April 29, 2021

Webinar: Conversation with Professor James Boyd White


“Mosaic: an Approach to Law and Literature” – A conversation piece with James BOYD WHITE - With the support of the ISLL (Italian Society of Law and Literature) and the ATFD (Portuguese Association for Legal Theory, Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy, the Portugueses IVR Section), the UCILeR, the University of Coimbra Institute for Legal research  (within its research area "Law and Time") will welcome, on the next May 12th, at 3pm (4pm in Italia), Professor James Boyd White (L. Hart Wright Collegiate Professor Emeritus of Law, University of Michigan Law School). 

The webinar will integrate the lecture "Mosaic", a sequence of brief comments (which will bring some "surprises"!) and a dialogue with the audience. It is a unique opportunity to hear the author of Keep Law Alive considering (with an unmistakable perspective) some of the great challenges that the contemporary world imposes on Law.. 

Free participation upon registration at: https://www.fd.uc.pt/inscricao/ (or https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdYDSi7e5H6a3C9flvMMstDgBlojC7Y7I0DKRXEpOyDOSC_PA/viewform).

After registration the link will be sent.

Call For Nominations: 2021 Penny Pether Prize for Scholarship in Law, Literature [,] and the Humanities

From Dr. Timothy Peters, ARC DECRA Research Fellow, Senior Lecturer in Law, School of Law and Society, USC:

I am delighted to call for nominations for the 2021 Penny Pether Prize for Scholarship in Law, Literature and the Humanities.


The prize will be awarded to the author or authors whose book has, in the judgement of the Committee, made the most significant contribution to the field of Australasian law, literature and humanities since the award of the last prize. An additional ECR Prize may also be awarded if the Prize Committee deems that this is warranted.


The Prize Rules and Nomination form are attached and more details about the Prize, along with past winners, are available here: https://www.lawlithum.org/penny-pether-prize/


Nominations are due to the chair of the Prize Committee, Professor Marco Wan by the 1st of July 2019 at mwan@hku.hk

[N.B.: There is presumably an error in the submission date, because the prize rules for this year indicate a submission date of July 1st, 2021. --Ed.]

April 28, 2021


Newly published: ART LAW AND CULTURAL HERITAGE LAW / DIREITO DA ARTE E DO PATRIMÔNIO CULTURAL, volume 17, no. 3 (2020). Edited by Marcilio Toscano Franca Filho and Ardyllis Alves Soares. 

Here is a link to the website, which has links to PDFs of the articles.

McKenna on Designing for International Law: The Architecture of International Legal Organisations 1922-1952 @miriambmac

Miriam Bak McKenna, Lund University Faculty of Law, has published Designing for International Law: The Architecture of International Legal Organisations 1922 - 1952 at 34 Leiden Journal of International Law 1 (2021). Here is the abstract.
Situating itself in current debates over the international legal archive, this article delves into the material and conceptual implications of architecture for international law. To do so I trace the architectural developments of international law’s organizational and administrative spaces during the early to mid twentieth century. These architectural endeavors unfolded in three main stages: the years 1922–1926, during which the International Labor Organization (ILO) building, the first building exclusively designed for an international organization was constructed; the years 1927–1937 which saw the great polemic between modernist and classical architects over the building of the Palace of Nations; and the years 1947–1952, with the triumph of modernism, represented by the UN Headquarters in New York. These events provide an illuminating allegorical insight into the physical manifestation, modes of self-expression, and transformation of international law during this era, particularly the relationship between international law and the function and role of international organizations.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Ramsey on Women's Votes, Women's Voices, and the Limits of Criminal Justice Reform, 1911-1950 @ColoLaw

