September 30, 2019

Call For Papers, 2020 Law and Humanities Junior Scholars Workshop

Call for Papers

Columbia Law School, Georgetown University Law School, Stanford Law School, UCLA School of Law, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Southern California Center for Law, History, and Culture invite submissions for the nineteenth meeting of the Law and Humanities Junior Scholars Workshop, to be held at UCLA School of Law in Los Angeles, CA, on Sunday, June 7, and Monday, June 8, 2020. 

The paper competition is open to untenured professors, advanced graduate students, and post-doctoral scholars in law and the humanities. In addition to drawing from numerous humanistic fields, we welcome critical, qualitative work in the social sciences. We are especially interested in submissions from members of traditionally underrepresented groups.  We welcome submissions from those working at regional and teaching-intensive institutions.

Based on anonymous evaluation by an interdisciplinary selection committee, between five and ten papers will be chosen for presentation at the June Workshop. At the Workshop, two senior scholars will comment on each paper. Commentators and other Workshop participants will be asked to focus specifically on the strengths and weaknesses of the selected scholarly projects, with respect to subject and methodology. The selected papers will then serve as the basis for a larger conversation among all the participants about the evolving standards by which we judge excellence and creativity in interdisciplinary scholarship, as well as about the nature of interdisciplinarity itself.

The selected papers will appear in a special issue of the Legal Scholarship Network; there is no other publication commitment. (We will accommodate the wishes of chosen authors who prefer not to have their paper posted publicly with us because of publication commitments to other journals.)

The Workshop will pay the domestic travel and hotel expenses of authors whose papers are selected for presentation. For authors requiring airline travel from outside the United States, the Workshop will cover such travel expenses up to a maximum of $1000.

Papers must be works-in-progress that do not exceed 15,000 words in length (including footnotes/ endnotes); most papers selected for inclusion in recent years have been at least 10,000 words long. An abstract of no more than 200 words must also be included with the paper submission. A dissertation chapter may be submitted, but we strongly suggest that it be edited so as to stand alone as a piece of work with its own integrity. A paper that has been submitted for publication is eligible for selection so long as it will not be in galley proofs or in print at the time of the Workshop; it is important that authors still be in a position at the time of the Workshop to consider comments they receive there and to incorporate them as they think appropriate in their revisions.

We ask that those submitting papers be careful to omit or redact any information in the body of the paper that might serve to identify them, as we adhere to an anonymous or “blind” selection process.

Submissions (in Microsoft Word—no pdf files, please) will be accepted until December 2, 2019, and should be sent by e-mail to: Please be sure to include your name, institutional affiliation (if any), and phone and e-mail contact information in your covering email, not in the paper itself.

For more information, please send an email inquiry to

To see selected papers from some previous years’ workshops, go to:

Anne Dailey, University of Connecticut Law School
Katherine Franke, Columbia Law School
Sarah Barringer Gordon, University of Pennsylvania
Nan Goodman, University of Colorado
Ariela Gross, University of Southern California
Martha Jones, Johns Hopkins University
Naomi Mezey, Georgetown University Law Center
Paul Saint-Amour, University of Pennsylvania
Hilary Schor, University of Southern California
Norman Spaulding, Stanford Law School
Clyde Spillenger, UCLA School of Law
Nomi Stolzenberg, University of Southern California
Martha Umphrey, Amherst College

Conveners, 2020 Law and Humanities Junior Scholars Workshop

Call For Papers: Feeling Democracy: A Conference On Politics and Emotions

Call for Papers – Feeling Democracy: A Conference on Politics and Emotions

The Institute for Research on Women (IRW) at Rutgers University invites paper proposals for Feeling Democracy: A Conference on Politics and Emotions to be held on April 17, 2020.
In January 2017, when millions of women here and abroad took the streets chanting “Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” they channeled mass anger at the incoming president’s misogyny and racism into worldwide protests. From social media flame wars to fiery political speeches, emotion shapes political rhetoric and action. Politicized emotions can galvanize participation and inspire democratic renewal, such as in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. But emotional appeals can also undermine democratic stability, as demonstrated by the global rise of authoritarian populism.  

Emotions and affect have emerged as a rich field of inquiry in the social sciences and humanities. How can feminism help us make sense of the complex relationship between emotions and democracy? To what extent are solidarities around gender, race, and sexuality catalysts of a passionate democratic politics? Is the expression of emotion in democratic politics only acceptable when it is voiced by certain types of people or communities? We seek to explore these and other related questions in an interdisciplinary conference and welcome national and international perspectives related to our theme. The most compelling papers from the conference will be collected in an edited volume of IRW’s new Feminist Bookshelf series, published by Rutgers University Press.

