January 24, 2017

Joe Sacco at Queen Mary University, March 21, 2017, To Discuss Law and the Humanities

Via @maksdelmar:

Inaugural Queen Mary Conversation in Law and the Humanities: Joe Sacco

21 March 2017


Time: 6:30 - 9:00pm 
Venue: Peston Lecture Theatre, the Graduate Centre, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road E1 4NS United Kingdom

The Department of Law is delighted to welcome renowned graphic novelist Joe Sacco for the inaugural Queen Mary Conversation in Law and the Humanities.
An on-stage interview with Joe Sacco will be conducted by Dr Maks Del Mar and Professor Penny Green. The aim of the new flagship series is to invite scholars and practitioners working in the arts and humanities to discuss the role of law in their work, and to thereby showcase the most cutting edge practice and research in law and the humanities.

More information at the website here.

First International Conference on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, February 8-10, 2017, St. Mary's University, London

Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery International Conference

First International Conference on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

Where: St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London
When: Wednesday 8th – Friday 10th February 2017
With the aim of using research to fill the knowledge and evidence gaps experienced by policymakers and practitioners, the conference will provide a space to promote debate and encourage collaboration on addressing the subject of human trafficking and modern slavery, with contributions from UK and international experts. Discussions between policymakers, practitioners and researchers will identify evidence gaps and tailor research to these needs.
Wednesday afternoon will begin with the official launch of the Centre by a Senior Cabinet member, followed by a high-level panel that discusses the current state of the response to modern slavery, both in the UK and globally, with a view to how we move forward.
On Thursday morning, we begin with a scene setting panel, where different government departments will outline their priorities and key evidence gaps. The subsequent panels will then focus on where research is going and identify areas for further examination.
Panels focus on:
  • Victim identification and care
  • Targeting perpetrators
  • Partnership approaches
  • Definitional challenges
  • Corporate responsibility
  • Labour exploitation
The Home Office Modern Slavery Research team will also host a workshop with Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Bernard Silverman to discuss improving the evidence base on modern slavery offenders
  • Mr Kevin Hyland, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner for the UK
  • Caroline Haughey, Barrister, Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act, 2016
  • Professor Bernard Silverman, Chief Scientific Adviser, Home Office
  • Kate Roberts, Human Trafficking Foundation
  • Professor Kokunre Agbontaen-Eghafona, University of Benin, Nigeria
  • James Cockayne, United Nations University
  • Monique Villa, Thompson Reuters Foundation
  • Mick Clarke, Chief Executive, The Passage, London
Download the full agenda (PDF)
Tickets for the conference can be booked online. For further information please contact sasha.jesperson@stmarys.ac.uk.

Green on Constitutional Truthmakers @olemisslaw

Christopher R. Green, University of Mississippi School of Law, has published Constitutional Truthmakers. Here is the abstract.
Many disputes in constitutional theory — in particular, disputes over forms of originalism and non-originalism — would be far clearer if they employed two distinctions that philosophers have drawn repeatedly in dealing with the nature of reality. First, we should distinguish constitutional epistemology from constitutional ontology. Constitutional epistemology (together with epistemically-freighted constitutional pragmatics) tells us who decides questions of constitutional interpretation: the distribution of interpretive authority between government and citizens, between and within branches of government, and for all of these interpreters, the distribution of such authority over time. It tells us what burdens of proof govern different interpreters’ determinations, and what sorts of evidence might satisfy those burdens. Akin to the Erie/Hanna regime, such “procedural” matters of constitutional epistemology and pragmatics could be changed radically even if the underlying “substance” of constitutional interpretation — what makes claims about the Constitution true or false — stays the same, and vice-versa. Attention to this epistemic-ontological distinction undermines or complicates recent arguments against originalism by Richard Fallon, Daniel Farber, Martin Flaherty, Helen Irving, Andrew Koppelman, Suzanna Sherry, and David Strauss, as well as a classic argument by Justice Jackson, but also raises trouble for arguments for originalism by the late Justice Scalia and Lawrence Solum. Epistemic vices of either a fixed-meaning or a common-law Constitution cannot undermine a constitutional theory’s ontological virtue — if it possesses it — of accurately representing our actual Constitution, and epistemic virtues cannot compensate for the ontological vice of wrongly identifying the Constitution itself. Second, as a precursor to assessing constitutional theories’ ontological virtues, we should classify forms of originalism or non-originalism based on their constitutional truthmakers. Do they have any at all? Do they have more than one? Pragmatists deny the existence of any truthmaker external to the practice of judging, while pluralists point to more than one. Truthmakerless constitutional theories like those of Judge Posner, Eric Segall or the early Felix Frankfurter cannot vindicate “wrong the day it was decided” (WTDIWD) data from the Court itself, and irreducibly plural constitutional theories like those of Philip Bobbitt cannot vindicate such data in cases where constitutional modes conflict. An integrated constitutional truthmaker like that proposed by the early Richard Fallon, which sets out a criterion for picking winning and losing constitutional arguments then different modes clash, has a distinct ontological advantage over pragmatist or irreducibly plural constitutional theories. Even a theory merely positing an unknown proper commensuration of conflicting constitutional arguments into answers for particular cases — that is, a reducible pluralism — can vindicate WTDIWD data in a way pragmatism and Bobbitism cannot. Single-truthmaker forms of living constitutionalism are thus ontologically preferable to no-truthmaker or multiple-truthmaker forms. We can then ask (as I do and will do in earlier and future work) whether that single truthmaker matches, or does not match, the “this Constitution” to which Article VI refers, and to which, on a naïve view of our current practices, current officeholders swear an oath.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

January 23, 2017

January 21, 2017

January 20, 2017

It's Sherlock! @WhatInTheHill @sjwilder100

Via LSU Libraries' Special Collections Blog, a post by scholar Kristopher Melchosky. on what makes Sherlock Holmes so distinctive and attractive as a character.

