Judges play a critical role in one of the most important states of a criminal case’s adjudication—sentencing. While there have been substantial limitations placed on the discretion judges can exercise in devising punishments, there are little to none on what judges say at such hearings when articulating their rationales for the sentences they impose on convicted defendants. This Article examines the language judges use when sentencing defendants convicted rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse that describes victims of those crimes and the harms they have sustained, especially language that describes victims as “ruined,” “broken,” or “destroyed.” The use of such language, while apparently meant to be empathetic, only serves to uphold misogynistic understandings of rape and sexual assault and actively harms victims. Judges trying to justify harsh sentences for defendants convicted of sex crimes also engage in shaming and exploitation of victims when saying that defendants have left victims “ruined” at sentencing. In this Article I use traditional scholarly methods of reviewing and analyzing cases and legal doctrine to show why the use of such language is harmful to victims and flouts the purposes of criminal punishment. However, I also engage in autoethnographic methods, relying on my own experiences of rape and sexual assault, as well as prosecuting such cases. This Article also considers how other fields such as medicine and public health have approached destigmatizing other historically stigmatized conditions like substance use and mental illness, arguing that judges should take similar steps to destigmatize being a victim of rape and sexual assault by more carefully considering their language use at sentencing. I conclude by reflecting on the use of personal narrative in legal scholarship and in the classroom and argue that it can be a powerful tool that scholars should more openly embrace.Download the article from SSRN at the link.
March 30, 2022
March 28, 2022
Call for Applications: Annual Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities Graduate Student Workshop: June 15, 2022 @Law_Cult_Huma
Hamilton on Reform, Retrench, Repeat: The Campaign Against Critical Race Theory: Through the Lens of Critical Race Theory @VivianEHamilton
The protest movement ignited by the 2020 murder of George Floyd was of a scale unprecedented in U.S. history. The movement raised the nation’s consciousness of racial injustices and spurred promises—and the beginnings—of justice-oriented reform. Reform and racial progress, however, have rarely been linear over the course of U.S. history. Instead, they typically engender resistance and retrenchment. The response to the current justice movement is no exception. One manifestation of the retrenchment has been a rush by states to enact legislation curtailing race-related education in government workplaces and in public schools, colleges, and universities. These legislative measures purport to prevent the teaching of “divisive” tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT), an intellectual discipline that originated in the legal academy in the 1980s. The proposed bills and enacted statutes, however, will instead prevent educators, for fear of incurring threatened penalties, from teaching about the role of racism in U.S. history and engaging students in meaningful discussions about race. If they remain in place, the laws increase the chances that the next generation of students will remain uninformed of the racial history of the United States and its legacy and will thus come of age unmotivated—and unequipped—to improve upon it. This Article describes first the racial justice movement that surged after Floyd’s murder, then the resistance and retrenchment that rapidly followed. Next, it draws on CRT to place these events in historical and theoretical context. It describes the intellectual predecessors of CRT, the emergence of CRT as an intellectual and political movement, and its core insights. It explains how the insights of CRT, despite being caricatured by conservative opponents of race reform, instead explain the retrenchment and backlash to the racial justice movement—including the evolution of the ideologies that anchor it, and the use of institutions, including the law, to entrench the status quo and the racial hierarchies it comprises.Download the article from SSRN at the link.
March 26, 2022
Newly Published: James Boyd White, Let In the Light: Learning to Read St. Augustine's Confessions (Columbia University Press, 2022) @ColumbiaUP
Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
St. Augustine’s Confessions is heralded as a classic of Western culture. Yet when James Boyd White first tried to read it in translation, it seemed utterly dull. Its ideas struck him as platitudinous and its prose felt drab. It was only when he started to read the text in Latin that he began to see the originality and depth of Augustine’s work.
In Let in the Light, White invites readers to join him in a close and engaged encounter with the Confessions in which they will come to share his experience of the book’s power and profundity by reading at least some of it in Augustine’s own language. He offers an accessible guide to reading the text in Latin, line by line—even for those who have never studied the language.
Equally attuned to the resonances of individual words and the deeper currents of Augustine’s culture, Let in the Light considers how the form and nuances of the Latin text allow greater insight into the work and its author. White shows how to read Augustine’s prose with care and imagination, rewarding sustained attention and broader reflection.
Let in the Light brings new life to a classic work, guiding readers to experience the immediacy, urgency, and vitality of Augustine’s Confessions.
