September 24, 2016

Turner @christor on Perceiving Law

Christian Turner, University of Georgia Law School, has published Perceiving Law as UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-33. Here is the abstract.
The more we examine what is behind our most difficult legal questions, the more puzzling it can seem that we continue both to disagree strongly and, yet, to cooperate. If law is a reasoned enterprise, how is it that we are neither torn apart nor homogenized by our long social practice of it? I resolve this puzzle, and arrive at a richer understanding of law, using the idea of modeling familiar from the natural sciences and mathematics. I show both that theorists can model legal systems as abstract systems of institutions, information flows, and institutional processing or reasoning and that the participants in a legal system themselves maintain and evaluate models of this sort. Understanding law this way clarifies numerous problems ranging from pluralism to legal interpretation. This work emphasizes four major points of the theory: (1) An individual’s perception of law is an act of empathetic model-identification, model-building, and attitudinal judgment with respect to a perceived, ongoing instance of cooperation. (2) All such models can be described as systems of information-connected institutions that each (a) receive inputs from other institutions, (b) process those inputs according to sets of reasons, and (c) produce informational output. (3) Each institution is modeled by its participants as (a) maintaining its own set of reasons for decisionmaking, those reasons terminating in a local, ultimate rule of recognition but also (b) possessing rules that take account of the information produced by other institutions, such rules coming in various flavors of scrutiny and deference. (4) The human conceptual system generates many such models depending on the question being asked and produces judgments through simulation. The fact that such modeling happens at many different scales, depending on the question contemplated, explains theoretical disagreement and agreement, otherwise puzzling problems of pluralism, and the moral/legal interface.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 23, 2016

Star Trek's Legacy: The EU Takes Note

The French TV network ARTE (funded by the European Union) has produced a number of tv episodes in honor of Star Trek's 50th anniversary. Each four-minute video has a particular theme (origins, the ST economy, etc.)  Here's a list.

Episodes 1, 3, and 8 discuss law-related themes, and all are worth watching. Episodes are in English or there are English-language subtitles.

Via @F_Defferrard.

September 21, 2016

Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities, Call for Papers


We are pleased to announce that the Twentieth Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities will be held at Stanford Law School in Palo Alto, California March 31-April 1, 2017. We invite your participation.  Please note, panel and paper proposals are due Friday October 28th, 2016.

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, law and cultural studies, law and anthropology, law and literature, law and the performing arts, and legal hermeneutics. We want to 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.
Examples of sessions we anticipate people will organize include:
History, Memory and Law; Law and Literature; Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism; Speech, Silence, and the Language of Law; Judgment, Justice, and Law; Beyond Identity; The Idea of Practice in Legal Thought; Metaphor and Meaning; Representing Legality in Film and Mass Media; Anarchy, Liberty and Law; What is Excellence in Interpretation?; Ethics, Religion, and Law; Moral Obligation and Legal Life; The Post-Colonial in Literary and Legal Study; Processes and Possibilities in Interdisciplinary Law Teaching.
We urge those interested in attending to consider submitting complete panels, and we hope to encourage a variety of formats - roundtables, sessions at which everyone reads the papers in advance, sessions in which commentators respond to a single paper. We invite proposals for session in which the focus is on pedagogy or methodology, for author-meets-readers sessions organized around important books in the field, or for sessions in which participants focus on performance (theatrical, filmic, musical, poetic).
Abstracts for proposed papers should be no more than 250 words.
Proposals for panels should include three papers (or, exceptionally, four papers). Panel proposals should specify a title and a chair; the panel chair may also be a panel presenter. Paper presenters may appear more than once in the conference program.


The registration form is available at this link:
A reminder that the ASLCH uses a two part registration system. First you register your paper or panel and pay a $37.74 membership fee. When/if your paper or panel is accepted, you pay the conference fee. All panelists will be notified about their acceptance as soon as possible.  We hope to see as many of you as possible in 2017 at Stanford!

Hotel Information

Information about hotels and other information specific to the 2017 conference will follow.


If you have any general questions about the conference, please do not hesitate to contact Karl Shoemaker (kbshoemaker [a] For matters related to the program or its organization, please write to William Rose (wrose [at] 

Call for Papers: International Association for Media and History, July 10-13, 2017

CFP: Media and History, Crime, Violence, and Justice, July 10-13, 2017, Paris, France

27th Conference of the International Association for Media and History

MEDIA AND HISTORY: CRIME, VIOLENCE AND JUSTICE is the main topic of the conference and a special section will also deal with international and comparative approaches to media history. Workshops for younger scholars will be organized.

