2022 LAW AND HUMANITIES JUNIOR SCHOLARS WORKSHOP Call for Papers
October 28, 2021
October 23, 2021
CfP: The Digital Turn in Socio-Legal Studies (current topic at SLSA 2022)
The Digital Turn in Socio-Legal Studies has - since its inception in the late 1950/mid-1960s to date - been a vital source for our contextual understanding of law in/and society. In following the main currents of societal life, socio-legal studies have considered a diverse range of encounters between law, legal institutions, legal actors, and their social contexts. More recently, a digital turn in socio-legal studies can be observed; the progressive integration of advanced digital technologies in all aspects of our daily lives, the digitisation of law and legal practice, and even the adoption of digital research methods in our socio-legal repertoire, have broadened horizons and unlocked new possibilities for the socio-legal endeavour. Individual paper submissions as well as proposals for complete panels consisting of no more than three papers, are invited for this current topic at the upcoming annual conference of the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA), hosted by York Law School (University of York, UK), on 6 to 8 April 2022. PhD students, early career researchers, as well as senior scholars are welcome.
Paper (and panel) submissions should take the conversation beyond the descriptive and the salient, and explore the impact of the digital turn as a conceptual revolution for the sociology of law. The focus is on how the current and ongoing digital turn has fundamentally transformed the study of law and society and law in society. Papers and panels may, for example, consider the extent to which digital architecture informs or “codes” conduct in the legal and societal sphere, how digital platforms create new or alternative realities that increase the plurality and diversity of norms in law and society, or how the pluralisation of communicative possibilities through digitised means facilitates new avenues for dialogue, and also conflict, whether it is at the interpersonal, inter-state, or intra-state level. In decoding the digital turn in socio-legal studies, the papers of this current topic will ultimately reveal and critically consider the new legal conceptions and societal cognitions that have emerged, and that will continue to inform the socio-legal scholarship of the future.
Conference webpage and submission of papers: http://slsa2022.co.uk/site/
October 21, 2021
The US engagement with 19th century international society saw the maturation of its approach toward international law. This paper focuses on two historical considerations that helped to shape that character--ending the international slave trade, and Indian removal. An emerging legal methodology of legal formalism helped to rationalize this engagement, and affected the young republic's engagement with the world. Understanding the rise of legal formalism, where it came from and what were its influences, uncovers a significantly American story of ambivalence, which has shaped US foreign policy vacillations between themes of universalism and unilateralism, and international community and international society.Download the article from SSRN at the link.
October 19, 2021
Call For Applications, 2022 Witteveen Memorial Fellowship in Law and Humanities, Tilburg University @TilburgU
Here is a link to the Call for Applications for the 2022 Witteveen Memorial Fellowship in Law and Humanities at Tilburg University (Netherlands).
The fellowship aims to enable a junior scholar (PhD or postdoc level) to develop her or his research in the field of law and humanities during a visit to Tilburg. The application deadline is October 31, 2021.
From Michiel Bot, Assistant Professor of Law and Humanities, Department of Public Law and Governance, Tilburg Law School, Program Director, Major Law in an International Context, University College Tilburg
October 16, 2021
Kumar on Trial as a Tool of Colonialism: The 1858 Trial of Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar @IFIMLawSchool
This paper brings the 1857 trial of 82 years old Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar into the mainstream international law. It discusses the aesthetical aspects of Zafar's trial, who was tried as a British Subject, despite being the Indian sovereign. The paper argues that the trial was used a tool to colonise India. It also points out the treatment given to Zafar post his arrest, when he was displayed to the Europeans 'like a beast in a cage'. It highlights the confusing nature of the trial which was, at times, presented as an enquiry. Moreover, it tells Zafar's story from his point of view. The paper also highlights the blind-spots in the subject of international law where Zafar's trial finds no mention. It provokes readers to question their understanding of colonialism by pointing out the well-known nature of trial of Warren Hastings, but the obscurity surrounding Zafar's trial.Download the article from SSRN at the link.
October 15, 2021
This bibliography collects work focused specifically on law and narrative, published between 2017 and 2021.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.