Submission Guidelines
To submit proposals for individual papers or group sessions, please send the following information to
  • Name
  • Affiliation (please note that independent scholars and activists are welcome to present)
  • Mailing address
  • Office and cell phone numbers
  • Email address
  • Equipment needs
  • Biography (50 words)
  • Title of Presentation
  • Abstract (250-300 words)
Deadline for submissions is November 15, 2019. 

Hasday on Intimate Lies and the Law (Introduction), Oxford University Press (2019) @JillHasday @UofMNLawSchool @OUPLaw @OUPAcademic

Jill Elaine Hasday, University of Minnesota Law School, has published Introduction: Intimate Lies and the Law (Oxford University Press, 2019). Here is the abstract.
Intimacy and deception are often entangled. People deceive to lure someone into a relationship or to keep her there, to drain an intimate’s bank account or to use her to acquire government benefits, to control an intimate or to resist domination, or to capture myriad other advantages. No subject is immune from deception in dating, sex, marriage, and family life. Intimates can lie or otherwise intentionally mislead each other about anything and everything. Suppose you discover that an intimate has deceived you and inflicted severe—even life-altering—financial, physical, or emotional harm. After the initial shock and sadness, you might wonder whether the law will help you secure redress. But the legal system refuses to help most people deceived within an intimate relationship. Courts and legislatures have shielded this persistent and pervasive source of injury, routinely denying deceived intimates access to the remedies that are available for deceit in other contexts. Jill Elaine Hasday’s Intimate Lies and the Law is the first book that systematically examines deception in intimate relationships and uncovers the hidden body of law governing this duplicity. Hasday argues that the law has placed too much emphasis on protecting intimate deceivers and too little importance on helping the people they deceive. The law can and should do more to recognize, prevent, and redress the injuries that intimate deception can inflict. Entering an intimate relationship should not mean losing the law’s protection from deceit.
Download the Introduction from SSRN at the link.

September 26, 2019

Dunman on The Devil in Recent American Law @JoeDunman

L Joe Dunman, Morehead State University, has published The Devil in Recent American Law at 39 Pace Law Review 929 (2019). Here is the abstract.
Despite its secular aspirations, the American legal system is permeated by Christian and other religious ideas. One of the religious ideas that frequently appears in recent American law is the devil – the unholy antithesis of all that is good in the world. Called by many names, such as Satan, Lucifer, or the Antichrist, the devil is no stranger to the United States court system. The devil arises from the depths primarily in five contexts: (1) as a source of injury to reputation in defamation cases; (2) as a prejudicial invocation made during criminal trials to secure conviction, harshen sentences, or discredit witnesses; (3) as a symptom of mental illness or delusion severe enough to qualify criminal defendants for insanity pleas and incapacitate decedents in probate; (4) as a source of religious conflict between inmates and their wardens; and, sometimes (5) as a party to litigation. This article broadly surveys each of these five contexts, exploring how courts have adjudicated recent disputes that involve accusations or admissions of Satanism and associated rituals. Readers will learn how American courts have dealt with religious ideas that many people find distasteful, dangerous, or downright abhorrent. So far, no grand unifying theme or theory is evident, so this survey will hopefully be a springboard for further, more focused research and argument as to how the American legal system should handle disputes that implicate the “archvillain of world culture.”
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 25, 2019

Roberts on The Evolution of Repressive Legality in the Nineteenth Century British Empire

Christopher M. Roberts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, is publishing From the State of Emergency to the Rule of Law: The Evolution of Repressive Legality in the Nineteenth Century British Empire in volume 20 of the Chicago Journal of International Law (2019). Here is the abstract.
Why are contemporary laws and techniques that state authorities use to crack down on political dissent so similar across countries? This Article argues that at least part of the answer may be found by turning to colonial history. The Article has two Parts. In the first Part, the Article explores the manner in which, over the course of the nineteenth century, the British deployed various different legal and institutional approaches in response to an Irish polity that consistently refused to submit to British authority. In the second Part, the Article examines the manner in which the approaches developed in Ireland were exported to other parts of the empire, in particular to India, South Africa, and Nigeria, over the course of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Along the way, the Article considers the big picture significance of such developments relative to the nature of the rule of law. While, over time, the deployment of increasingly legalized and formalized approaches may have played a positive role insofar as they served to soften and displace the potential for more direct violence, enabled by declarations of martial law, such developments came at the cost of the incorporation of much of the repressive approach employed in contexts of emergency rule into everyday legality. Far from conflicting with the rule of law, this development represented the form in which the expansion of the rule of law primarily occurred — serving to entrench and legitimize the repressive practices in question.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 24, 2019