January 19, 2017

Brooks on the Use of Narrative in the Interplay of Law and the Humanities

Peter Brooks, Center for Human Values, Princeton University, is publishing Clues, Evidence, Detection: Law Stories in volume 25 of Narrative (January 2017). Here is the abstract.
This essay raises questions about ways in which law and the interpretive humanities might intersect in such manner as to offer real insight one to another. Specifically, it addresses the use of narrative in the law, and its analytic study. Stories, I argue, are not events in the world, but the way we tell events, a crucial distinction sometimes unrecognized in legal opinions. Examples analyzed include the doctrine of “inevitable discovery” articulated by the Supreme Court in Nix v. Williams, juxtaposed to the creation of a seeming inevitability in the stories of Sherlock Holmes. These issues are further clarified through a discussion of historian Carlo Ginzburg’s reflections on the “huntsman’s paradigm” and the workings of “retrospective prophecy.” The essay then turns more closely to the analysis of narrative, particularly the end-determined nature of narrative meaning, and to the one Supreme Court case I am aware of that discusses narrative in an analytic way: Justice Souter’s opinion in Old Chief v. U.S. Further examples are drawn from rape adjudication (Rusk v. Maryland) and post-conviction petitions for relief (Mickens v. Taylor). If narrative, telling the facts, plays so important a role in law, shouldn’t the law arm itself with more tools in the analysis of narrative? The notion of law as language, including its grammar and its rhetoric, deserves a place in legal study.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Newman on the Legality of the Agreement in The Merchant of Venice @WFULawSchool

Joel S. Newman, Wake Forest University School of Law, has published If Shylock Had a Lawyer at 7 Wake Forest J. L. & Pol'y S. S. 21 (2016). Here is the abstract.
In Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice,” the “pound of flesh” agreement was notarized. Presumably, pursuant to European custom, the notary would have drafted the agreement. Had the events of the play taken place today, any notary who drafted such an agreement would be in violation of Italian law. Had Shylock consulted a modern American lawyer, drafting the agreement, or even agreeing to the representation in the first place, would have been a violation of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

January 18, 2017

Law and Literature in Herman Meville and Heinrich von Kleist @newcriterion


Martin Greenberg, The Difficult Justice of Melville & Kleist, The New Criterion, March 2005.

A New Play About Roe v. Wade Opens In Washington D.C.

Richard Harris writes for Slate about a new play opening in Washington, D.C. that's based on the historic Roe v. Wade decision. The playwright, Lisa Loomer (Girl, Interrupted) had anticipated that when Roe opened, the President would be Hillary Clinton and the political atmosphere would be much more friendly to the work's subject matter. More here.

More about the play and its playwright here (from the New York Times) and here (from Ms. magazine). 

Charles Dickens and Copyright Law @dkluft

Nice piece on Charles Dickens and copyright law, from David Kluft, at JDSupra.  Mr. Kluft traces the English author's interest in copyright back at least as far as The Pickwick Papers, which he dedicated to Thomas Talfourd, an early champion of copyright law.

More about Sir Thomas, lawyer, MP, and author, and the model for the character Tommy Traddles in David Copperfield, here.

January 17, 2017

Call For Papers: Litigating Women: Negotiating Justice In Courts of Law, From Around 1100 to Around 1750

Call for papers: Litigating Women: negotiating justice in courts of law, c. 1100-c. 1750. Here is a description of the event from the website.
We are pleased to announce a two-day symposium on the female litigant in the medieval and early modern period (c.1100-c.1750) to be held at Swansea (Singleton Campus) on June 28 & 29, 2017.
The intention is to bring scholars together in order to explore womens access to legal redress and to shed new light on individuals lived experiences of the law. We are seeking 25-minute papers from researchers (of all career-stages) working on any aspect of the history of women litigating in the courts across the known world during this broad timeframe. We welcome work on all courts, regions, jurisdictions, ethnicities, languages and religious and confessional identities, and on any aspect of those histories or historiographies. Post-graduate students are encouraged to apply (a reduced rate will be available). Topics and approaches might include: The operation of gender in the courts. The practicalities of litigation: travel, subsistence, accommodation, planning and expense. The impact of a womans life-stage, status or ethnicity on her experience at law. The womans voice and barriers to its audibility. Visual or textual representation of the female litigant. Specific case-studies and longue dur perspectives. Historiography and where do we go from here?
Applicants are invited to submit by 21 January 2017 a proposal of 250-300 words, together with a short biography for inclusion in the programme.
Please submit to: e.cavell@swansea.ac.uk or womenhistlaw@swansea.ac.uk
More information also available here. 

Law and Star Trek: A Talk By Professor Fabrice Defferrard @FDefferrard1 @thewssociety

Professor Fabrice Defferrard presents a talk on Thursday, February 23, 2017, at The Signet Library, Parliament Square, Edinburgh, on law and Star Trek, based on his book Le droit selon Star Trek, which will be published in the UK (I think fairly soon). Here's more from the WS Society's website.

Call For Papers On the 60th Anniversary of Roland Barthes' "Mythologies" @PanuMinkkinen

From Panu Minkkinen, an invitation to participate in a symposium on Roland Barthes' Mythologies on the 60th anniversary of its publication.

