UVic Hub

CLC Hub @ UVic: Full Programme

Below is the full programme for the CLC Hub that is being hosted by the University of Victoria School of Law. It is primarily made up of the Monstrous Creations stream, and the timings are all local to UVic. The UVic programme thus does not overlap with the the main Dundee programme (apart from the Plenaries, and the ‘Provocations on Protest’ panel, which are shared between the two programmes).

All sessions will be blended via the Dundee online platform and will be accessible online as part of the registration package. Please see here for details of the blended format. If you are registered to attend, you should have received further details and information on accessing the online platform to the email address under which you registered (make sure you check your junk folder). Please contact us if you have any issues gaining access or any queries about registration: contact@clc2021.com.

All timings below are PDT (UTC-7)

Day One: Thursday 2 September 2021

From 0730

0800 to 0830

0630 to 0800

0800 to 0830

0830 to 1000

1000 to 1130

1130 to 1145

1145 to 1330

1330 to 1430

1430 to 1600

1630 onwards

Refreshments (ongoing)

Welcome and Introduction

Panel 1 (Room: 2S12)

Break and Refreshments

Plenary 1: Dr Brenna Bhandar (Room: LT3)

Panel 2 (Room: UVic Hub Virtual Room)

Break and Refreshments

Panel 3 (Room: UVic Hub Virtual Room)

Lunch Break (delegates’ own cost)

Panel 4 (Room: UVic Hub Virtual Room)

Social Gathering and Dinner (for participants in Victoria, delegates’ own cost)

Day Two: Friday 3 September 2021

From 0730

0800 to 0930

0930 to 1115

1115 to 1130

1130 to 1300

1300 to 1400

1400 to 1530

1530 to 1700

1700 onwards

Refreshments (ongoing)

Plenary 2: Prof WTJ Mitchell (Room: LT3)

Panel 5 (Room: UVic Hub Virtual Room)

Break and Refreshments

Panel 6 (Room: UVic Hub Virtual Room)

Lunch Break (delegates’ own cost)

Panel 7 (Room: UVic Hub Virtual Room)

Theatrical Jurisprudence Panel (Room: UVic Hub Virtual Room)

Social Gathering and Dinner (for participants in Victoria, delegates’ own cost)

Day Three: Saturday 4 September 2021

0530 to 0700

From 0730 (ongoing)

0800 to 0945

0945 to 1015

Plenary 3: Dr Canonical Roundtable (Room: LT3)

Refreshments (ongoing)

Panel 8 (Room: UVic Hub Virtual Room)

Concluding Remarks (Sara Ramshaw, Émile Fromet de Rosnay, and Kristen Lewis) (Room: UVic Hub Virtual Room)

Panel 1: Provocations on Protest
Thursday 2 September
0630 to 0800 (UTC-7)

Room: 2S12
Chair: Sara Ramshaw (University of Victoria)

This panel explores ‘protest’ as a site for thinking beyond, of and after the human and humanity. We provide provocations on how to move beyond containing discourses of ‘protest’ and ‘rights’ that we argue are distractions to inventing radical response in spaces of violent abandonment. We become distracted from, for instance, a focus on affect, inheritance and spiritual practice, which embody a praxis that might inspire us to reinvent forms of social solidarity beyond the traditional, white, liberal paradigm of (more) rights, (peaceful) protest and (selective) memory.

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.

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Welcome and Introduction
Thursday 2 September
0800 to 0830 (UTC-7)

Susan Breau, Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Victoria (UVic Law)

Sara Ramshaw, Émile Fromet de Rosnay, and Kristen Lewis (CLC Hub @ UVic and Stream Organisers)

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Panel 2: Frankenfeminisms: Trauma, Love, Law
Thursday 2 September
1000 to 1130 (UTC-7)

Chair: Sara Ramshaw (University of Victoria)

Blurred Lines: Sexual Abuse (or Not) in Big Little Lies

Devyani Tewari (University of Victoria)

‘Both law and film are dominant players in the construction of concepts such as subject, community, personal and collective identity, memory, gender roles, justice, and truth; they each offer major sociocultural arenas in which collective hopes, dreams, beliefs, anxieties, and frustrations are publicly portrayed, evaluated, and enacted’ (Kamir 2006: 2).

