Parallel Session 3:
Thursday 2 September
1430 to 1600 (UTC+1)
Panels in this session:
- The Agency of the Artist Scholar 3 (Room: LT1)
- Feminist Judgments as Frankenlaw Experiments 1: Doing Feminist Judgments (Room: 2S13)
- Frankenhistories: History, Historiography, and Undead Law 3 (Room: 1G10)
- General Stream 4: Critical Legal Praxis (Room: 2F14)
- Legal Fictions (Room: 2F11)
- Monstrous Creations and Gestural Justice: Provocations on Protest (Room: 2S12)
- The Monstrosity of Legal Form 3: Afterlives of Legal Forms (Room: 1G06)
- Revisiting Human Rights and Social Contract in the Post Pandemic World 2 (Room: 2G14)
- Vampiric Law (Room: 1G05)
The Agency of the Artist Scholar 3
Chair: Gavin Keeney (Independent) and Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos (University of Westminster)
Veronese as Artist-scholar
Gavin Keeney (Agence ‘X’), Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos (University of Westminster), et al
The last chapter of Works for Works: Book 1, Useless Beauty is entitled, “The Law Disappears …” – it demolishes the law of Capital. The phrase “the law disappears” is from Fausto di Riez (“Discorso 5 sull’Epifania,” c.440) and concerns the event of The Wedding at Cana. The supposition is that after the miracle of turning water in wine, the “law” has vanished. This is also Pauline. This presentiment is, arguably, buried in the perspectival “silence” of Veronese’s great painting, The Wedding at Cana (1562-1563). Thus, too, John Ruskin’s response to Veronese’s The Wedding at Cana, which he saw at the Louvre in 1849. “I felt as if I had been plunged into a sea of wine of thought, and must drink to drowning. But the first distinct impression which fixed itself on one was that of the entire superiority of Painting to Literature as a test, expression, and record of human intellect.” He goes on to describe what “inhabits” the painting: “awful and inconceivable intellect”; “reach of conscience”; “moral feeling”; “kingly imaginative power”; and an “Interpretation of Humanity.” (Ruskin, “Dinner at Simon, the Pharisee’s”). With Peter Greenaway’s 2009 provocation in Venice, when Veronese’s The Wedding at Cana returned via facsimile to its original location at the refectory of San Giorgio Maggiore (Napoleon ordered the original cut up and hauled away to Paris), the perspectival trajectory of the event of the painting returned as well – the physical space of the refectory extending into the painting in an illusionistic manner, with the cornice on the end wall defining a type of proscenium. / Chapter Four of Works for Works: Book 1, Useless Beauty includes a very brief section on Veronese. The section is entitled “Veronese’s Presentism and The Wedding at Cana.” Veronese was an artist-scholar. He was part of the Venetian intelligentsia and skirted prohibitions associated with the times. He was tied up with Aretino et al., even if Aretino functioned as Titian’s “publicist.” He was also in “painterly” competition with Titian and Tintoretto. Chapter Four, “Lived Law and Works for Works,” describes an elective proscriptive silence in works of artistic scholarship – i.e., an intentional compression to exact a form of presentism for works.
Feminist Judgments as Frankenlaw Experiments 1:
Doing Feminist Judgments
Chair: Silvia Suteu (University College, London)
Introduction to the Stream: Challenges of FJ in Civil Law Jurisdictions
Elena Ghidoni (Deusto University) and Elena Caruso (Kent Law School)
German Feminist Judgements: A Methodological Impossibility?
Stefanie Pletz (University of Sheffield)
The German legal system is one of the world’s most theoretically complex and highly codified legal systems. Methodologically, whilst legal codification is an unmistakable guarantor for high levels of transparency, predictability and ultimately stability – it presents a unique set of challenges pertaining to law reform, legal change and progress and fundamentally: recodification. In the German case, the legal system’s structure and concepts societally reflect much of Bismarck’s conservative empire and methodologically reflect a ‘legal calculating machine par excellence’ in its highly abstract, logical and formalistic approach. These factors decisively impact the feminist process and feminist legal outcomes and contrast common law legal systems exhibiting high levels of flexibility and a judicial style of openness that foster ‘social engineering’. Beyond exploring and positioning the scope of feminist legal theory and research within the German legal system and judiciary the paper seeks to identify and critically analyse firstly the current methodological shortcomings of the (codified) legal landscape and its impact on judicial thinking, secondly to highlight the most problematic aspects of German codified law and thirdly to discuss not only the missing feminist judgements but to consider the process of recodification within the German legal system.
