Wednesday, June 6, 2018 (All day)
Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

One Day Workshop

The Law Speaks, Speaking The Law

Jurisdiction between the Legal Academy and the Humanities


Location: Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

Date: June 6, 2018

Sponsored by: The Jackman Humanities Institute, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the Faculty of Law

Lawyers talk about jurisdiction all the time.  As socio-legal scholars have repeatedly reminded, “jurisdiction” can mean that the law speaks or to speak the law.  Jurisdiction is the law’s answer to questions about what the law addresses and who speaks for the law. But in the humanities, studies of jurisdiction often extrapolate from the legal technicalities to broader, often abstract, claims about culture, knowledge, and the epistemic possibilities of knowing. Between the law and humanities lies a fundamental difference in the attention paid to the technicalities of formal jurisdictional rules.  To what extent might the humanistic tendency toward the more abstract, metaphorical use of jurisdiction help expand the scope of legal scholarship, while informing a more robust humanistic engagement with the technicalities of law so familiar to lawyers and law professors?

This fundamental question about jurisdiction between law and the humanities is not merely speculative.  Rather, it is broached at a time of ‘reconciliation’ in Canada, in the wake of a national apology for Canada’s Indian Residential Schools Program.  That state project had the aim of culturally wiping out Canada’s indigenous population by targeting their children, taking them away from parents and communities to “teach the Indian” out of them.  Despite the closure of such programs, the effects of that program are deeply entrenched in the Child Protective Services system across every Canadian province, where children at risk are removed from parental care and put into state-sanctioned foster care.  Some estimates indicate that more indigenous children are in state managed care than were ever ‘enrolled’ in the residential schools across the country. As Provinces and Indigenous communities battle over who has legal jurisdiction over the bodies of indigenous children, this workshop is built on the idea that the very concept of ‘jurisdiction’ remains pregnant with possibilities that conversations such as this workshop can make real and meaningful as Canadians explore and expound upon the meaning of reconciliation.

The workshop is open to the public. To register, please email your name and institutional affiliation to:

Registration closes on June 1, 2018.

All registrants will receive the full program by email.