four consecutive days, from Monday 15 to Thursday 18 April 2019. The full programme can be found here.

Applications are invited from doctoral candidates and advanced graduate students with an interest in interdisciplinary work in law and the humanities. Please send a brief letter of motivation (in English, max. 1 page) and a CV to lawandhumanitiesrome@gmail.com. The deadline for submission is Friday 15 March 2019.

February 9, 2019

Shakespeare and the Law 2019: An Event Sponsored by the Federalist Society, McCarter & English, and the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company

On February 12, 2019 at

New England Conservatory Black Box Theater
225 St. Botolph Street
Boston, MA 02115

The Federalist Society, McCarter & English, and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company 
Shakespeare and the Law 2019 
Belief and the Burden of Proof through the Lens of Six of the Bard's Plays

The Boston Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society, McCarter & English, and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC), present the 16th Annual Shakespeare and the Law Program. This year's program takes on the themes of belief and the burden of proof  through the lens of six of Shakespeare’s plays, Cymbeline, Hamlet, Henry IV, Part 1, Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure and Othello.  Following a staged reading of brief scenes from each of the plays, judges, prosecutors, attorneys, activists and commentators will discuss and debate how allegations of impropriety should be measured and judged in the courtroom, the workplace, the college campus, and the Congressional hearing room. The panel discussion will be moderated by Jennifer Braceras and Judge Nancy Gertner.

More information here.

ICYMI: Meaning and Power in the Language of Law (Leung and Durant) from CUP @CambridgeUP

ICYMI: Meaning and Power in the Language of Law (Janny H. C. Leung and Alan Durant, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2018). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
Legal practitioners, linguists, anthropologists, philosophers and others have all explored fundamental challenges presented by language in formulating, interpreting and applying laws. Building on centuries of interaction between legal practice and jurisprudence, the modern field of 'law and language', or 'forensic linguistics', brings insights in linguistics and related fields to bear on topics including legal drafting and translation, statutory interpretation, expert evidence on language use and dynamics of courtroom interaction. This volume presents an interlocking series of research studies engaged with different legal jurisdictions and socio-political contexts as well as with the more abstract notion of 'law'. Together the chapters, written by international leaders in their fields, highlight recent directions in research and investigate in particular how law expresses yet also conceals power relations in its crafted use of words and in the gaps and silence between those words.

 Meaning and Power in the Language of Law

Lazar and Hirsch on Human Rights Movies Through the Prism of Movie Advisory Boards

Alon Lazar, Center for Academic Studies, and Tal Litvak Hirsch, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, have published Human Rights Movies Through the Prism of Movie Advisory Boards. Here is the abstract.
Human rights is a topic of high importance in Western societies, and discrimination has been noted as a determining force in their violations. Films depicting human rights issues have been discussed as instrumental in bringing these matters to the attention of the general public and students. Their exposure is dependent largely on their age-classifications by movie advisory boards which determine who can watch them. Two studies were conducted to assess how films depicting human rights issues and held exemplary by the Political Film Society (PFS) are evaluated by movie advisory boards, providing justifications for their age-classifications. Study 1 found that the boards in the US and the UK identify these movies as suitable mainly for adults, while in Australia, in most cases, moviegoers are to decide their appropriateness. Each board stresses different contents as their main concerns, yet none mention discrimination. Study 2, assessing Netherland's NICAM evaluations, revealed that these movies are considered suitable mainly for adults, primarily because they are heavy with violence and fear arousing contents, with only some noted to include discriminatory contents. Thus, in these liberal-democratic societies, human rights movies considered of high value, in most cases are removed from the educational arena.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

February 6, 2019

Mitchell on Re-affirming and Rejecting the Rescue Narrative as an Impetus For War @DrLynseyMitchel

Lynsey Mitchell, Leeds Law School, has published Re-affirming and rejecting the rescue narrative as an impetus for war: to war for a woman in A Song of Ice and Fire, 12 Law and Humanities 229 (2018).  Here is the abstract.
From Paris’ capture of Helen in Homer’s Iliad, and the resulting 10-year war in retaliation, Western literature has a long tradition of narrativising the turn to war as a dispute in service of a woman. Yet in contemporary Western legal accounts it is assumed that legal arch-positivism now governs the decision to go to war, and so any such action can be considered rational and just. However, contemporary turns to war are increasingly invoking just war theory that is wrapped in a similar patriarchal gender narrative. George RR Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ evokes the European tradition of war in the middle ages, but also explores modern aspects of liberalism, statehood, and international relations. This paper explores how the turn to war is narrativised and understood by various characters in the novels. It does so in order to demonstrate how calls to war rooted in chivalry and protectionism can gain more currency than those rooted in legalist language, but outlines how this then perpetuates and cements a regressive view of women as passive and helpless. This article ultimately calls for an alternative account of law’s understanding of war which does not invoke the rescuer paradigm, and so offers potential reimagining of contemporary justifications for war.

