Roundup: Law and Humanities 06.28.16




Call For Papers: 2016 Law & Society Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference

Disruption, Temporality, Law:
The Future of Law and Society Scholarship

2016 Conference of the Law & Society Association of Australia and New Zealand

30th November – 3rd December 2016

Call for Papers closes: 30th June 2016

The Call for Papers for the 2016 Law & Society Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference, hosted by the Law Futures Centre and Griffith Law School in conjunction with the Southern Cross University School of Law and Justice closes on the 30th June 2016. Details of the call for papers are attached.

We are also pleased to announce the following confirmed keynote speakers:

  • Professor William MacNeil, The Hon John Dowd Chair in Law, Dean and Head, School of Law and Social Justice, Southern Cross University
  • Professor Irene Watson, Research Professor of Law, School of Law, University of South Australia
  • More keynote announcements to come!

The conference will open on the evening of Wednesday 30th November with a public debate on “The Future of Legal Education”. Confirmed debate participants include:

  • Professor Margaret Thornton, ANU College of Law, Australian National University
  • Bill Potts, President, Queensland Law Society & Founding Director, Potts Lawyers
  • John Briton, Former Legal Services Commissioner, Queensland
  • Professor Reid Mortensen, Head of School, School of Law and Justice, University of Southern Queensland
  • Magistrate Jacqui Payne, Queensland Courts
  • Professor Charles Sampford, Director of the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law, Griffith University

Submission of Proposals:

Please submit proposals for papers, panels or streams to Proposals should consist of a short abstract (max. 250 words), 3 keywords and a short biography (100 words). Panel proposals should include a title/theme for the panel, and abstracts, keywords and biographies for each presenter.

We looking forward to welcoming you to Brisbane.

The 2016 Conference Organising Committee.

Professor John Flood, Dr Timothy Peters, Dr Edwin Bikundo, Mr Shahram Dana, Dr Roshan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Associate Professor Susan Harris-Rimmer, Ms Heron Loban, Dr Jennifer Nielsen, Professor Charles Sampford and Ms Kandice Cherrie.

For Conference enquiries email:



Scholarships, Fellowships, and Research Assistantships

Roehampton University Doctoral Fellowship In Renaissance Studies Available

A Phd scholarship (fully-funded) in Renaissance Studies area of London theatrical culture and related studies during the period 1565-1595, is available from Roehampton University. More information is available here, from the Before Shakespeare blog.

Via Prof. Andy Kesson @andykesson, Jean Noel Vandaele @jnvandaele, and Will Tosh @will_tosh.



Research Assistant sought for approximately 120-150 hours of remote work on Roman Legal thought. Some familiarity with Roman law, particularly in the Eastern provinces, is desirable. Compensation is $21.33-$26.67 CAD depending on highest degree achieved.

Research is for a project that engages ancient Jewish legal thought in its Roman context from a Law & Humanities perspective.

Work can be done from anywhere in the world as long as the researcher has access to library materials. Work must be completed before April 30, 2017. If the hours are completed before October 1, 2016, there is the possibility of applying for a top-up grant for an extra 50 or so hours. Checks can be issued in Canadian or US dollars.

Please contact if you are interested!
From Chaya Halberstam
Associate Professor
Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies
King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario
286 Epworth
London, Ontario N6A 2M3 CANADA
(519) 433-3491 x 4367
fax (519) 433-0353


Robert A. James, Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, Pittman, LLP, has published The Jurisprudence of Paper Clips at 19 Green Bag 2d 249 (2016). Here is the abstract.

To transfer rights in a check or promissory note, the holder may sign (or “indorse”) the document. If there is no space for another signature, one may use an “allonge” — a second piece of paper that is “attached” to the first piece. 33 years ago, the author surveyed the court cases that considered how firmly the pieces of paper must be attached to each other — requiring judges to evaluate paper clips, staples and other instances of humble technology. His decades-old draft article is newly published, both for its content and as a spur to other authors to unearth and reveal their own incomplete efforts.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Incomplete efforts. Well, that’s why I love paper clips, staples, that sticky note paper product, Liquid Paper…


Honni van Rijswijk, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Law, is publishing Towards a Literary Jurisprudence of Harm: Re-Writing the Aboriginal Child in Law’s Imaginary of Violence in the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law. Here is the abstract.