Feminist Judgments in Central and Eastern Europe at a Time of Resistance and Backlash
Silvia Suteu (University College London)
Feminist Judgments projects creatively and critically rewrite judgments from a feminist perspective and provide a model for more gender-sensitive judging. They reveal the need to incorporate women’s experience into decision-making and the formulation of legal rules, as well as to rethink more broadly what gender justice demands. However, they have so far been limited to Western legal systems and also mostly to those in the common law world. As part of a new research project, we are interested in exploring the question of what feminist judging might look like beyond these contexts. Our focus is on Central and Eastern European countries and the specific challenges and opportunities for feminist judging in the region. Not only are these countries part of the civil law tradition, and thereby their courts less likely to issue the type of discursive judgments familiar to the common lawyer, but they also operate under different constraints, including a propensity for formalism inherited from the communist legal method. The role of the judge in the legal process is different, as are the traditions, legacies, and unspoken norms. Legal education and the overall legal culture in these countries will present obstacles and openings unlike those of their common law counterparts. Last but not least, there has been strong resistance to and backlash against gender equality in the region, as exemplified by judicial and legislative steps to ban so-called “gender ideology” and the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. The current climate therefore makes it that much more important to study, model, and push for feminist judging.
This contribution will present the key contours of this research project and highlight the relevance of a Feminist Judgments project for Central and Eastern Europe. It will illustrate these in the context of evolving Romanian gender equality constitutional jurisprudence, which has provided a fertile ground for investigation in recent years.
Frankenhistories: History, Historiography, and Undead Law 3
Chair: Adimaya Keni (Birkbeck)
White Nationalism and the 1907 Anti-Asian Riots in Vancouver
Patara McKeen (University of British Columbia)
On September 7th, 1907, a crowd gathered in front of Vancouver’s City Hall to hear speeches denouncing Canadians of Asian descent (referred to as “Orientals,” “Asiatics,” or “Aliens”) from immigrating to the City of Vancouver. They burned an effigy of Lieutenant Governor James Dunsmuir, while another crowd walked up and down Westminster Avenue to the music of a fife and drum band. This crowd was joined by anti-Asian organisers A. E. Fowler, Secretary of the Japanese-Korean Exclusion League, Frank W. Cotterill, President of the Washington State Federation of Labour, and George L. Lipman, a Seattle labour leader. Their collaboration may have been to demonstrate to Mr. Ishii, Chief of the Foreign Commerce of Japan, the anti-Asian sentiments across the Pacific coast. By reading along the grain of the colonial archive and engaging in the methods of Ann Laura Stoler and Saidiya H. Hartman, I trace a historical narrative of the riots that builds on the connection between Bellingham and Vancouver, as well as the presence of white nationalism along the Pacific coast during the early twentieth century.
The Angel in the (Mad)house: The Influence of Victorian Society on British Columbia’s Mental Health Law
Celia Taylor (University of Victoria)
The system of mental health law that exists in British Columbia today sets it apart from the rest of Canada. While other provinces have moved forward in acknowledging the capacity of mentally ill individuals to self-advocate and determine their own best interests, British Columbia remains entrenched in a system which is reductive and paternalistic—and which seems closely linked to the values and social conventions of Victorian England, the era in which modern mental health law has its roots. In this paper, I examine the ways in which Victorian attitudes towards gender, morality, and class continue to shape and inform the way people, and women in particular, are treated by the mental healthcare system in British Columbia today. I explore the development of the treatment and human rights of the mentally ill in Victorian society, and the ways in which the systems developed in the 19th century reverberate in contemporary society. Through the lens of feminist interpretation and critical disability theory, I interrogate why and how an outmoded and patriarchal paradigm continues to be re-animated, long after it should have been laid to rest.