In 1957, the French literary theorist Roland Barthes (1915-1980) published Mythologies (Seuil, 1957), his most influential book, and perhaps one of the best-known books written by a 20th century French thinker. The book was a collection of fifty-three individual essays and a lengthy afterword that was meant to elucidate the theoretical vision that had informed the foregoing texts. The essays themselves dealt with a wealth of phenomena of modern life ranging from advertising, consumption, and mass media to cinema, sports, and popular culture. Barthes’s main claim in these short vignettes was that the phenomena that the essays dealt with were generally imposed on us in a ‘mythological’ manner.
 What are the ‘new mythologies’ of our ‘post-truth’ world? Are they different? Or are we still dealing with the same themes that Barthes identified as meaningful? What form do myths take in an openly anti-intellectual environment? Are mythological analyses and semioclasm even possible anymore? Or are today’s myths too politically resistant, like the MDR microbes that have become such a menacing part of our everyday lives?
Consider this an invitation to wonder about these and other related questions in the spirit of Barthes’s book.

More here from Professor Minkkinen's blog. 

January 16, 2017

Call For Papers, Association of Young Legal Historians Annual Forum, May 31-June 1, 2017

The Association of Young Legal Historians is holding its 23rd Annual Forum May 31st-June 1st, 2017, at the Universita Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Dipartimento di Giuriprudenzia. The theme of the forum is History of Law and Other Humanities: Views of Legal Culture Across Time. More here.

Deadline for submissions of abstracts and other materials is March 15, 2017.

January 15, 2017

Another Look at Mary Shelley's Frankenstein From @FutureTenseNow and Its Partners

Future Tense, New America, Slate, and Arizona State University are running an interesting series of posts devoted to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The series begins with A Cheat Sheet Guide to Frankenstein, and continues with posts on why the novel continues to be relevant, why we use the prefix "Franken" to signal monstrosity (think "Frankenfood"), and other intriguing information. Fun and informative.

Call For Papers: Mimesis on Trial @OxfordCEMS

From the Centre for Early Modern Studies, via @ChloeJSKennedy

Call for Papers: Mimesis on Trial

Merton College, Oxford
20 May 2017
What is the connection between verisimilitude as a literary device and its legal use in the credible narration of facts? How do we construe the relation between the marvellous and the probable? What do early modern notions of likelihood and verisimilitude look like, if accounts of real-life criminal trials cite miracles and divine interventions as discoverers of the truth? Early modern Europe saw new modes and criteria of evidence-evaluation emerge, as new criminal codes and judicial systems were established. How has the work of social historians, directing us to ‘fiction in the archives’ affected how literary critics see the shaping of probability – of discoveries, denouements, trial outcomes – in early modern prose fiction and drama? How does recent scholarly work on the importance of oaths and binding language, on witness credibility, on inquisitions, jury trials, on the rhetorical criteria of suspicion and on the circulation of news affect current thinking about literary and dramatic narrative? Can we revisit, in this context, Auerbach’s conception of Western literature’s achievement as supremely mimetic, as representing ‘the entire human individual’?

The Centre for Early Modern Studies at the University of Oxford invites proposals for 20-minute papers on topics that engage with the literary-critical history of mimesis, and/or with questions of likelihood, verisimilitude, proof and probability in literary or legal texts of the early modern period. Papers are welcome on English or European materials, on prose fiction, on drama, on legal cases, and from all disciplinary perspectives.

Please send abstracts of up to 300 words and a brief biography to natasha.simonova@ell.ox.ac.uk by 15 March 2017.

January 14, 2017

Forthcoming from Oxford University Press @OxUniPress: The Oxford Handbook of English Law and Literature

BOLO! via @maksdelmar The Oxford Handbook of English Law and Literature, 1500-1700 (Lorna Hutson, ed., Oxford, forthcoming) (Oxford Handbooks).
This Handbook triangulates the disciplines of history, legal history, and literature to produce a new, interdisciplinary framework for the study of early modern England. Scholars of early modern English literature and history have increasingly found that an understanding of how people in the past thought about and used the law is key to understanding early modern familial and social relations as well as important aspects of the political revolution and the emergence of capitalism. Judicial or forensic rhetoric has been shown to foster new habits of literary composition (poetry and drama) and new processes of fact-finding and evidence evaluation. In addition, the post-Reformation jurisdictional dominance of the common law produced new ways of drawing the boundaries between private conscience and public accountability. Accordingly, historians, critics and legal historians come together in this Handbook to develop accounts of the past that are attentive to the legally purposeful or fictional shaping of events in the historical archive. They also contribute to a transformation of our understanding of the place of forensic modes of inquiry in the creation of imaginative fiction and drama. Chapters in the Handbook approach, from a diversity of perspectives, topics including forensic rhetoric, humanist and legal education, Inns of Court revels, drama, poetry, emblem books, marriage and divorce, witchcraft, contract, property, imagination, oaths, evidence, community, local government, legal reform, libel, censorship, authorship, torture, slavery, liberty, due process, the nation state, colonialism, and empire.