Coyle, Musacchio, and Turner on Law and Finance in Britain c. 1900 @MusacchioAldo @ProfJohnTurner @QUCEHBelfast

Christopher Coyle, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's Management School, Aldo Musacchio, Brandeis University, International Business School, and John D. Turner, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's Management School, have published Law and Finance in Britain c.1900 as QMS Research Paper 2019/11.
In this paper, using new estimates of the size of the UK’s capital market, we examine financial development and investor protection laws in Britain c.1900 to test the influential law and finance hypothesis. Our evidence suggests that there was not a close correlation between financial development and investor protection laws c.1900 and that the size of the UK’s share market is a puzzle given the paucity of statutory investor protection. To illustrate that Britain was not unique in its approach to investor protection in this era, we examine investor protection laws across legal families c.1900.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Duve on Pragmatic Normative Literature and the Production of Normative Knowledge in the Early Modern Iberian Empires in the 16th-17th Centuries

Thomas Duve, Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, is publishing Pragmatic Normative Literature and the Production of Normative Knowledge in the Early Modern Iberian Empires in the 16th–17th Centuries in I Knowledge of the pragmatici: Legal and Moral Theological Literature and the Formation of Early Modern Ibero-America (Thomas Duve and Otto Danwerth, eds., Leiden: Brill (2020, Forthcoming)).
This introductory chapter aims to show the role of ‘pragmatic normative literature’ in the historical regime of knowledge production in the early modern Iberian Empires during the 16th and 17th centuries and to define this literary genre in the light of this function. It starts with an attempt to present the legal history of the Iberian empires as part of a legal tradition that can be understood as a huge diachronic process of intertextuality, a long history of reiterative acts of translating normative information into normative knowledge. It outlines why normative knowledge produced by religious actors was of overwhelming significance within the knowledge economy of the 16th- and 17th-century Iberian empires and how practical theology, normative practices and pragmatic literature were intertwined. From this reconstruction of certain fundamental characteristics, it is possible to suggest a definition of ‘pragmatic normative literature’, to summarise the current state of research on the media that comprised this genre and to conclude with some remarks on why pragmatic literature might have been of special significance for governing an empire.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

September 23, 2019

Okidegbe on "A 'Bad Rap': R. v. Skeete and the Admissibility of Rap Lyric Evidence @NgoziOkidegbe @CardozoLaw

Ngozi Okidegbe, Cardozo School of Law, has published A ‘Bad Rap’: R. v. Skeete and the Admissibility of Rap Lyric Evidence at 66 Crim. L.Q. 294 (2018). Here is the abstract.
This paper explores the evidentiary treatment of violent and prejudicial defendant-authored rap lyrics in Canadian criminal trials. It argues that the current evidentiary threshold jeopardizes trial fairness by allowing the Crown to adduce highly prejudicial rap lyric evidence at trial. It also problematizes the judicial reliance on corroborative evidence, which does not establish the truthfulness of the lyrics tendered, to admit these violent rap lyrics at trial. It argues that the reliance on such corroborative evidence results in a misapprehension of the lyrics’ evidentiary value and ultimately in the admission of defendant-authored rap lyric evidence of low probative value at trial. This result is particularly concerning in the case of young black male defendants, since the introduction of their lyrics at trial can prime a jury’s unconscious anti-black bias and therefore serve to increase the distortive effect of this type of evidence on the fairness and integrity of criminal proceedings. It concludes by advocating for a rap specific approach to the admissibility of this evidence.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Hashemipour on Reinventing a Folk Hero in Yashar Kemal's Epic Novel "Memed, My Hawk"

Saman Hashemipour, Girne American University, has published Reinventing a Folk Hero in Yashar Kemal's Epic Novel, 'Memed, My Hawk' at 7 International Journal of Engineering & Technology 342 (2018). Here is the abstract.
A millennium after the Day of Ashura, Yashar Kemal's folk hero, Memed, rises against another atrocious dynastic ruler. Husayn Ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was killed and beheaded in the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD to end a caliphate, taking full account of claiming his life. Annually, Shiite and Alevi Muslims hold funeral ceremonies worldwide for his martyrdom on certain days to remember their liberty, as Memed's compatriots, the villagers of Değirmenoluk in Yashar Kemal's epic masterpiece, Memed, My Hawk do. Heroes do not accept injustice, but right all wrongs at all costs. Die or live as a hero, people compose ballads of protagonist's heroism and consider their liberators as holy figures.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 20, 2019

Witteveen Memorial Fellowship in Law and Humanities Fellowship: Application Deadline November 15 @TilburgLaw

The Witteveen Memorial Fellowship in Law and Humanities aims to enable a junior scholar (PhD or postdoc level) to further develop her or his research in the area of ‘Law and Humanities’ during a three-month visit to Tilburg University (Netherlands). The fellowship covers travel and accommodation. The application deadline is November 15.

