Tues., March 21, 2017, 12:30 - 1:45, Solarium, 84 Queens Park (Falconer House): Christopher Warren, Dept of English, Carnegie Mellon University, speaking on early modern literature and the history of international law

Thurs., Sept 15, 2016, 12:30 - 1:45, Solarium, 84 Queens Park (Falconer House): Mark Rose, Dept of English, UC Santa Barbara, "Authors in Court: Stowe v. Thomas (1853)"


Legal Texts and the New Philology

The Fiftieth Conference on Editorial Problems, Friday 20 March - Saturday 21 March 2015

Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

The conference will focus and intensify the debate over the changing nature of editorial approaches to legal texts in order to guide the fields of legal history, legal theory, and legal text editing into today's digital environments. If the basis of our legal system depends on communications of authority, and if, as the work of literary critics suggests, the mode of transmission of this authority is unstable, then the work of the new philologists has great significance for legal theorists and practitioners alike. By showing that law is a product of its own materiality -- and is therefore authored by web designers and database engineers and well as by legislators, judges and clerks -- we hope to highlight an overlooked aspect of the legal "textual condition." For more information, please see the CEP site.



The Law & Humanities Workshop
University of Toronto Out in Law


 Professor Joseph Bristow (English, UCLA)
The Blackmailer and the Sodomite: Oscar Wilde on Trial

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
12:30 – 2:00
Room FA3, Falconer House

At a telling moment during the prosecution of Oscar Wilde for committing acts of "gross indecency" with other men, the members of the jury wished to know whether they could accept evidence from sex workers and extortionists who had been convicted of homosexual blackmail. In response, the Solicitor-General, Sir Frank Lockwood, informed them: "The genesis of the blackmailer is the man who had committed these acts of indecency with him. And the genesis of the man who commits these foul acts is the man who is willing to pay for their commission. Were it not that there are men willing to purchase vice in this most hideous and detestable form there would be no market for such crime, and no opening for these blackmailers to ply their calling." This paper explores the relations between "acts of indecency" and the career of "the blackmailer" during the three trials that resulted in the sentencing of Wilde to two years in solitary confinement with hard labor.

 A light lunch will be served.

 Contact:  simon.stern@utoronto.ca

The trial of Oscar Wilde


Rita Felski
Dept of English, University of Viriginia

"An Inspector Calls"

Thurs., March 14, 2013, 4pm - 6pm
Room 119, Emmanuel College (75 Queen's Park)

Rita Felski is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English at the University of Virginia. Her current research centres on questions of method and interpretation. Her recent manifesto "The Uses of Literature" is a neo-phenomenological investigation of aesthetic experiences such as recognition, enchantment, and shock. Her work in progress is a book on critique and the hermeneutics of suspicion. She also has longstanding interests in feminist theory, modernity and postmodernity, genre (especially tragedy), and cultural studies.

For related publications, see:
"Suspicious  Minds," Poetics Today 32 (2011): 215-34;
"Critique and the Hermeneutics of Suspicion," M/C Journal 15 (2012)

Co-sponsored by the Law & Humanities Workshop, the Centre for Comparative Literature, and the Centre for the Study of the United States.


Symposium on Law and Film


March 2, 2012
Munk School of Global Affairs, 1 Devonshire Place

2:00 – 3:30 pm

Stefan Andriopoulos
Depts. Of German and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

“The Terror of Reproduction: Early Cinema's Ghostly Doubles and the Right to One's Own Image”

Respondent: James Cahill, French and Cinema Studies, University of Toronto

Stefan Andriopoulos is chair of the Department of Germanic Languages at Columbia University. He is the author of "Possessed: Hypnotic Crimes, Corporate Fiction, and the Invention of Cinema" (University of Chicago Press, 2008; German version: Fink, 2000), which won the SLSA Michelle Kendrick award for best academic book on literature, science, and the arts. His new publication provisionally titled "Ghostly Apparitions: German Idealism, the Gothic Novel, and Optical Media," is under contract with Zone Books. His previous work, published in German, includes a monograph "Accident and Crime: Configurations between Literary and Legal Discourse around 1900" (Centaurus, 1996).

James Leo Cahill teaches in the French Department and the Cinema Studies Institute at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on early French cinema, documentary and experimental media, and critical theory, with a special interest in the relationships between scientific uses of cinema, cinematic uses of science, and film pedagogy. Cahill is also a co-editor of "Discourse: Journal of Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture."

3:30 – 5:00 pm

Peter Decherney
Dept. of English and Cinema Studies, University of Pennsylvania

“Auteurism on Trial: Moral Rights and Films on Television”

Respondent: Simon Stern, Faculty of Law and Dept. of English

Peter Decherney is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies, English, and Communication and the Director of the Cinema Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of "Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: from Edison to the Interne" (Columbia, 2012), and "Hollywood and the Culture Elite: How the Movies Became American" (Columbia, 2005). He regularly testifies before the Copyright Office of the United States, and in 2011, he filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court Case of Golan v. Holder. Prof. Decherney has been an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scholar and a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies.

Simon Stern is Assistant Professor of Law and English at the University of Toronto. His research interests include the history of copyright law; legal, literary, and intellectual history in the 18th and 19th centuries; and methodology in interdisciplinary work involving law and the humanities. His work has been published, or is forthcoming, in the "Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities," "Law & Literature," "Law & Social Inquiry," the "Yale Law Journal," and "ELH."



SEPTEMBER 28 Tuesday
12:30 - 2:00 

Zahr Stauffer
University of Virginia Law School

Co-sponsored by the CILP Innovation Law & Policy workshop Series.

