ESIL Conference 2014 in Vienna: Call for Papers on International Law and Literature
octubre 30, 2013
Agora 5: International Law and Literature
Law and literature has become an established research interest and has found its way into a number of law school curricula. Obviously both academic fields are primarily about the interpretation of texts. But there are many other overlaps between the two fields, from lawyers turning novelists to novelists pushing legal change. However, international law seems to have been rather on the fringe of these developments. Even so, issues central to international law have been reflected in literature (e.g. terrorism, from Joseph Conrad’s 1907 novel ‘The Secret Agent’ to the 2006 book ‘Terrorist’ by John Updike). Though more rarely, international lawyers have even become protagonists in literature like Frederic Martens in Jan Kross’ 1984 novel ‘Professor Martens’ Departure’, depicting the 19th century international lawyer already torn between apology and utopia. Conversely, international lawyers have taken a closer look at literature and studied the reflection of international law in Shakespeare’s plays like Theodor Meron in his 1994 study on ‘Henry’s Wars and Shakespeare’s Laws’ followed by his 1998 book ‘Bloody Constraint: War and Chivalry in Shakespeare’.
Building on this interest of international lawyers in literature, this agora will address general issues: Is there anything that law and literature can learn from each other? Is there a deeper overlap in the methodology? How would a lawyer cope with the prevailing subjectivist approach to art? Can writers adapt to the stringent interpretative canons of (international) lawyers? To what extent should lawyers draw on the methodology developed in the context of literary studies, e.g. as regards text analysis or interpretation?