For more information on the fellowship, please visit:

September 18, 2019

Culver on (Un)Wicked Analytical Frameworks and the Cry For Identity @UCILaw @CWSL_News

Leslie Culver, University of California, Irvine, School of Law; California Western School of Law, has published (Un)Wicked Analytical Frameworks and the Cry for Identity
Heralded as a cultural phenomenon, the musical Wicked — the untold story of the Witches of Oz — transformed the way we view the classical Wizard of Oz. Wicked not only narrated the Wicked Witch’s identity from her perspective, it also provided a revealing reflection on the Good Witch’s identity, her privileged life and superficial rise to popularity. Using Wicked as a contemporary framework, this Article juxtaposes identity discourse with legal writing to broaden law students’ understanding of the depth of legal analysis. Often law students feel the tension between the supposed freedom of a creative legal writing process, and replicating rigid and reductive analytical paradigms, such as IRAC. And inasmuch as the legal academy has recognized IRAC’s inability to generate depth and creativity in legal analysis, law students do not similarly see its shallowness. IRAC’s very presence is a legal writing identity crisis. To cure this wicked ill, this Article models Wicked narration of the life of the Wicked Witch of the West, and tells the untold narrative of the Analytical Framework that undergirds IRAC. This illustrative approach demonstrates how legal analysis can reveal the human experience, bridge cultural gaps, give voice to the voiceless, dismantle power and make the law accessible, particularly for those who exist at the margins. Such transformative power frames the process of legal writing, not as an affront to their authentic identity, but as further development of it. In the end, the audience loved Wicked — not because it outshined the Wizard of Oz — but because Broadway finally shared with the world the identity formation of the “Wicked Witch of the West.” Her name is Elphaba, and she’s not so wicked.
The full text is not available for download from SSRN. Curses.

Kahn on Mask Bans as Expressions of Memory Politics in the United States

Robert Kahn, University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota), has published Mask Bans As Expressions of Memory Politics in the United States. Here is the abstract.
Mask laws have a lengthy history in the United States, one primarily, but not exclusively tied up with the Ku Klux Klan. They also are an instance of memory politics. In particular, mask bans complicate Nikolay Koposov’s distinction between narrow, self-centered memory politics (society casting itself as a victim), and broad, universalistic memory politics (society recognizing its past crimes). Sometimes, as in the Reconstruction Era, mask bans sent inculpatory or universal messages, albeit weak ones. By the 1920s, the mask bans protected Southern elites and by the 1950s, they partially exculpated the regime of segregation by focusing attention on the Klan as uncouth, cowardly, and unworthy defenders of a “progressive” South still deeply invested in segregation and White supremacy. As such, mask bans show that memory laws are sometimes used as tools of moral distancing, something also on display in recent attempts to anoint Antifa as the new Klan by “unmasking” it.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 17, 2019

ASLCH To Be Held at Quinnipiac University School of Law, March 7-8, 2020 @Law_Cult_Huma


We are pleased to announce that the Twenty-Third Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities will be held at Quinnipiac University School of Law in North Haven, Connecticut, on March 7-8, 2020.


As always, we welcome well-constructed proposals on any topic related to law and legal studies. In addition, our theme this year is: Projections: Imagining Legal Futurity. We now seemingly inhabit a moment of multiple thresholds and must engage a future that urgently demands our attention. Climate change, challenges to democratic governance, new modes of communication, mass migration, quickening temporalities, the very boundaries of the human – all of these and more constitute a new and shifting landscape of materiality, epistemology, and social relations. How do and should we imagine the place of law in such a future?

We invite proposals taking up that question from a variety of humanities-oriented perspectives. Among many other questions, one might ask: As we increasingly negotiate digitally-connected webs of relations, what relevance does the concept of rights retain? How is authority articulated and disarticulated in a lightning-paced, image-saturated world? In what ways do historical modes of thinking remain relevant to future-oriented legal argument and legitimation? How might the power and reach of law be reconfigured by seemingly unprecedented challenges to human flourishing such as climate change and artificial intelligence? How do speculative fiction and imaginative culture, post-apocalyptic or otherwise, renew and/or create new principles, standards, prescriptions, and prohibitions that regulate our everyday practices? Does the future we imagine call for new ways to think about law itself?

 All proposals are due Friday, November 1, 2019, midnight Eastern Standard Time.