Big Little Lies, a television show which premiered in 2017 has been applauded for its direction, storytelling and acting. Through the nuanced manner in which the show depicts domestic violence, infidelity, and childrearing, it helps the viewers in obtaining an insight into the societal conception of gender roles vis a vis the familial structure. Though the show has earned accolades, several viewers, including, many of the show’s devoted fans perceive the sex scenes in the abusive relationship between Celeste and her husband, Perry Wright, as extremely sexy rather than as abusive (https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/jun/17/big-little-lies-domestic-violence). In this paper, I explore the blurred lines between consensual sex and sexual abuse in the marriage of Celeste and Perry Wright through the lens of varied feminist analyses on sexual violence as propounded by Catharine MacKinnon, Janet Halley, Joan Williams and Rebecca Johnson.

Law, Love and the Monster Named Non-Marriage

Harsimran (Simran) Kalra (Kings College London)

For a few decades, the compatibility of non-state justice systems and human rights has been circumspect. Despite that, IGO like the UNDP have changed tack. Rule of law projects now include customary justice within the development process and advocate the possibilities of justice within the local. Legal plural scholars urge that the state eschew any imagined claims to monopoly on law and order and restrict themselves to managing economies. Yet, such carving of the state-public as economic and community-private as social is anachronistic with feminist research which has effectively refuted these dichotomic. Where non-binary, polyamorous family arrangements are challenging the boundaries of the legal category, the question of financial rights in marriage/like relations becomes moot and financial claims within marriage cannot be dismissed to the realm of the fictional ungoverned private.

Enter Islamic marriages in England: nikah ceremonies are not recognized by the state even if these are religiously certified. Querying legal consciousness and the use of law and religion, I examine the possibilities of justice that emerge for Muslim women when couples are given an opportunity to register their Nikah, but these are not by themselves recognized in law.

Where some have urged that plural legalities allow Islamic ethics to enable non-conservative cohabiting relations, I examine how justice takes the form of piety and query the socio-legal conditions that restrict women’s access to justice to the weapons of the weak. Though women demonstrate agency in reclaiming dignity, they work within socio-economic precarity that emerges within a legal vacuum despite plural legalities and multiple authorities for regulating family relations. To this end I draw on narrative interviews with 30 South Asian Women conducted between 2019-20 which I analyze using an interpretative-constructivist approach to legality.

NB: The term non-marriage has been in use within English legal cases since Hudson v Leigh [2009] 2 FLR 1129. In 2020, the Court of Appeal in Secretary of State v Akhtar [2020] EWCA Civ. 122 preferred the more respectful but legally synonymous status of ‘invalid ceremony’ denying couples financial claims that married couples, even in cases of void marriages, can claim.

Being and Parenting: Frankenstein as a Legal Story of Trauma

Celia Taylor and Gillian Calder (University of Victoria)

In the centuries since its publication Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has been used as a metaphor for a wide range of concepts. One reading of the story is that at its heart, it is a story about family, parenthood and child development in the face of abuse and neglect.  This version of the story revises who in fact is the ‘monster.’  We take up this version of the events, and ask how the story might have played out differently, by bringing a trauma-informed, feminist and decolonial approach to family conflict and relational care. In our storytelling, the Being and his father are two participants in a 21st century family case conference. This reimagined setting allows us to engage with shifting issues in family law – including new-reproductive technologies, surrogacy, rights vs. responsibility and gender fluidity – through the lens of the Frankenstein narrative. In our presentation we will deconstruct the case file and voice the parties, before engaging our audience in an interactive process of deliberation, reimagination and ultimately judgment.

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Panel 3: Silence, Violence, Law
Thursday 2 September
1145 to 1330 (UTC-7)

Chair: Anthony Gavin (University of Victoria)

An Atrocity Archive: Sensory Expression of Past-Present-Future

Benjamin Thorne (Independent)

The violence and related crimes committed during the genocide against the Tutsi, April-July 1994, led to the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. This international machinery of justice was located in the neighbouring country of Tanzania. The often complex, draining, meandering, problem-prone legal proceedings, sprawling across 21 years generated a rich and diverse archive containing fragments of pre-genocide, genocide and post-genocide periods. This somewhat side-lined archive is an interplay between plural experiences, memory, dialogue, power, and users.

Atrocity archives and their material are sites of stimulation. They stimulate memory, dialogue, and the senses. The senses accompany all those who adventure with archive material. Accompany in both obvious and more subtle ways, which nonetheless can be profound. The stimulation of visual material is compelling, although sound, taste, touch, smell can equally weave, entwine and manifest during archival encounters.

Like archives, the senses can disorientate, confuse, disrupt, empower, enlighten, and challenge an individual and groups experience of the material as well as their understanding of past events and the relations and connectivity to the present and future.

