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LAW AND LITERATURE: A Virtual Symposium

Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Online via Zoom - Registration Required
Registration Required: SCHEDULE 9:30 - 11:00 am Peter Goodrich (Yeshiva) Bernadette Meyler (Stanford) Julie Stone Peters (Columbia) Marco Wan (Hong Kong) Chair: Marianne Constable (UC Berkeley) 11:15 am - 12:45 pm Elizabeth S. Anker (Cornell) Poulomi Saha (English) Jeanne-Marie Jackson (Johns Hopkins) Mona Oraby (Amherst) Chair: Leti Volpp (UC Berkeley) 1:45 pm - 3:15 pm Susanna Blumenthal (Minnesota) Bradin Cormack (Princeton) Simon Stern (Toronto) Rebecca Tushnet (Harvard) Chair: Christopher Tomlins (UC Berkeley) 3:30 - 5:00 pm Marlene Daut (Virginia) Desmond Jagmohan (UC Berkeley) Beth Piatote (UC Berkeley) Eric Slauter (Chicago) Chair: Samera Esmeir (UC Berkeley) PARTICIPANTS: Elizabeth S. Anker teaches in the English Department and Law School at Cornell University. Her books include Fictions of Dignity: Embodying Human Rights in World Literature (Cornell 2012) and the co-edited collections Critique and Postcritique (Duke 2017) and New Directions in Law and Literature (Oxford 2017). She edits the Cornell University Press book series Corpus Juris: The Humanities in Politics and Law. She is writing two books, On Paradox: The Claims of Theory and Our Constitutional Metaphors: Law, Culture, and the Management of Crisis. Susanna Blumenthal is the William L. Prosser Professor of Law and Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, where she co-directs the Program in Law and History. She is author of Law and the Modern Mind: Consciousness and Responsibility in American Legal Culture (Harvard 2016), which won the Merle Curti Intellectual History Award from the Organization of American Historians and the Cheiron Book Prize from the Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences. Her work has appeared in journals such as Harvard Law Review, Law and History Review, and Law and Social Inquiry. She is currently at work on a book on fraud that examines the role of law in policing the ambiguous borderland between capitalism and crime. Bradin Cormack is Professor in the English Department at Princeton University. He studies early modern and Renaissance literature, with a focus on poetry and drama as they relate to law, the bookish disciplines, and intellectual culture more generally. He is author of A Power to Do Justice: Jurisdiction, English Literature, and the Rise of Common Law (Chicago 2007), co-author of Book Use, Book Theory, 1500–1700 (Chicago 2005), and co-editor of Shakespeare and the Law (Chicago 2013) and The Forms of Renaissance Thought (Palgrave 2009). Marianne Constable is Professor in the Rhetoric Department at UC Berkeley. Her books include Our Word is Our Bond: How Legal Speech Acts (Stanford 2014); Just Silences: The Limits and Possibilities of Modern Law (Princeton 2005); and The Law of the Other: The Mixed Jury and Changes in Conceptions of Citizenship, Law, and Knowledge (Chicago 1994). She is co-editor of the essay collection, Looking for Law in All the Wrong Places (Fordham 2019). Marlene L. Daut is Professor of African Diaspora Studies and Associate Director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia. She specializes in Caribbean, African American, and French colonial literary and historical studies. Her books include Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865 (Liverpool 2015) and Baron de Vastey and the Origins of Black Atlantic Humanism (Palgrave 2017). She has also co-edited An Anthology of Haitian Revolutionary Fictions (Age of Slavery) (Virginia 2021), and is currently working on an intellectual history of Haiti, under contract with the University of North Carolina Press. Samera Esmeir is Associate Professor in the Rhetoric Department at UC Berkeley. Her research and teaching are at the intersection of legal and political thought, Middle Eastern history, and colonial and post-colonial studies. She is the author of Juridical Humanity: A Colonial History (Stanford 2012) and is working on The Struggle that Remains, a book tracking the emergence and transformation of the word “international” in the English language. Peter Goodrich is Professor and Director of the Program in Law and Humanities at Cardozo Law School at Yeshiva University. He was also the founding dean of the department of law, Birkbeck College, University of London. He has written extensively in legal history and theory, law and literature and semiotics, and has authored twelve books. He is currently the Executive Editor of Law and Literature, and was the founding editor of Law and Critique. Jeanne-Marie Jackson is Assistant Professor of world literature in the English Department at Johns Hopkins. She is the author of two monographs, The African Novel of Ideas: Philosophy and Individualism in the Age of Global Writing (Princeton 2021) and South African Literature’s Russian Soul: Narrative Forms of Global Isolation (Bloomsbury 2015). Currently, she is at work on the first full-length classroom guide to twenty-first century African writing, under contract with Routledge, as well as a longer project on Gold Coast and Ghanaian theology. Desmond Jagmohan is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He specializes in the history of American and African American political thought. He is completing his first book, Dark Virtues: Booker T. Washington’s Tragic Realism (forthcoming from Princeton) and starting a new book on Harriet Jacobs and moral philosophy. Bernadette Meyler is Carl and Sheila Spaeth Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Research at Stanford Law School and Professor (by Courtesy) of English at Stanford. As