March 22, 2022
Tirades against legal theatrics are nearly as old as law itself, and yet so is the age-old claim that law must not merely be done: it must be "seen to be done." Law as Performance traces the history of legal performance and spectatorship through the early modern period. Viewing law as the product not merely of edicts or doctrines but of expressive action, it investigates the performances that literally created law: in civic arenas, courtrooms, judges' chambers, marketplaces, scaffolds, and streets. It examines the legal codes, learned treatises, trial reports, lawyers' manuals, execution narratives, rhetoric books, images (and more) that confronted these performances, praising their virtues or denouncing their evils. In so doing, it recovers a long, rich, and largely overlooked tradition of jurisprudential thought about law as a performance practice. This tradition not only generated an elaborate poetics and politics of legal performance. It provided western jurisprudence with a set of constitutive norms that, in working to distinguish law from theatrics, defined the very nature of law. In the crucial opposition between law and theatre, law stood for cool deliberation, by-the-book rules, and sovereign discipline. Theatre stood for deceptive artifice, entertainment, histrionics, melodrama. And yet legal performance, even at its most theatrical, also appeared fundamental to law's realization: a central mechanism for shaping legal subjects, key to persuasion, essential to deterrence, indispensable to law's power, —as it still does today.
March 21, 2022
Where Law Meets The Humanities. The contributors to this special issue of provide an important sample of how the humanities provide a vital sensibility for cutting edge legal scholarship today. In his contribution ( ), David Sugarman explores the often uneasy and complex relationship between law and the humanities, and the growth and development of influences from the humanities within legal scholarship. Mara Malagodi () focuses on the relationship between law and film, and its role in enabling our understanding of ‘justice’. Jill Marshall () explores the importance of narrative and storytelling in fostering a victim-centred approach to International Human Rights Law and International Criminal Law. Michael Thomson () situates the current American challenge to the constitutional right to abortion through a historical analysis of the relationship between law and medicine, while connecting this to the histories of slavery which continue to leave their imprint. The issue is introduced by C (Where law meets the humanities).
March 17, 2022
Call For Papers: International Conference on Law and Art in the 19th Century: Power in Images, Verona, October 19-21, 2022
The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David; the courthouse of the Court of Cassation in Rome; the statues of Justice or Liberty; the caricatures by the painter Honoré Daumier: these are just a few examples of the artistic representation of law, power, justice and rights in the 19th century.
Sometimes faithful reproductions of the legal values produced at the time, sometimes exaltation, transfiguration or denunciation of certain aspects of the legal system. Art, like law, is a human factor that is sometimes able to assert itself from below, from the society that produces it; at other times it comes from above, in tune with the designs of those who hold political power and who use art to put forward a certain image of power, as well as to disseminate a precise idea of the juridical. The importance of artistic images and, more specifically, of the iconographic representation of key themes and concepts of law in their various legal contexts, requires no lengthy demonstration. The evocative capacity and symbolic potential released by images has often been used in Western history to effectively express, and at the same time to reinforce, key ideas from the legal world through the strength and immediacy of an iconic message, so as to obtain the broadest possible understanding and adherence in the community of reference for the model of legal organisation in force at any given moment.