Miscarriage: The Story of Gossip, the Silence of Law
Kimberley Brayson (University of Leicester)
In the story of law, the term miscarriage is most often associated with the phrase ‘miscarriage of justice’. In the UK it is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnant bodies will suffer a miscarriage and that a quarter of a million miscarriages happen each year. Law does not provide for miscarriage leave, for a space to recognise the between life and death. This paper traces the history of miscarriage through turning to Silvia Federici’s historical Marxist feminist analysis in Caliban and the Witch. The paper argues that the story of miscarriage has been embedded as ‘gossip’ where ‘witches’, as wardens of reproductive health, were the origin of the term gossip. Witches were persecuted and dismissed as not legitimate by a patriarchal order. I argue that the same moment of illegitimacy is revisited on the experiences of bodies who become ‘un-pregnant’ through miscarriage, which also creates racialised health outcomes. The ‘unpregnant’ body does not adhere to the capitalist narrative of productivity and progress and is beyond legal control. The becoming unpregnant body undermines the patriarchal, racist, anthropocentric order and its claim to mastery of the physical, metaphysical and natural world. In remaining silent, law’s male, colonial logic iterates miscarriage as ‘gossip’ and denies material support in a time of vulnerability. The paper calls for a problematic, parasitic return to (Franken)law in the form of statutory miscarriage leave.
General Stream 4:
Critical Legal Praxis
Chair: Jason Beckett (American University in Cairo)
This panel explores new horizons of resistance to state violence and injustice. It brings questions of critique in closer proximity to theories of activist practice and social change. How does academic research connect and intersect with the work of resistance, and how do new modes of resistance inform institutional critique? This panel explores these questions by reference to anti-racist organising opposing the UK’s crimmigration regime, drug policy and law reform and feminist resistance to sexual violence.
Representation, Immigration Law and the Politics of Anti-Deportation Activism
Tom Kemp (Nottingham Trent University)
Recent critical scholarship has argued that the discursive frameworks and processes of immigration and human rights law fail to provide space to significant challenges to border enforcement institutions such as immigration detention. They are built on post-colonial logics which prize executive discretion and national sovereignty. Thus immigration law, is as Nadine El-Enany terms it, is a ‘regime of recognition’ in which exclusionary notions of worthiness, vulnerability and innocence are mobilised to legitimise border governance, while trapping insecure migrants who become individualised claimants with decontextualised, depoliticised, fraught legal claims. This paper discusses representational political activism – which attempts to represent migrant experiences to sites of political and legal power – and post-representational activisms – that work to establish collaborative relationships of resistance with people held in detention – as distinctive repertoires of social movement responses to sites of state racism. It highlights how these activisms respond to the necessary-but-limited representations of legal activisms and how they are generative of knowledge of the institutional and legal power of sites like immigration detention.
Reform, Reparations and the Contested Horizons of Anti-Racism
Kojo Koram (Birkbeck)
For Frantz Fanon, racial violence is propelled by a belief in ‘the necessity to establish law and order among the barbarians,’ and the relegation of human beings to the positions of damnation. The rebellion of those ‘damned’ humans poses a fundamental challenge to the law as we can see in the recent Blacklivesmatter protests of 2020. With law now increasingly being seen as a facilitator of, rather than a mitigator against, racial hierarchisation we must unpack how racialisation has been constitutive of the category of “the human” and learn how the demand for radical humanity pushes the limits of what can be demanded. The sphere of anti-racist struggle in the USA, which is facing a backlash in terms of legislation prohibiting the teaching of critical race theory at the same time that drug policy reform legislation is securing tangible reparations for over-policed communities, presents an arena through which we can think through what the horizons of struggle in this historical moment are.