Carolyn B. Ramsey, University of Colorado Law School, is publishing Women's Votes, Women's Voices, and the Limits of Criminal Justice Reform, 1911-1950 in volume 92 of the University of Colorado Law Review. Here is the abstract.
On the eve of the Nineteenth Amendment’s ratification in 1920, Carrie Chapman Catt—the leader of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA)—envisioned the establishment of a nonpartisan body dedicated to female voters’ political education that would help newly enfranchised women develop a voice in public affairs. To this end, Catt guided the conversion of NAWSA into a post-suffrage association called the National League of Women Voters (LWV). While Catt’s goal of training women for full citizenship was abstract, many state and local Leagues took a more practical approach, learning from the experience of tackling specific social problems. This Article, written for a symposium commemorating the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, assesses the role of LWV leaders in California in reforming three aspects of the criminal justice system that affected women: courts, police, and prisons. It draws from the archival papers of the San Francisco Center of the LWV, as well as other primary sources, to reveal the contradictions and shortcomings, as well as the achievements, of newly enfranchised California women who sought to carry on the suffragists’ legacy. During the four decades between 1911 and the middle of the twentieth century, the San Francisco Center advocated gender-specific approaches to crime with varying degrees of success or failure. Initially prompted to investigate the ills of lower-level criminal courts (known as “police courts”) by a local judge’s mishandling of rape cases, San Francisco clubwomen launched a full-fledged effort to establish a Women’s Court. Part I of this Article discusses the origins, goals, and limitations of the Women’s Court and the San Francisco Center’s subsequent campaign for the appointment of a female prosecutor and municipal judge. Although influenced by Progressive ideas about the use of specialized courts and trained experts, League members mostly confined their efforts to morals offenses that recalled the Victorian social purity movement, rather than seeking remedies for domestic violence and other aspects of crime that affected women. Part II explores another project supported by the San Francisco Center that exemplified how Progressive tools might perpetuate essentially Victorian values. During the first half of the twentieth century, San Francisco clubwomen urged the SFPD, with little success, to hire a substantial number of female police officers. The San Francisco Center emphasized prostitution and other vices of “fallen” women as areas of law enforcement for which female officers supposedly possessed special skills. Limited both by the SFPD’s reluctance to hire women and female reformers’ myopic interest in preventing prostitution, the San Francisco Center doggedly pursued an agenda that entrenched gender segregation on the police force without bringing real remedies to systemic sexism or the victimization of women. Part III describes the most revolutionary criminal justice reform project that members of the California LWV spearheaded in the first half of the twentieth century: the creation of a “prison without walls” for female offenders. Based on the notion that women who committed crimes, even felonies, might be taught law-abiding ways through education, hard work, and humane treatment, the Tehachapi prison experiment demonstrated that newly enfranchised female voters had gained traction in public life. However, while the creation and operation of the women’s prison gave substance to a rehabilitative ideal more forward-looking than many LWV proposals for moral enforcement, the male-dominated legal system created substantial impediments to the success of the Tehachapi facility. The Conclusion assesses the contributions of the LWV and its state and local branches in California. Like their sisters in the national organization, members of the San Francisco Center worked tirelessly on social welfare issues and civil service reform, opening unprecedented paths to jobs and community involvement for women. In contrast, their criminal justice reform efforts were hampered, not only by the differing interests and continued power of male jurists, police chiefs, and prison officials, but also by the clubwomen’s obsession with prostitution. The affluent white activists of the San Francisco Center and the state-level LWV failed to advocate structural changes that might have liberated women, especially poorer and racial-minority women, from gendered violence. Yet despite the San Francisco Center’s limited success in obtaining justice for victims of sexual exploitation, integrating the San Francisco Police Department, and rehabilitating female offenders, its activities helped put women into public office and provide concrete opportunities for political engagement in the first few decades after suffrage was achieved.

Download the article from SSRN at the link. 

April 27, 2021

Cogan on A History of International Law in the Vernacular @IntLawReporter

Jacob Katz Cogan, University of Cincinnati College of Law, is publishing A History of International Law in the Vernacular in the Journal of the History of International Law. Here is the abstract.
Histories of international law have typically focused on the origins of legal rules and doctrines, the decisions of courts and other formal tribunals, the views of professors and legal theorists and diplomats, and the evolution of the legal profession. That is, international legal histories have centered on the concerns of lawyers and states and have reflected a positivist vision of international lawmaking. We need a history of international law that focuses more on international law in action — the invocation, elaboration, and contestation of rules in and through their everyday application, not just by states, high-level state actors, legal theorists, and state-organized domestic and international institutions, but also by individuals, low-level officials, private groups, and nongovernmental actors and in places outside of the usual fora where “international law” is said to be found. We need a history of international law in the vernacular.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

April 22, 2021

Newly Published: Mixed-Race Superheroes (Rutgers, 2021), Edited by Sika A. Dagbovie-Mullins and Eric L. Berlatsky @RutgersUPress @booksnerrd

