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The Poetics of Police: Legal Life Lessons from Inspecteur Jacques Clouseau
Laurent de Sutter, Professor of Legal Theory at Vrije Universiteit Brussels
When Inspecteur Jacques Clouseau, of the French Sûreté, entered the property of Monsieur Ballon, a French businessman whose manoir had been the scene of a murder, it was with all the righteousness and self-importance of the one who knows that he incarnates order. But even before he had the time to enter the manoir, he fell in the fountain besides the entrance door, so inaugurating an endless series of catastrophes, leading to the death of almost every character in the movie – and the madness to one specific survivor. Yet, despite his unorthodox inquiring techniques, he somehow managed to solve the case at hand – although it is not certain that he understood it himself. What can such a trajectory teach about order? What can it teach us about the role played by law in the very concept of order? What can it teach us about the methods lawyers use in order to reach to what they see being the truth of this order? Watching the adventures of Inspecteur Clouseau might very well prove to be an exercise in legal methodology, forcing us to throw away all our certainties about what law, order, and the seriousness that both
Laurent de Sutter is Professor of Legal Theory at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He has been visiting researcher at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (Yeshiva University, New York), Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Recht als Kultur” (Bonn Universität, Bonn) and the Center for Advanced Study (Waseda University, Tokyo). The author of numerous books exploring the relationship between law, images and transgression translated into several languages, among which the most recent are Théorie du kamikaze (Paris: Puf, 2016) and Quand l’inspecteur s’emmêle’ de Blake Edwards (Crisnée: Yellow Now, 2016). He is the Managing Editor of the Perspectives Critiques series at Presses Universitaires de France, and Theory Redux series at Polity Press, Editor of Law & Literature, member of the editorial board of Décalages, An Althusser Studies Journal, and a member of the Scientific Committee of Collège International de Philosophie.
Pocket sized jurisprudence in Aboriginal Comics and A Mosaic of Writings
Christine Black, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Griffith Center for Coastal Management, Griffith University, Australia
Graphic Justice as Giddens argues – ‘broadens our understanding of law and justice as part of our human world—a world that is inhabited not simply by legal concepts and institutions alone, but also by narratives, stories, fantasies, images, and other cultural articulations of human meaning.’
This paper builds on that understanding and explores through an Australian Aboriginal lens the ways in which lawful behaviour is represented in Aboriginal pocket sized comics for use amoungst Aborigines living in remote and deprived areas of central Australia. I will discuss the research I am carrying out with my colleagues at CDU and Senior Law Woman Kathleen Wallace of Santa Teresa Community outside Alice Springs, to understand the process of inventing a unique comic genre that draws upon ancient symbolism and jurisprudence.
This exploration will be further examined within a discussion of my new book A Mosaic of Indigenous Legal Thought: Legendary Tales and Other Writings.(Routledge 2016) This book is a transitional text which takes the reader out of the abstraction of reading the written word and instead calls the reader to feel the lawful behavior as they engage with the Legendary Tales and other writings in the book. The intention is to aid in the shift from an abstracted academic writing to a writing style which fosters visual stimulation and therefore points to a new epistemology which appreciates the potency of the visual as the dominant form of communication in the 21st Century. Furthermore, a visual medium which hails a return to the Indigenous jurisprudential medium of narrative, symbolism and the performative.
Christine Black is a descendant of the Kombumerri/Munaljahlai clans of South East Queensland. She obtained her Honours Degree from the University of Queensland and then went on to be a Radio producer for Radio National, ABC Broadcasting Corp. She then returned to academia as a research fellow for the Australian Key Centre for Media and Cultural Policy at Griffith University. During this time her knowledge of the presence of Aboriginal law as a vital and dynamic law came into focus which then led her to complete her PhD at Griffith Law School. The doctoral thesis was then published by Routledge under the title The Land is the Source of the Law: A Dialogic Encounter with an Indigenous Jurisprudence. This innovative work then led to the undertaking of several fellowships which forged an approach which moved her writing from academic discourse to narratives as a way of returning to the genres of Indigenous societies, but still maintaining thematics of legal theory and politics. These writings have further been influenced by Sherwin’s visual jurisprudence, an understanding of the world which she argues aligns more with the Indigenous epistemology. These writings have now been shaped into a mosaic of thoughts in her latest edition which has once again been published in Routledge’s Discourse in Law series – A Mosaic of Indigenous Legal Thought: Legendary Tales and Other Writings. Christine is now working on her third work that turns an Indigenous jurisprudential lens on the mythical past of Britannia. The format of the third work will be influenced by her present research into the genre of the graphic novel. The research aims to encourage the development of a unique Indigenous comic and graphic novel genre based on traditional and modern art forms as a new medium of communication. The research is also engaged in a comparative study with researchers in New Mexico to investigate the concept of design in traditional crafts as a communication medium for the transfer of law. Dr Black’s writings are taught in the University of New Mexico Law School. Dr Black is presently based in the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management which is situated in her traditional homeland. Her works are now being published in Spanish to engage a wider Indigenous readership in South America.
Law and Film Roundtable
This roundtable investigates the relationship between law and film from a variety of perspectives. We will explore the ways in which cinema engages with fundamental questions of legal philosophy, legal procedure, and social justice. We are especially excited to have with us the award-winning Hong Kong Director and Producer Ann On-Wah Hui.
Ann Hui is a Hong Kong producer, director, actress and occasional screen writer. She has worked in both television and film, and her work ranges widely across different genres. She has been named Best Director at the Hong Kong Film Awards, and her work has received Best Picture at both the HKFA and the Asia Pacific Film Awards. She has received the Lifetime Achievement Award at both the Asian Film Awards and the Hong Kong International Film Festival.
William MacNeil is Dean of Law, Head of School of Law and Justice, and Honourable John Dowd Chair in Law at Southern Cross University in Australia. A scholar of jurisprudence and cultural legal studies, MacNeil is the author of Lex Populi: The Jurisprudence of Popular Culture (Stanford, 2007) and Novel Judgements: Legal Theory as Fiction (Routledge, 2012). The latter of which won, in 2013, the Penny Pether Prize for Scholarship in Law, Literature and the Humanities. MacNeil is also the founding Series Editor of Edinburgh Critical Studies in Law, Literature and the Humanities.
Gina Marchetti is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong. Her books include Romance and the “Yellow Peril”: Race, Sex and Discursive Strategies in Hollywood Fiction (University of California, 1993), Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s INFERNAL AFFAIRS—The Trilogy (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2007), From Tian’anmen to Times Square: Transnational China and the Chinese Diaspora on Global Screens (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2006), The Chinese Diaspora on American Screens: Race, Sex, and Cinema (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2012), as well as a number of edited collections on East Asian cinema.
Marco Wan is Associate Professor of Law and Honorary Associate Professor of English at the University of Hong Kong. He is Managing Editor of Law and Literature. He has been Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge, and in 2017 he will be Visiting Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore and Senior Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture” at the University of Bonn, Germany. He is the author of Masculinity and the Trials of Modern Fiction (Routledge, 2016). He has published widely on law and visuality, and is currently working on a monograph on law and Hong Kong cinema.
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