Submission Instructions

Individual proposals should include a title and an abstract of no more than 250 words. We also welcome proposals for panels, round-tables, and streams (two panels on one theme). Panels should include three papers (or, exceptionally, four papers). Please specify a title and designate a chair for your panel. The panel chair may also be a panel presenter. It is not necessary to write an abstract or proposal for the panel itself. To indicate your pre-constituted panel, round-table, or stream, please ensure that individual registrants provide the name of the panel and the chair in their individual submissions on the registration site. All panel, round-table, or stream participants must make an individual submission on the registration site.

 All proposals must be submitted on this site.

The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities is an organization of scholars engaged in interdisciplinary, humanistically-oriented legal scholarship. The Association brings together a wide range of people engaged in scholarship on legal history, legal theory and jurisprudence, politics, cultural studies, anthropology, literature, the performing arts, media studies, and legal hermeneutics. We encourage dialogue across and among these fields about issues of interpretation, identity, and values, about authority, obligation, and justice, and about law's role as a constituent part of cultures and communities. If you have any general questions about the conference, please do not hesitate to contact us at


The Annual Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities Graduate Student Workshop will be held on Friday, March 6, 2020 (the day before the annual meeting begins). Applications are due November 15, 2019.
The workshop is designed for graduate students who are undertaking research that cuts across law, cultural studies, literature, philosophy, legal studies, anthropology, political science, and history, among others. The workshop is designed to afford graduate students the opportunity to experience the LCH community in a smaller venue with more sustained contact with one another and some faculty. The workshop also provides graduate students with an opportunity to discuss their research projects in a small group setting in anticipation of such things as job talks and publication.


Applications to the workshop should consist of a current curriculum vitae (5-page maximum), an abstract of a current project not exceeding 700 words, as well as a short (5- page maximum) text relating to that project. This “text” could be a case, literary work, a time-line, a photo, a sound or video file, or some other relevant text. The text you choose should be something that helps you reflect on the subject of your work and your methods of analysis. Please use your judgment and best guess in deciding how audio, visual, or audio-visual materials "translate" into pages of text.
Applicants whose proposals are accepted will receive some support towards an extra night's accommodation from ASLCH as well as some support (varying, depending on distance traveled) towards the cost of transportation to the conference site. While those who participated in a previous workshop may re-apply and participate again, should space and/or funds be limited, we will prioritize new participants.
Please email your applications to by Friday November 15, 2019 by midnight Eastern Standard Time. Please include the subject line: ASLCH Grad Workshop Application. Please name your file(s) using your lastname first, e.g. “Miller_application” or “Miller_cv”. Please remind us if you applied for or participated in a previous workshop and, if so, which one(s).

September 16, 2019

Macey-Dare on No Deal Brexit and the Wicker Man Strategy

Rupert Macey-Dare, University of Oxford, Saint Cross College; Middle Temple, Minerva Chambers; has published No Deal Brexit and the Wicker Man Strategy. Here is the abstract.
In 1973, shortly after the UK's accession to the Common Market (later the European Union), British Lion Films unleashed singular British cult folk-horror classic: the Wicker Man, whose enigmatic themes have puzzled audiences to this day. In Shaffer and Hardy's Wicker Man, Edward Woodward playing Sergeant Neil Howie, is the lone force of rationality, law and order in a race against time to ‎rescue potential human sacrificial victim Rowan MacGregor from retro pagan inhabitants of the agricultural offshore island of Summerisle. These in turn are led, mesmerized by their laird Lord Summerisle, in a performance hammed up to perfection by Christopher Lee. As the clock runs down to sacrifice day, Sergeant Howie's progressively more animated attempts to avert the imminent crime and rescue Rowan only serve to deliver him instead to the designated trap and ritual immolation in the iconic Wicker Man pyre (interestingly an ancient European punishment originally described by Julius Caesar). Roll the clock forward ‎46 years from the film, and some may see aspects of the Wicker Man strategy being played out by canny Brexiteers in the current Brexit debate, with prime minister Johnson giving his own masterful interpretation of a demented Lord Summerisle. The legal default position is No Deal Brexit on 31st October 2019, but Johnson argues that he can get a satisfactory Brexit deal through in time, if given a parliamentary free hand. Meanwhile Remainer parliamentary campaigners rush, plan and plot to force Johnson's hand and avert a No Deal Brexit outcome at the 11th hour, and the European Union and European political leaders stick to their hold-up demands on the Northern Island backstop. In doing so the Remainer leaders and European Union may inadvertently be being guided into position to take all the political blame for the No Deal Brexit, when no deal was actually ever really intended. New prime minister Boris Johnson famously quipped that it's time to hear the British Lion roar again. But this may mean the crackle of the reputational flames around whoever else gets blamed for No Deal Brexit- whoever ends up in the No Deal Brexit Wicker Man.
The full text is not available for download from SSRN.