New from Rutgers University Press: Mixed-Race Superheroes (Sika A. Dagbovie-Mullins and Eric L. Berlatsky, eds., 2021). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
American culture has long represented mixed-race identity in paradoxical terms. On the one hand, it has been associated with weakness, abnormality, impurity, transgression, shame, and various pathologies; however, it can also connote genetic superiority, exceptional beauty, and special potentiality. This ambivalence has found its way into superhero media, which runs the gamut from Ant-Man and the Wasp’s tragic mulatta villain Ghost to the cinematic depiction of Aquaman as a heroic “half-breed.” The essays in this collection contend with the multitude of ways that racial mixedness has been presented in superhero comics, films, television, and literature. They explore how superhero media positions mixed-race characters within a genre that has historically privileged racial purity and propagated images of white supremacy. The book considers such iconic heroes as Superman, Spider-Man, and The Hulk, alongside such lesser-studied characters as Valkyrie, Dr. Fate, and Steven Universe. Examining both literal and symbolic representations of racial mixing, this study interrogates how we might challenge and rewrite stereotypical narratives about mixed-race identity, both in superhero media and beyond.


April 20, 2021

Davis on Legal Ethics, Legal Dualism, and Fidelity to Law @usflaw

Joshua P. Davis, University of San Francisco School of Law, has published Legal Ethics, Legal Dualism, and Fidelity to Law. Here is the abstract.
This Article argues that there is an important relationship between the nature of law and legal ethics. A crucial claim in support of this thesis is that the nature of law varies with the purpose for which it is being interpreted. In particular, the Article contends that natural law provides the best account of the nature of law when an interpreter seeks moral guidance from the law, and legal positivism provides the best account when an interpreter seeks instead to describe the law or to predict how others will interpret it. This philosophical position it labels “legal dualism.” Legal dualism has a significant implication for legal ethics: to the extent the law serves as a source of moral guidance for interpreters, they must act as natural lawyers. The Article tests legal dualism and its corollary for legal ethics against Bradley Wendel’s justly lauded book, LAWYERS AND FIDELITY TO LAW. Wendel pairs legal positivism and the moral legitimacy of law, commitments that legal dualism suggests are incompatible. The Article argues that, while Wendel makes many important contributions, his argument is not fully successful to the extent it conflicts with legal dualism. It concludes that he—and others—should acknowledge and address the need for ethical attorneys to act as natural lawyers. That means lawyers sometimes must make moral judgments in saying what the law is.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

April 16, 2021

Brunschwig on Visual Law and Legal Design: Questions and Tentative Answers

Colette R. Brunschwig, University of Zurich, Department of Law, Centre for Legal History, Legal Visualization Unit, has published Visual Law and Legal Design: Questions and Tentative Answers in Proceedings of the 24th International Legal Informatics Symposium IRIS 2021 179-230 (Erich Schweighofer, Franz Kummer, Ahti Saarenpää, Stefan Eder, and Philip Hanke, Bern: Editions Weblaw, 2021). Here is the abstract.
This paper rests on three premises: First, ongoing digitalization is unleashing visualization (still or moving images) and audio visualization (videos, audiovisual animations, etc.). This massive technological development is also initiating multi sensorization (humanoid robots, virtual realities, etc). Second, visual law and legal design are still largely unknown as fi elds of scholarly inquiry to many legal and non-legal actors. My paper therefore uses “visual law” and “legal design” as working terms to delineate these fi elds. Third, I take an etymological approach to the word “responsible” featuring in the conference title of the International Symposion on Legal Informatics 2020 as it implies a quality that is required of digitalization. The English adjective “responsible” comes from the Latin verb respondēre, whose meanings include answering (responding) and corresponding to something. Based on these premises, this paper explores four key questions: How does current legal research respond to visualization? What are visual law and legal design? How are visual law and legal design similar or diff erent? What should visual lawyers or legal designers do to act responsibly in the face of ongoing digitalization? Tackling these questions yields new insights for the debate on legal visualization. The answers given in this paper reveal how various basic legal disciplines and law-and areas gravitate around this topic. The answers also demonstrate that the insights of the basic legal disciplines and law-and areas are or should be interconnected. Taking such steps will promote not only visualization itself but also interdisciplinary legal research on this important topic.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

April 15, 2021

Chin on The Blueprint for Dred Scott: United States v. Dow and the Multi-Racial Jurisprudence of White Supremacy @UCDavisLaw