The Monstrosity of the Legal Setting: Toward Humanizing the Legal Monster

Mateusz Stępień (Jagiellonian University)

The paper seeks to present the typical modern legal setting, i.e. the courtroom as a place that enhances the “monstrosity” of law experienced by victims. Drawing on empirical data from various jurisdictions the paper reconstructs the ways space and architectural arrangements of the courtroom form the experiences of victims as subjects of degradation and “diminution”. The small details associated with, e.g., a game of glances determined by the spatial organization, a specific orchestration of movements in the courtroom, and modulations of power distance in the courtroom establish the victim’s feeling of the monstrosity of the law. Against that background, the paper seeks to offer a surprisingly unexplored strategy of humanizing the legal monster by using “micro-physics” of empathy. The concept of “micro-physics” of empathy reverses the Foucauldian approach to power and the subject.

Creating the Body of Law in Silence; Understanding the Silent Monstrosity of the Body ‘off the Record’

Luke Lavender (University of Victoria)

This paper will look at the relation of silence to the record of law; in doing so it seeks to look to the connection between the body of law and the monstrous guilt of silence implicated in its construction.  In this, the paper seeks to investigate the issue of silence and its connection to guilt through the body of law. In this manner the paper, part of an on-going Master’s thesis, will be engaging with 1) how the body is constructed in law, 2) the space of silence in the body of law and 3) the responsibility for silence that the body has when it is off the record. As such, the paper will note not only how the body of law is constructed, what the importance of silence is to law, but also the peculiarly modern responsibility of the body of law to rid itself of monstrosity by being ‘on the record’.  In looking at the power of the law in audial terms, its’ demand to root out the silence that exists off the record, the paper will consider both the importance of silence to law’s authority and the possibility of ‘monstrous silence’ within the terms of the law.

Monstrous Cover-Ups: The Struggles of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra in Nigeria

Summer Okibe (University of Victoria)

This paper addresses the monstrous state cover-up or apathy that followed the killing and starvation of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Nigeria during the Nigerian Biafra War (also known as the Nigerian Civil War) of 1967 and its relation to the recent killings of Southeastern Nigerians and the refusal of the Nigerian state to address or halt the violence.  The IPOB is a secessionist political organization that has since 1967 sought to break out from Nigeria. This organization is not ‘Indigenous’ in the context of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) discourse. However, it emerged due to of the oppression and political marginalization of the Eastern part of Nigeria by the colonial heads and the Northerners’ long-lasted oppressive power. As such, the Nigerian Biafra War involved a fight for self- governance and, as a result, 3.5 million Biafrans were brutally killed by the Nigerian state.  Despite their wars, struggles, killings and starvation, the Nigerian state was quick to wash the history of this tragic event away. Moreover, Nigeria voted against adopting the UNDRIP in 2007, and it is essential to note that, to date, Nigeria has not implemented UNDRIP. It is saddening that the recent killings of Southeastern Nigeria have resurfaced again. In the past two months, the Southeasterners have been kidnapped, murdered and even buried alive and yet, once again, the Nigerian state has done nothing about it.

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Panel 4: Posthuman Monstrosities
Thursday 2 September
1430 to 1600 (UTC-7)

Chair: Mark Zion (University of Victoria)

Monsters ‘Before the Law’: CRISPR-Babies, Rogue Scientists and the Monstrosity of Justice

Anthony Gavin (University of Victoria)

In November 2018, the first two CRISPR-engineered babies—twin girls, Nana and Lulu—were born unexpectedly in Shenzhen, China. The experiment that resulted in their birth, which was designed to test the viability of disabling the CCR5 gene to prevent HIV infection in humans, was performed by the ‘rogue’ biophysicist Jiankui He, who has since been imprisoned and ostracized by the international scientific community for his actions (Cohen 2019, Cyranoski 2020). Notably, the experiment was dubbed ‘monstrous’ even by philosophers who argue strongly in support of using human germline gene editing technologies for the purposes of human enhancement (Savulescu 2018). Proceedings from global summits and reports issued by the national academies of the sciences in the US and UK in years prior showed a measured enthusiasm towards the advancement of human germline gene editing; nevertheless, directly in response to the He affair, a group of eighteen scientists from seven different countries (including several CRISPR co-founders) co-authored a report, in March 2019, which called for a global moratorium on human germline gene editing. ‘Human germline gene editing’ means that the genetically altered traits of the embryo will be passed onto future generations. Drawing extensively on Derrida, I read in this case a phallogocentric repression of the pure iterability of the mutative trace, which attempts to secure the metaphysics of presence and identity against their destructive slippage into monstrosity and alterity. My reading strategically positions consideration of the He affair alongside ongoing CRISPR patent disputes that are being legislated in international courts, in order to open up questions about the inter- (or intra-) textuality of the law, life and the body. Finally, I argue that Derrida’s deconstructive notion of ‘justice’—which is the impossible possibility that conditions ethics through a singular relationship to alterity (that also breaches with ethics)—can help us fathom our im/possible responsibility towards future generations regarded as genetic monstrosities (Derrida 1992, 1995).