Confirmed keynote speakers (there will be other plenary sessions with professionals and filmmakers):
Carrie Rentschler, William Dawson Scholar of Feminist Media Studies, McGill University
Francesco Casetti, Thomas E. Donnelley Professor of Humanities and Film and Media Studies, Yale University.

Call for Papers:

The relations between media and the acts or representations of crime, violence and justice are evolving through history. The openness of this call for papers is voluntary chosen in order to receive diverse and critical proposals dealing with this broad topic. Most of the time, it is through media that we encounter conflicts and violence; from news formats to fictional accounts; from traditional media such as newspapers, film, radio and television to ‘newer’ interactive media. Such media coverage is very frequently linked to debates on law and order. How can an open society react to crime and violence? Often, the relationship between conflict and crime and their representation can cause various conflicts.
First, media can become tools of propaganda, war and discrimination. They are then not only ways to communicate information but they are also part of performativity and action. Second, media can become a target of violence themselves, whether or not in totalitarian states or countries where the freedom of speech is restricted. Third, in each historical context, ‘new’ media inventions can produce an atmosphere of fear and violent contest or censorship, especially when they disturb existing (political) power patterns or structures. Fourth, media and communication technologies are also an essential part of social movements and political activism by offering spaces of visibility and instruments of contestation aimed at social change that can lead to situations of conflict and confrontations within the public sphere.
These various relations of media to crime, violence and justice are not new. Numerous scholars work or have worked on this topic by focusing on media and law, politics, journalism, media activism, war, (cultural) diplomacy or likewise the narration and mediatization of war, conflicts, punishment, violence, crime and justice. The latter are not only an essential part of news and the journalistic, political agenda, but they are also essential when it comes to fictional formats such as film or television series. Depending on historical, political and cultural premises, the signification and definition of crime and violence in media and law texts ask the question of the circulation and understanding of these concepts in society. This conference aims to (re)think the historical relations between media, crime, violence and justice also in order to offer new insights into more recent forms of this very complex interplay. Scholars and practitioners from various disciplines and approaches (history – media and communication studies – law – politics, gender, queer and feminist studies – sociology – anthropology – economy etc.) are welcome to submit papers and panel proposals that deal critically with the following topics:
- Historical representation/mediatization/definitions of crime, violence and justice in news or informational formats, film, documentaries, television drama or radio plays
- Historical approaches to media events related to crime, violence and justice.
- The production and reception of news and fiction dealing with crime, violence and justice
- Media historical approaches to symbolic and physical violence
- The crime scene, the criminal and the victims in news and fiction
- Historical (media-) constructions of the judge, the lawyer or secret service agents
- ‘New’ media inventions as aggregators of fear, conflict or censorship
- The historical role of media and technologies in social and political protest, movements and activism, leading sometimes to conflicts and violence
- The historical (international) relations of legal public entities, diplomacy, the police and the military with journalists and media institutions
- Media as targets of violence and crime
- The role of media archives for the historiography and memory of crime, violence and justice
- Media, history and criminology
- The history of cybercrime
- Legal actions attacking or protecting media content and their producers or audiences/users
There is also one special area dedicated to the question of international approaches to media history. Panel and paper proposals in this field are warmly welcome. The idea is to have space for epistemological, theoretical, practical and also comparative discussions on how media history is thought and experienced in different cultural areas: what kinds of archives are accessible, in creation or needed, the place of media history in academia etc.


September 20, 2016

Kerr on Interpreting the Rapper in an Internet Society

Andrew Jensen Kerr, Georgetown University Law Center, is publishing Rap Exegesis: Interpreting the Rapper in an Internet Society in the Columbia Journal of Race and Law. Here is the abstract.
The Law and Literature movement has had limited influence on the work of lawyers and judges. But a rap lyric’s dual quality as aesthetic and “truth” document makes it uniquely amenable to literary interpretation. The competing problems: lyrics are meant to be heard and not read, and the ambition of the contemporary rapper is no longer to be didactic or suggest authenticity. The #rapgame has changed. I argue the internet rapper is the paradigm of creative identity. The guiding questions for this Article are how the law should respond to the individual who lives life as art, and if the social knowledge project will lead to the crowdsourcing of hermeneutics of both rappers and legal texts.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Call For Papers: Art in Law in Art Conference, University of Western Australia, July 5, 2017