The figure of the “abused Aboriginal child” haunts the Australian legal imaginary in ways that are both poignant and dangerous. This article examines the role this figure has played in assertions of Australian law’s violent jurisdictions, in the past and in the present. I examine the narratives that support law’s claims to authority and jurisdiction over Aboriginal communities, arguing that practices of representation — narrative, figuration, and what we might more widely think of as “law’s imaginary” — need to be interrogated and challenged, as an important means of intervening in law’s violent jurisdictions. We need to engage in what I term here a “literary jurisprudence,” in order to intervene in law’s claims to authority and jurisdiction that are based on narratives of purported harm to the Aboriginal child. “Haunting” is used to think through the significance of the legal imagination in two ways: the ways in which narratives in legal and state archives affect culture and politics; and also the role of law’s own imaginary and the ways in which its figures and narratives affect judicial outcomes, perhaps in ways that function beyond logic. To say that law is haunted by the figure of the abused Aboriginal child is to point to the affective, political, legal, and imaginative afterlife of narratives and figurations that are part of law, and which are not ended with each case or legislative regime but which, unresolved, are always living on. By way of an example of these practices, I provide a reading of harm in the novels of Alexis Wright, a leading Australian novelist, which I argue together provide an exemplary text that counters state law’s representational practices and claims. What is needed to resist the use of the child figure as the occasion for further violence, I argue, and what this reading provides, can be described as a “counter-imaginary” to law’s. This counter-imaginary re-writes law’s narratives and figures, connects that which law has separated, and makes visible that which law has occluded. In particular, each of Wright’s three novels Plains of Promise (1997), Carpentaria (2006), and The Swan Book (2013) is concerned with the relation of harm to questions of Aboriginal authority. Together, all three of Wright’s novels provide a developed counter-imaginary to law’s continuing assertions of authority over Aboriginal people based on the figure of the “abused Aboriginal child,” from the early twentieth century to the present.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.


Steven J. Macias, Professor of Law at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, has published Legal Science in the Early Republic (Rowman & Littlefield). Here is a description of the book’s contents from the publisher’s website.

This work examines the intellectual motivations behind the concept of “legal science”—the first coherent American jurisprudential movement after Independence. Drawing mainly upon public, but also private, sources, this book considers the goals of the bar’s professional leaders who were most adamant and deliberate in setting out their visions of legal science. It argues that these legal scientists viewed the realm of law as the means through which they could express their hopes and fears associated with the social and cultural promises and perils of the early republic. Law, perhaps more so than literature or even the natural sciences, provided the surest path to both national stability and international acclaim. While legal science yielded the methodological tools needed to achieve these lofty goals, its naturalistic foundations, more importantly, were at least partly responsible for the grand impulses in the first place. This book first considers the content of legal science and then explores its application by several of the most articulate legal scientists working and writing in the early republic.


Teaching Materials

If you are a member of the Law and Society Association, you now have access to the LSA’s Teaching Materials Repository. You should have received an email about this new initiative. If not, check it out at the LSA website after logging into your LSA account.


Law and Popular Culture

Summer is a busy time for all of us, but there are some new tv series available and worth checking out. CBS’s new series Brain Dead (warning: video and sound) is a satiric riff on politics, 30-somethings, and pop culture; it airs on Mondays at 10 (9 Central time).  Here are some reviews (from the Hollywood Reporter, Allison Keene at I’m not as hard on the show as these critics; I find the series light and rather amusing in its combination of X-Files conspiracy theory plotting and humor and its likening of politicians under some outer space influence to, well, politicians under some other kind of influence.  ICYMI, another show that I’ve been watching is the British miniseries Vexed (2010-2012, Netflix), starring Lucy Punch as Kate Bishop and Toby Stephens as Jack Armstrong as a mismatched pair of police officers in charge of solving very odd cases. It sounds like a run-of-the-mill show. What sets it apart is the dark humor, at which the Brits excel. In the first scene of the first episode, Bishop evaluates the flat of a serial killer’s victim as a potential new residence, while CSI techs are still examining the victim in the room. Both the estate agent and Armstrong cheerfully explain the good points of the apartment to her. The scene seems (and is) macabre, but the writing and acting lift it out of the horrific into the comfortably weird world of this show almost immediately.


ICYMI, Jeffrey Kahn discusses the arrest of Rudolf Abel, the central figure familiar to contemporary audiences through the Tom Hanks film Bridge of Spies, here in a National Security Law and Policy article (5 National Security Law and Policy 263 (2011)).

More with Professor Kahn here in a CSPAN discussion from earlier this year, and here in a Washington Post article.



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