Resisting Rape as Revolutionary Feminist Praxis
Yvette Russell (University of Bristol)
In this paper I explore the fractious relationship between theory and praxis in feminist rape scholarship. I argue that we need to rethink what resistance to rape means, or how we resist and prevent rape and other forms of sexual violence, and that this must involve putting theory and praxis into meaningful dialogue with one another. I claim that we shouldn’t necessarily take rape as our point of departure for resistant praxis. Rather, resistance to rape should be seen as one part of a revolutionary feminist praxis that is anti-racist, anti-capitalist, and decolonial. This is because the prevalence, ubiquity and resilience of sexual violence and rape culture is inextricably tied to those oppressive forces, in that they too are predicated on the alienation the subject in possession, and of the erasure of difference. Feminist anti-rape praxis must centre erotic transformation as profoundly important to revolutionary praxis, and as decolonial work. That is because colonial logic continues to shape and structure sexuate subjectivities, and often unconscious drives and desires. Those drives and desires constitute the scaffolding that support the rape culture in which we live.
Chair: Tony Meacham (Coventry University)
Are Legal Fictions Still Useful? Legal Fiction in English Common Law
Tony Meacham (Coventry University)
There appears to have been a lot written on the matter of legal fictions. At first blush the topic recalls the title of Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing. However the use, and alleged abuse, of legal fictions comes closer to Albert Camus who said that “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.” There are champions of the uses of fiction in law, and those who see it as the antithesis of law’s claim to certainty and truth. There are different theories about such fictions, and its use as a linguistic device. This paper will emphasise its legal use, and its attempts to clarify or simplify the law
Legal Design Fictions
Sankalp Bhatnagar (Northeastern University)
Legal systems too often fail people who need them. For instance, legal protections for whistleblowers are not only ineffective at keeping whistleblowers safe, which discourages people from reporting, but are also inadequate at holding institutions accountable, which encourages wrongdoing by institutions. However, a common device used to navigate situations where facts do not exist, norms are at conflict, rules do not apply, and remedies can not be granted are legal fictions, because they are fictitious assertions accepted as true by courts to ignore facts, work around norms, suspend rules, and grant relief. Except, legal fictions are difficult to craft because they should not be used to undermine existing law, can not extend beyond intended contexts, should not result in certain harms, and can not exploit current fictions. Is there a way to design legal fictions such that we can make it so that whistleblowing becomes an accessible avenue to expose institutions without people needing to rely on whistleblower protections specifically? This paper suggests an approach for uncovering legal fictions that do not yet exist using design fiction, a critical design practice in which scenarios are developed through fictional artifacts to prompt debate around a shared concern. I hope to make this methodology generalizable for legal and design researchers as legal design fiction.
Legal Fiction or Legal Fact
John Rumbold (Nottingham Trent)
The law recognizes fiction as fact in the form of legal fictions. However, there are also fictions that are recognized as legal fact. The legal fact I will be discussing is the changing of sex that the Gender Recognition Act created as a legal fact. This has become a legal hot potato recently with a number of legal actions related to this issue, either centrally or tangentially – particularly the recent case of Forstater v CGD. This paper examines whether or not factual assertions should be categorized as beliefs or not.
Monstrous Creations and Gestural Justice:
Provocations on Protest
Chair: Sara Ramshaw (University of Victoria)
Seva as Friendship: Reading Rights and Revolt through the Farmers’ Protest
Bal Sokhi-Bulley (University of Sussex)
The Sikh praxis of seva through langar has recently become more visible in white spaces as a kind of good, charitable and palatable practice. In response to Brexit, when lorry drivers were stranded at Dover, media outlets reported the model behaviour of Sikh groups like Khalsa Aid delivering food and water to those abandoned by the state. Similarly, yet on a mammoth scale, farmers in India have been delivering langar to protestors and sustaining the Farmers’ Protest (Kisaan Andolan) for months now. This paper argues that langar, as a practice of seva, is itself a revolutionary site of ‘friendship’ that represents counter-conduct. As such, the counter-communities that perform langar exercise a political spirituality wherein the ‘spiritual’ is to be found in practices of care of the self that represent a radical enactment of friendship, and the political is a performance of refusal of state abandonment. I give an eclectic reading of Foucault’s notion of friendship as a way of life. Ultimately, I show that seva is a space of spiritual and revolutionary praxis that responds to the distraction of liberal, juridical rights that has much to teach Western liberal rights discourse on how we might move towards an ‘after’ rights.