January 13, 2017

Frye on the History of Motion Pictures as Evidence @brianlfrye

Brian L. Frye, University of Kentucky College of Law, has published Reflections on Motion Picture Evidence. Here is the abstract.
Courts have long admitted motion pictures as evidence. But until recently, making motion pictures was expensive and cumbersome. Today, making motion pictures is cheap and easy. And as a result, people make so many of them. As Cocteau predicted, the democratization of motion pictures has enabled people to create new forms of motion picture art. But it has also enabled people to create new forms of motion picture evidence. This article offers a brief history of motion picture evidence in the United States, and reflects on the use of motion picture evidence by the Supreme Court.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

January 12, 2017

Law and Literature Stream at SLSA 2017

Law and Literature

Historically, in an era of discontent characterised by political and economic uncertainty, legal scholarship has often taken an aesthetic turn, at least in part as a response to a yearning for the beautiful which belongs to the imagery of liberation. The aesthetic dimension constitutes the raw material of human experience and represents free play of the imagination which in turn enables our understanding of the world through the senses as alternately beautiful and monstrous, alluring and repellent. Without the influence of aesthetics in the construction of legal concepts and practices, law would lose much of its persuasive power. Equally, our sensate relation to these enduring symbols and metaphors constitutes a productive force which underpins the formation, and signals the legitimacy, of legal principle and judgment. The influence of those aesthetic forms which rely primarily on imagistic language – such as poetry and the novel – is at least partially due to their cultural embeddedness, just as the legal tradition is itself simultaneously a co-producer, by-product and a significant constituent of modern culture. Papers are welcomed on issues of interpretation, identity, values, authority, obligation, resistance, resilience and justice, the place of law in modern culture, or on any aspect of law in literature or law as literature. ​ 

Conveners Julia J A Shaw and David Gurnham

More here.

January 11, 2017

A New Blog on Law and Language @LloydEsq

ICYMI: a new-ish blog from Harold Anthony Lloyd, Professor of Law at Wake Forest School of Law. It's called Law & Language; Professor Lloyd publishes on philosophy, poetry (including his own work), legal education, rhetoric, politics, and other things that interest him. Check out his blog here.

Call For Papers: Special Issue on Law and the Jewish Family, Jewish Law Association Studies

Via Susan Sage Heinzelman:

CFP: Special Issue on Law and the Jewish Family 

For a special issue of Jewish Law Association Studies on the Jewish Family, the editors seeks papers examining law and/or Jewish law on the Jewish family. We will accept papers taking historical, comparative, doctrinal or philosophical perspectives. Please send inquiries and proposals by January 31, 2017 to the editors: Miryam Segal (miryam.segal@qc.cuny.edu) and Harry Fox (harryfox@chass.utoronto.ca). 

Courtroom Artists and Law @ThomGiddens

January 10, 2017

Lloyd on Cognitive Emotion and the Law @LloydEsq

ICYMI: Harold Anthony Lloyd, Wake Forest University School of Law, is publishing Cognitive Emotion and the Law in the Law & Psychology Review. Here is the abstract.
Many wrongly believe that emotion plays little or no role in legal reasoning. Unfortunately, Langdell and his “scientific” case method encourage this error. A careful review of analysis in the real world, however, belies this common belief. Emotion can be cognitive, and cognition can be emotional. Additionally, modern neuroscience underscores the “co-dependence” of reason and emotion. Thus, even if law were a certain science of appellate cases (which it is not), emotion could not be torn from such “science.” As we reform legal education, we must recognize the role of cognitive emotion in law and legal analysis. If we fail to do this, we shortchange law schools, students, and the bar in grievous ways. We shortchange the very basics of true and best legal analysis. We shortchange at least half the universe of expression (the affective half). We shortchange the importance of watching and guarding the true interests of our clients, which interests are inextricably intertwined with affective experience. We shortchange the importance of motivation in law, life, and legal education. How can lawyers understand the motives of clients and other relevant parties without understanding the emotions that motivate them? How can lawyers hope to persuade judges, other advocates, or parties across the table in a transaction without grasping affective experience that motivates them? How can law professors fully engage students while ignoring affective experience that motivates students? Finally, we shortchange matters of life and death: emotions affect health and thus the very vigor of the bar. Using insights from practice, modern neuroscience, and philosophy, I therefore explore emotion and other affective experience through a lawyer’s lens. In doing this, I reject claims that emotion and other affective experience are mere feeling (though I do not discount the importance of feeling). I also reject claims that emotion and other affective experience are necessarily irrational or beyond our control. Instead, such experience is often intentional and quite rational and controllable. After exploring law and affective experience at more “macro” levels, I consider three more specific examples of the interaction of law and emotion: (i) emotion, expression, and the first amendment, (ii) emotion in legal elements and exceptions, and (iii) emotion and lawyer mental health. To provide lawyers and legal scholars with a “one-source” overview of emotion and the law, I have also included an Appendix addressing a number of particular emotions.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. Scott Fruehwald calls it one of the best legal education articles of 2016.

Koehlert-Page on Breading Bad Facts: How Intriguing Contradictions in Fiction Can Teach Lawyers to Re-Envision Harmful Evidence

Cathren Koehlert-Page, Barry University School of Law, is publishing Breaking Bad Facts: How Intriguing Contradictions in Fiction Can Teach Lawyers to Re-Envision Harmful Evidence in volume 13 of Legal Communication & Rhetoric (JAWLD) (2016). Here is the abstract.
Walter White is the “nerdiest old dude” that Jesse Pinkman knows. His students ignore him, laugh at him, and make fun of him at his after school job at the car wash. His home décor and personal fashion could best be described as New American Pathetic. And yet by the end of the hit television series, Breaking Bad, White is a feared multi-million dollar drug lord known as Heisenberg. He has killed multiple foes. He has lied. He built an empire, and, despite being chased by the DEA, the cartels, and various other murdering sociopaths, he has still left money for his family. The contradiction seems enormous, and, yet, it draws us in. It creates curiosity and somehow not only remains believable but actually breathes a more realistic-seeming life into this fiction character. By viewing contradictions through this storytelling lens, lawyers faced with seemingly contradictory facts in a trial or an appellate case can craft a more realistic and ethical narrative. In so doing, they can create greater logical cohesion and underscore their theory of the case. Previous scholarship on harmful evidence focuses on the effects of disclosing harmful facts or focuses on techniques regarding disclosure. This article takes those ideas to the next level by re-envisioning this seemingly contradictory evidence to see it as an integral part of a coherent whole. This concept is new in legal skills but has roots in legal skills precedent. This article explores fiction works like Breaking Bad and the book Room and shows how aspects of those works appear in actual cases, such as the United States Supreme Court prison-overcrowding case, Brown v. Plata, the exoneration of Eddie Joe Lloyd, or the battered spouse case, Weiand v. State. In the end, if the client’s ultimate assertion is true, then the attorney cannot merely break those “bad” facts. The attorney can show those facts in a new light so that they are no longer harmful and are actually a part of the client’s story. This article aids judges grappling with story’s role in law or with issues in the examples, such as prison overcrowding or wrongful convictions, lawyers seeking to overcome harmful evidence, applied legal storytelling scholars, skills professors, law students, and even fiction writers or literary criticism scholars.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Call For Proposals: Feminist Food Studies