The research team set up to further study the project Images, Law and Power in the Modern Age, within the framework of the Excellence Project of the Department of Legal Sciences of the University of Verona (2018-2022), is organising a conference on the theme of the artistic representation of law in the 19th century, from the French Revolution to the early twentieth century. The purpose is to investigate the ways in which, during the nineteenth century, the substantial change in the structural characteristics of the legal phenomenon, and the emergence of an alternative legal experience, corresponded to the replacement - or re-semantization - of the symbols and images traditionally expressed in the law, so that they were more suitable to convey the new concept of the juridical in society. By studying the painting, sculpture and architecture of a particular epoch, it is possible to understand and delve into the legal reality, observing law in its complexity, as well as its ability to reside within society and give it order and structure. In this sense, the nineteenth century is a complex century, which begins with the French Revolution and the great break with the social and legal order of the Ancien Régime, and with the simultaneous establishment of a new socio-political order, marked by the affirmation of bourgeois society. The century ends with the emergence of a plural and complex society, marked by the advent of positivism, Darwinism and an unprecedented technological and industrial order. The cultural, political and economic changes are intertwined - in a play of reciprocal influences - with the legal and institutional ones, and are also expressed in an extensive and coherent iconographic system, either new or repurposed, which not only serves to describe the new order but also aims to make it empathetically present to the minds and hearts of those who confront it. These were sometimes the result of a specific cultural policy expressed on an iconographic level with reference to the world of law, and sometimes the result of a series of progressive ‘adjustments’ of the iconic baggage of the past to the new situation of modernity. Art follows the movement of history and the needs of society. Taking up the simple forms of the past in neoclassicism, it at the same time felt the urgency to describe the new, perceiving a cultural and social restlessness capable of evolving rapidly at the turn of the century. Architecture, with its harmonious neoclassical geometric forms, clashed with the utilitarian architecture desired by governments and required by the prevailing era of industrialisation. Painting initially followed revolutionary suggestions, then adapted to the magniloquent exaltation of Napoleon's exploits and the monarchies during the Restoration period, before becoming a denunciation of social injustice in satirical caricatures in tandem with the rise of Impressionism and Realism. Partially different movements followed in sculpture, which asserted itself in the 19th century as a monumental representation of political power in statues of monarchs and emperors, but also as an exaltation of the rights of freedom to be made present and visible in the urban spaces of the new cities. The subjects connected with the theme of the conference are therefore multiple and concern the connection of the varied artistic world with law and thus with political power, justice, legislative power and the fundamental rights of the individual. It is also possible to question the influence of the legal phenomenon on art, exploring the relations between artists and jurists, as well as painters and rulers; or again, to analyse artistic works that oppose a given legal and political system, denouncing the abuses of power or the injustice of laws. From this point of view, the historical reconstruction of this evolution is essential to grasp its deep implications as well as to highlight caesuras and continuities with respect to previous legal experience. The contributions of the history of art, architecture, and culture in general can lead to a deeper and more conscious reading of the legal phenomenon, one which takes into account its irreducible specificity but also its vital connection with contemporary cultural and artistic manifestations. The conference, therefore, aims to analyse the theme of the artistic representation of law in the 19th century via a multidisciplinary and comparative approach, stimulating discussion and dialogue among the participants, so as to ensure the historical profundity and depth of interpretation of an topic pervasive but underestimated, that of the translation into images of the values and 'myths' of law and power. It will thus be possible, starting from the notion of the changes experienced by society and, therefore also by its law in the 19th century, to lay bare first of all the operation of the ideological configuration of the rule of law and bourgeois society, which certainly benefit significantly from recourse to images capable of constructing a shared ideal and which is also disseminated through artistic images.
The conference organisers invite all interested scholars to participate in the call by sending the title and abstract (minimum 300 words - maximum 500 words) of the proposed paper and also indicating name, surname and university of affiliation, together with a curriculum vitae (of no more than four pages). In addition, the organisers are also accepting proposals for panels, consisting of three speakers and a chair and possibly a discussant; in this case, a title and an abstract of the panel (minimum 300 and maximum 500 words) are required in addition to the abstracts of the individual papers and the curriculum vitae of each speaker, chair and discussant. The conference will be held in Italian, French and English, so proposals can be submitted in any of these languages.
Applications must be sent by 30 June 2022 to: email@example.com Proposals will be accepted by 31 July 2022. The conference will take place in Verona in October 2022, potentially in person, although we are also considering online transmission of the event (candidates who know already that they will not be able to travel to Italy are requested to indicate this, and to specify the time zone of their country).
The organisers will bear the cost of accommodation and meals for the conference participants. The conference papers will be published following successful peer review. A prerequisite for participation in the conference is the delivery of the text ready for publication (maximum limit: 60,000 characters including spaces and notes) on the date of the conference, in one of the languages used for the work.
For any further communication or information: firstname.lastname@example.org The Chairman of the Scientific Committee: Prof. Giovanni Rossi: email@example.com; The person in charge of the organisation: Dr Pietro Schirò: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lorraine Daston, Rules and Exceptions: Casuistry, Equity, and Prerogative in Early Modern Europe @ArsScripta @LawHumScholars @QMUL @law_humanities @LegalHumanities @WarwickCCLS @legalhis @LawHumanitiesCA
Now on YouTube:
When Congress passed the Homestead Act of 1862 it decided to distribute land to single, unmarried women. Most Congressional members who supported including unmarried women did so because women were a necessary part of empire building—women were expected to marry, bear children, and engage in building permanent communities. Few Congressional members cared about women’s equality or the progressive goals of the women’s rights movements, although some Congressional members thought women would be incapable of successfully homesteading. This article presents the fascinating history of including unmarried women in the Homestead Act of 1862 by conducting an intensive study of the act’s statutory history, beginning in 1843. Building on the work of historians, this article analyzes how the lived experiences of female homesteaders matched up with the expectations of the Congressional members who included them, on such topics as women’s willingness and ability to homestead, women’s equality, and women’s role in marriage and reproduction. Throughout, this article explores how this statutory history can influence our understanding of antebellum unmarried women’s rights.Download the article from SSRN at the link.
