Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Papers at the 18th Law, Culture and Humanities Conference, Washington DC

Marco Wan and Daniel Matthews will be presenting papers at the 18th Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and The Humanities to be held on 6-7 March 2015 at Georgetown University Law Centre, Washington, D.C.
     Dr Wan will be presenting a paper titled, "The 'Umbrella Revolution', Hong Kong and the Rule of Law" (Abstract: This paper examines the ways in which the term ‘rule of law’ has been used in the political and cultural discourse on Occupy Central, or the ‘Umbrella Revolution’, in Hong Kong. The Movement, sparked by Hong Kongers’ discontent about the pace of local democratization, has been repeatedly condemned by both the Chinese and Hong Kong governments as being against the rule of law. It has also captured the attention of the international media. This paper examines ‘classic’ formulations of the ‘rule of law’ by figures such as A.V. Dicey and Joseph Raz, and assesses the ways in which the use of the term in current discourse overlaps with, and deviates from, such formulations.)
    Dr Matthews will be presenting a paper titled "Jurisdiction of the Common" (Abstract: Jurisdiction is centrally important to law and jurisprudence but has attracted limited attention in critical and interdisciplinary scholarship. To the practicing lawyer’s ears, jurisdiction speaks of procedure, standing, and the conflict of laws. However, jurisdiction has a life beyond these forensic technicalities. Juris-diction is the law’s speech, naming the expressive register of normativity, the study of which opens a number of questions regarding performativity, speech acts, as well as the aphonia of law. Law and Literature scholar Bradin Cormack argues that jurisdiction has a dual aspect, at once reflecting an extant juridical given at the very moment that it creates – as if ex nihilo – a juridical ground. Jurisdiction is the speaking of ius, naming an informal lawful architecture, rather than lex, which signals written and substantive law. This paper expands on Cormack’s account of jurisdiction through an engagement with the work of Jean-Luc Nancy. Nancy’s ontology of “being-with” provides resources for re-imagining the juridical given which jurisdictional pronouncements seek to determine and, consequently, circumscribe. These theoretical reflections are put in conversation with aspects of the early modern common law thinking that stressed the necessary relationship between positive law and the extant practices and fealties of a given community. It is hoped that reading jurisdiction through Nancy’s inoperative ontology of the “with” might reanimate a sense of the common, essential to the common law tradition.)

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