Canadian Scholars is considering publishing a volume that will explore the emergent area of feminist food studies, and food and eating through a feminist, intersectional framework. The editors seek chapter proposals that examine feminist epistemologies, methodologies and pedagogies, in addition to empirical work that interrogates the complex relationships between production, consumption, and embodiment as these are shaped by temporal, socio-historical contexts, which produce overlapping marginal and privileged social identities.

Possible areas for submission include:
  • Intersectionality as a methodological approach or as method in food studies
  • Theorizing food and intersectionality through social identities such as race, ethnicity, gender, social class, age, sexualities, body size, able-bodiedness, nationality
  • Feminist Intersectional pedagogies in food studies
  • Food and femininities / masculinities
  • Embodiment including fat studies, or critical ‘obesity’ studies
  • Health as an embodied social and food practices
  • Ecofeminist perspectives and critical animal studies
  • Indigenous food systems and relationships
  • Material feminism
  • Food systems
  • Food security and food sovereignty
  • Women and agriculture / farming
The co-editors B. Parker, J. Brady, E. Power and S. Belyea welcome individual and co-authored proposals and chapters from both established and emerging scholars, including graduate students. Expected length of abstract: 200-250 words. Deadline: February 28, 2017. Expected length of final chapter: 8000 words. Proposed deadline for full chapters: June 30, 2017.

Please submit chapter proposals to: feministfoodstudies@gmail.com

See also the posting here.

A New Biography of Blanche of Castile From Lindy Grant @yalepress

Lindy Grant, University of Reading, has published Blanche of Castile, Queen of France (Yale University Press, 2017). Here is a description of the book's contents.
This is the first modern scholarly biography of Blanche of Castile, whose identity has until now been subsumed in that of her son, the saintly Louis IX. A central figure in the politics of medieval Europe, Blanche was a sophisticated patron of religion and culture. Through Lindy Grant’s engaging account, based on a close analysis of Blanche’s household accounts and of the social and religious networks on which her power and agency depended, Blanche is revealed as a vibrant and intellectually questioning personality.


ICYMI: James Q. Whitman, The Origins of Reasonable Doubt (Yale University Press, 2008)

ICYMI: James Q. Whitman, The Origins of Reasonable Doubt: Theological Roots of the Criminal Trial (Yale University Press, 2008).
To be convicted of a crime in the United States, a person must be proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” But what is reasonable doubt? Even sophisticated legal experts find this fundamental doctrine difficult to explain. In this accessible book, James Q. Whitman digs deep into the history of the law and discovers that we have lost sight of the original purpose of “reasonable doubt.” It was not originally a legal rule at all, he shows, but a theological one. The rule as we understand it today is intended to protect the accused. But Whitman traces its history back through centuries of Christian theology and common-law history to reveal that the original concern was to protect the souls of jurors. In Christian tradition, a person who experienced doubt yet convicted an innocent defendant was guilty of a mortal sin. Jurors fearful for their own souls were reassured that they were safe, as long as their doubts were not “reasonable.” Today, the old rule of reasonable doubt survives, but it has been turned to different purposes. The result is confusion for jurors, and a serious moral challenge for our system of justice.


January 9, 2017

Roger Luckhurst on The Cultural History of Zombies @TheProfRog @ReaktionBooks @


Roger Luckhurst, Birkbeck College, University of London, Zombies: A Cultural History (Reaktion Books, dist. University of Chicago, 2016).

Here is a description of the book's contents.

Add a gurgling moan with the sound of dragging feet and a smell of decay and what do you get? Better not find out. The zombie has roamed with dead-eyed menace from its beginnings in obscure folklore and superstition to global status today, the star of films such as 28 Days LaterWorld War Z, and the outrageously successful comic book, TV series, and video game—The Walking Dead. In this brain-gripping history, Roger Luckhurst traces the permutations of the zombie through our culture and imaginations, examining the undead’s ability to remain defiantly alive.
Luckhurst follows a trail that leads from the nineteenth-century Caribbean, through American pulp fiction of the 1920s, to the middle of the twentieth century, when zombies swarmed comic books and movie screens. From there he follows the zombie around the world, tracing the vectors of its infectious global spread from France to Australia, Brazil to Japan. Stitching together materials from anthropology, folklore, travel writings, colonial histories, popular literature and cinema, medical history, and cultural theory, Zombies is the definitive short introduction to these restless pulp monsters. 

Yale University Law School Library's Exhibit on Dickens, Christmas, and Law @yalelawlibrary

Yale University Law School's Library presented a special exhibit for the holidays: Charles Dickens as Herald of Christmas and Victorian Legal Historian. Take a look here.