From Jani McCutcheon, Director of Law and Society, Faculty of Law, University of Western Australia 
We are pleased to announce that The University of Western Australia Law School will host the Art in Law in Art Conference on 4 & 5 July 2017. We look forward to welcoming you, and are now calling for papers for this conference. Please click Here for the call for papers. 
The Art in Law in Art Conference will be held in the beautiful Perth Cultural Precinct at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth. Art in Law in Art is an interdisciplinary conference investigating the broad themes of how law sees visual art, and how visual art sees law.
The Conference will be an exciting mix of different perspectives from international experts on the art-law nexus, as scholars, practitioners and artists come together and exchange ideas.
The Conference has two main themes: 1. Art in Law: law touches upon a range of legal topics and areas, and this theme explores the full breadth and depth of issues. 2. Law in Art: this theme explores how law is perceived and represented by artists and theorists. This theme explores the broad question of how the law is perceived in the theory and practice of visual art.
Confirmed speaker: Carey Young, visual artist. Please visit the conference website at for updated information about the conference, and to register your interest.
We would very much appreciate your help in bringing this conference to the attention of your colleagues, and anyone who might be interested in attending, whether as a paper presenter or otherwise.
If you require further information, please contact the conference convenor, Jani McCutcheon, at
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in Perth in July 2017.

September 18, 2016

For Your Consideration: Ars Technica @arstechnica Explains Mr. Robot

ICYMI: Ars Technica @arstechnica (with writers such as Nathan Mattise and Jonathan M. Gitlin) has been discussing the series Mr. Robot @whoismrrobot (USA Network) and its themes to law, politics, and pop culture since it premiered. The writers tackle these issues with gusto, and the pieces are informative and lively. Here are links to some essays.

Mr. Robot's Attention To Detail Even Extends To Campy, '80s Horror Flicks

Mr. Robot's First Season Was a Compelling Descent Into Madness

Mr. Robot's Tech Guru

You can also listen to podcasts about the show and its ins and outs: General link

Decrypted, episode 1 (season 2)

September 17, 2016

Sexual Violence and the TV Drama

In a column for the Globe and Mail, writer and producer Ellen Vanstone discusses how rape has become a mainstay of tv scripts, for shows ranging from fantasy series such as Game of Thrones to procedurals such as Law & Order to thrillers such as The Americans. 

A Selected Bibliography 

Lisa M. Cuklanz, Rape on Prime Time: Television, Masculinity, and Sexual Violence (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999).

Lisa M. Cuklanz, Rape on Trial: How the Mass Media Construct Legal Reform and Social Change (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995).

Molly Haskell, From Reverence To Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies (2d ed., University of Chicago, 1987).

Lee Ann Kahlor and Matthew S. Eastin,  Television's Role in the Culture of Violence Toward Women: A Study of Television Viewing and the Cultivation of Rape Myth Acceptance in the United States, 55 Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 215-231 (2011).

Sarah Projansky, Watching Rape: Film and Television in Post-Feminist Culture (NYU Press, 2001).

September 16, 2016

When There's Toxin in the Text: Some Cites To Agatha Christie's Uses of Poisons in Her Mysteries

I should have published this post yesterday, on the anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth, but no harm, no foul, so to speak.

As you may know, Mrs. Christie worked in a hospital dispensary during the First World War, where she first learned a great deal about drugs--and poisons, and she used that information to great advantage in her many mystery novels. Fiction and pharmaceuticals worked quite well for her, from her very first publication, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. A good many of her works deal with some kind of poison as a weapon of death, as scholars point out.

Erin Blackmore writes more about Dame Agatha's real life knowledge and her use of it in her literary career in her essay for JSTOR Daily, Agatha Christie, Pharmacist.

More about poison in Agatha Christie from The Guardian, here from The New Yorker, HubPages, and Wired.

Delfini on Instances of the Civil Law in the North American Common Law Tradition

Newly published in the Italian Law Journal:

F. Delfini, Instances of Civil Law in North American Common Law Tradition: Cause and Consideration in Quebec and Louisiana Civil Codes, 2 Italian Law Journal 87 (2016).

More here.