Anthropocentric Feminine Monstrosities: Legal and Bio-Political Inquiries into the Hegemony of Female Bodies vis-à-vis Patchwork Girl

Pin Lean Lau (Brunel University)

This paper draws inspiration from Patchwork Girl, a highly acclaimed subversive work of electronic literature and postmodern Gothic fiction by Shelley Jackson, written completely in hypertext.First, analyzing Patchwork Girl through the lens of bio-constitutionalism and feminist legal theory, I posit that the oft-misrepresented connections between female ‘monstrosity’, and contemporary bodily subjectivity and biomedical reproductive technologies are birthed from anthropocentric legal discourse and imaginaries. Secondly, I highlight that these connections are built on the foundations of bio-political hegemony of female bodies, translated into the body of law and capitalized through industrialization, urbanization, and the ‘feminization of property in the body’. I present a critical analysis of the five individual components in Patchwork Girl transposed into the legal realm, demonstrating their use as an epistemic tool to continually establish and assert patriarchal dominion over the perceived threatening and erogenous female body. Thirdly, I provide a reinvigorated reflection on the law’s role in (re)framing the female body in techno-scientific biomedical reproductive technologies. This is pertinent as a means of countering the patriarchal anxiety of the monstrous feminine in the technological landscape represented by Patchwork Girl.

Decomposing the Law, Composting the Collectives

Renan Nery Porto (University of Westminster)

The vocabulary that the modern legal tradition gave us does not stand in relation with the concrete modes of life producing itself in non-hegemonic territories. It is an always verticalised and idealist vocabulary, built by the transcendental subject’s reason and entirely based on a detachment between nature and culture. With the thought left by modern tradition, we can talk about universal and descriptive norms that determine the relations of causality present in nature; or contingent and prescriptive norms established by human collectives, that vary according to the diversity of languages and cultures. Although, this tradition was not able to describe the production of society taking into account the agency of objects, animals and other living beings. This anthropocentric conception of social formation also contributed to the current emergency state of climatic catastrophe. What would the case be if we forsake all vocabulary of order, institution and norm and try to investigate other vocabularies that allows for the actualisation of other modes of more-than-human collective existence? This research intends to investigate this through the experience of landless movements and indigenous peoples, trying to find conceptions of social organisation that do not pass through the liberal idea of normativity.

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Panel 5: Monstrous (Colonial) Subjectivities: Frankenlaw in Literature, Film and Popular Culture
Friday 3 September
0930 to 1115 (UTC-7)

Chair: Kate Plyley (Independent)

Worlds, Legal Subject, Legal Consciousness, and Literature

Guilherme Vasconcelos Vilaça (Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México)

How can we understand the way in which law condenses the ideas of world, subject, and consciousness? I explore these themes by reflecting upon the concept of world, legal subject, legal consciousness and two literary works Ismail Kadare’s Broken April and Robert Walser’s The Robber. I submit that these two narratives can help us to question the ideas of agency, responsibility, and the nature of one’s engagement with the law which are at the core of the kind of legal subject that is required by law’s project as a technique of social ordering. The talk postulates that thinking about kinds of legal subject is important to imagine alternative legal futures.

Rethinking Subjectivity in Love in a Fallen City: Defeat and Vindication in the Semicolonial Pluralist Legal Orders

Suprawee Asanasak (Thammasat University)

In novella Love in a Fallen City, Eillen Chang, the acclaimed Chinese author and the  globalization pessimist, mediates the confrontation between the withering Chinese tradition and the surging power of Western colonial ideology, both capitalism and liberalism, through the eye of Linsu, a woman who seeks to establish her ‘place’ within the semicolonial and transnational structure of norms and orders. However, instead of successfully writing her own faith, Linsu’s power of self-determination is suddenly taken away when Japan invades Hong Kong. Ironically, it is the fallen of Hong Kong, the unpredictable force outside her control, that finally brings Linsu her situational victory. Using Love in a Fallen City as an allegory, I rethink the subject’s construction in a semicolonial pluralistic legal order as Linsu negotiates her self in-between the network of norms and multiple sites of legitimacies. The ironic ending of the novella provides both critique to, and point of departure from the growing literature in transnational law and pluralist legal system praising both will and action of non-state actors and individuals as ‘active’ and ‘resistance’ against the dominant and obsolete state power. In the transnational, pluralist order, is it even possible for the subject to claim her own victory?