Gillespie's The Causes of War, Volume II, Available From Hart Publishing @hartpublishing

ICYMI: Alexander Gillespie, The Causes of War (Hart Publishing). Volume I: 3000 BCE to 1000 CE (2013). Here is a description of the book's contents.
This is the first volume of a projected four-volume series charting the causes of war from 3000 BCE to the present day, written by a leading international lawyer, and using as its principal materials the documentary history of international law largely in the form of treaties and the negotiations which led up to them. These volumes seek to show why millions of people, over thousands of years, slayed each other. In departing from the various theories put forward by historians, anthropologists and psychologists, Gillespie offers a different taxonomy of the causes of war, focusing on the broader settings of politics, religion, migrations and empire-building. These four contexts were dominant and often overlapping justifications for the first four thousand years of human civilisation, for which written records exist.
Volume II: 1000 CE to 1400 CE will be published on January 12.

January 8, 2017

British Legal History Conference Takes Place at UCL, July 5-8, 2017

The British Legal History Conference will take place from July 5, 2017 to July 8, 2017 at University College, London, Faculty of Law. The theme is "Networks and Connections." More information, including the program, here.

Lucy Jewel Looks At Pop Culture Women Lawyers and Their Wardrobes @ljewel @masslw @UTKLaw

Lucy Jewel, University of Tennessee School of Law, examines how pop culture women lawyers dress, in an essay for Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. Read Women in Popular Culture: Dressing For Success here. 

January 7, 2017

A New Journal For the Study of Art and Law @ArtMarketStuds

An interesting new journal devoted to art and law: The Santander Art & Culture Law Review.  The journal is open access. Current CFP here.

Via @ArtMarketStuds.

Call For Papers: Shakespeare and the Pedagogies of Justice @ANZAMEMS

 Via @BauerStefan

Shakespeare and the Pedagogies of Justice – Call For Papers

Shakespeare and the Pedagogies of Justice
Shakespeare scholars regularly encounter social justice issues in the material that we study and teach. Most often in the classroom our engagement with such issues takes the form of thematic identification and critical parsing. Yet we struggle to form more direct, material connections between coursework and social justice work. This book is for professors of early modern literature who want to heighten the intellectual impact of their courses by thoughtfully using their classrooms as laboratories for social formation and action. Much as Paolo Freire sought to reformat the relationship between teachers and students through his “pedagogy of the oppressed,” we are seeking productive ways of reformatting the relationship between students and this challenging material–ways that move them and us toward social action. We invite chapters that describe and model the doing of social justice work with and through early modern texts, and that claim the academic (not merely social) benefits of integrating social justice work into courses. To rethink the syntax, we might say we are interested in how social action can grow out of the pedagogical tools we employ in the early modern classroom. Bad pedagogy can produce quietism, but we hope to trace some ways in which an alive classroom can spark social change. To that end, we are especially interested in essays that do not approach teaching a single text so much as introduce methodologies, curricula, and assignments that integrate early modern texts with doing social justice.
Topics may include:
  • Social justice topics courses
  • Service learning
  • Community engagement
  • Evidence and truth in a post-truth world
  • Teaching in the anthropocene
  • Inclusive pedagogies
  • Students as knowledge producers
  • Teaching at an HBC, women’s college, native college, community college
  • The global Renaissance
  • Teaching performance as social justice
  • The scholarly implications of social justice pedagogy
  • Multiple and competing “Renaissance world pictures”
  • Implications of post-modern ontologies on pedagogy
  • The classroom as a community, laboratory, incubator, and change agentFor consideration please send a chapter abstract (500-1000 words), bio (~250 words) and CV (<4 abstracts="" deadline="" for="" is="" nbsp="" pp="" strong="" style="border: 0px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">27 January, 2017

  •  completed chapters expected by 15 December, 2017.  Please send full set of materials to both Hillary Eklund, Loyola University New Orleans hceklund@loyno.edu and Wendy Beth Hyman, Oberlin College whyman@oberlin.edu.

  • "Captain! There's a Warp Core Meltdown!" @scifipolicy

    Have you ever wondered why those Star Trek spaceships seem to have so many malfunctions? This subreddit thread explores that question and proposes some answers, including that aliens just refuse to work in Federation engineering because Federation technology is, well, bad, and that the way human Federation folks approach problems is well, weird. as in, not scientific. Sort of seat of the pants, in fact. (Of course that adds to the drama, but if your own species tends toward the logical, it can be frightening). Source here, more commentary here. Via @scifipolicy.

    It does pose the question, however: Doesn't Starfleet have, oh, I don't know, regulations that require inspection of starships and contracts that require build of those ships to certain specifications, and research into technology, and things like that? I smell a law review article.

    January 5, 2017

    Call For Applications, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law and School of English, University of Hong Kong @HKUniversity

    Via Marco Wan, University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, Editor, Law & Literature:
    Applications are invited for a joint appointment as tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Law of the Faculty of Law and the School of English of the Faculty of Arts, to commence on September 1, 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter, on a three-year fixed-term basis, with the possibility of renewal, and with consideration for tenure before the expiry of a second three-year fixed-term contract. More information about the position is available at the University of Hong Kong website here.

    January 4, 2017

    Crime Novels To Enrich Your Vocabulary @guardian

    For The Guardian, Max Décharné, musician (Gallon Drunk, The Flaming Stars) and author (the forthcoming Vulgar Tongues: An Alternative History of English Slang) offers this list of the "ten best slangy crime novels," which includes not simply some well known titles (Dorothy Sayers's Murder Must Advertise, Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely, and Chester Himes's If He Hollers Let Him Go) and some semi-well known titles (Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest), but some unknown tomes (Cathi Unsworth's Weirdo and James Curtis's The Gilt Kid). Lots of suggestions for your mystery/crime thriller bookshelf.