March 16, 2022
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 article from SSRN at the link.
March 11, 2022
From 1869 to 1879, many European nations rushed to conclude bilateral treaties for trademark protection with the United States, either with the expectation of a federal law or under the first federal trademark law passed in 1870. However, in 1879 the US Supreme Court held the 1870 Act unconstitutional, throwing that system into disarray. This piece will explore these early trademark treaties, situate them in the context of developments in the law and society during this period, and explore how the Supreme Court's 1879 decision in the Trade-Mark Cases affected the course of international trademark law. This piece adapts the author's earlier scholarship on this era of U.S. trademark law to greater engage the transatlantic development of trademark law.Download the chapter from SSRN at the link.
March 10, 2022
Rosenberg on Exaggeration: Advertising, Law and Medical Quackery in Britain, c. 1840-1914 @anat_rosenberg
This article revisits the nineteenth-century debate about medical quackery in Britain, to examine its implications for the history of modern advertising. It makes two related claims. First, the prevalent view of advertising as a field prone to exaggeration, often taken as obvious, has a legal history. The circumstances of the quackery debate led to a legal elaboration and formalization of views of advertising as an epistemologically doubtful but not illegal field. Second, advertising’s status as exaggeration was part of a legally supported cultural division of labour – or legal boundary work, which carved differentiated roles for science and the market in modern Britain whereby science was increasingly defined by restraint, and the market by its lack. The analysis examines the implications, while also offering new insights on the role of law in the history of quackery, and examining untapped sources, particularly a set of libel cases that developed a legal definition of quackery.The full text is not available from SSRN.
March 7, 2022
van Domselaar on "Plain" Legal Language by Courts" Mere Clarity, an Expression of Civic Friendship or a Masquerade of Violence? @AdamLawSchool
In the Netherlands over the last decade, a range of initiatives have been launched by individual courts, mostly on their own initiative, to make court rulings more comprehensible to average citizens. At the outset, at least from the ‘internal point of view’ of legal practitioners, it might seem striking that these initiatives predominantly address the comprehensibility of legal language as an exclusively linguistic matter, independent of any jurisprudential stance as to what ‘doing law’ should consist of in this context. However, this linguistically-oriented approach is far from eccentric: it dovetails nicely with the dominant approach adopted by the plain legal language movement to make the law more comprehensible to citizens. Against the background of a language as activity view, this article analyses and evaluates the use of comprehensible legal language by courts. To do this, an integrative legal–ethical approach is employed, according to which the content and style of court rulings are inextricably linked. More specifically, the Aristotelian concept of civic friendship is introduced as having potential explanatory force for the practice of plain legal language use by Dutch courts. With reference to actual court rulings, it is argued that this concept allows us to conceive of a ‘plain’ court ruling as a potential expression of a civic-friendly attitude by the judge. In addition, the main dilemmas that civic-friendly judges will be likely to face when writing a comprehensible court ruling are identified. Finally, and on a more critical note, a fundamental concern is raised regarding the practice of plain legal language use by Dutch courts.Download the essay from SSRN at the link.
March 3, 2022
ASSOCIATION FOR THE STUDY OF LAW, CULTURE, AND THE HUMANITIES
June 16-17, 2022
Atlanta, GEORGIA, USA
The Twenty-Fourth Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Law,
Culture and the Humanities will be held at Emory University School of Law,
June 16-17, 2022.
We welcome humanities-oriented proposals on topics broadly related to law and
legal studies. In addition, our theme this year is:
resides in the pull between what is settled and what is not.
Precedent guides us until it does not. Law’s stability is in constant
conversation with its own necessary responsiveness as well as with what
troubles it from outside of legal institutions. Disobediences, whether civil
or not, have the power to unsettle what is taken to be settled. And forces
like climate change pose challenges to settled law by destabilizing what may
make obedience and order possible at all. Law continually expands the range of
persons it recognizes, for better or worse, while it claims across all changes
that it serves the interests of all. Borders exclude but remain permeable, and
we argue about what is owed to others regardless of their citizenship status.
