Roundup: Law and Humanities 05.18.16

What’s new in the world of law and humanities:


Call for Papers

By Any Other’s Name: A Conference on Law, Authorship, and Appropriation

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, October 28-29, 2016

On October 28-29, 2016, the LSU College of Music and Dramatic Arts, LSU School of Theatre, the LSU Law Center, LSU’s ORED (Office of Research and Economic Development) and the Law and Humanities Institute will co-sponsor a conference on law, authorship, and appropriation on the LSU A and M campus in Baton Rouge, LA. This 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.

Some artists who engage in appropriation may describe their activities as parody, sampling, or remixing. Some artists whose work is appropriated may describe the result as misappropriation. Writers might describe the use or reuse of words variously as hommage or plagiarism. Lawyers weigh in both sides of the issue, interpreting such reuse as fair use or infringement, depending on the circumstances.

Digital technology creates a host of new considerations, from the opportunity for a creator to license rights up-front (or not at all) to opportunities for users to create content cooperatively, either on the Web or in face-to-face settings.

What do such changes, in law and in aesthetics and art, mean for our understandings of authorship and the relationship between creator and audience? Do words like “author” and “creator” even continue to have meaning?

General areas for possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:

Appropriation vs. Theft

Cultural appropriation

Defenses to copyright infringement

Digital sampling and the law

Fair use and specific forms of artistic expression (parody, fan fiction, other)

History and concept of authorship

Plagiarism and originality in creation

Wearable technology and IP

We encourage proposals that engage all geographic areas and historical periods.


Together scholars and performers in the areas of free speech, copyright, and the arts to examine conflicts that arise between traditional creators of content and artists who use and/or re-use existing content to remake, remix and develop new works. In addition, the event will begin to examine some ways that the academy and the professions can educate young artists, attorneys, and students to understand these issues.

The conference will provide opportunities for discussion, student engagement, and active learning with leading scholars and professionals in the industry in the areas of freedom of expression, intellectual property law, and the creative and performing arts. We also envision opportunities for performances that demonstrate some of the ways artists work proactively and thoughtfully in these areas.

To that end participants should be willing to engage with attendees in break-out and discussion sessions.

Performers are encouraged to submit proposals. If your proposal includes a performance, please indicate what kind in the abstract.

Paper Submission Information

Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words in PDF or Word format to Christine Corcos at or Kristin Sosnowsky at by June 8, 2016. We will make decisions by June 20th, 2016.

Some funding is available for successful applicants. Panelists will have the option to offer completed papers for inclusion in a peer-reviewed conference volume.


The 2016 Law and Society Association Annual Meeting takes place in New Orleans June 2-5.  The theme is At the Delta: Belonging, Place and Visions of Law and Social Change. More here at LSA’s website.



The AALS Section on Law & the Humanities is pleased to announce a Call for Papers from which presenters will be selected for the Section’s joint program with Evidence to be held during the AALS 2017 Annual Meeting in San Francisco on Friday, January 6, 2017 from 10.30 am – 12.15 pm.

The topic for this year’s joint program is Narrating Evidence. In the past year, crime documentaries like Serial and Making a Murderer have been spectacularly successful. These programs and others like them have pushed many boundaries, including the boundaries between truth and justice, advocacy and art, and law and fiction. In so doing the diverse programs have suggested a role for critical interventions that interrogate where boundaries collapse and offer analyses of the interrelation between domains. One particularly rich area of inquiry in this context concerns witnessing, confession, and narrative. How do these legal and personal stories get translated from law into media? And how do humanistic devices help us better understand the complications of these narratives as they exist within the legal system. This panel will address the question of evidence, as it exists between the worlds of law and cultural representation, and in particular the ways in which questions about evidence are embedded in related questions about narrative design.

Submissions should be abstracts between 250 and 1000 words; please send full papers if available. Scholarship may be at any stage of the publication process from work-in-progress to completed article. Each potential speaker may submit only one abstract for consideration. Paper proposals should be submitted electronically to Allison Tait ( by June 1.

The papers selected for the panel will be announced in late June. Presenters will be responsible for paying the AALS meeting registration fee and hotel and travel expenses. If you have any questions about the panel of paper submissions, please contact Allison Tait (



Leif Dahlberg, Professor in Communication at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, and Associate Professor in Comparative Literature, Stockholm University, Sweden, has published Spacing Law and Politics (Routledge, 2016). Here is a description of the contents from the publisher’s website.

Examining the inherent spatiality of law, both theoretically and as social practice, this book presents a genealogical account of the emergence and the development of the juridical. In an analysis that stretches from ancient Greece, through late antiquity and early modern and modern Europe, and on to the contemporary courtroom, it considers legal and philosophical texts, artistic and literary works, as well as judicial practices, in order to elicit and document a series of critical moments in the history of juridical space. Offering a more nuanced understanding of law than that found in traditional philosophical, political or social accounts of legal history, Dahlberg forges a critical account of the intimate relations between law and politics that shows how juridical space is determined and conditioned in ways that are integral to the very functioning – and malfunctioning – of law.

Spacing Law and Politics: The Constitution and Representation of the Juridical (Hardback) book cover




For a 20% discount, enter the code FLR40 at checkout.

Per the publisher: Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount and only applies to books purchased via the website. For more details, or to request a copy for review, please contact: Soundus Zahir, Marketing Assistant,



Karen Sloan of the National Law Journal has published this interview with Harvard Law’s Cass Sunstein on the subject of law and Star Wars, and his new book, The World According to Star Wars.

Among the revelations: Professor Sunstein’s favorite Star Wars character is Darth Vader.   May the Fourth, etc. etc.



Cass Sunstein, The World According To Star Wars (HarperCollins, 2016).

Law, Pedagogy, and Popular Culture

The ABA For Law Students Blog has posted Searching for the Mr. Spock in You, a piece about the importance of being knowledgeable both about technology and the ethics of its use. A nice mind meld among law, tech, and pop culture (can one mind meld three things at once?)

Twitter thanks to Rick Peltz-Steele @RJPeltzSteele.


The blog Inappropriate Gavels is on a mission. Its aim? To call out, appropriately enough, the mistaken uses of images, references, or mentions of gavels “in the media to depict the law in the UK.”  Tagline:  “Gavels are small wooden hammers. English judges have never used them. But some people are wrong about that.”  Great posts, done with humo(u)r.  More here from Full Fact, here from Marcel Berlins, for the Guardian.

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