The Silencing: How Copyright Law Creates Monsters

Melanie Stockton-Brown (Bournemouth University)

‘…Until the Ending of the World’: Indigenous Perspectives in Literature and Film on Surviving the Apocalypse

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of the most influential books in the world. However, it is not celebrated in the same way for its significance to intellectual property, being conceptually linked to the creative, original and inventive works that it protects.

Copyright law acts as a monstrous creative force that distorts reality: in its strictness in what uses of a creative work are prima facie copyright infringement, it leads to copyright performativity, in which people create works inspired by the original without being too close as to risk infringement. This is part of the reason, along with the enduring brilliance of Frankenstein, that we have so much cultural iterations of the story. Now in the public domain and legally available to everyone, the absence of copyright further shapes our cultural reality.

Mary Shelley’s struggle with public attribution as the author of Frankenstein (as she was not credited in early publications of the work) highlights the enduring historical and present-day fundamental desire to be known as the author of creative works.  It especially emphasises the continuing difficulty of women to be properly attributed to their works.

This submission will take the form of a short film reimagining a queer feminist Frankenstein and Shelley’s fight to be named as the author (approx. 5 minutes) alongside the presentation. A digital short zine relating to the historical (and ongoing) struggle women authors have endured to receive proper copyright and name attribution for their works will also be provided.

‘…Until the Ending of the World’: Indigenous Perspectives in Literature and Film on Surviving the Apocalypse

Mark Harris (University of British Columbia)

This paper draws from two artistic works by Indigenous persons to consider the (enduring) apocalyptic moment of settler-colonial violence. In Mudrooroo Narogin’s book Doctor Wooreddy’s Prescription for Enduring the Ending of the World he reflects upon the impact of white colonisation on the Palawa (Aboriginal Tasmanians) during the colonial period through the perspectives of four characters, but mostly through the eyes of the character of the book’s title.  Narogin’s book represents the white invaders as less-than-human – as ‘ghosts’ (or num) – and the Aboriginal peoples as ‘human’. He observes: ‘…in the long run, learning to survive meant accepting that the ghosts [white invaders] were here to stay and learning to live amongst them, or at least next to them until – until the ending of the world!’ (Narogin 1998, 19)

Building from Wooreddy’s strategies for surviving the incursion of the barbaric white num to their territories, this paper then considers a more recent engagement with the apocalypse from the Indigenous perspective. In Blood Quantum (written, directed and produced by Jeff Barnaby a Mi’kmaq film-maker) the people of a fictional Canadian First Nations reservation become aware of a zombie outbreak. What distinguishes this film from other zombie genre films is the knowledge that the only people immune from infection are those with a sufficient quantum of Native Blood. From the idea of Indigenous communities enduring the colonisers/ghosts we are presented with the inverted scenario of, at the world’s end, whether Indigenous communities should allow the zombie epidemic to run its course and exterminate all non-Indigenous persons or they should offer a haven for uninfected non-Indigenous persons. The inconclusive ending of Blood Quantum leaves dangling the question of what future might exist in settler-colonial societies in the post-apocalyptic future but makes clear that the future is always inextricably interwoven and answerable to the violence and injustice of the past.

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Panel 6: ‘Think Outside. There Is No Box’: Unauthorized Experiments with Artistic Practice
Friday 3 September
1130 to 1300 (UTC-7)

Chair: TBC

While attempts to breathe life into the re-composed corpse of modern law have perhaps animated some of the recent turn to the aesthetic in legal scholarship, the practitioners gathered in this panel are both less disciplined and more exploratory in relation to their creative experimentations.  As the stream organizers have suggested, there is ‘much that is not knowable that goes with the creative process’. Across various media, and with varying degrees of technical proficiency, training, and experience, these colleagues and creators will explore the unauthorized and unanticipated effects of artistic practices on their writing and teaching. Not knowing, it turns out, is part of the practice.  Our dialogue will range across explorations with textual practices, such as erasure poetry, the audiovisual essay form, and the hybrid forms of art/law produced by law students. 