    Lambert on Law and Order in Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 2017) @SidneySussex @OxUniPress

    Tom Lambert, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, is publishing Law and Order in Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 2017). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.

    Law and Order in Anglo-Saxon England explores English legal culture and practice across the Anglo-Saxon period, beginning with the essentially pre-Christian laws enshrined in writing by King Æthelberht of Kent in c. 600 and working forward to the Norman Conquest of 1066. It attempts to escape the traditional retrospective assumptions of legal history, focused on the late twelfth-century Common Law, and to establish a new interpretative framework for the subject, more sensitive to contemporary cultural assumptions and practical realities. The focus of the volume is on the maintenance of order: what constituted good order; what forms of wrongdoing were threatening to it; what roles kings, lords, communities, and individuals were expected to play in maintaining it; and how that worked in practice. Its core argument is that the Anglo-Saxons had a coherent, stable, and enduring legal order that lacks modern analogies: it was neither state-like nor stateless, and needs to be understood on its own terms rather than as a variant or hybrid of these models. Tom Lambert elucidates a distinctively early medieval understanding of the tension between the interests of individuals and communities, and a vision of how that tension ought to be managed that, strikingly, treats strongly libertarian and communitarian features as complementary. Potentially violent, honour-focused feuding was an integral aspect of legitimate legal practice throughout the period, but so too was fearsome punishment for forms of wrongdoing judged socially threatening. Law and Order in Anglo-Saxon England charts the development of kings' involvement in law, in terms both of their authority to legislate and their ability to influence local practice, presenting a picture of increasingly ambitious and effective royal legal innovation that relied more on the cooperation of local communal assemblies than kings' sparse and patchy network of administrative officials.

    Via @maksdelmar. 

    January 2, 2017

    Killing Fields Focuses On Louisiana Cold Case @KillingFieldsTV @Discovery @hulu

    Discovery's series Killing Fields focuses on the unsolved 1997 murder of Eugenie Boisfontaine. The series returns January 3, 2017.   The remains of Ms. Boisfontaine, an LSU graduate student, were found in a bayou in Iberville Parish. Here's more about this very sad case from a 2004 article in LSUNow.

    One suspect in the case, convicted serial killer Derrick Todd Lee, died in 2016.

    The Discovery series is also available via Hulu.

    Mohr @ucddublin on The Irish Question and the Evolution of British Imperial Law, 1916-1922

    Thomas Mohr, Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin, has published The Irish Question and the Evolution of British Imperial Law, 1916-1922 as UCD Working Papers in Law, Criminology & Socio-Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12. Here is the abstract.
    By the early twentieth century Dominion status seemed ideally suited as the answer to the perennial ‘Irish question’. It offered Ireland a generous measure of autonomy while maintaining the territorial integrity of the British Empire. Nevertheless, the prospect of granting Dominion status to Ireland remained little more than a fantasy on the eve of the outbreak of the First World War. This reality was altered by two parallel historical developments. The first of these was the 1916 Easter rising that killed any possibility of an effective home rule settlement for the entire island of Ireland. The second was a rapid acceleration in the evolution of the self-governing Dominions of the Empire towards greater autonomy in the constitutional sphere. In the aftermath of the First World War these two developments came together in the signing of the 1921 Treaty that permitted the Irish Free State to emerge with the status of a self-governing Dominion, the same constitutional status held by Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. This article will examine the legal and constitutional developments that took place between 1914 and 1922 that removed the possibility of an ‘Irish Dominion’ from the realms of fantasy and allowed it to play a vital role in the emergence of the self-governing Irish state. It also examines the important role of Hessel Duncan Hall’s book The British Commonwealth of Nations (1920) in influencing this process.
    Download the article from SSRN at the link.

    January 1, 2017

    AALS Law and Film Selections At This Year's Meeting @TheAALS @MacheteCine

    The two AALS Law & Film selections at this year's meeting in San Francisco are Anatomy of a Murder, Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.,and La Jaula de Oro, Thursday evening at 6:30. I will moderate the discussion for Anatomy of a Murder, the classic courtroom drama about the quest for the truth behind an Army lieutenant's killing of the man he accuses of raping his wife.  Michael Olivas, Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center, and a former AALS President, will moderate the discussion for La Jaula de Oro, a striking Mexican film about Central American undocumented immigrants and their dangerous journey to the United States. Special guest for the Thursday night presentation is the film's producer, Luis Salinas. William S. Hein and Company is providing refreshments for both evenings.

    Come find out why law and film matters!

    December 31, 2016

    Forthcoming From @routledgebooks: The Secret Origins of Comics Studies

    Forthcoming from Routledge Press: The Secret Origins of Comics Studies (Matthew Smith and Randy Duncan, eds., 2017). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
    In The Secret Origins of Comics Studies, today’s leading comics scholars turn back a page to reveal the founding figures dedicated to understanding comics art. Edited by comics scholars Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan, this collection provides an in-depth study of the individuals and institutions that have created and shaped the field of Comics Studies over the past seventy-five years. From Coulton Waugh to Wolfgang Fuchs, these influential historians, educators, and theorists produced the foundational work and built the institutions that inspired the recent surge in scholarly work in this dynamic, interdisciplinary field. Sometimes scorned, often underappreciated, these visionaries established a path followed by subsequent generations of scholars in literary studies, communication, art history, the social sciences, and more. Giving not only credit where credit is due, this volume both offers an authoritative account of the history of comics studies and also helps move the field forward by being a valuable resource for creating graduate student reading lists and the first stop for anyone writing a comics-related literature review.

