Call for Papers

SPECTACULAR LAW

Law, Literature and the Humanities Association of Australasia Conference 2016

The Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong, 8-10 December 2016

preceded by a half-day Graduate Research Student Workshop

Conference reception sponsored by Law & Literature (published by Taylor and Francis Group)

 

CALL FOR PAPERS (CLOSED)

The LLH Association of Australasia invites researchers working at the intersection of law and the humanities to Hong Kong in 2016 to explore the complex relations between law, theory, culture and visuality. This conference invites participants to re-affirm the enduring capacity of interdisciplinary, creative and critical legal scholarship to allow us to see the law otherwise.

The theme of ‘spectacular law’ invites reflection on the performance and dramaturgy of political and legal power, the affective lures of sovereignty and the technologies that reveal – and conceal – legality, dissent, (dis)obedience, and different modalities of regulation. This conference will examine the various ways in which we can see, and be seen by, law, politics and power. The location of this year’s conference prompts its theme. Hong Kong is a visually striking city: fading tower blocks, gleaming edifices, remnants of a colonial past, and canopies of neon suspended over street corners, all enframed by lushly forested hills and the increasingly contested waters of the South China Sea. The powerful visual affect, as much a result of the city’s geography as it is of its legal and political orderings, inspires an exploration of the spectacle.

We invite either individual paper proposals or pre-arranged panels of 3-4 papers. Participants may present in the form of a traditional academic paper, panel discussion, or innovative presentational forms that engage video, performance or other media. We will consider proposals in any area of law, literature and the humanities. However in addressing the conference theme papers might wish to reflect on the following questions:

  • What are the techniques through which law’s operative power is made (in)visible today?
  • How do the various methodologies of ‘law and humanities’ allow us to approach questions of speech, surveillance, censorship, and freedom?
  • How are the spatial, aural, textual and haptic dimensions of law and power refracted through – or obscured by – a focus on the law’s visuality, its spectacles and spectaculars?
  • In what ways might we think about the performance of law in a plurality of settings: on the stage, the screen, in literature or in the courtroom?
  • Does the development of new technologies necessitate the re-examination of how justice is seen to be done?

 

PLENARY SPEAKERS

Laurent de Sutter, Professor of Legal Theory at Vrije Universiteit Brussels

The Poetics of Police: Legal Life Lessons from Inspecteur Jacques Clouseau

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 require. At least, this is what I will argue.

Christine Black, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Griffith Center for Coastal Management, Griffith University, Australia.

Pocket sized jurisprudence in Aboriginal Comics and A Mosaic of Writings

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.

 

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

New! Finalised programme rundown and panel list of presentations is now available here.

Registration for non-presenting participants is now available here.

Conference Fees

Standard rate Dec 8 300 HKD
Dec 9 500 HKD
Dec 10 500 HKD
Student rate Dec 8 150 HKD
Dec 9 250 HKD
Dec 10 250 HKD
Conference dinner Dec 9 500 HKD

 

Dates & Times

The Graduate Workshop will be held on the morning of 8 December.

The Conference will begin in the afternoon of 8 December and end at 5 pm on 10 December.

The Conference Dinner will be on the evening of 9 December.

 

Practicalities

Information about registration, accommodation, plenaries and panels, updates and all other matters will be available here. Please stay tuned with us.

For enquiries, please email lawandhumanities@hku.hk.