Uncanny Practices: The Audiovisual Essay as Cinematic Jurisprudence

Ruth Buchanan (Osgoode Hall Law School)

The audiovisual essay has emerged as a generative and vibrant field of inquiry, notable for its ability to combine aesthetic practices with scholarly concerns. I will argue in this essay that it offers new opportunities for legal scholars interested in working with the aesthetic, material and the experiential. As leading practitioner Catherine Grant has noted, ‘rather than an explicit work of scholarly exposition, verbal explication or argumentation, videographic studies … are an instance of creative practice as a mode of enquiry and only implicitly, or performatively, a mode of argument – forged through selection and juxtaposition.’ This paper will consider the video essay specifically in relation to my own approach to cinematic jurisprudence, which foregrounds the film as an event, and considers the ways in which the experience of film works on us as viewers. The well composed video essay incorporates and transforms extant material in order to facilitate an open-ended process of re-reading and re-writing. Experimenting with audiovisual essays can offer both law students and legal academics a generative avenue for considering how law works on us as spectators and as legal subjects.

Seeing Research Methods: You Want Me to Draw What?

Jeff Hewitt (Osgoode Hall Law School)

In Ways of Seeing, John Berger opens with ‘[s]eeing comes before words.’ Law is deeply reliant on words (cue jokes about lawyers being paid per word). As such, legal education is mainly text driven. Law students are repetitively told and shown, words matter. But do words matter absolutely, if we forget how to see? For years medical schools have been incorporating art courses into their curriculum, from art history to museum tours to drawing comics. Should law schools embrace art and art practices as part of legal education to promote more expansive ways ‘seeing’? Perspective helps us see, whether it be the world through the eyes of Impressionists or a master narrative told through doctrine. Both in art and in law, perspective is vital and when it is off or lacking, it is evident. This essay considers ways in which art might further experiential learning and engage with some key elements of a legal education, such as observation, critical thinking, and advocacy while encouraging ways of seeing before words. Through a simple drawing exercise with law students relating to research methods, this paper also explores how we engage with law and approaches to legal research as well as revealing both assumptions we make about and insights into ourselves.

Collaging Literature to Illuminate Law

Kate Sutherland (Osgoode Hall Law School)

Law and literature has become a vast and eclectic field, no longer easily summed up (despite recurrent description) as focused on either law in literature or law as literature. Nevertheless, considerable emphasis remains, at least within law schools, on literary texts as useful objects and literary theory as a useful tool by which to analyze law, with much less attention given to literary practice in relation to law. In this essay, I describe and evaluate some of my experiments in centering literary practice, usually the writing of poems, in first my law teaching and more recently my legal research. An example of the former is having students make erasure poems out of judgments and statutes as a way of shifting their perceptions of legal texts. Examples of the latter include adaptations of classic legal novels, one of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House and another of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, into series of collage poems, in one instance as an extension of, in the other as an alternative to, conventional academic analysis. It’s that final move that most interests me and where I place my primary focus, in which poetry writing and collage making become not just adjuncts to but actual modes of legal research.

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Panel 7: The Dæmons/Monsters within (Law)
Friday 3 September
1400 to 1530 (UTC-7)

Chair: Émile Fromet de Rosnay (University of Victoria)

Dæmonology and Law

Stephen Connelly (University of Warwick)

Dæmons, Iamblichus claimed, are agents of the Demiurge and powers that defile the soul by tying it to body. Their task is to exteriorise divine power, but in so doing they produce an ‘extroverted attitude’ which binds souls to bodies and causes them to suffer. Following a lead from Agamben and Aubry, this paper argues that dæmonology is central to any theoretical understanding of law and power, and sketches the manifest links between law and the notion of dæmon (δαίμον) in Plato’s Republic and The Laws. An attempt will be made to extract from the various senses of dæmon that are of particular relevance to law. Reference will then be made to the works of Philo and the Pseudo-Dionysius to sketch the relationship between the Ps.-Dionysian hierarchy (ἱεραρχία) of the cosmos and a theory of sovereign power.