February 5, 2019

Nunn on Legal Theory and the Morality of Conscious Racial Identity @UFLaw @NebLRev

Kenneth B. Nunn, University of Florida College of Law, has published 'Essentially Black': Legal Theory and the Morality of Conscious Racial Identity 97 Nebraska Law Review 287 (2018). Here is the abstract.
In philosophy, essentialism involves the claim that everything that exists has a fundamental character or core set of features that makes it what it is. Although this idea developed out of Platonic notions of ideal forms, it has spread beyond philosophy into the social sciences and hard scientific disciplines like mathematics and biology. Since the advent of postmodernism, discussions around essentialism have become controversial. Adherents of postmodern theory argue that social categories, such as gender, race, and sexuality are socially constructed and that essentialist notions of identity, which suggest that identity is static, natural, and unchanging, are theoretically wrong. This postmodern perspective has engendered a significant and often contentious debate on the value of essentialist thought in contemporary identity movements focused on gender, sexuality, and race. In the context of these debates, essentialism has taken on a pejorative character and a negative moral connotation, especially among progressives and left-leaning social activists. The consequences of this moral condemnation are far-reaching. It makes it difficult for identity groups to organize around any social category deemed to be essentialist. This morally-grounded prohibition is especially problematic for Black nationalists and African-centered activists. In this Article, I examine the anti-essentialism critique that has developed in Critical Race and LatCrit legal theory. I argue that the anti-essentialism critique offered by critical theorists is misguided insofar as it claims that the assertion of a conscious racial identity is morally wrong. In reaching this conclusion, I first point out some contradictions and failings in the reasoning underlying the critique. Next, I detail some of the difficulties that adherence to anti-essentialism creates for Black communities and activists. Finally, I link normative approaches to essentialism to culture and worldview. I argue that antiessentialism is Eurocentric and its claim to a universal moral prohibition against race-consciousness is false.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Grajzl and Murrell on Estimating a Culture: Bacon, Coke, and Seventeenth-Century England

Peter Grajzl, Washington and Lee University Department of Economics; CESifo, and Peter Murrell, University of Maryland Department of Economics, have published Estimating a Culture: Bacon, Coke, and Seventeenth-Century England. Here is the abstract.
We use machine learning to estimate the features of early seventeenth-century English culture, applying structural topic modeling to the works of Francis Bacon and Edward Coke. The estimated topics reflect a core set of cultural ideas spanning legal, political, scientific, and methodological themes. Legal topics are highly connected, revealing an advanced structure of common-law thought that straddles areas of ostensibly disparate legal scholarship. The methodology of the common law is used to structure principles that are applied to debates both inside and outside law. Interconnections between topics uncover a distinctive approach to the pursuit of knowledge, embodying both Coke's legal methodology and Bacon's epistemology. Similarities between Bacon and Coke overshadow differences when conditioning on intended audience and time of authorship. Our estimated topics are constitutive elements of an emerging culture that reflected a legacy of common-law thought and that provided the core intellectual paradigm as England began its early ascent.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

The Notorious RBG In Song @ConstitutionCtr

The National Constitution Center hosted Notorious RBG in Song last night. Here's a link to the website, where you can hear the performance, which features Patrice Michaels, Kuang-Hao Huang, Andrew Harley, members of the Inscape Chamber Orchester, and Capital Hearings. 

February 4, 2019

Now Available: Patricia Miller, Bringing Down the Colonel (Sarah Crichton Books, 2018) @SarahCrichtonBK

Now available: Patricia Miller, Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the "Powerless" Woman Who Took on Washington (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2018). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
In Bringing Down the Colonel, the journalist Patricia Miller tells the story of Madeline Pollard, an unlikely nineteenth-century women’s rights crusader. After an affair with a prominent politician left her “ruined,” Pollard brought the man—and the hypocrisy of America’s control of women’s sexuality—to trial. And, surprisingly, she won. Pollard and the married Colonel Breckinridge began their decade-long affair when she was just a teenager. After the death of his wife, Breckinridge asked for Pollard’s hand—and then broke off the engagement to marry another woman. But Pollard struck back, suing Breckinridge for breach of promise in a shockingly public trial. With premarital sex considered irredeemably ruinous for a woman, Pollard was asserting the unthinkable: that the sexual morality of men and women should be judged equally. Nearly 125 years after the Breckinridge-Pollard scandal, America is still obsessed with women’s sexual morality. And in the age of Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein, we’ve witnessed fraught public reckonings with a type of sexual exploitation unnervingly similar to that experienced by Pollard. Using newspaper articles, personal journals, previously unpublished autobiographies, and letters, Bringing Down the Colonel tells the story of one of the earliest women to publicly fight back.