a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow in Constitutional Law and Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center, she is completing a book on constitutional interpretation, Common Law Originalism, as well as Law and Literature: An Introduction. She has published widely on constitutional law, legal history, and law and literature, including Theaters of Pardoning (2019) and co-edited collections New Directions in Law and Literature (2017) and The Oxford Handbook of Law and Humanities (2020). Before entering law teaching, she clerked for Judge Robert Katzmann on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Mona Oraby is Assistant Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College. Her research focuses on membership and belonging at the intersection of law, religion, and politics. She is editor of The Immanent Frame, the Social Science Research Council’s digital publication on secularism, religion, and the public sphere. She is currently completing her first book, How Will We Know Who We Are? Devotion to the Administrative State. Julie Stone Peters is the H. Gordon Garbedian Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Co-Chair of the Theatre PhD Program at Columbia. Her publications include Theatre of the Book: Print, Text, and Performance in Europe 1480-1880 (Oxford 2000), Women's Rights, Human Rights: International Feminist Perspectives (Routledge 1995), Congreve, the Drama, and the Printed Word (Stanford 1990), and articles on the history of drama and performance and the cultural history of the law. She is completing a book on legal performance, theatricality, and spectatorship in ancient, medieval, and early modern Europe. Beth Piatote is Associate Professor in the Ethnic Studies and Comparative Literature Departments at UC Berkeley. Her work focuses on Native American literature, Ni:mi:pu: (Nez Perce) language, and federal Indian law in the United States and Canada. Her books include The Beadworkers (Counterpoint, 2019) and Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship and Law in Native American Literature (Yale, 2013). Poulomi Saha is Associate Professor in the English Department at UC Berkeley. She has published An Empire of Touch: Women's Political Labor and The Fabrication of East Bengal (Columbia, 2019) and is working on two books: a study of conspiracy as a legal, philosophical, and political concept during World War I, and a study of "Hindu" cults in U.S. popular culture. Eric Slauter is Associate Professor of English, Associate Faculty in the Divinity School, Interim Director of the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture, and Deputy Dean of Humanities at the University of Chicago. His research focuses chiefly on transformations in political thought and behavior during the eighteenth century. He has published The State as a Work of Art: The Cultural Origins of the Constitution (Chicago 2009) and is currently working on two books: Natural Rights: A Cultural History, 1689-1789 and Walden’s Carbon Footprint: People, Plants, Animals, and Machines in the Making of an Environmental Classic. Simon Stern is Professor of Law and English at the University of Toronto. He is co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Law and Humanities and co-edits the Law and Literature book series for Oxford University Press. Recent publications include articles on obscenity, copyright, law and narrative, and criminal procedure. He is working on two books: Law’s Artifice, on the history and theory of legal fictions, and Reasonable Doubters: Cross-Examination, Detection, Suspicion, on narratives of proof and doubt. Christopher Tomlins is the Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. His research has concentrated on Anglo-American legal history from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. He is the author of In The Matter of Nat Turner: A Speculative History (Princeton 2020); Freedom, Bound: Law, Labor, and Civic Identity in Colonizing English America, 1580-1865 (Cambridge 2010); Law, Labor, and Ideology in the Early American Republic (Cambridge 1993); and The State and the Unions: Labor Relations, Law, and the Organized Labor Movement in America, 1880-1960 (Cambridge 1985). Rebecca Tushnet is the inaugural Frank Stanton Professor of First Amendment Law at Harvard Law School. Her work focuses on copyright, trademark, and advertising law. Her writings may be found at, and on her blog,, a leading intellectual property blog. Tushnet helped found the Organization for Transformative Works, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting and promoting fanworks, and currently volunteers on its legal committee. She is also an expert on the law of engagement rings. Leti Volpp is Robert D. and Leslie Kay Raven Professor of Law and Access to Justice in the Law School at the UC Berkeley, where she also serves as Faculty Director of the Center for Race and Gender. She researches immigration and citizenship law with a particular focus on how law is shaped by ideas about culture and identity. Recent publications include articles on undocumented migration, honor killings, and gender and citizenship. She is also a co-editor of the essay collection, Looking for Law in All the Wrong Places (Fordham 2019). Marco Wan is Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Law and Literary Studies Program at the University of Hong Kong. His research focuses on the intersections between law and the humanities and the legal regulation of gender and sexuality. His publications include Film and Constitutional Controversy: Visualizing Hong Kong Identity in the Age of “One Country, Two Systems” (Cambridge 2020) and Masculinity and the Trials of Modern Fiction (Routledge 2017). He is the Managing Editor of Law & Literature.