The Rights to Protest
Illan rua Wall (University of Warwick)
The slogan ‘defend the right to protest’ has proved popular in recent years, connecting a wide variety of organisations, groups of activists and writers. But beneath this apparent agreement of left and centre-left groups, we find quite a significant difference of views over the meaning of the ‘right to protest’, and what activities it might protect. Is it only ‘peaceful’ protest which calmly makes a point and then disperses; Does it cover events where there is some minor ‘disorder’ conveys; What of strikes which breach the picketing code of practice; What about damage to municipal statues, to private businesses or public buildings; Or can the right to protest extend to fighting with the police or counter-protestors? This paper argues that this confusion is important not because it can help us reveal some authentic or essential version of the right to protest, but because it opens onto much more important questions about the state’s monopoly of the definition of ‘violence’ and the possibility of protest to effect major social change.
‘Huns Before Nuns’: Protest as a Mode of Feminist Inheritance
Máiréad Enright (University of Birmingham)
This paper considers Irish protests (in 2017 and 2021) around the new National Maternity Hospital in Dublin. The state will fund a new hospital, to be built on land currently owned by the Religious Sisters of Charity. The National Maternity Hospital will lose its independence and join St Vincents Healthcare Group; a lay charitable successor to the Religious Sisters of Charity, which manages their healthcare assets.
Protestors are concerned that St Vincents may restrict abortion care at the new hospital. Ministers, company directors and consultants insist that complex legal agreements will prevent any assertion of religious ethos. Protestors refuse this framing of the hospital agreement as an ordinary commercial transaction. They recall that the National Maternity Hospital itself has been a site of obstetric violence and forced adoption, and that the Sisters of Charity ran state-funded Magdalene laundries and industrial schools, and an agency which facilitated illegal adoptions.
This paper considers the protests as a mode of inheritance. They refuse the normalisation or forgetting of state and professional complicity in institutional abuse. They reject the claim that company law is enough to interrupt that history. They translate collective memory into a demand for non-repetition of past violence.
The Monstrosity of Legal Form 3:
Afterlives of Legal Forms
Chair: Przemysław Tacik (Jagiellonian University)
Resilience of Legal Form
Rafał Mańko (University of Amsterdam)
The notion of legal form, as a way of approaching the juridical, seems very promising from the perspective of studying the phenomenon of legal continuity ocurring against the background of profound change’s in the law’s economic, political, cultural, and ideological environment. The interplay between old legal forms and new content it seeks to express and regulate creates a tension which is not always resolved through the change of the legal form. Oftentimes the old legal form remains decades or even centuries after its original social function had become defunct. Drawing on the scholarship of inter alia Karl Renner, Evgeny Pashukanis, Alan Watson, and Hugh Collins, the paper will propose a theoretical framework for approaching this phenomenon with view to understanding what features of legal form make it resilient in the face of deep political, socio-economic, cultural and ideological transformations. Particular attention will be paid to the role of legal science (science juridique/Rechtswissenschaft) and specifically legal dogmatics (la doctrine/Rechtsdogmatik) in the preservation and cultivation of legal form, and its linking to new content following a political-ideological and/or socioeconomic transformation.
Can Codes Of Ethics Bring Us To A Better Tomorrow?
Peter Čuroš (University of Oslo)
In 2019 was in Slovakia revealed a scandal of involvement of lawyers in abuse of law and corruption. Legal professions such as judges, lawyers, and prosecutors participated in schemes connected to business and crime. Such failures open a question of how lawyers use the trust put in their hands and what motivates them not to bend the rules for their clients’ benefit.
Slovakia is similar to other Central and Eastern European countries in having strong faith in the omnipotence of regulation. Regulation and laws are widely considered effective instruments for controlling behavior. The strong normativist heritage from interwar Czechoslovakia, molded by the mechanical formalist jurisprudence of state socialism, has left its mark. Professions of legal education have experienced low public trust since 1989. However, reasons for such perception by the public have not become a discussed topic in previous years. In place of discourse, less formal documents have been presented to solve the unsatisfactory trust in the profession. These documents have been labeled codes of ethics or codes of conduct. The initial concern is whether or not we can call these rules ethics, as they do not leave much space for the individual’s agency. Such an approach to ethics erodes the individual’s responsibility and encourages to look for loopholes in the rules when still obeying the text despite breaking the telos. Such an approach leads to creating living dead, law as a form without an essence.
