Saturday 10 February 2024

CFP: Literatures and Laws



CFP: Literatures and Laws online one-day symposium

A one-day symposium hosted online by Bournemouth University, UK, held on 13th April 2024. 

Department of Humanities & Law, and Narrative, Culture, and Community Research Centre

‘Literatures and Laws' considers law as literature, and law in literature. The first considers how law constructs narratives to make sense of and process non-legal events and experiences. Thus personal experiences of an event or dispute with another have to be translated into their legally relevant features so that a legal narrative can be constructed. Additionally, barristers when presenting a case in court seek to build a narrative to persuade juries. The second explores how law, courtroom spaces and rhetoric, justice, and legal systems and infrastructure (and their associated politics) are represented in (or excluded from) literature.

At a time where legal frameworks and understandings are increasingly contested, it is important that we consider how storytelling enables to the law to operate and how storytelling represents law and affects our understanding of law. An important component of a successful judicial system is the general trust the public have in that system. We want to explore both legal and literary perspectives on how that trust relates to storytelling and fictionality, and how both fictional literature and law construct stories about us as participants within a legal system. 

At Bournemouth University, literature studies and law sit within the same department; inspired by this contiguity, we are inviting research and/or creative papers that explore the ways storytelling and narrative intersect within representations of law, justice, and legal systems. 

Broad themes considered within the symposium, then, may include but are certainly not limited to

  • Law and literary genre, for instance papers that focus on representations and significant instances or structures of law and legality in crime and detective fiction, Gothic and historical fiction, procedurals, ecological fiction

  • Inventions of law and legal systems in speculative fiction

  • Courtroom drama

  • Law, politics, and the state in literature

  • Historical case studies

  • Precedent and storytelling: Cases as links in a storytelling chain

  • Lay terminology to legal terminology: Lay and legal understandings

  • Genres of law: Conceptualising law as genre

  • Storytelling conventions in strands of law: Criminal, civil and human rights

  • Fictionality and media framing of law: Sensation, celebrity and perception

    Please submit a 200-word abstract for a 15-minute presentation and a brief biographical note to no later than February 22nd 2024. You may direct general queries to the same address.

    Keynote speakers:

    Professor Hywel Dix (Bournemouth University, NCCR member)

    Hywel is interested in the relationship between culture and social and political change, especially in relation to political devolution in the 4 nations of the UK, as well as autofiction and cultural memory. Recent publications include Compatriots or Competitors: Welsh, Scottish, English and Northern Irish Writing and Brexit in Comparative Contexts (University of Wales Press, 2023). 

    Dr Caroline Derry (Open University)

    Caroline Derry joined the Open University in April 2017. She is a senior lecturer in law, teaching subjects including criminal and evidence law. Her other roles include Law School EDI Champion.  Caroline qualified as a barrister, practising in criminal defence law, and as a solicitor in a large, central London legal aid practice. She then taught for fifteen years at London Metropolitan University, where she was a senior lecturer in criminal and evidence law and gender & law, and course leader for the LLB Law. She has been a visiting lecturer in criminal law at SOAS and at Paris Descartes (Masters in Common Law).

    Symposium organisers

    Dr Rebecca Mills is Senior Lecturer in English and Communication at Bournemouth University. Her publications include work on crime and detective fiction, particularly of the interwar era. Please contact Rebecca if you have any questions about developing a literary topic for the symposium:

    Dr Samuel Walker is Senior Lecturer in Law at Bournemouth University. He researches the notion of embodiment in law, and how literature explores our understanding of law and justice. Please contact Sam if you have any questions about developing a topic on law-focused topic for the symposium:

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