Rethinking Protection for Literary Characters in Intellectual Property Law

October 21
12:30 - 2:00

Faculty Common Room
Flavelle House
78 Queen's Park

Carolyn Sale
University of Alberta Dept. of English 

The Matter of Heresy and the 'Substance of the Realm': Christopher St. German's Contributions to the 'Battle of the Books' (1532-1534)

February 8
12:30 - 2:00

Robert Spoo
University of Tulsa Law School & Dept. of English

Co-sponsored by the CILP Innovation Law & Policy workshop series.

Courtesy of the Trade in 19th-Century American Publishing:  Social Norms and the Copyright Vacuum for Works Published Abroad

April 1
12:30 - 2:00
Paul Halliday
University of Virginia corcoran Dept. of History

Title: TBA





12:30 - 2:00

Edlie Wong
Rutgers University
Dept. of English

 The Gender of Freedom before Dred Scott

Co-sponsored by the Centre for the Study of the U.S.

November 10

4:00 - 5:30
Room 100A Jackman Humanities Bldg. 170 St. George

David Steeves
LLM, Dalhousie 2009

How a Canadian Author Speaks:  Some Lessons on Erased Narratives in George and Rue with an Application to Recent Canadian Jurisprudence on Race

Co-sponsored by the Department of English

November 12
4:10 - 6:00
Faculty Lounge
78 Queen's Park


George P. Fletcher
Columbia University Law School

 Reading from The Bond: An Educational Novel (Hart 2009)

Co-sponsored by the Legal Theory Workshop series.

November 27
12:30 - 2:00

Kenworthey Bilz
Northwestern University School of Law

We Don't Want to Hear It: The Moral and Psychological Legitimacy of Exclusion in the Law

January 12
12:30 - 2:00
Holger Syme
University of Toronto Dept. of English

A Culture of Mediation: Performance and Authority in Shakespeare’s England

Dowload images (PDF - very large - 27 MB)

January 28
12:30 - 2:00
Private Dining Room
Burwash Hall
Victoria University
2nd Floor, 91 Charles St. W.

Mario Biagioli
Harvard University
Department of the History of Science

Co-sponsored by the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, and by the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies.
Witnessing in Science and Law:  Kepler, Galileo, and the Telescope

February 12
12:30 - 2:00
Desmond Manderson
McGill University Faculty of Law
Trust Us Justice:  24, Popular Culture and the Law
March 10
12:30 - 2:00
Elizabeth Judge
University of Ottawa Faculty of Law
Common Law Section

The 'Poor Arts of our Poachers of Popularity': Defoe and the Discourse of Originality, Copyright, and Piracy

 April 1
12:30 - 2:00
Luke Norris
Yale Law School
Legal Order Through Literary Narrative




12:30 - 2:00

Bruce Hay
Harvard Law School

Earl Warren's Theater of the Absurd

October 24
12:30 - 2:00

Judith Resnik
Yale Law School

Representing Justice: An Iconography of Norms

November 11
12:30 - 2:00

Lorna Hutson
University of St. Andrews
Dept. of English

Co-sponsored by the Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies, the University of Toronto Dept. of English, and the Dept of English and the Dean of the Facuty of Arts, York University.

"'Tis Probable and Palpable to Thinking": Law and Likelihood in Shakespeare

December 2
12:30 - 2:00

Guyora Binder
University at Buffalo Law School

Representing Value: The Meaning of Institutions

January 6
12:30 - 2:00


Gregg Crane
University of Michigan
Dept. of English

Co-sponsored by the Centre for the Study of the United States.

Confronting Moral Dilemmas in a Skeptical Moment: Literary Realism, Legal Realism, and Pragmatism

February 3
12:30 - 2:00
Jamie Taylor
Bryn Mawr Dept. of English
Murder in Norfolk: Neighbors, Witnesses, and the Construction of Community
March 3
12:30 - 2:00
Alan Ackerman
University of  Toronto
Dept. of English

Lillian Hellman, Abortion, and the Right to Privacy 

March 17
12:30 - 2:00

Bernadette Meyler
Cornell Law School

 Imagining Revolution in The Laws of Candy
March 31
12:30 - 2:00
Sara Malton
St. Mary's University
Dept. of English
 False Impressions:  Law, Authenticity, and History in Nineteenth-century Naval  Conscription Narratives



September 27
12:30 - 2:00

Stanley Fish
Florida International University

The Intentional Thesis Once More

November 8
12:30 - 2:00

Bennett Capers
Hofstra University Law School

Co-sponsored by Sexual Diversity Studies and the Women & Gender Studies Institute

Cross-Dressing and the Criminal

January 22
12:30 - 2:00

Mark Rose
Dept. of English
University of California-Santa Barbara

Sponsored by the Centre for Innovation Law and Policy, and co-sponsored by the Law & Literature Workshop.

The Public Sphere and the Emergence of Copyright


12:30 - 2:00

Anne Coughlin
University of Virginia Law School

Co-sponsored by the Law & Culture Workshop and the Centre for Study of the United States.

Interrogation Stories

February 28
12:30 - 2:00
Flavelle Dining Rm.
78 Queen's Park

Mary Nyquist
English Dept. University of Toronto



Hobbes on Slavery, Gender, and Despotical Rule



March 18
12:30 - 2:00
Bradin Cormack
University of Chicago, English Dept.
A Power to Do Justice
April 8
12:30 - 2:00
Ayelet Ben-Yishai
University of  Haifa

Give Me a Precedent: Past, Present and Future in Victorian Fiction and Law