 Bringing Down the Colonel

Deadline Extended for CFP: Utopia/Dystopia Project Conference on Speculation, Legal Imagination, Becoming, and Possibilities

Call for Papers extended for the Utopia/Dystopia Project Conference on Speculation, Legal Imagination, Becoming, and Possibilities. The new deadline is February 15th. Here is a link to the original call for papers.

Maltz on The Coming of the Fifteenth Amendment @RutgersLaw

Earl Maltz, Rutgers Law School, has published The Coming of the Fifteenth Amendment: the Republican Party and the Right to Vote in the Early Reconstruction Era. Here is the abstract.
The year 2019 marks the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of one of the most significant moments in American constitutional history. On February, 25, 1869, more than two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives approved the proposed Fifteenth Amendment. The next day, the Senate followed suit, and the proposed amendment was sent to the state legislatures for ratification. After being ratified by the requisite number of states, the Fifteenth Amendment became the last of the three Reconstruction amendments that fundamentally transformed both the structure of the Constitution and the nature of American federalism. The Fifteenth Amendment differed from its predecessors in a number of important ways. First, it was the only one of the Reconstruction amendments and remains the only part of the entire Constitution to focus explicitly on race. In addition, the amendment became the first provision of the Constitution to limit the power of the state governments to establish the qualifications for voters in elections for state office, providing that “[t]he right of citizens…to vote…shall not be denied or abridged…on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude” and also vesting Congress with the authority to enforce this command by adopting “appropriate legislation.” Thus, among other things, the Fifteenth Amendment provided the most plausible source of congressional authority for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965—a statute which was and continues to be, by any standard, one of the most important civil rights measures ever adopted by Congress. Nonetheless, unlike the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, legal scholars have shown little or no interest in exploring the background of the Fifteenth Amendment. This article is the first to describe both the sequence of events that led to the passage and ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment and the forces that shaped the amendment itself.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

New Publication: Douglas Laycock, Religious Liberty @UVALaw @eerdmansbooks

Douglas Laycock, University of Virginia School of Law, has published Religious Liberty (William B. Eerdmans, 2018) (Emory University Studies in Law & Religion) (5 volumes). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the publication's contents.

The complete 5-volume set of Laycock’s authoritative writings on religious liberty in America
One of the most respected and influential scholars of religious liberty in our time, Douglas Laycock has argued many crucial religious liberty cases in the US appellate courts and the Supreme Court. His noteworthy legal writings are being collected in five comprehensive volumes under the title Religious Liberty.
Volume 1: Overviews and History
Volume 2: The Free Exercise Clause
Volume 3: Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, Same-Sex Marriage
                 Legislation, and the Culture Wars
Volume 4: Federal Legislation after the Religious Freedom Restoration
                 Acts, with More on the Culture Wars
Volume 5: The Free Speech and Establishment Clauses

Call For Papers: Legal Fictions Revisited--29th World Congress of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy @KYAlbrecht

From the mailbox:

29th World Congress of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (IVR) • University of Lucerne • 7 – 13 July 2019

Special Workshop: Legal Fictions Revisited

Convenors: Kristin Y. Albrecht (University of Salzburg) and Karen Petroski (Saint Louis University)

Call for Papers

Fictions of various kinds remain powerful devices of legal argumentation and justification. Following the route opened by the special workshop on legal fictions at the IVR Congress 2011, as well as the resulting book and recent publications by such scholars as Simon Stern, we invite proposals for papers investigating some less-explored aspects of the subject, in particular the philosophical foundations, comparative examination, and historical aspects of legal fictions.
Is law a fiction or fictional system? If so, what is specific about legal fictions—or do they involve the same kind of fictionality as law itself? Is fictionality a phenomenon of language, ontology, and/or epistemology? Does fictionality presuppose an authorial intention? What does it presuppose about legal audiences? What can we learn from the history of asking questions like these about law and fiction? How much should lawyers, judges, and legislators know about these matters?
Possible topics include:
I. Philosophy
· Fiction, deeming, and presumption in comparative perspective
· Fiction and definition
· Fiction and hypothesis, thought experiment, and planning
· Fiction and metaphor
· Fiction and truth
· Legal and aesthetic fictions
II. Comparative Law/Legal Theory
· Fictions in common law systems
· Fictions in civil law systems
· The role of legal fictions in the development of law
III. History of Legal Philosophy
· Jhering and Maine
· Kant and Vaihinger
· Kelsen and Vaihinger
· René Dekkers
· Oskar Buelow
Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words to Kristin Albrecht (kristin.albrecht@sbg.ac.at) and Karen Petroski (karen.petroski@slu.edu) by February 28, 2018. We will notify the authors of accepted proposals by March 15. We may schedule more than one meeting of this special workshop if the number and quality of proposed papers justify it.