Star Trek's Attractive Vision of the Future

September 15, 2016

By Any Other's Name: A Conference on Law, Authorship, and Appropriation, October 28-29, 2016

Coming soon:

By Any Other's Name: A Conference on Law, Authorship, and Appropriation, October 28-29, 2016, on the campus of Louisiana State University.

The Louisiana State University School of Theatre, College of Music and Dramatic Arts and LSU Law Center in conjunction with the LSU Office of Research and Economic Development and the Law and Humanities Institute present “By Any Other Name: A Conference on Law, Authorship and Appropriation” October 28 and 29 on the campus of LSU.
The conference will bring together scholars, performers, and students to discuss law and authorship in the face of challenges issued by artists who engage in appropriation—the practice of taking the works of others to rethink or recreate new works.

September 13, 2016

Rosenbury @UFLawDean on Postmodern Feminist Legal Theory

Laura A. Rosenbury, University of Florida College of Law, is publishing Postmodern Feminist Legal Theory: A Contingent, Contextual Account in Feminist Legal Theory in the United States and Asia: A Dialogue (Cynthia Grant Bowman, ed.; 2016) (Forthcoming). Here is the abstract.
Of all of the existing schools of feminist legal thought, postmodern feminist legal theory is the most difficult to define and categorize. Postmodernism itself is not a fixed concept. Moreover, the various approaches to postmodernism challenge and resist attempts to establish foundational truths or universal meanings. Feminist legal theory rooted in postmodernism therefore necessarily eschews stable understandings of feminism, law, and theory in favor of understandings that are fluid and shifting. If one embraces these principles, any attempt to conceptualize postmodern feminist legal theory immediately becomes contingent and contextual, if not also suspect. This Essay nonetheless analyzes the ways that legal scholars in the United States have developed and deployed postmodern feminist legal theory over the past thirty years. In doing so, the Essay provides one approach to postmodern feminist legal theory rooted in context and time. The Essay also highlights some of the distinctive aspects of postmodern feminist legal theory in this time and location, situating it in relation to other schools of feminist legal thought. Finally, the Essay emphasizes why these distinctions matter by viewing two areas of feminist law reform through this conceptualization of postmodern feminist legal theory.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

September 12, 2016

A UK Radio Drama Explores Domestic Abuse

The popular Radio 4 drama The Archers has wrapped up a long story arc with a not guilty verdict in the trial for attempted murder of major character Helen Tichenor. She was accused after fighting back against her husband Rob, who had abused her for years. The story galvanized listeners across the UK.

More here from the Guardian:

'Frighteningly relevant and superbly handled': readers on the Archers' verdict

The BBC:

Verdict revealed:

The Telegraph:

The Archers Trial Verdict:

Goluboff's Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of 1960s: A New Book From Oxford University Press

Risa L. Goluboff, University of Virginia School of Law, has published Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of the 1960s (Oxford University Press, 2016). Here is a description of the book's contents (from the publisher's website).  


Call For Papers: Special Issue of Journal of Popular Film and Television: Korean Popular Cinema and Television

Via @electricchieu and @HerFilmProject

Special Issue for Journal of Popular Film and Television: Korean Popular Cinema and Television in the 21st Century

deadline for submissions: 
June 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Jihoon Kim/Chung-ang University
contact email: 
Call for Submissions to a Special Issue:
Korean Popular Cinema and Television in the 21st Century

