May 10-12, 2013
Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, Canada Conference
Shelley wrote that 'poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world'. We want to engage with the deeper aspect of Shelley's claim, which is that law is culturally pervasive; as Gramsci noted, every person is an intellectual and a 'legislator.' Legal scholars can learn from this wider ambit of law where these 'legislators' practise art, activism and critical analysis. Thus the two main themes of this conference are the intersections between law and culture and the role of critique in legal scholarship. The ubiquity of law is captured in cultural manifestations, whether it is narratology, rhetoric or aesthetics. It is the ideological function of the law which is reflected by cultural practices; law has been used to suppress, shape and create culture in all its forms - such as art, music, literature and media. We are inspired by 'law and literature' scholars who have pioneered its study by questioning how law and text inform one another. We would like to extend their emphasis on law's role in shaping knowledge to other intersections of law and culture - from intellectual property rights and artistic expression to environmental law and indigenous knowledge to the privatization of space and graffiti art.
The second over-arching theme of this conference is how law and critique can effectively co-exist inside the legal academy and in cultural practices. For example how is law shaped by critique and how does critique of law tangibly affect sociocultural norms, if at all? Further to this, what are the limits of critiquing law? The use of critique in legal scholarship could be argued to be unsatisfactory as it can degenerate into criticism of the entire legal system. While a viable alternative may be in question, this should not preclude its revaluation. Our keynote speakers have both attempted to construct a critique of law in their works that has been influential in many ways: B.S. Chimni as a legal scholar who problematizes international law; and Joel Bakan as a legal scholar who examines the corporatization of global governance.
PAPER SUBMISSION PROCEDURE: Proposals should include the title of your paper and an abstract of approximately 250 words. Please submit to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 15, 2013. Relevant submissions from all disciplines in the social sciences and humanities are welcome, and we especially encourage submissions from artists and community activists. Successful applicants will be notified by April 1, 2013.
B.S. Chimni is an international legal scholar who is affiliated with Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL). He is Chairperson of the Centre for International Legal Studies (CILS) at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is author/editor of International Law and World Order: A Critique of Contemporary Approaches (Sage, 1993), International Refugee Law (Sage, 2000), and other notable works. He served as a member of the Academic Advisory Committee of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and was Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, Tokyo University and York University.
Joel Bakan is professor of law at the University of British Columbia as well as author, filmmaker and professional jazz guitarist. He wrote the bestselling The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (Free Press, 2004) whose film adaptation won the best foreign documentary award at the Sundance Film Festival. Other works include Just Words: Constitutional Rights and Social Wrongs (University of Toronto Press, 1997) and Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Children (Penguin, 2011). Bakan has worked on landmark legal cases and government policy and his current research is focused on the corporatization of global governance.