Roundup: Law and Humanities 07.30.15

There’s a lot going on in law and the humanities these days. Here’s a sampling.

First, an opportunity for publication:

Fairleigh Dickinson University Press invites the submission of proposals for books, monographs, or essay collections in the interdisciplinary fields of humanistically-oriented legal scholarship for the series The Fairleigh Dickinson University Press Series in Law, Culture and the Humanities.

Possible topics range from scholarship on legal history; legal theory and jurisprudence; law and critical/cultural studies, law and anthropology, law and literature, law and film, law and society, law and the performing arts, law and communication, law and philosophy, and legal hermeneutics.

Proposals must include: a description of the issue/s you intend to explore and the method/s you will use; a comparison and contrast with existing books on similar or related topics; a table of contents and a precis of what each chapter aims to cover; a description of the book’s target market/s; the author’s/authors’ or editor’s/editors’ curriculum vitae; if it is a collection of essays, a compiled and alphabetized list of short biographies of prospective contributors, and a list of three experts in the field capable of assessing the value of the project.

The series also welcomes submissions of completed monographs and essay collections; kindly make an inquiry prior to sending over the completed book or collection of essays, together with the author’s curriculum vitae and three suggested experts, if you are the author/authors. If you are an editor/editors of a completed collection of essays, please include a compiled and alphabetized list of short biographies of prospective contributors, together with your curriculum vitae and list of possible experts. Essay collections must be of previously unpublished material. Conference sessions, properly edited and often expanded by calls for papers, into essay collections, are also welcome.

Referees may or may not be from the submitted list of suggested experts. The series benefits from the advice of an international board of leading scholars in the field. Proposals may be sent to:

Caroline Joan S. Picart, Ph.D., J.D., Esquire
Tim Bower Rodriguez, P.A.
601 N. Ashley Drive, Suite 310,

Tampa, FL 33602


Second, the ABA Journal’s annual issue devoted to law and popular culture is out. This year, because the ABA Journal is celebrating its 100th anniversary, the editors of the Journal decided to devote their cover story to a celebration of lawyers in film.

Thane Rosenbaum discusses the role of law and lawyers in film generally, noting that “[f]ootball is America’s game, but movies are its favorite form of entertainment. And movies about the law are as essential to Hollywood history as cowboy Westerns or romantic comedies. Heroism that acquits the falsely accused will hold its own against any nonstop action flick.” Further,  the law offers both dramatic interest and thrills. “From Sophocles to Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky to Dickens, John Grisham to Scott Turow, the world’s great poets and dramatists, novelists and film directors have been enamored of the legal system for its plotlines and morality tales. Artists, in fact, are equal opportunity borrowers of justice both delivered and denied. Injustice can ruin a happy ending, but it can also open up possibilities for personal redemption. The literature of law values the object lesson over the cheap thrill. Audiences crave universal truths, and by the time the closing credits roll, movies about the law have left behind wisdom to live by.”The cover story focuses on lawyers in film, but of course we have an additional supporting cast of stories. One involves the ABA Journal’s now-traditional vote on the best: in this case, the best of 100 years of films starring lawyer characters, classified by decade.The jury includes Taunya Banks, Richard Brust, James M. Dedman IV, Bonnie Eskenazi, Daniel Kimmel, Philip Meyer, David Papke, Allen Pusey, Thane Rosenbaum, Diane Waldman, and me, using criteria slightly modified from those I developed for a list of must-see films for law students.Another interesting piece discusses the influence these films have had on the U.S. public. 
It also mentions other films that did not make the “final cut” for the jury’s ballot.  Also included: A gallery of the films mentioned.Readers can also fill in their own ballots here and/or pitch an idea for a future ABA Journal law and popular feature at the same link.




Third: the scholarship front.  Cynthia Bond, of the John Marshall Law School (Chicago),  is conducting a survey of legal educators to determine uses of popular culture in the law school classroom. Here’s the link to fill out the survey.

For more information, you can contact her at 7bond at

Andrea Goulet, Associate Professor of French, University of Pennsylvania, has published Legacies of the Rue Morgue:  Science, Space, and Crime Fiction in France with the University of Pennsylvania Press. $65 in hardcover or ebook.

Robin West, Georgetown University Law Center and Faculty Director of the Georgetown Center for Law and Humanities, has edited Nussbaum and Law (2015) in the series Philosophers and Law for Ashgate Press.

The new law and literature journal ANAMORPHOSIS: Revista Internacional de Direito e Literatura  began publication in June 2015. Check out the journal’s website here.

The Law, Literature, and the Humanities Association of Australasia is holding its conference on “Complicities,” December 9-12, 2015 at the University of Technology, Sydney Law School.

Fourth, a new research tool.  JSTOR has launched a new project that allows you to choose a Shakespeare play, and then a line from the play. The search engine will then take you to articles that quote the line, explaining and enriching your understanding of the lines, the play, Shakespeare, and culture. This project is a cooperative one between JSTOR and the Folger Shakepeare Library. Included are the best known plays (e.g. Hamlet, Macbeth) as well as some of the lesser known works (e.g. Pericles).

Fifth, what fall season would be complete without at least one legal drama? We already know of one that fits the bill: David E. Kelley’s The Trial. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade, Monster’s Ball, Friday Night Lights) will star. Unusual for such a high-profile venture, however: the show will air on Amazon rather than on mainstream tv. The series features a disaffected attorney, Billy McBride (Thornton), who is tossed out from the law firm he founded and finds a new purpose in life when a younger attorney brings him a wrongful death case.


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