CFP: Law & Lit Seminar @ Am. Comp. Lit. Ass’n meeting – Utrecht, Netherlands

American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA)

The American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) holds its annual meeting July 6-9, 2017, at Utrecht University. Hu Lung Lung (llh [at] has proposed a seminar on law and literature and has issued the following call for papers. Papers are due by Sept. 23, 2016. (Not all seminars will be approved.)

“Law and Literature” – Transcend “Law” and “Literature”

Organizer: Lung-Lung Hu

Law and Literature as an interdisciplinary research has different focuses in Law and in Comparative Literature.

From the perspective of law, literature can make law professionals, who are used to treat law as a self-sustained system of rules, more humane and discover some significant ideas about law from a literary point of view (James Boyd White). And law students can also learn language skills from literature, such as story-telling, which are shared by law and literature (C. R. B. Dunlop). And literary criticism can help legal scholars to examine, or to improve, or even to correct law (Guyora Binder and Robert Weisberg). In Comparative Literature, the aim of Law and Literature is not to enhance researchers’ understanding of law. Law is a help for us to interpret literature about law from a different angle and find a new meaning that cannot be found without law’s help.

Even if “Law and Literature” is the common ground, law professors and literature professors lack of mutual understanding as mentioned by Julie Stone Peters in “Law, Literature, and the Vanishing Real: On the Future of an Interdisciplinary Illusion”. Law professors and literature professors seem still do their researches on their own and criticize and mistrust each other. Therefore, this seminar is to explore the possibility of a new discourse of “Law and Literature” both in law and in Comparative Literature. The topics to this seminar might include:

1. What is the difference and similarity between a legal case read from a legal perspective and from a literary perspective?

2. What is the difference and similarity between a literature about law read from a literary perspective and from a legal perspective?

3. Does literary interpretation of law really matter to law?

4. Does legal interpretation of literature really matter to literature?

5. Can any legal theories be applied in literary analysis?

6. Is it possible or necessary for “Law and Literature” to become a new discipline different from “Law” and “Comparative Literature”?

7. Is the collaboration between law and literature possible? And what can be achieved through this collaboration?

8. Methodology of Law and Literature beyond “Law” and “Literature”.

9. Any relevant topics.

About the author

Reference librarian, University of Washington School of Law