This paper will focus on the contemporary discourse on legal professions in Slovakia, professional failures in the “Threema scandal” since 2019, and the re-occurring faith in legal regulation as the solution for every social issue.
Legal Form and the Failure of Communist Revolutions
Cosmin Cercel (University of Nottingham)
This paper investigates the theoretical implications that the survival of the legal form within the structure and the functioning of the so called socialist states of the 20th century raises for critical legal theory. In this sense, it revisits and clarifies some of the historical and theoretical positions I have put forward in the Towards a Jurisprudence of State Communism.
In doing so, I intend, first to analyse the abolition of the legal form, and the anti-legal stand of communist revolutionary movements not as a full-fledged break and destruction of the law (as a symbolic articulation of reality), but as a product of an interplay of historically dated arrangements situated at the interplay of cultural production, relations of production and material conditions specific to capitalism.
In a second move, I intend to enquire to which extent socialist legality as such pertains to the legal form, that is to isolate areas, tropes and discursive topoi (e.g. internal doctrinal analysis, and legal institutions) that reproduce at the level of the deeper ideological representation the same functions as in a capitalist society.
In a third, and last move, I argue that a return and revision of Marx’s concept of commodity fetishism supplanted by a psychoanalytical reconstruction of the concept of fetish would be able to share a new light into the conundrum raised by the failure of communist revolutions.
Revisiting Human Rights and Social Contract in the Post Pandemic World 2
Chair: Bárbara Natália Lages Lobo (Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa)
The Covid-19 Pandemic, Domestic Abuse and Human Rights
Ronagh McQuigg (Queen’s University Belfast)
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, incidents of domestic violence have increased substantially around the globe. The lockdowns which were adopted by many states, although necessary to limit the spread of the virus, nevertheless meant that those living in abusive relationships found themselves to be even more isolated in such situations. However, there is a danger of viewing this issue as simply being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In reality, the pandemic served to expose and exacerbate pre-existing difficulties with the responses of states to domestic abuse. This paper will examine the increase in rates of domestic violence since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will focus on the responses of UN human rights entities such as the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Women and the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. The paper will discuss the recommendations which have been made by such entities regarding the measures which should be adopted by governments to address domestic violence in the context of the pandemic and in a post-pandemic world.
The Human Right to Intersectional Democracy
Jonathan Crock (George Washington University)
With governments globally facing endemic structural problems of worsening inequality, underrepresentation of women, marginalized racial groups, and the poor, health crises, and climate catastrophe, there is an urgent need to reexamine basic assumptions about democracy.
I use intersectionality theory to argue there is a codified human right to “intersectional democracy.” This right includes a right of women of all socio-economic backgrounds to take part in decision-making “on equal terms with men” and a right of marginalized racial groups and all classes to have equitable participation in decision-making. I present the first in-depth archival analysis of the drafting of the democracy provisions in international treaty law and do so from an intersectional perspective that has been absent from democracy scholarship.
This paper details the ways state practice has successfully deepened the right to intersectional democracy to address structural failures of electoral governance, with a focus on the use of citizens’ assemblies — the random selection of citizen decision-makers, which automatically achieves 50 percent women’s participation and proportional participation of marginalized groups. Innovations in state practice — from randomly selected citizens amending the Irish constitution to “citizens’ juries” in WTO jurisprudence — offer new methods that can deepen and broaden democracy worldwide.
Chair: Sabrina Gilani (University of Sussex)
The Counter-Conduct of Vampiric Lawyers
Thomas Ebbs (University of Sussex)
The figure of the vampire has risen to describe the reprehensible conduct of the young left. Mark Fisher decried the existence of the Vampire Castle, which stood complete with its own set of laws (Fisher, 2013), whilst Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie declared the young as obscene for their “cold-blooded grasping, a hunger to take and take and take” (Adichie, 2021). In return, others have come to the defence of the vampire and its parasitical kin. They have called for the vampire as creatures of thirsty, sensuous, and interdependent behaviours (Lewis, 2021) as partners in revolution (Filar, 2013), in projects to pollute natural kinds (Haraway, 1997), and the anti-work of gestational communism (Stone, 2021). This paper considers such vampiric defences within Foucault’s account of counter-conduct (Foucault, 2007). It argues that vampiric counter-conduct can corrupt law’s role in governing individuated subjects and that vampiric lawyers already scheme in the shadows.