Oseid on What Lawyers Can Learn From Edgar Allan Poe @USTLawMN

Julie A. Oseid, University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) Law School, has published What Lawyers Can Learn from Edgar Allan Poe at 15 Legal Comm. & Rhetoric: JAWLD 233 (2018). Here is the abstract.
Treat yourself to a spine-tingling Edgar Allan Poe sensation by reading about the synergy between stories of horror and legal writing. Poe defined a short-story writing technique and named four qualities — brevity, unity, focus, and brilliant style — as critical. These exact same qualities are familiar to lawyers because they are just as critical for persuasive briefs. This article examines Poe’s critique of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales, reviews some of Poe’s own work, and applies Poe’s advice about great short-story writing to legal writing.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Ralph on The Story of a Class: Uses of Narrative in Public Interest Class Actions Before Certification @OSU_Law

Anne E. Ralph, The Ohio State University College of Law, is publishing The Story of a Class: Uses of Narrative in Public Interest Class Actions Before Certification in the Washington Law Review. Here is the abstract.
Stories have power. When litigants in public interest class actions tell their stories, the narratives can advance the law and influence public debate. But before class members’ stories can vindicate civil rights on the merits, plaintiffs must overcome the hurdle of class certification. For decades, class certification under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 was not a significant challenge for plaintiffs seeking to litigate as a class. But recent restrictive procedural developments—including heightened the standards for class certification—threaten the powerful stories that can be told through public interest class actions. Missing in the critical analysis of class action jurisprudence is any discussion of how advocates can use narrative techniques to meet that heightened certification standard. Similarly, law and narrative scholarship has devoted little attention to the class action. This article begins to fill that gap by engaging in a critical reading of two recent public interest class actions: one challenging family separations at the border, and one challenging the denial of abortion care to pregnant unaccompanied minors in immigration custody. The article identifies narrative choices that ultimately enable class certification and further storytelling in public interest class actions. The article argues that narrative theory can provide an important perspective on the debate over restrictive class action procedure, and makes recommendations for courts and lawyers to pay greater attention to narrative in class action cases.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 12, 2019

Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting, June 1-3, 2020: Call For Papers @CndHistAssoc

The Canadian Historical Association has issued its Call for Papers for the 2020 Annual Meeting. The meeting will take place at Western University, June 1-3, 2020. Here is a link to the website.

September 10, 2019

Mendenhall on Justice Holmes, Bad Boy @allenmendenhall

Allen Mendenhall, Faulkner University School of Law, is publishing Justice Holmes, Bad Boy in volume 34 of the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice. Here is the abstract.
James M. Kang's "Oliver Wendell Holmes and Fixations of Manliness" undertakes a particularly charged subject in light of the #MeToo Movement and accumulating accusations of "toxic masculinity." Kang is right to recognize the abiding influence of Ralph Waldo Emerson on Holmes, but his construal of manliness or masculinity is generalized and ill-explained. The lack of a clear definition for manliness confounds Kang's treatment of Holmes as a reckless youth and than as a grown man who admired soldierly courage. Nor does Kang demonstrate a familiarity with polemical, important theories in the field of gender studies. This review essay suggests that a more persuasive interpretation of the manliness that appears to characterize Holmes might be found in Harvey C. Mansfield's insightful yet controversial "Manliness," which discusses the Darwinian, Nietzschean influences that shaped conceptions of manliness in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Although Mansfield does not make room for Emerson or Holmes in his study, he captures the Emersonian individualism that Kang identifies in Holmes. Mansfield's focus on Nietzsche is striking in light of the philosophical nexus between Emerson and Nietzsche, and indeed between Holmes and Nietzsche.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

CFP: The Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network Seeks Submissions for LSA Annual Meeting, May 28-31, 2020