Edited by Jihoon Kim, Dept. of Film Studies, Chung-ang University, South Korea

During the last several years, both Korean cinema and Korean television dramas (and K-pop tracks/stars as well, to be sure) have gained not simply dramatically increased popularity beyond the Pan-Asian scope of the first ‘Korean wave (hallyu)’ (across North and South Americas and Europe), but also critical attention in the academia of cinema studies, cultural studies, and East Asian/Korean studies. Despite these situations, previous studies on Korean cinema and television have highlighted only a limited set of texts: despite a couple of recent edited collections dedicated to nationally popular genre films such as horror and film noir, most scholarly writings on Korean cinema have still privileged films directed by so-called ‘auteurs’ (Kim Ki-duk, Hong Sang-soo, Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon-ho, and Lee Chang-dong) that were already established in global film culture and academia, thus leaving unexamined a series of popular Korean films that have not simply had enormous commercial success in the domestic box office but also had notable cultural influences on Korean audiences’ collective desire, historical imaginary, and optical unconscious. Likewise, most of the existing studies on Korean television have discussed only a few canonical television dramas in the first Korean wave era. The academia’s failure to catch up with the rapidly growing popularity of Korean network and cable television programs on both domestic and transnational levels has left to be uncharted territories many important key cultural texts during the last few years. These include recent television dramas that enjoyed either domestic critical attention (for instance, the Reply series [1997, 1994, 1988], Misaeng (2014), and Signal [2016]) or transnational spectatorship and stardom (for instance, My Love from the Star [2013-4] and Descendants of the Sun [2016]), as well as various reality TV programs across different formats and subjects (Infinity Challenge, Running Men, music competition shows [Superstar K, K-Pop Star, Show Me the Money, Un-pretty Rap Star, and Produce 101], and Food/Cooking TV programs). 
This special issue of Journal of Popular Film and Television aims to fill these wide vacancies in the current scholarship of Korean cinema and television studies, thereby expanding its scope into critical investigations of the previously unexamined key texts and genres, their relations to Korea’s social, political, and cultural contexts, and their transnational appeals from industrial and cultural perspectives. Possible topics include, but not are limited to:
- Genre conventions and their subversion/mixture (the films of Bong Joon-ho, Ryu Seung-wan, Kim Ji-woon, and Na Hong-jin)
- Recent Korean film noir/thriller movies and their treatment of the society’s political and economic antinomies (New World [2013], Veteran [2015], Inside Men [2015])
- Social reality dramas or films based on the true story (Silenced [2011], The Attorney[2013], Han Gong-ju [2013])
- Recent Korean blockbuster films, their (CGI) technology/aesthetics/pleasures (Thieves[2012], Roaring Currents [2014], Ode to My Father [2014])
- Historical films/costume dramas and their historical imaginary, including the imagery of the colonial/postcolonial history (Masquerade [2012], Assassination [2015], The Handmaiden [2016])
- Transnational popular films/dramas, including their stardom and industry
- Cultural nostalgia in popular films and TV dramas/reality shows (The Attorney, Ode to My Father, the Reply series, and the television shows [Sugarman (2016), for instance] on the 1990s’ pop music)
- Key recent Korean television dramas, narratives, styles, and their cultural identities (class struggle, gender, sexuality, religion, generational difference, Pan-Asian identity)
- Korean reality TV programs across different genres and formats (including music competition shows and Food/cooking TV)
- Korean TV’s spreadability, transnational impacts and participatory fan culture

The CFP encourages a variety of academic, historical, critical, analytical, and theoretical approaches, as well as submissions from authors in the popular press. Submissions should be limited to twenty-five pages, double-spaced, and conform to MLA style. Please include a fifty-word abstract and five to seven key words to facilitate online searches. Send an electronic copy no later than June 30, 2017 to Jihoon Kim(

AALS Annual Meeting: The 2017 AALS Law and Film Series Selections Are...

Information via @rockandrollprof: 

As in prior years, AALS is sponsoring the showing of two wonderful films at the Annual Meeting. Below is a short description of each movie. If you plan to attend the Annual Meeting, please consider also attending these events. You'll have a great time! (--Ed.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at 7:00 pm 
AALS Law and Film Series - The Feature Film Selection: Anatomy of a Murder 
“Anatomy of a Murder” is a 1959 directed by Otto Preminger, and is widely considered a classic film. (It was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, and three of the actors were also Oscar-nominated.) It features James Stewart, Ben Gazzara, Lee Remick, and George C. Scott in a small town murder mystery, and is framed by an exquisite Duke Ellington musical score, which won a Grammy for best soundtrack. The film turns on a fascinating series of trial tactics, evidence, mental states, and professional ethics. The discussion will be led by Professor Christine Corcos (LSU). 
Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 6:30 pm 
AALS Law and Film Series – The Documentary Film Selection - La Jaula de Oro/The Golden Dream  

La jaula de oro ("The Cage of Gold"/ “The Golden Dream” (2013) is a Mexican feature film directed by Diego Quemada-Díez. The film features an ensemble cast of Central American younger undocumented immigrants fleeing Guatemala, and who make their way to the United States in a harrowing fashion by foot and by “la bestia,” the train that snakes its way to the border, with immigrants clinging to it at great peril. This is a timely film, made with great skill and narrative power. It has begun to be shown on college campuses, and it will be discussed by immigration law professor Michael A. Olivas (Houston) and Jaula producer Luis Salinas, an award-winning filmmaker.