    December 30, 2016

    Dick Wolf, NBCU, and Oxygen Discussing Crime-Themed Rebranding @NBCUniversal @oxygen

    According to Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, Dick Wolf and NBCU are in talks with Oxygen to rebrand the network as all crime, all the time. Oxygen has already begun programming some law and order programming, which speaks to the popularity that other networks (Discovery, A&E) have recognized that these kinds of shows continue to have among U.S. viewers. Currently, Oxygen programs several "true crime" shows, such as "Snapped," "It Takes a Killer," and "Homicide For the Holidays."

    December 29, 2016

    Will Monroeville Become Maycomb?

    Harper Lee's attorney, Tonja Sheets, wants to turn Monroeville, Alabama, Ms. Lee's home town, into even more of a tourist attraction by creating a sort of "To Kill a Mockingbird Trail" there, with replicas of some of the buildings in the novel and establishment of a new museum in a converted bank building. More here from Smithsonian.com.

    University of Kent Law School @UniKent Announces New LLM in Law and the Humanities

    From the mailbox, news of a new LLM in Law and the Humanities:

    The Kent LLM is a one-year program that offers a chance to study law from a critical perspective. The Law and the Humanities pathway is taught at Kent’s Canterbury campus, with two intensive modules in Paris. You can learn more about the pathway in the notice attached to this email, and at https://www.kent.ac.uk/law/postgraduate/taught/lawandhumanities.html. We also offer a LLM by research, with supervision available from a wide range of law and the humanities specialists. KLS is an exciting critical law school, with research centres such as the Centre for Critical Thought, the Centre for Critical International Law, and the Kent Interdisciplinary Centre for Spatial Studies, as well as research clusters like Social Critiques of Law and Clio (the Law and History group). KLS also hosts the Kent Summer School in Critical Theory, held each year in Paris. This exciting initiative draws graduate and early career researchers from around the world to work intensively for two weeks with leading scholars from across all disciplines. You can learn more at http://kssct.org. There are some LLM scholarships (for taught and research programmes) available both for UK/EU and overseas applicants. More information is available on the KLS website, at https://www.kent.ac.uk/law/postgraduate/taught/Taught_pg_funding.htmlhttps://www.kent.ac.uk/law/postgraduate/research/PGR_LLM_Scholarships.html We would be most grateful if you would forward this email, together with the attachment, to:
    • Your academic networks
    • Law students who may appreciate a master’s level entry to humanities and cultural approaches to law
    • Students from other disciplines who are curious about law, ethics and justice
    • Students who may enjoy the chance to study in the UK and Paris, and who are looking for a way to experience European life and culture whilst studying for a year.
     For administrative and application enquiries, please contact Kent Law School’s postgraduate office, klspgoffice@kent.ac.uk. For academic enquiries, please contact the Pathway Specialists, Maria Drakopoulou m.drakopoulou@kent.ac.uk or Connal Parsley c.parsley@kent.ac.uk. 

    ICYMI: Lee on The American Slave Narrative and the Victorian Novel


    Julia Sun-Joo Lee has published The American Slave Narrative and the Victorian Novel (Oxford University Press, 2012). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
    Conceived as a literary form to aggressively publicize the abolitionist cause in the United States, the African American slave narrative remains a powerful and illuminating demonstration of America's dark history. Yet the genre's impact extended far beyond the borders of the U.S. The American Slave Narrative and the Victorian Novel investigates the shaping influence of writings by Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, and other former slaves on British fiction in the years between the Abolition Act and the Emancipation Proclamation. Julia Sun-Joo Lee argues that novelists such as Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Charles Dickens integrated into their works generic elements of the slave narrative-from the emphasis on literacy as a tool of liberation, to the teleological journey from slavery to freedom, to the ethics of resistance over submission. It contends that Victorian novelists used these tropes in an attempt to access the slave narrative's paradigm of resistance, illuminate the transnational dimension of slavery, and articulate Britain's role in the global community. Through a deft use of disparate sources, Lee reveals how the slave narrative becomes part of the textual network of the English novel, making visible how black literary, as well as economic, production contributed to British culture.

    ICYMI: American Guy: Masculinity In American Law and Literature (OUP, 2014)

    ICYMI: American Guy: Masculinity in American Law and Literature (Saul Levmore and Martha C. Nussbaum eds., Oxford University Press, 2014). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.
    American Guy examines American norms of masculinity and their role in the law, bringing a range of methodological and disciplinary perspectives to the intersection of American gender, legal, and literary issues. The collection opens with a set of papers investigating "American Guys" -- the heroic nonconformists and rugged individualists that populate much of American fiction. Diverse essays examine the manly men of Hemingway, Dreiser, and others, in their relation to the law, while also highlighting the underlying tensions that complicate this version of masculinity. A second set of papers examines "Outsiders" -- men on the periphery of the American Guys who proclaim a different way of being male. These essays take up counter-traditions of masculinity ranging from gay male culture to Philip Roth's portrait of the Jewish lawyer. American Guy, a follow-up to Subversion and Sympathy, edited by Alison L. LaCroix and Martha Nussbaum, aims at reinvigorating the law-and-literature movement through original, cross-disciplinary insights. It embraces a variety of voices from both within and outside the academy, including several contributions from prominent judges. These contributions are particularly significant, not only as features unique to the field, but also for the light they throw on the federal bench. In the face of a large body of work studying judicial conduct as a function of rigid commitment to ideology, American Guy shows a side of the judiciary that is imaginatively engaged, aware of cultural trends, and reflective about the wider world and the role of the of law in it.