Call for Papers – Friday, September 20 Deadline
The Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network
Seeks submissions for the
Law and Society Association Annual Meeting
May 28-31, 2020 in Denver, Colorado
Dear friends and colleagues:
We invite you to submit a paper for a panel to be sponsored by the Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network at the 2020 Law and Society Annual Meeting in Denver. The Feminist Legal Theory CRN brings together law and society scholars across a range of fields who are interested in feminist legal theory. Information about the Law and Society meeting is available at 
We will give preference to individual paper proposals over proposals for panels that are pre-formed.  One of the goals of the Feminist Legal Theory CRN is to encourage scholars to engage with the diverse work of others across the academy. Any proposals for a fully-formed panel should address specifically the efforts that the panel organizers have made to ensure diversity among presenters, including race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity; diversity in the institutions of presenters’ affiliation and/or primary training; diversity among positions in the academy such as senior vs. junior scholars, tenured vs. non-tenured participants, doctrinal vs. non-doctrinal faculty. 
This year’s meeting invites us to explore “Rule and Resistance.”  We are especially interested in proposals that explore the application of feminist legal theory to this theme, broadly construed. We are also interested in papers that will permit us to collaborate with other CRNs, such as the Critical Research on Race and the Law CRN. We welcome multidisciplinary paper proposals and proposals from scholars from all parts of the world.
Our goal is to stimulate focused discussion of papers on which scholars are currently working rather than to seek fully-formed panels.  Thus, while you may submit papers that are closer to publication, we are particularly eager to receive proposals for works-in-progress that are at an earlier stage and will benefit from the discussion that the panels will provide. We strongly encourage applications from junior scholars and graduate students – as well as people who are new to feminist legal theory.

The Planning Committee will assign individual papers to panels of four presenters, based on subject matter. Each paper presentation should run roughly 10 to 15 minutes to allow ample time for discussion. We will also assign a chair, and one or two commentators/discussants for each panel, to provide feedback on the papers and promote discussion.

In addition to traditional panels, we are open to proposals in the other formats that the LSA allows, including Author Meets Reader, Salon, or Roundtable sessions. If you have an idea that you think would work well in one of these formats, please also use the submission form above.  Organizers of these types of sessions should address in their proposal the same diversity criteria listed above.

Finally–and new this year–the FLT CRN welcomes submissions for roundtables on how to incorporate feminist principles into both teaching methods (pedagogical strategies as well as classroom practices) and course coverage across subject areas. Sessions could potentially address topics such as: (1) what feminist teaching can look like and (2) how to deal with the unique challenges of teaching in a hostile or indifferent environment to feminism. Preference will be given to proposals that involve materials or demonstrations.

Please also note that LSA rules limit each participant to a single conference appearance as a paper panelist or as a roundtable participant.

As a condition of participating as part of a program sponsored by the CRN, we also ask that you agree to serve as a chair and/or commentator/discussant for another panel or participant
. We will of course take into account expertise and topic preferences to the degree possible.

Chairs are responsible for the primary organization of the panel. Chairs will develop a 100 to 250 word description for the session and submit the session proposal to LSA before the November 6 LSA deadline.  This will ensure that other participants accepted by the CRN can submit their proposal to LSA, using the panel number assigned by the CRN. The Chair may also serve as the Discussant for the panel, or there may be a separate Discussant.  Where possible, we will attempt to assign two Discussants to each paper panel. Discussants read the two to three papers assigned to them and prepare a short commentary to offer feedback and serve as a basis for discussion among the panelist and audience members as well as (to the extent relevant) identify ways that the papers relate to one another.
If you would like to present a paper as part of a CRN panel, please make your submission here The submission form will ask you to provide:
·         A 500 word abstract or summary of your paper;
·         Your paper’s title
·         Your name and institutional affiliation;
·         Number of years you have been in teaching/working as a grad student; and
·         A list of your areas of interest and expertise within feminist legal theory.
Please note that for Author Meets Reader, Salon, or Roundtable sessions, organizers should provide a 500-word summary of the topic and the contributions they expect the proposed participants to make.
If you need to contact the CRN Planning Committee, please do so via (Please do not send submissions to individual committee members.) 
Please submit all proposals by Friday, September 20, 2019. Late proposals may not be considered for inclusion. This schedule will permit us to organize panels and submit them prior to the LSA’s deadline of November 6. In the past, we have accommodated as many panelists as possible, but have been unable to accept all proposals. If we are unable to accept your proposal for the CRN, we will notify you by early November so that you can submit an independent proposal to LSA.
We hope you’ll join us in Denver to share and discuss the scholarship in which we are all engaged and connect with others doing work on feminist legal theory.
Finally, please make sure to sign up for the Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research page on TWEN, as that is our primary platform for communication about the CRN’s activities.  If your primary academic affiliation is outside a U.S.-based law school, please contact Bridget Crawford (, and she will arrange for you to have access to TWEN, if you provide your institutional email account.  The CRN welcomes participants from all parts of the academy.