States claim sovereignty and face refusals from other sovereignties within
their borders. Even settler colonialism is a process rather than an outcome,
so what is settled and what remains open to different futures may be
contested. How do and should we imagine law in these unsettled times? What
creative forces might we bring to bear in these moments between past and
future, whether for unsettling what ought to change or stabilizing what is
endangered? How might different disciplines, methodologies, arts, literatures,
and technologies represent, reinforce, or resist unsettling law? We invite
proposals taking up that question from a variety of humanities-oriented
conference will emphasize the ASLCH tradition of
while making some panels available for those who wish to participate
virtually. Rather than hosting hybrid panels, there will be one full session
dedicated to online panels each day of the conference. Virtual attendees can
view these, and there will be public viewing rooms at the conference so that
attendees can engage in conversation with each other and the virtual
panelists. We will also host three plenary sessions that will be available in
person as well as streaming online. Some of the in-person panels will be
streamed during the sessions that aren’t online-dedicated.
All proposals are due Friday, March 11, 2022 at midnight Eastern Standard
instructions: Individual proposals should include a title and an
abstract of no more than 250 words, along with 2 keywords from the list below.
We also welcome proposals for panels, roundtables, and streams (two panels on one theme). Please note that online presenters should organize a full panel
(we will not be accepting individual papers for online presentation this year)
and that, though we traditionally accept most papers, we may need to limit the
number of online panels we accept, depending on demand. Panels, whether
virtual or in-person, 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, roundtable, 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, roundtable, or stream participants must make
an individual submission on the registration site. When submitting a proposal,
we also ask that registrants identify two keywords to help us align sessions
with each other.
Proposal submission is free. All proposals must be submitted here:
The fees for in-person participation in the Conference are:
• Graduate students and post-doctoral scholars: $35
• Income less than $75,000: $125
• Income between $75,000-$99,999: $155
• Income between $100,000-$124,999: $210
• Income $125,000 and over: $260
The fees to participate remotely are:
• Graduate students and post-doctoral scholars: Free
• Income less than $75,000: $50
• Income between $75,000-$99,999: $75
• Income between $100,000-$124,999: $100
• Income $125,000 and over: $150
The ASLCH Graduate Workshop will be held at Emory on Wednesday, June 15. We will circulate information about it soon. Any questions may be directed email@example.com.
March 2, 2022
Indiana University School of Law (Indianapolis) Hosts Conference on Law and Antisemitism @IUMcKinney
The IU McKinney School of Law is hosting a special event: Law vs. Antisemitism: Inaugural Conference. Here is the link to the conference website.
Here is the description of the event. More information is available from Professor Robert A. Katz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Antisemitism is more than a hatred and a practice -- it's legal phenomenon. Join legal scholars and experts at the Law vs. Antisemitism Inaugural Conference as they discuss how law has been used both to perpetrate and to combat antisemitism, historically and today. US law in particular has been used to fight antisemitism through the constitutional separation of church and state, anti-discrimination laws, and “hate crimes” laws, among other means. Despite these laws, there has been a recent resurgence in anti-Jewish violence and antisemitism more generally, ranging from online hate speech to cemetery desecration to attacks on synagogues. What does this tell us about the efficacy of law in combating antisemitism?
The Conference will be held at IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law on March 14-15, 2022, and will be broadcast live online. It will consist of the panels and speakers listed below. It is hosted by IU McKinney and the Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality. The Conference conveners are Robert Katz, IU McKinney Professor of Law and John S. Grimes Fellow and Prof. Diane Klein, Visiting Professor of Law (remote), Southern University Law Center. The Conference is presented by the Law vs. Antisemitism Project, a nonprofit organization founded by Professors Katz and Klein.
The Conference is sponsored by the Indiana State Bar Association, the Indianapolis Bar Association, and the IUPUI Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Additional support is provided by Cohen & Malad, LLP, Hoover Hull Turner LLP, Ice Miller LLP, the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, Katz Korin Cunningham PC, Kosene & Kosene Development Co., Mitchell Dick McNelis LLC, and the Academic Engagement Network (AEN). Breakfast and lunch provided by Bagel Fair and Shapiro's Delicatessen.