Professor Abrams authors a column, Writing it Right in the Journal of the Missouri Bar. In a variety of contexts, the column stresses the fundamentals of quality legal writing - conciseness, precision, simplicity, and clarity.Download the essay from SSRN at the link.
October 14, 2021
From the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy:
Taxes on consumption items necessary for subsistence burdened the British middle and workings classes heavily throughout the early nineteenth century. The Weekly True Sun urged the Whig government to replace the window tax, not with a house tax, but with an income tax, and urged taxpayers to refuse to pay the window tax. Charles Dickens transcribed the seditious libel trial of the True Sun editors when he was very young and later remembered the Whig indecision on tax policy in a strongly negative editorial of his own. This article describes how Dickens played a prominent role in tax reform that followed. Note: This material was first published by Thomson Reuters, trading as Sweet & Maxwell, 5 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AQ, in the British Tax Review as Boz Among the Radicals: Charles Dickens and Tax Reform,  B.T.R., No.2, and is reproduced by agreement with the publishers.Download the article from SSRN at the link.
October 12, 2021
In 1776, only two states offered constitutional protections against imprisoning people for debt. Today, forty-one states do. This Article traces that history. It begins by examining how debtors’ prisons operated in early America, and then divides analysis between three phases of state constitutional activity. In so doing, it looks at the arguments that won over states to protect debtors, the state constitutional conventions that enacted protections, and the failure of the federal government to address the issue. The Article concludes by noting that despite the success of adopting constitutional protections, courts have allowed debtors’ prisons to resurge in modern times.Download the article from SSRN at the link.
Yoo on What the Relationship Is Between Language and Thought: Linguistic Relativity and Its Limitations for Copyright @pennlaw
To date, copyright scholarship has almost completely overlooked the linguistics and cognitive psychology literature exploring the connection between language and thought. An exploration of the two major strains of this literature, known as universal grammar (associated with Noam Chomsky) and linguistic relativity (centered around the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis), offers insights into the copyrightability of constructed languages and of the type of software packages at issue in Google v. Oracle recently decided by the Supreme Court. It turns to modularity theory as the key idea unifying the analysis of both languages and software in ways that suggest that the information filtering associated with the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis may be a general strategy for managing complex systems that is not restricted to language. It also examines Jerry Fodor’s application of modularity theory to cognition and his Language of Thought Hypothesis to see what they reveal about the idea-expression dichotomy.Download the paper from SSRN at the link.
October 8, 2021
Although the role of emotion in law has become a major field of scholarship, there has been very little attention paid to the role of emotion in constitutional theory. This Article seeks to fill that gap by providing an integrated account of the role of emotion within the individual, how emotion affects constitutional culture, and how constitutional culture, properly understood, should affect our evaluation of major constitutional theories. The Article begins by reconstructing one of the most important and influential accounts of emotion in the philosophical literature: that of Thomas Aquinas. Because Aquinas’s description of the nature of emotion accords with modern science and the insights of many law-and-emotion theorists, it provides a firm foundation for an analysis of emotion in constitutional theory. Having laid that foundation, the Article examines the role of emotion in constitutional culture, the subset of national culture concerned with a constitution. Constitutional culture combines a society’s ideas about, and emotional attachments to, its constitution. Here, the Article develops a novel synthesis between Aquinas’s model of emotion and Edmund Burke’s sophisticated exploration of the importance of emotion in constitutional culture. Burke argues that theories of constitutional legitimacy shape constitutional culture and must accord with it. If a theory of legitimacy is at odds with a society’s constitutional culture, the society risks the instability of the regime. This insight—which is consistent with Aquinas’s model of emotion—is the primary basis for understanding the role of emotion in constitutional theory. Finally, the Article turns its attention to constitutional theory. Observing that popular sovereignty is the theory of legitimacy endorsed by our constitutional culture, the Article argues—based on the synthesis of the Thomistic and Burkean accounts—that emotion should play an important role in evaluating the contours and viability of theories of legitimacy. Theories of legitimacy that accord with popular sovereignty have a stronger argument in their favor because they reinforce the emotional attachments that lend stability to our constitution. Theories of legitimacy that reject popular sovereignty, by contrast, must be modified or abandoned or, alternatively, must explain why attempts to change our constitutional culture will avoid the instability that the Thomistic and Burkean accounts would predict. The Article therefore has particular relevance to assessing radical constitutional theories—whether from the political right or the political left—that are critical of American constitutional culture. The Article concludes by exploring the implications of emotion for constitutional doctrine, focusing on stare decisis and the examples of Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), and Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).Download the article from SSRN at the link.