Monster Mentors and Cognitive Confrontations

Kate Plyley (Independent)

The etymology of ‘monster’ is instructive, illuminating a tangled web of associations bound up with this word that commonly evokes creatures and demons. Monster emerges directly from the Latin monstrum— ‘divine omen, portent, sign’— a derivative of monere, meaning: ‘to remind, bring to (one’s) recollection, tell (of); admonish, advise, warn, instruct, teach.’ Moreover, monster stems from the Proto-Indo- European (PIE) moneie—’to make think of, remind’—with the root form ‘men,’ as in: ‘to think.’ This history of the word ‘monster’ reveals its connections to: signalling, reminding, recollecting, advising, instructing, teaching, and thinking. Moreover, in playing with language, one will notice that the only perfect anagram of ‘monster’ (that is, using all seven letters) is ‘mentors.’ This occurrence is no coincidence; ‘monster’ and ‘mentor’ are two of approximately fifty words and phrases that relate to the PIE root ‘men’/’to think.’ Among this roughly fifty word collection are: ‘mentor,’ ‘mind,’ ‘monster’— and Minerva (in Greek mythology, Athena). This monster—mentor—Minerva connection proves to be significant as well. Turning to ‘mentor,’ we learn that the word means a ‘wise adviser’ or ‘sage counselor,’ and originates from the Greek Mentor, who was a friend of Odysseus and character in Homer’s Odyssey. Significantly, Athena (Minerva) occasionally disguised herself and appeared in the form of Mentor to provide individuals with counselling or advice. The question is: why, with this rich connection to mentoring, teaching, and thinking, does the monstrous bend in the direction of the demonic, repulsive, and frightening? In response, I suggest the following: because there is a resistance to and fear of being mentored, being taught, and thinking. If monsters act as mentors and push us to ‘peel the scales from our eyes’ and ‘see anew’ (Zion et al) the world around us, then they may be culturally constructed as frightening and demonic because of the inherent terror involved in this revealing, thinking process.

Terra-fying Teratology: A Scalar Re-Monstration

Mark Zion (University of Victoria)

Although ‘the monster’ is a transhistorical category, the particular figures deemed monstrous, and the level of anxiety around monstrosity, are indexed to specific cultural moments. Monstrum connotes both a ‘divine omen, portent, or sign’ and ‘an abnormal shape or abomination.’ The latter connotation predominates, including in this year’s conference theme, corresponding instructively with shifting category contaminations on a bodily scale (e.g. human-animal, human-machine, male-female). However, I want to shift from cultural objects that nonetheless retain human-scale shapes—like Dr. Frankenstein’s creature—to the humongous (huge and monstrous), portentous, and more-than-cultural ‘hyperobject’ (Morton) that is climate change. Coextensive with no body, climate change is nonetheless modernity’s quintessential ‘monstrous creation.’ A planetary scale phenomenon, vast amounts of climate data and computation are required merely to represent it. Our corresponding yet broader geological epoch, this time of the Sixth Extinction, has narcissistically been named ‘the Anthropocene.’ Proposed alternative appellations proliferate, with one paper gathering 91 thus far in the academic literature. For Derrida, to name is to attempt to domesticate, and the scramble to affix the best master signifier may indicate a particularly heightened anxiety, given that this monster heralds ‘pandemic’ catastrophe. The monster and the human are coincipient, so the former will always retain a trace of the latter. Law reform efforts attempt to defang an externalized monster, but humanity—a highly differentiated humanity—has made manifest how law’s liberal humanist coordinates were always already more horrific than anything in any bestiary. Perhaps a moment can be spared to stay with the (hyper)monster. 

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Performing Theatrical Jurisprudence: Performing Art/Law in Practice
Friday 3 September
1530 to 1700 (UTC-7)

Chair: Sara Ramshaw (University of Victoria)

Would You Like to Play on the Seesaw

Julie Lassonde (Independent)

From 2014 to 2017, I developed a performance and installation series entitled Counterbalance, which involved a seesaw. The first phase of the series occurred at a law school and the second phase at a courthouse. In this presentation, I will explore how the Counterbalance series revealed the potential for traditional legal institutions to open up to a wider range of performances. I will start by describing each project phase. Comparing these phases, I will then move to what the Counterbalance series highlights about different legal spaces, their meaning and normative power. Finally, I will explore strategies for further developing our understanding of performativity and capacity for deploying its potential within legal spaces. By sharing my artistic process and what I have learned from it, I am hoping to invite a dialogue around how we can improve the normative structure of legal spaces to achieve greater social justice. 

Civis Sum

Celia Taylor (University of Victoria)

My submission uses theatrical forms to examine the ways in which the recent provincial immigration laws in Quebec, which seek to marginalize or exclude certain citizens, are based on contemporary cultural prejudices and notions of the Other; and to compare and contrast the citizenship laws and cultural prejudices of the early Roman Empire. In my one-act play, I have juxtaposed two legal notions of citizenship and two paradigms of legal and political power by presenting two parallel storylines. One, set in present-day Quebec, centres on a woman from Morocco and a man from France seeking permanent resident status in Canada; the other, set in Ancient Rome, centres on a North African princess and a politician from Gaul, awaiting an audience with the Emperor Claudius. In the two juxtaposed and interwoven stories, the actors play mirrored roles, designed to throw into dramatic relief the cultural prejudices that underlie our laws, and the mutability of legal and social power. By engaging in performance-based methodology, I hope both to remind my audience of the deep Roman roots of our common law tradition, while forcing them to confront their own prejudices, and their own preconceptions about the meaning of citizenship across millennia. 