Gabriel Jackson Chin, University of California, Davis, School of Law, has published The Blueprint for Dred Scott: United States v. Dow and the Multi-Racial Jurisprudence of White Supremacy. Here is the abstract.
Chief Justice Taney’s 1857 opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford is justly infamous for its holdings that African Americans could never be citizens, that Congress was powerless to prohibit slavery in the territories, and for its proclamation that persons of African ancestry “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” For all of the interest in and attention to Dred Scott, however, no scholar has previously analyzed United States v. Dow, an 1840 decision of Chief Justice Taney in a Circuit Court trial which is apparently the first federal decision to articulate a broad theoretical basis for White supremacy. Dow identified Whites as the “master” race, and it explained that only those of European origin were either welcomed or allowed to be members of the political community in the colonies. Non-Whites such as members of Dow’s race, Taney explained, could be reduced to slavery, and therefore their rights continued to be subject to absolute legislative discretion. Dow, however, was not a person of African descent, he was Malay, from the Philippines. Chief Justice Taney’s employment in Dow of legal reasoning which he would later apply in Dred Scott suggests that Dred Scott should be regarded as pertinent to all people of color, not only African Americans. This understanding of Dred Scott helps explain the revival of Taney’s reputation during the Jim Crow era after Reconstruction. Courts declined to invalidate restrictions with respect to a broad range of civil rights on citizens and immigrants of African, Indian, Asian, and Mexican ancestry to which Whites were not subject. Indeed, Whites could not be subject to them, unless it is conceivable that under the U.S. Constitution, the law could provide, for example, that all races would be ineligible to testify or vote because of their race. Accordingly, even after Reconstruction, just as Dred Scott and Dow contemplated, the White race remained the master race, in the sense that they were the exclusive holder of truly inalienable rights.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

April 14, 2021

Bernstein on How Technologies of Language Meet Ideologies of Law @UBSchoolofLaw @anyabernstein

Anya Bernstein, University at Buffalo Law School, is publishing Technologies of Language Meet Ideologies of Law (Symposium: Law, Language, and Technology) in the 2020 volume of the Michigan State Law Review (forthcoming in 2021). Here is the abstract.
A new technology of interpretation is taking the legal world by storm. Legal corpus linguistics, an approach generally unknown in the field until a few years ago, has suddenly become a focus for articles, conferences, legal briefs, and even judicial opinions. Taking advantage of evolving computational approaches and data collection abilities, legal corpus linguistics searches big data sets of language use to help interpret legal texts. This Article puts legal corpus linguistics in the context of other meaning-making technologies and suggests an approach for analyzing any technology of language in the law. One of my aims is to caution against technological exceptionalism—a view that computerized, automated, or big-data approaches are somehow special, perhaps more trustworthy, less subjective, and most likely to succeed. Rather, I argue that we should ask the same questions, and make the same demands, of any method of interpretation. As science and technology studies (STS) and related scholarship has demonstrated, technology is not neutral or passive. It is a cause in its own right. That makes it particularly important to examine the underlying assumptions that help construct, and are perpetuated through, a given technology. To elucidate these points, I draw on theorists who have influenced our understandings of the production of knowledge and technological development, showing how he key contributions by Bruno Latour, Ian Hacking, and Michel Foucault should inform our evaluation of legal language technologies. I then introduce legal corpus linguistics, describing its origins in academic linguistics and the somewhat different way it has been practiced in legal interpretation. Having laid this groundwork, I ask how we should evaluate this emerging technology in legal interpretation. I argue that legal corpus linguistics fails to coherently relate its methods, questions, aims, and claims. Moreover, it inscribes a peculiar view of legal meaning: a narrow, asocial, and abstracted notion of things that are in fact broad, social, and practice-based. The illusion of simplicity that legal corpus linguistics propagates undermines our evolving understanding of the real complexities of law and leaves out participants and contexts that are crucial to the production of law as a social force. To probe its implications further, I then put legal corpus linguistics in the context of some other ways of giving laws meaning. I choose two that sit at the extremes of simplicity and complexity: dictionary definitions, on the one hand, and administrative rulemaking procedures, on the other. These may seem unrelated or incommensurable, but in fact they all are technologies of legal interpretation that should be considered in comparison to one another. Comparison also helps illuminate those aspects of legal corpus linguistics that fit it snugly into particular legal ideologies, but blind it to the realities of how law functions in society.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

April 13, 2021

Zipporah B. Wiseman Prize for Scholarship on Law, Literature, and Justice: Writing Competition The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas School of Law @UTexasLaw

 From the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice:

The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas School of Law is proud to administer the Zipporah B. Wiseman Prize for Scholarship on Law, Literature, and Justice. Awarded to the winners of an annual international and multidisciplinary writing competition, the prize is made possible by donations from the friends, family, and colleagues of the late Zipporah Batshaw Wiseman, in honor of her important work at the intersection of law and literature.

