Law and Humanities

This working group provides a biweekly space for the discussion of recent as well as classic scholarship by humanists pertaining to all areas of the law, its histories, and problems of jurisprudence and legal interpretation, as they intersect with cultural texts, practices, and representations. Because we range across time periods and our interests traverse traditional disciplinary boundaries, we welcome literary critics, historians, political theorists, academic lawyers, and more. In 2023–24, we plan to pursue two broad strands of inquiry: 1) genealogies of legal personhood, the investigation of which includes (but will not be limited to) some of the ways definitions of legal personhood have overlapped with various property regimes; 2) rights discourses, particularly insofar as they bear upon legal entities denied—or only partially granted—the status of personhood (e.g., slaves, nonhuman animals, artificial intelligence). Some attention might be given as well to law-and-performance and the place of Roman law in recent political philosophy. Discussions will also address the challenges and methodological difficulties facing humanists engaged with the scholarly study of law.