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Panel 8: The (More Than) Human Bodies in Law
Saturday 4 September
0800 to 0945 (UTC-7)

Chair: Kristen Lewis

Object-Oriented Ontology of Law?

Michał Dudek (Jagiellonian University)

The aim of the paper is to critically discuss the applicability of Graham Harman’s object- oriented ontology (OOO) to the modern (Western or Global Northern) law and its ontology. Despite its constant development and various applications in different disciplines (social   sciences included), so far there have been no attempts to apply OOO to the law. However, given the noticeable calls to end with narrow conceptualizations of law and instead draw a definitely  wider views on ‘what is law?’ (e.g., Margaret Davies), research currents that focus on law’s ‘intersections’ with materiality, visuality or spatiality, and legal applications of flat ontologies     (most notably, actor-network theory), the effort to fill this gap is much needed. It is done in the paper by discussing the specific entity of modern law through both the very fundamentals of OOO (i.e., the real-sensual and object-qualities distinctions and under-, over- and duo-mining differentiations) and its more recent interventions into the social sciences (most notably, the concept of symbiosis, in its specific Harmanian sense). Even though legal application of OOO  may be deemed problematic for various reasons, it proves to be very thought-provoking (e.g., it can put into doubt some fundamental assumptions of more mainstream approaches to ontology of law).

The Animated Organization

Julia Gaunce (Arctic University of Norway)

My presentation plays off of an imaginary legal landscape populated by inter-governmental and informal inter- / transnational lawmaking, symptomatic relationships in theory, international law and the law of international organizations, and Freud.

First, this paper makes an episodic exploration of interwoven anxieties, or anxious relationships, that are performed in, around or by international law: between state and autonomous organization, international organizations and international law, theory and the law of international organizations, public power and accountability, consciousness and repression, Freud and the uncanny, Freud and women, everybody and women, and between Mary Shelley and some literary historians.

Second, by way of (non)conclusion, I propose a few insights or openings on to other landscapes that could arise from extended readings of these anxieties, in reference to Freud´s talking cure, French feminism, and Frankenstein.

Hearing the Spawn: Encounters with Herring on Taystayic

Jessica Lott Thompson (University of Victoria)

Paper is an autoethnographic immersion into relationship with the last active herring spawn in coastal British Columbia, Canada. Embodied and material, this paper traces the awakening of a specific systematizing attunement through the lens of a disabled, gendered body; an invitation to entangled kinship with land, water and ongoingness. Grounded in the resurgence of Indigenous law and critical deconstruction of colonialism, this paper draws on the work of Val Napoleon, Hadley Friedland, Darcy Linberg, Alexis Pauline Gumbs ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’, Donna Haraway ‘Staying with the Trouble’, Tim Ingold ‘Lines’ and Robin Wall Kimmerer ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’. Blending multimedia with experimental text, this paper will twist and wind threads of legal connection/disconnection in exploring the profound significance of an often-overlooked species living precariously in the monstrous footprint of colonialist legal fictions.

Antigone, Naked

Paige Thombs (University of Victoria)

In Sophocles’ play, themes such as civil disobedience, law, and punishment run throughout. It is key to note here, that at the centre of these themes is the title character, Antigone, a young woman that dares to disobey Creon, the King of Thebes. For her refusal to obey—to be obedient—Creon punishes Antigone by sentencing her to death.

In a contemporary world, women are still expected to obey powerful men. While not all obedience is dictated by monstrous creations such as Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby, women are still judged by the impossible standards set by pop culture. The courts, too, have a say in the control of our bodies by determining the “truth” of a sexual assault allegation or “dis\allowing” us to control our reproductive systems.

In the world of exotic dance, the body of the woman ceases to be her own. The laws that dictate behavior change within the walls of a strip joint. While women are at the centre of such establishments, the space we occupy is not our own.

In this auto-ethnographic piece, I explore the themes of law, the body, and submission, through  my experience as an exotic dancer in the early ‘90s. I position myself as Antigone, trying hard to exercise civil disobedience even while my agent, “Creon” attempts to control my autonomy.

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