The conventional interpretation of the Constitution assumes that the Committee of Style, which created the final draft of the Constitution, lacked authority to engage with substance; therefore, any arguably substantive changes it did make should be disregarded in favor of earlier draft language found in the Constitutional Convention records. This "Style doctrine" has been embraced by the Supreme Court and several leading constitutional scholars. This article argues that the Style doctrine is historically unfounded and obscures the Constitution's original meaning. The Committee of Style was not prohibited from proposing substantive changes. In any case, most of the revisions proposed by the Committee of Style clarified or reinforced Federalist positions rather than proposing substantive changes. Ultimately, the Style doctrine is an artifact of post-ratification developments tending to disregard elements of the more nationalistic constitutional vision of the Federalist Framers.Download the article from SSRN at the link.
October 7, 2021
Intangible Heritages: A Conference on Art, Design, Culture and Technology--Past, Present, and Future: Canterbury, UK (June 15-17, 2022)
Held in Canterbury, UK, by the University of Kent: (IN)TANGIBLE HERITAGE(S) looks at questions of digital art and computational design and how they are applied in contemporary and heritage settings.
A conference on art, design, culture and technology – past, present, and future
Place: Canterbury, UK / Virtual.
Organisers: University of Kent
Dates: 15-17 June 2022.
Abstracts: 30 November 2021 (Round One)
October 5, 2021
Bratspies on This Great Catastrophe: Bungling Pandemics From 1918 to Today @RBratspies @CUNYLaw @MSUILR
In examining how badly the United States bungled its COVID-19 pandemic response, it is worth going back to the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the 1918 flu pandemic. Author after author cautioned that the next pandemic would overwhelm the United States health system and that the demand for hospital beds, treatments, and medical staff would quickly outstrip supply. These prescient predictions from just two years ago. Why, when the risks were so obvious and so clearly understood, were they ignored? In answering that question there is blame enough to go around. The American public increasingly refused vaccines for communicable diseases, resisted spending for health research, and elected anti-science candidates. Those elected officials in turn failed to take obvious steps to ward off an entirely foreseeable disaster. Some of these developments are new(ish), relating to the specifics of the current political climate. Yet what is most striking is how readily official responses fell into virtually the same patterns that stymied effective pandemic response in 1918, and how structural racism predicted which communities would be hardest hit and least served by government responses. Instead of learning from the mistakes of the 1918 pandemic we have largely repeated them. This paper traces some of the threads of complacency, hubris, isolationism, and distrust that got in the way both times, and draws some broader lessons we must learn about American political culture before the pandemic next time.Download the article from SSRN at the link.
October 3, 2021
Katz on The Fatal Flaw in The Fatal Three: Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Treatment of the Law Relating to Marriage Between a Widower and His Deceased Wife's Sister
After setting out the general legal background and summarising the story so far as it's relevant, the paper explains how an error on Mary Elizabeth Braddon's part relating to the legal effect of illegitimacy sent her novel The Fatal Three off the rails.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.
Is law an academic discipline like chemistry, history, or English that belongs on a university campus? Rodrigo and the professor discuss an innocent question by a conference attender who wanted to know why legal knowledge never seems to advance. Rodrigo and the professor are struck by how legal scholarship fails to pass law-review muster unless each statement comes accompanied by a footnote reference to a past writer who said exactly the same thing. They ponder the ways this mindset resembles Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and the movie Groundhog Day.Download the article from SSRN at the link.