Intersections of Law and Culture 2009
A cross-disciplinary conference hosted by the Department of Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies, Franklin College Switzerland
October 2 - 4, 2009 in Lugano, Switzerland
Submission of abstracts accepted until March 31, 2009
Richard K. Sherwin, New York Law School
Melanie L. Williams, University of Exeter
Professor Michelle Cottier, Law, University of Basel
Professor Jeanne Gaakeer, Law, Erasmus University, Rotterdam
Dr. Dominique Grisard, History, Center for Gender Studies, University of Basel
Professor Elisabeth Holzleithner, Law, University of Vienna
Professor Greta Olson, English, University of Giessen
Dr. Thomas Scheffer, Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Humboldt University, Berlin
Intersections of Law and Culture aims to investigate law’s place in culture and culture’s place in law. This focus proceeds from the realization that law, once one of society’s most powerful discourses in both its secular and religious forms, has become increasingly influenced by intersecting and competing discourses in medicine, ethics, education and politics. Moreover, the operations of law—its processes and decisions—have entered the realm of popular culture, media and the arts as plot devices used in sit-coms, films and pulp fiction. These in turn have begun to change the way law operates.
Given this increasing porosity and interpermeability among prominent areas of knowledge, the focus of this conference is precisely on the interstices between law and other discursive practices. What are the mechanisms by which popular representations and cultural practices find their way into legal processes? How does law in turn bleed into and influence cultural processes? Does law act as a buffer against societal assumptions about, and constructions of, gender, age, ability, sexuality and ethnicity, or does it re-enforce and re-inscribe existing social norms? Clearly there are no simple, monolithic answers to these complex questions; answers will be historically and culturally contingent, and will change shape depending on the case or the context at hand.
We are especially interested in work that reflects on the differences in law and culture in the European and the Anglo-American contexts. What are the differences between the legal cultures in these distinct but interdependent spheres, and what are the consequences of these differences for the relationship between law and culture? We also want to know what the philosophical, literary and cultural points of reference are for the European and the American systems, and to what extent these distinct frames of reference shape our work in law and literature, and in law and culture. In this same vein we welcome papers that reflect on issues of methodology, or that offer a comparative focus on interdisciplinary methodologies in the study of law and society, law and literature, law and the performing arts, and law and popular culture.
Collegium Helveticum, ETH Zürich
Goldsmiths College, London
Sara Steinert Borella
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