September 8, 2016

Kamp on the English Origins of the Second Amendment

Allen R. Kamp, The John Marshall Law School, has published The English Legacy of the Second Amendment — History and Myth. Here is the abstract.
According to the majority opinion of Justice Scalia in Distri ct of Columbia v. Heller, pre-Second Amendment adoption English history informs the Amendment’s meaning. The majority opinion discusses the historical background after analyzing the language of the Amendment: “Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment. We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right.” My paper investigates the actual historical practice in England regarding gun rights before the adoption of the Second Amendment. It focuses on four topics involving rights to bear arms in England of that era: the Declaration of Rights, the writings of Blackstone, the Game Laws, and the Militia.​ The paper concludes that although Heller purports to be based on pre-second Amendment historical practice, its description of that practice is more mythical than real.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Meyer @pmeyer6104 on The Uses of Comedy In the Courtroom

Check out Philip Meyer's new ABA Journal column "Don't Underestimate the Value of Comedy in the Courtroom." Link here.

International Journal for the Semiotics of Law: Volume 29, Number 3, Is Now Available

"Paradise Lost" as a Discussion of Early Modern Legal Justice

Alison A. Chapman, Professor of English, University of Alabama, Birmingham, has published The Legal Epic: “Paradise Lost” and the Early Modern Law (Harvard University Press, 2016). Here is a description of the contents from the publisher's website.
The seventeenth century saw some of the most important legal changes in England’s history, yet the period has been largely overlooked in the rich field of literature and law. Helping to fill this gap, The Legal Epic is the first book to situate the great poet and polemicist John Milton at the center of late seventeenth-century legal history. Alison A. Chapman argues that Milton’s Paradise Lost sits at the apex of the early modern period’s long fascination with law and judicial processes. Milton’s world saw law and religion as linked disciplines and thought therefore that in different ways, both law and religion should reflect the will of God. Throughout Paradise Lost, Milton invites his readers to judge actions using not only reason and conscience but also core principles of early modern jurisprudence. Law thus informs Milton’s attempt to “justify the ways of God to men” and points readers toward the types of legal justice that should prevail on earth. Adding to the growing interest in the cultural history of law, The Legal Epic shows that England’s preeminent epic poem is also a sustained reflection on the role that law plays in human society.

Law and the Modern Mind

Concurring Opinions features discussion of a recent symposium centered on Susanna Blumenthal's Law and the Modern Mind: Consciousness and Responsibility in American Legal Culture (Harvard 2016).

Post here.

Call For Papers: Tilburg Law Review's Special Issue, Fall 2017: "Translating Law"

Via Twitter @C_Bouteligier

Call for Papers Tilburg Law Review: 'Translating Law'

Tilburg Law Review (TiLR) invites article submissions for its fall 2017 special issue on 'Translating Law'. We imagine this double issue primarily as a collection of articles in law and humanities, but we welcome submissions from other disciplines as well. This issue will also contain the Montesquieu Lecture that Boaventura de Sousa Santos will deliver at Tilburg University in the spring of 2017.
Possible topics include:
  • Translations between legal languages, legal cultures
  • The right to translation
  • Translating legal fictions, legal metaphors
  • Translating across disciplines
  • Global law as a translation project
  • Court interpreters, oral translation, translation as performance
  • Legal mistranslations and legal untranslatables
  • Copyright and translation rights
  • Translating flight narratives in asylum procedures
  • Law and its others; law and the ‘other scene’; translating trauma; translating testimony
  • Translating between different conceptions of law
Tilburg Law Review is a peer-reviewed academic print journal of international and European law. This special issue seeks to continue the legacy of Willem Witteveen, a professor of jurisprudence at Tilburg Law School who tragically passed away in the MH17 disaster in Ukraine of July 2014. Willem Witteveen was an interdisciplinary scholar who created multiple spaces for law and humanities in the Netherlands.
Practical Information:
  • Submission: 15 Dec. 2016 (deadline)
  • Notification: 15 Feb. 2017
  • Publication: TLR Autumn issue, Volume 22 2017 (double issue)
  • Procedure: Submit an anonymous manuscript via after you have registered as user; Submissions will be reviewed following the regular blind-review process; TLR does not accept any submissions that count over 10.000 words; All submissions must comply with the OSCOLA citation system.
For more details, please visit our website.
Or contact us via email:

Hertogh and Kurkchiyan on the Existence of a Common European Legal Culture

Marc Hertogh, University of Groningen, Faculty of Law, and Marina Kurkchiyan, University of Oxford, Wolfson College, are publishing 'When Politics Comes into Play, Law is No Longer Law': Images of Collective Legal Consciousness in the UK, Poland and Bulgaria in volume 12 of International Journal of Law in Context (2016).
This paper examines the idea of a common European legal culture by exploring its foundational component, ‘collective legal consciousness’, in three EU states: the UK, Poland, and Bulgaria. Using a comparative research design and a variety of methods of data collection, it suggests that underneath the thin layer of EU consensus there are some fundamental differences in perceptions of law. The evidence shows that legal ideas are infused with perceptions of the political system. This finding suggests that the creation of a shared European legal culture depends on the prior formation of a common transnational polity right across the EU, together with a sense of political identity and of trust in the legitimacy of the European political authorities. The paper also demonstrates the multi-layered character of collective legal consciousness, allowing different images of law to coexist, underpinned by the perception of the source with which each image is associated.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 6, 2016

More Law and Star Trek: The Practicality of the Prime Directive (via @arstechnica)

ArsTechnica investigates whether the Prime Directive could ever be a universal rule of law. Here, with lawyers!

van Domselaar on The Perceptive Judge

Iris van Domselaar, University of Amsterdam, has published The Perceptive Judge. Here is the abstract.
Up until today the way judges perceive has received little attention in legal discourse. Adjudication is most often conceptualized as a practice in which judges apply rules and principles. The focus has predominantly been on the actual decisions judges take, the underlying justificatory rules and principles and the meaning of the decision for the legal system. This paper by contrast puts judicial perception at the centre of adjudication. It offers a philosophical account of judicial perception that understands it as a special ethical, character dependent - skill that a judge needs in order to adequately cope with the case he is confronted with. In this account ‘thick (legal) concepts’ play a vital role. Throughout the text Ian McEwan’s novel The Children Act is used as illustrative source.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Stern @ArsScripta on Narrative in the Legal Text: Judicial Opinions and Their Narratives

Simon Stern, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, is publishing Narrative in the Legal Text: Judicial Opinions and Their Narratives in Narrative and Metaphor in Law (Michael Hanne and Robert Weisberg,eds.; Cambridge University Press, 2017. Here is the abstract.
The law’s most familiar and characteristic mode of written expression, the judgment, lacks two of the key ingredients that contribute to the lure of literary narrative — namely, the drive, fueled by uncertainty and anticipation, that propels readers on towards the conclusion, and the pleasure of observing and reflecting on others’ mental states, which accounts for a considerable part of fiction’s cognitive appeal. The absence of these features should alert us to the questionable premises underlying any treatment of the judgment as simply one more form of narrative, whose fundamental similarity to novels and films can be taken for granted. Using a few fundamental concepts in the study of narrative, involving the definition of plot and the power of the “reality effect” (whose analogue, I propose, is the “legality effect”), this chapter asks what we can learn about legal decisions by considering them as having distinctive narrative features, rather than summarily lumping them together with literary narratives. The results, I suggest, help to make sense of the doctrinal analysis as well as the decision's formal structure.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 3, 2016

A New Book on Authors, Copyright, and Celebrity

Mark Rose, University of California, Santa Barbara, has published Authors in Court: Scenes From the Theater of Copyright (Harvard University Press, 2016). Here is a description of the contents from the publisher's website. 
Through a series of vivid case studies, Authors in Court charts the 300-year-long dance between authorship and copyright that has shaped each institution’s response to changing social norms of identity, privacy, and celebrity. Authors’ self-presentations in court are often inflected by prevailing concepts of propriety and respectability. And judges, for their part, have not been immune to the reputation and standing of the authors who have appeared before them in legal dramas.
Some authors strut their roles on the public stage. For example, Napoleon Sarony—the nineteenth-century photographer whose case established that photographs might be protected as works of art—was fond of marching along Broadway dressed in a red fez and high-top campaign boots, proclaiming his special status as a celebrity. Others, such as the reclusive J. D. Salinger, enacted their dramas precisely by shrinking from attention. Mark Rose’s case studies include the flamboyant early modern writer Daniel Defoe; the self-consciously genteel poet Alexander Pope; the nineteenth-century abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe; the once-celebrated early twentieth-century dramatist Anne Nichols, author of Abie’s Irish Rose; and the provocative contemporary artist Jeff Koons. These examples suggest not only how social forms such as gender and gentility have influenced the self-presentation of authors in public and in court but also how the personal styles and histories of authors have influenced the development of legal doctrine.

