Friday, October 21, 2016

Law and Emergency as Mutually Reinforcing Paradigms

Forthcoming from SUNY Press is Yoav Mehozay’s Between the Rule of Law and States of Emergency: The Fluid Jurisprudence of the Israeli Regime. From the description:
Contemporary debates on states of emergency have focused on whether law can regulate emergency powers, if at all. These studies base their analyses on the premise that law and emergency are at odds with each other. In Between the Rule of Law and States of Emergency, Yoav Mehozay offers a fundamentally different approach, demonstrating that law and emergency are mutually reinforcing paradigms that compensate for each other’s shortcomings. Through a careful dissection of Israel’s emergency apparatus, Mehozay illustrates that the reach of Israel’s emergency regime goes beyond defending the state and its people against acts of terror. In fact, that apparatus has had a far greater impact on Israel’s governing system, and society as a whole, than has traditionally been understood. Mehozay pushes us to think about emergency powers beyond the “war on terror” and consider the role of emergency with regard to realms such as political economy.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Critical Moments in the History of Juridical Space

Routledge has published Leif Dahlberg’s Spacing Law and Politics: The Constitution and Representation of the Juridical. From the description:
Examining the inherent spatiality of law, both theoretically and as social practice, this book presents a genealogical account of the emergence and the development of the juridical. In an analysis that stretches from ancient Greece, through late antiquity and early modern and modern Europe, and on to the contemporary courtroom, it considers legal and philosophical texts, artistic and literary works, as well as judicial practices, in order to elicit and document a series of critical moments in the history of juridical space. Offering a more nuanced understanding of law than that found in traditional philosophical, political or social accounts of legal history, Dahlberg forges a critical account of the intimate relations between law and politics that shows how juridical space is determined and conditioned in ways that are integral to the very functioning – and malfunctioning – of law.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Literary Depictions of Anticolonial Insurgency in the Caucasus

Yale University Press has published Rebecca Gould’s Writers and Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus. From the description:
Spanning the period between the end of the Russo-Caucasian War and the death of the first female Chechen suicide bomber, this groundbreaking book is the first to compare Georgian, Chechen, and Daghestani depictions of anticolonial insurgency. Rebecca Gould draws from previously untapped archival sources as well as from prose, poetry, and oral narratives to assess the impact of Tsarist and Soviet rule in the Islamic Caucasus. Examining literary representations of social banditry to tell the story of Russian colonialism from the vantage point of its subjects, among numerous other themes, Gould argues that the literatures of anticolonial insurgency constitute a veritable resistance – or “transgressive sanctity” – to colonialism.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Germ Panics, Law, and Public Health

Michael Sinha and Wendy Parmet have posted “The Perils of Panic: Ebola, HIV, and the Intersection of Global Health and Law,” American Journal of Law and Medicine, Vol. 42, pp. 223-255 (2016), on SSRN. The abstract:
This Article explores the connections between emerging infectious diseases, domestic disease panics, global health, and the law by comparing the American response to Ebola to the initial American response to the AIDS epidemic. We demonstrate that in both cases the arrival of a new deadly disease was initially met with fear, stigma and the use of law to “other” those associated with the disease. We begin by reviewing the initial responses to the AIDS epidemic. We then offer a brief history of emerging infectious disease scares over the past few decades, highlighting the problematic rhetoric that paved the way for the Ebola panic. We then review the 2014 Ebola outbreak, noting its similarities and distinctions from the early AIDS epidemic. Finally, we examine United States policies regarding HIV and Ebola in Africa. We conclude with some tentative observations about the relationship between germ panics, law, and public health.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Psychic Hold of Slavery

Rutgers University Press has published The Psychic Hold of Slavery: Legacies in American Expressive Culture, edited by Soyica Colbert, Robert Patterson, and Aida Levy-Hussen. From the description:
What would it mean to “get over slavery”? Is such a thing possible? Is it even desirable? Should we perceive the psychic hold of slavery as a set of mental manacles that hold us back from imagining a postracist America? Or could the psychic hold of slavery be understood as a tool, helping us get a grip on the systemic racial inequalities and restricted liberties that persist in the present day?  

Featuring original essays from an array of established and emerging scholars in the interdisciplinary field of African American studies, The Psychic Hold of Slavery offers a nuanced dialogue upon these questions. With a painful awareness that our understanding of the past informs our understanding of the present – and vice versa – the contributors place slavery’s historical legacies in conversation with twenty-first-century manifestations of antiblack violence, dehumanization, and social death.  

Through an exploration of film, drama, fiction, performance art, graphic novels, and philosophical discourse, this volume considers how artists grapple with questions of representation, as they ask whether slavery can ever be accurately depicted, trace the scars that slavery has left on a traumatized body politic, or debate how to best convey that black lives matter. The Psychic Hold of Slavery thus raises provocative questions about how we behold the historically distinct event of African diasporic enslavement and how we might hold off the transhistorical force of antiblack domination.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Predicting Dissent in U.S. Courts of Appeals

Daniel Chen, Adithya Parthasarathy, and Shivam Verma have posted “The Genealogy of Ideology: Predicting Agreement and Persuasive Memes in the U.S. Courts of Appeals” as a working paper on SSRN. The abstract:
We employ machine learning techniques to identify common characteristics and features from cases in the US courts of appeals that contribute in determining dissent. Our models were able to predict vote alignment with an accuracy close to 96%, and our results show that the length of the opinion, the number of citations in the opinion, and voting valence, are all key factors in determining dissent. These results that certain high level characteristics of a case can be used to predict dissent, which is not expected to be a trivial prediction, is surprising. We also explore the influence of dissent using seating patterns of judges, and our results show that raw counts of how often two judges sit together do play a role in dissent. In addition to the dissents, we analyze the notion of memetic phrases occurring in opinions – phrases that see a small spark of popularity but eventually die out in usage – and use machine learning models to try and correlate them to dissent.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Cinema and Prison in Early Twentieth-Century America

Forthcoming from Columbia University Press is Alison Griffiths’s Carceral Fantasies: Cinema and Prison in Early Twentieth-Century America. From the description:
A groundbreaking contribution to the study of nontheatrical film exhibition, Carceral Fantasies tells the little-known story of how cinema found a home in the U.S. penitentiary system and how the prison emerged as a setting and narrative trope in modern cinema. Focusing on films shown in prisons before 1935, Alison Griffiths explores the unique experience of viewing cinema while incarcerated and the complex cultural roots of cinematic renderings of prison life. 
Griffiths considers a diverse mix of cinematic genres, from early actualities and reenactments of notorious executions to reformist exposés of the 1920s.She connects an early fascination with cinematic images of punishment and execution, especially electrocutions, to the attractions of the nineteenth-century carnival electrical wonder show and Phantasmagoria (a ghost show using magic lantern projections and special effects). Griffiths draws upon convict writing, prison annual reports, and the popular press obsession with prison-house cinema to document the integration of film into existing reformist and educational activities and film’s psychic extension of flights of fancy undertaken by inmates in their cells. Combining penal history with visual and film studies and theories surrounding media’s sensual effects, Carceral Fantasies illuminates how filmic representations of the penal system enacted ideas about modernity, gender, the body, and the public, shaping both the social experience of cinema and the public’s understanding of the modern prison.