Marco Wan, Masculinity and the Trials of Modern Fiction (Routledge, 2016)
How do lawyers, judges and jurors read novels? And what is at stake when literature and law confront each other in the courtroom? Nineteenth-century England and France are remembered for their active legal prosecution of literature, and this book examines the ways in which five novels were interpreted in the courtroom: Gustave Flaubertâ€™s Madame Bovary, Paul Bonnetainâ€™s Charlot sâ€™amuse, Henry Vizetellyâ€™s English translation of Ã‰mile Zolaâ€™s La Terre, Oscar Wildeâ€™s The Picture of Dorian Gray and Radclyffe Hallâ€™s The Well of Loneliness. It argues that each of these novels attracted legal censure because they presented figures of sexual dissidence â€“ the androgyne, the onanist or masturbator, the patricide, the homosexual and the lesbian â€“ that called into question an increasingly fragile normative, middleclass masculinity. Offering close readings of the novels themselves, and of legal material from the proceedings, such as the trial transcripts and judicial opinions, the book addresses both the doctrinal dimensions of Victorian obscenity and censorship, as well as the reading practices at work in the courtroom. It situates the cases in their historical context, and highlights how each trial constitutes a scene of reading â€“ an encounter between literature and the law â€“ through which different forms of masculinity were shaped, bolstered or challenged.
Marco Wan is Associate Professor of Law and Honorary Associate Professor of English at the University of Hong Kong.
Alison Young,Â Street Art WorldÂ (Reaktion Books, 2016)
Street art and graffiti are a familiar sight in cities around the world. Neighbourhoods painted with murals are popular with tourists and tagged walls become backdrops for fashion shoots and music videos. Banksy is a global celebrity whose work sells for astonishing prices. Millions of photographs of street art are saved on smartphones, uploaded to social media, and displayed on T-shirts and other merchandise. But are street art and graffiti the same thing? Or do they have different histories, meanings, and practitioners? Who makes street art? Who buys it? Can it be exhibited in a gallery or must it be located on the street? Why have museums started collecting street art? Is there a commercial market for street art? And will it even exist in the future?
This strikingly illustrated book explores every aspect of street art, from making and photographing, to stealing and selling it. Artists working in the streets reveal both their passion for street art and ambivalence about its commodification. The rise, fall and rise again of street art in the art market is told through revealing encounters with collectors and auction houses in Paris, London, Melbourne and beyond.
Based on twenty years of research in the graffiti and street art scenes, Street Art World is the first book to provide a history and context for the words and images that appear in cities all around the world. Inviting the reader into a realm that is usually hidden, it will enthrall all those who enjoy this global phenomenon.
Alison Young is Francine V. McNiff Professor of Criminology at the University of Melbourne.
Kathleen Birrell, Indigeneity: Before and Beyond the Law (Routledge, 2016)
Examining contested notions of indigeneity, and the positioning of the Indigenous subject before and beyond the law, this book focuses upon the animation of indigeneities within textual imaginaries, both literary and juridical. Engaging the philosophy of Jacques Derrida and Walter Benjamin, as well as other continental philosophy and critical legal theory, the book uniquely addresses the troubled juxtaposition of law and justice in the context of Indigenous legal claims and literary expressions, discourses of rights and recognition, postcolonialism and resistance in settler nation states, and the mutually constitutive relation between law and literature. Ultimately, the book suggests no less than a literary revolution, and the reassertion of Indigenous Law.
To date, the oppressive specificity with which Indigenous peoples have been defined in international and domestic law has not been subject to the scrutiny undertaken in this book. As an interdisciplinary engagement with a variety of scholarly approaches, this book will appeal to a broad variety of legal and humanist scholars concerned with the intersections between Indigenous peoples and law, including those engaged in critical legal studies and legal philosophy, sociolegal studies, human rights and native title law.
Olivia Barr, A Jurisprudence of Movement: Common Law, Walking, Unsettling Place (Routledge, 2016).
Law moves, whether we notice or not. Set amongst a spatial turn in the humanities, and jurisprudence more specifically, this book calls for a greater attention to legal movement, in both its technical and material forms. Despite various ways the spatial turn has been taken up in legal thought, questions of law, movement and its materialities are too often overlooked. This book addresses this oversight, and it does so through an attention to the materialities of legal movement. Paying attention to how law moves across different colonial and contemporary spaces, this book reveals there is a problem with common lawâ€™s place.