Cover: Authors in Court in HARDCOVER

Via @LawandLit and Legal History Blog.

September 1, 2016

Who Ya Gonna Call?

What is the rebooted Ghostbusters about? In a review for The Scholarly Kitchen, Joseph Esposito views it as actually about academic peer review, the Kristen Wiig character's attempt at rehabilitating her scientific reputation, and digs at academic publishing. Unusual fare for Hollywood, but intriguing. Color me interested. But then, I'm the one who interpreted the original version as a metaphor for environmental regulation.

Via @lisambayer, @mobabb3700

A New Book On Murder Ballads From University of Kentucky Law Professor Richard Underwood

University of Kentucky law professor Richard H. Underwood has published CrimeSong: True Crime Stories From Southern Murder Ballads (Shadelandhouse Modern Press, 2016). The book explores the real life events behind 24 Southern murder ballads. Professor Underwood developed the book from an article he wrote some years ago with research assistance from a law librarian who worked at the University of Kentucky, and to whom he has dedicated the book.

Copies are available directly from the publisher.  More about the book here from the UKy College of Law website. 

Bruncevic @doctorbruncevic Publishing Book With Routledge on Law, Art, and the Commons

Forthcoming from Routledge:

Merima Bruncevic, Department of Law, University of Gothenburg, is publishing Law, Art and the Commons (November 30, 2016). Here is a description of the contents from the publisher's website.

The concept of the cultural commons has become increasingly important for legal studies. Within this field, however, it is a contested concept: at once presented as a sphere for creativity, democratic access and freedom of speech, and as one that denies property rights and misappropriates the public domain. In this book, Merima Bruncevic takes up the cultural commons not merely as an abstract notion, but in its connection to physical spaces such as museums and libraries. A legal cultural commons can, she argues, be envisioned as a lawscape that can quite literally be entered and engaged with. Focusing largely on artin the context of the copyright regime, but also addressing a number of cultural heritage issues, the book draws on the work of Deleuze and Guattari in order to examine the realm of the commons as a potential space for overcoming the dichotomy between the owner and the consumer of culture. Challenging this dichotomy, it is the productive and creative potential of law itself that is elicited through the book’s approach to the commons as the empirical basis for a new legal framework, which is able to accommodate a multitude of interests and values.

Sharafi @mjsharafi On Parsi Legal History In Film and Fiction

Worth a read: an interesting post on Parsi legal history in film and fiction from the website of University of Wisconsin law prof and legal historian Mitra Sharafi, South Asian Legal History Resources.

Via @maksdelmar.

August 31, 2016

Justin Trudeau, Marvel Comics Superhero

Marvel Comics is introducing a new superhero: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He's the second member of his family to make an appearance in Marvel's pages: his father, Pierre Eliott Trudeau, featured in a comic in 1979. What's Mr. Trudeau's superpower in the comic, you ask? Well, apart from the "cool factor" (which isn't bad--not a lot of politicians have that), I'm not quite sure yet, but it just might be ensuring human rights. That's an excellent superpower.

The storyline appears to include Mr. Trudeau debating the ethics of using predictive policing with the Canadian superheroes Alpha Flight. Captain Marvel is for using that power to lock up those who would do evil in the future, and Iron Man is against it. Just FYI, I'm with Iron Man. I think we'll have to read the comic to find out, though. It will be on sale soon, and Marvel is taking pre-orders now.  More here from the CBC,  here from NPR

Mike Pence: Cartoonist

From the ABA Journal: discussion of Mike Pence's law school career as a cartoonist. More here from the Washington Post. Some are critical of his work, but because I can't draw at all, I think his work is at the very least, passable.

As a side note, cartoonist Stephen Pastis also has a law degree: from UCLA Law.  His character Rat was born in what was apparently a particularly boring law school class. (We won't ask).  Follow Mr. Pastis' strip Pearls Before Swine here.