September 3, 2019

Zoldan on Corpus Linguistics and the Dream of Objectivity @ECZoldan

Evan C. Zoldan, University of Toledo College of Law, is publishing Corpus Linguistics and the Dream of Objectivity in the Seton Hall Law Review. Here is the abstract.
A growing number of scholars and judges have embraced corpus linguistics as a way to interpret legal texts. Their stated goal—to make legal interpretation more objective — is an admirable one. But, is their claim that corpus linguistics can reduce the subjectivity associated with judicial intuition and biased data more than just a dream? This Article analyzes the use of corpus linguistics for statutory interpretation and concludes that this novel practice does not live up to its promise to make legal interpretation more objective. Instead, the use of corpus linguistics relies on judicial intuition and biased data, disrupting its proponents’ dream of objectivity.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

New Springer Law Book Series, "Law and Visual Jurisprudence" Launched @AnneWag26082949

From Anne Wagner, Research Associate Professor, Université du Littoral Côte d'Opale (CGU Calais)

Dear All,

it is with great privilege that we announce the official launch of a new Law Book Series, of which Sarah Marusek and I are the Series Editors. This Book Series Law and Visual Jurisprudence  (Springer) is a long-term project that we have been carrying out for several years now, and that we hope many of you will take up and will consider submitting proposals for individual and/or collective works. 

It is a unique Law Book Series that bridges different fields of expertise to allow a percolation of experience and a sharing of this advanced knowledge from our individual, collective and/or institutional fields of competence. Our editorial board also reflects this idea with well-established researchers from all over the world and in all our disciplines with some of them who are pioneers in Visual Jurisprudence and Visual Semiotics. 

We will thus have the possibility of publishing monographs of almost 350 pages as well as edited volumes of nearly 900 pages. The official language of publication of this book series remains English, with the possibility of publishing some chapters in French for collective works. 

In the spirit of the rhizome from Deleuze and Guattari, the visual chaos of the Banyan tree (our official cover for our book series) reminds us of the variety of a root system revealing facets of (de)territorialization. With aerial roots that mature into multiple trunks of the tree, the Banyan has abundant root-trunks perpetually growing during its lifetime.  It has keenly adapted to environmental conditions insofar as roots, sprouting without the cover of soil, are visibly tumultous and unruly. Tentacular in appearance, the Banyan is rich in complex materiality and function. Yet, in seeing the Banyan, we can see beyond the tree to metaphorically envision the evolving development of the relationship of law and visual jurisprudence as a relationship equally disorganized and spontaneous. 

Our scopes: 

The Series Law and Visual Jurisprudence seeks to harness the diverse and innovative work within and across the boundaries of law, jurisprudence, and the visual in various contexts and manifestations. It seeks to bring together a range of diverse and at the same time cumulative research traditions related to these fields to identify fertile avenues for interdisciplinary research.

In our everyday lives, we experience law as a system of signs. Representations of legality are visually manifested in the materiality of things we see and spatially experience. Methodologically, aesthetic texts of legality semiotically emerge as examples of visual jurisprudence and illustrate the constitutive waltz between social governance, formal law, and materiality.

In its tangled relationship to regulation, the visual complexity of law is semiotically articulated as an ongoing process of meaning imbued with symbolism, memory, and cultural markers. Through a legal semiotics framework of symbolic articulation and analysis, the examination of law that happens in conjunction with the visual expands understandings of how law is crafted and takes root. Additionally, such an inquiry challenges the positivist view of law based within the courtroom as disciplinary spatial practices, the observation of everyday phenomenon, and the visible tethering of regulation to cultural understandings of legality generate a framework of visual jurisprudence. The Series seeks to enliven such frameworks as those in which law happens precisely without formal institutions of law and through which a visual-based methodology of law is crafted through everyday instances of ordinariness that contextualize the relationship between law, culture, and banality. 

The Series welcomes proposals – be they edited collections or single-authored monographs – emphasizing the contingency and fluidity of legal concepts, stressing the existence of overlapping, competing and coexisting legal discourses, proposing critical approaches to law and the visual, identifying and discussing issues, proposing solutions to problems, offering analyses in areas such as legal semiotics, jurisprudence, and visual approaches to law.

Keywords: Legal Visual Studies, Popular Culture, Everyday Law, Spatiality, Legal Semiotics, Legal Geography, Legal Materiality, Legal Transplant, Bioethics, Cyber Law, Communication, Heritage and Territory, Design, Marketing, Packaging, Digitalization, Arts.

Our official website: 

Queries and/or submissions:

Should you be interested in submitting a proposal for Law and Visual Jurisprudence book series, either for an edited collection or a single-authored monograph, please liaise directly with both Series Editors using their emails: Sarah Marusek (marusek[at] and Anne Wagner (valwagnerfr[at]

With best wishes

Anne Wagner & Sarah Marusek