February 2, 2019

Call For Applications, Kent Summer School in Critical Theory @UniKent

From Professor Maria Drakopoulou, Co Director University of Kent Centre for Critical Thought:
We are excited to announce that applications are now open for the Kent Summer School in Critical Theory, to be held this year in Paris, 1-12 July 2019. Our website is now live, and we invite you to pay us a visit and lodge your application at: https://research.kent.ac.uk/kssct/. All instructions, deadlines, further information, and FAQs can be found there.

The KSSCT is a summer school for early career researchers and doctoral students from all disciplines. It aims to create a unique pedagogical experience, enabling leading critical thinkers to conduct an intensive 2-week seminar with a new generation of critical scholars.

The teachers of the intensive seminars in 2019 will be Professor Alain Pottage (London School of Economics, UK) and Professor Sigrid Weigel (Research Center for Literature and Culture, Berlin, Germany). An outline of each 2-week seminar, together with an indicative reading list, is now available on the website.

Details of evening lectures and other events will be added as we confirm the full schedule for this year’s meeting. We are also delighted to announce that in 2019, the KSSCT seminar programme will be preceded by a Graduate Research Day, in Paris on 29 June. We encourage all applicants to consider joining us for this one-day event, and we also welcome applications to the graduate research day from those who are not able to apply to attend a KSSCT seminar this year.

For details and further information, please visit the website at: https://research.kent.ac.uk/kssct/graduate-research-day/

February 1, 2019

Nadler on The Value of Homicide Victims in "The Wire" @ABFResearch

Janice Nadler, Northwestern University School of Law; American Bar Foundation, is publishing 'Deserve Got Nothin’ to Do with It': The Value of Homicide Victims in The Wire in the University of Chicago Legal Forum. Here is the abstract.
The moral principle of placing the highest value on human life is a basic one. It underlies a central responsibility of criminal law. But within the universe of the American crime drama series The Wire, these fundamental principles break down. The focus of government investigations is framed by the drug war, which sometimes distorts the goals and decisions of law enforcement strategy. At most, each killing in the inner city is typically acknowledged by the state in the form of an uptick in the police department’s weekly ComStat counts, by the press as a story buried deep within the paper, or not mentioned at all. In this Article, I argue that the frequency of killings and the sheer number of victims can itself result in the distortion of basic values and priorities. Exposure to large human death tolls can result in what researchers have called psychic numbing. Against the background of a large aggregate tragedy, each new death represents an incremental increase, which fails to register emotionally because our compassion becomes fatigued. In The Wire, psychically-numbed characters pursue institutional goals unencumbered by the negative emotions that otherwise might prompt them to question their participation in acts that lead to perverse outcomes. Less visible is the implicit hierarchical ordering of victims which, in addition to psychic numbing, contributes to law operating in a manner not always predicted by the law in the books. There were many premeditated murders depicted in The Wire, and the responsible individuals were depicted as almost never receiving punishment by the criminal justice system. This fictional depiction of the absence of accountability for killings is unfortunately largely accurate in many large U.S. cities today.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Michaels on Abstract Innovation, Virtual Ideas, and Artificial Legal Thought @UHLAW

Andrew C. Michaels, University of Houston Law Center, is publishing Abstract Innovation, Virtual Ideas, and Artificial Legal Thought in volume 14 of the Maryland Journal of Business & Technology Law. Here is the abstract.
In a culture of tech-triumphalism, it is often assumed that advances in technology are "making the world a better place," though in reality technology can have both positive and negative effects. This article explores how technology could change the way we think (or don't think) about law, and whether such changes would be beneficial. Part I uses the novel Ready Player One to consider how virtual reality technology might distract people from reality. Considering a hypothetical patent on a virtual reality idea from the novel, Part II discusses the evolving law of patentable subject matter and abstract ideas. Part III considers predictions that legal thought of the type done in the previous part will become automated, and then considers some potential drawbacks of replacing human legal thought with artificial legal thought. The article concludes by questioning whether anyone will be thinking about law in the future, and whether it matters.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.