TOPIC: We welcome papers from any discipline that engage both legal and literary methods or texts. For these purposes, literary texts include written and other narrative forms, such as film. Papers should use an interdisciplinary lens to explore issues of justice, broadly understood. The papers may work from any of a variety of perspectives: legal and literary, of course, but also philosophical, historical, sociological, political, economic, or cultural.

PRIZE: The winning paper will receive $1,250 and will be published in the Working Paper Series of the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. A second-place prize of $750 might also be awarded, with the paper considered for publication in the Working Paper Series.

ELIGIBILITY: The prize is open to students currently enrolled in graduate or professional programs as well as to those who have graduated from such programs in or after May 2020. Papers must consist of original work, primarily undertaken as a student, that has not been published or undergone professional editing at the time of submission. Authors must have rights to the content and be willing to publish the paper in the Rapoport Center’s Working Paper Series shortly after the winner has been announced. If papers are later published in a journal or other edited collection, they may be replaced in the Working Paper Series with a citation to that publication.

JUDGMENT CRITERIA: An interdisciplinary and international panel of scholars will judge the papers anonymously. Relevant judgment factors include the strength and logic of the thesis, depth of the analysis, originality and importance of intervention, thoroughness and soundness of the research, and quality of writing (clarity and organization).

FORMAT: Papers must be between 8,000 and 12,000 words, including notes and appendices, and written in English. Text should be double-spaced, with 12-point font and 1-inch margins. Citational style should be disciplinarily appropriate. Via email, please submit, in three separate documents, the paper (without any identifying information), abstract (100 to 250 words), and full contact details (including university, degree, and anticipated/actual graduate date). Include “Zipporah Wiseman Prize” in the subject line of the email. All submissions must be submitted in .doc or .docx format.

DEADLINE: June 15, 2021, 11:59 p.m. (CT).  Submissions should be sent via email to humanrights@law.utexas.edu.

April 12, 2021

Gerber on The Intellectual History of European Laws about Religious Toleration Prior to the Planting of English America

Scott D. Gerbert, Ohio Northern Univeristy College of Law, is publishing The Intellectual History of European Laws about Religious Toleration Prior to the Planting of English America in Glossae: The European Journal of Legal History (2021). Here is the abstract.
Law matters, and laws about religion matter a lot. Both the European laws about religious toleration prior to the planting of English America and the laws about religious toleration enacted by the settlers who founded English American colonies for religious reasons employed law primarily as a means of social control. European monarchs wanted power, and they utilized laws about religion to help them acquire it and maintain it. The leaders of the English American colonies planted for religious reasons used law to effectuate their designs: to foster religious toleration in those colonies committed to that animating principle (Maryland, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania); to try to create an ideal Bible commonwealth for the colonies dedicated to the idea that religion must be practiced as God had ordained (Connecticut and Massachusetts). In short, the settlers of English America were impacted by the European laws about religious toleration that preceded their voyages to the New World. The planters of religiously tolerant colonies tried to learn from what they regarded as Europe’s mistakes, while those who strove for religious purity rejected the prevailing European notion that divine sovereignty must occupy a decidedly secondary place to the sovereignty of the state.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

April 1, 2021

Safner on Honor Among Thieves: How 19th Century American Pirate Publishers Simulated Copyright Protection @ryansafner

Ryan Safner, Hood College, has published Honor Among Thieves: How 19th Century American Pirate Publishers Simulated Copyright Protection. Here is the abstract.
From 1790 to 1891, the United States prevented foreign authors from obtaining domestic copyright protection, implicitly subsidizing a domestic reprinting industry. With foreign works a “free” and unprotected resource, American publishers created a system of voluntary norms, known as “trade courtesy” to create and enforce psuedo- property rights in uncopyrighted foreign works, simulating the effects of legal copyright protection. This paper analyzes this system using the Bloomington School’s Institutional Analysis and Design (IAD) framework to under- stand its effectiveness, and pitfalls, in managing the commons of unprotected foreign works in 19th Century America.
Download the document from SSRN at the link.