Law for the Nonhuman: Vampiric
Swastee Ranjan (University of Sussex)
The present epoch of the anthropocene, among other things, has brought to fore the precarious nature of human/nonhuman entanglement(Barad, 2007). It has sought to decentre the figure of the ‘Anthropos’ from its pivotal position in our vulnerable ecologies.
This epoch has infected the law as well, churning and compelling it to cast newquestions and invoke new modalities of organising our ecological worlds. In this paper, I examine the relationship between law and the nonhuman by suggesting that law is constructed and shaped by affective and aesthetic forces that work to obfuscate the nonhuman. This obfuscation perpetuates law as a force of, by and for the species, ‘human’. In this paper, I show how the law that orders the nonhuman is vampiric, since it seeks to seduce and expand its empire; it is parasitic preying on the interface between the human and nonhuman and it is ghostly, haunting the corridors of ordered ecology by withdrawing itself from it(Harman 2002; Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos 2014). Using examples from the Vampire genre in popular media, this paper theorises that the seduction of law is precisely in its ability to manoeuvre the affective and aesthetic representations of the nonhuman to serve the human.
Lawscaping through ‘the Pestiferous Influence of a Corpse’: Monsters, Sepulchre, Normativity
Joshua Shaw (Osgoode Hall Law School)
Law reforms in the mid-nineteenth century United Kingdom—especially, the Metropolitan Interments Act of 1850—transformed the disposal of human remains in urban space. Certain texts suggest, in the early nineteenth century, the disposal of human remains among the working class was perceived as unsanitary, conducive to the production of miasmasbelieved to cause sickness and moral turpitude, and otherwise constitutive of waste; indeed, parliamentary studies leading up to such reforms pushed to redress public health and moral problems seen as emerging from interment traditions ill-suited for the geography and economic conditions of metropolitan life. These events suggest tensions with respect to the status, treatment and disposal of human remains, against an incipient legal category of remains as waste, mediating certain material, aesthetic, and spatial productions in the city. Through such tensions, the author encounters a lawscape in human remains, in that law affects, conducts,and institutes legal meaning in human matter, and matter produces meaning in law (see Davies 2017; Grear 2017; Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos 2015; Shaw 2020, 2021). The author maps the imbrication of human remains in broader spatio-legal formations of the city of London, theorising a (juris)generative ontology in human remains as monstrous(see Pavoni and Nirta 2021).
Jannice Käll (Lund University)
The emergence of technoscientific culture, came with promises of human enhancements and hybrid life-forms of different kinds. As Haraway started to point out already in the late 80s, and as we can agree with now, the time we live in has made for strange companion species and becomings such as oncomouses and cyborgs. However the hybrid beings that currently populate our not-so-human life-worlds deliver less in the sense of a monstrous opening for how we are to conceive of posthuman, ahuman or more-than-human ways of existing or cohabiting this world or others. Instead, it is largely market actors that are in charge of automating our basic societal infrastructures including healthcare, even during a global pandemic (as such a result from human-nonhuman encounter). Furthermore, the hybrids emerging as AI technologies are thoroughly based on datasets and data layers extracted from both common and not so common resources and repackaged into regimes of control. All of these developments are sustained both via law in general, and property rights in particular.
In this paper, I elaborate such events via the famous quote from Jeremy Bentham that “property and law are born together and must die together” (Bentham 1843)to ask if law’s empire is more about law’s vampire in the form of property rights that exists upon, as well as suck the blood out of any Western positivist perception of law, until they both die. The question I pose includes if there is a way to kill property to the benefit of less vampiric forms of jurisprudence and which weapons we could imagine that could help us get there.