Wednesday, August 1, 2018

CFP: Melbourne Doctrinal Forum on Legal Theory

[We have the following CFP for the 11th Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory.]

The 11th Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory is calling for papers for this year’s Forum, which will take place on 4 and 5 December 2018. The Forum brings together graduate researchers and early career scholars from a range of disciplines and backgrounds to think methodologically, theoretically and critically about law and legal theory. The theme for this year’s Forum is ‘Facts, Law and Critique’ and this year’s Forum organisers are delighted to announce Anne Orford and Ben Golder as our keynote speakers for the Forum. To apply, abstracts of up to 500 words and biographies of up to 200 words should be emailed to by 5 September 2018. The full call for papers and further information can be found here.

[Cribbing from the full call:]

Facts sustain law and legal institutions. Contesting, debating, and then, ‘finding’ or establishing facts is seen as essential to the process of law-making that follows. But, far from acting on or applying to a set of pre-existing facts, law produces, writes and determines its own facts, knowledges and truths. And the politics, procedures and histories of legal facts, unlike the law itself, are often taken as given, establishing a dichotomy between contesting the legal and accepting what remains outside of, or prior to, law. The recent unsettling of our contemporary faith in facts, objectivity, and transparency as a form of public knowledge and a precondition for politics provides us with an opportunity to revisit the relationship between law and facts.

In this Forum, we invite papers critically examining the relationship between facts and law as it relates to your own research. How can understanding the way in which facts — as well as institutions, procedures and methods for finding facts — have been established and contested over time and throughout history shed new light on the present moment? How does law develop and reach out for technologies which establish facts through particular means? How does selecting and assembling facts in particular ways use law to establish and embed particular narratives? What is the place of critique in a time in which facts are ‘alternative’, or in struggles over who is authorised to produce truth? How does examining processes of fact-finding highlight the politics of legal facts and the exercise of power they represent? What is seen, and what lives become unseen, as law and law’s facts come to constitute a way of experiencing the world?