Primarily set in the postcolonial context of Australia â€“ although ranging beyond this nationalised topography, both spatially and temporally â€“ this book argues movement is fundamental to the very terms of common lawâ€™s existence. How, then, might we move well? Explored through examples of walking and burial, this book responds to the challenge of how to live with a contemporary form of colonial legal inheritance by arguing we must take seriously the challenge of living with law, and think more carefully about its spatial productions, and place-making activities. Unsettling place, this book returns the question of movement to jurisprudence.
Olivia Barr is SeniorÂ Lecturer in Law at Melbourne Law School, and a Managing Editor of theÂ Australian Feminist Law Journal. Â
James E.K. Parker, Acoustic Jurisprudence: Listening to the Trial of Simon Bikindi (OUP, 2015)
Between September 2006 and December 2008, Simon Bikindi stood trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, accused of inciting genocide with his songs. In the early 1990s, Bikindi had been one of Rwanda’s most well-known and popular figures – the country’s minister for culture and its most famous and respected singer. But by the end of 1994, his songs had quite literally soundtracked a genocide.
Acoustic Jurisprudence is the first detailed study of the trial that followed. It is also the first work of contemporary legal scholarship to address the many relations between law and sound, which are of much broader importance but which this trial very conspicuously raises. One half of the book addresses the Tribunal’s ‘sonic imagination’. How did the Tribunal conceive of Bikindi’s songs for the purposes of judgment? How did it understand the role of radio and other media in their transmission? And with what consequences for Bikindi?
The other half of the book is addressed to how such concerns played out in court. Bikindi’s was a ‘musical trial’, as one judge pithily observed. Audio and audio-visual recordings of his songs were played regularly throughout. Witnesses, including Bikindi himself, frequently sang, both of their own accord and at the request of the Tribunal. Indeed, Bikindi even sang his final statement. All the while, judges, barristers, and witnesses alike spoke into microphones and listened through headphones. As a result, the Bikindi case offers an ideal opportunity to explore what this book calls the ‘judicial soundscape’.
Through the lens of the Bikindi trial, the book’s most important innovation is to open up the field of sound to jurisprudential inquiry. Ultimately, it is an argument for a specifically acoustic jurisprudence.
James E K Parker is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Melbourne Law School, where he is the director of a research programme on “Law, Sound, and the International” at the Institute for International Law and the Humanities. James is also a music critic and radio broadcaster.
Cassandra SharpÂ & Marett LeiboffÂ (eds), Cultural Legal Studies: Law’s Popular Cultures and the Metamorphosis of Law (Routledge 2016)
What can lawâ€™s popular cultures do for law, as a constitutive and interrogative critical practice?ã€€ This collection explores such a question through the lens of the â€˜cultural legal studiesâ€™ movement, which proffers a new encounter with the â€˜cultural turnâ€™ in law and legal theory.ã€€ Moving beyond the â€˜law andsâ€™ (literature, humanities, culture, film, visual and aesthetics) on which it is based, this book demonstrates how the techniques and practices of cultural legal studies can be used to metamorphose law and the legalities that underpin its popular imaginary. By drawing on three different modes of cultural legal studies â€“ storytelling, technology and jurisprudence â€“ the collection showcases the intersectional practices of cultural legal studies, and law in its popular cultural mode.
The contributors to the collection deploy differentiated modes of cultural legal studies practice, adopting diverse philosophical, disciplinary, methodological and theoretical approaches and subjects of examination. The collection draws on this mix of diversity and homogeneity to thread together its overarching theme: that we must take seriously an interrogation of law as culture and in its cultural form. That is, it does not ask how a text â€˜representsâ€™ law; but rather how the representational nature of both law and culture intersect so that the â€˜juridicalâ€™ become visible in various cultural manifestations. In short, it asks: how lawâ€™s popular cultures actively effect the metamorphosis of law.
Cassandra Sharp’s research draws on a range of disciplinary methods to empirically explore individual responses to law. Her focus is the use of popular stories by individuals in challenging and constructing legal meaning and identity. She is a member of the Legal Intersections Research Centre (LIRC) at the University of Wollongong, Australia.
Marett Leiboff is a cultural legal studies and law and humanities scholar who is working on a monograph that explores theatrical jurisprudence. Her scholarship is grounded in her pre-law background in academic theatre studies. Marett is a member of the Legal Intersections Research Centre, University of Wollongong, Australia.