Frame Frame

Exposition: Further Reading

33.2 War, Literature, and Law
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Anker, Elizabeth S. and Bernadette Meyler, ed. New Directions in Law and Literature Oxford University Press, 2017 ISBN: 978-0-1904-5636-8 After its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s, many wondered whether the law and literature movement would retain vitality. This collection of essays, featuring twenty-two prominent scholars from literature departments as well as law schools, showcases the vibrancy of recent work in the field while highlighting its many new directions. New Directions in Law and Literature furnishes an overview of where the field has been, its recent past, and its potential futures. Some of the essays examine the methodological choices that have affected the field; among these are concern for globalization, the integration of approaches from history and political theory, the application of new theoretical models from affect studies and queer theory, and expansion beyond text to performance and the image. Others grapple with particular intersections between law and literature, whether in copyright law, competing visions of alternatives to marriage, or the role of ornament in the law’s construction of racialized bodies. The volume is designed to be a course book that is accessible to undergraduates and law students as well as relevant to academics with an interest in law and the humanities. The essays are simultaneously intended to be introductory and addressed to experts in law and literature. More than any other existing book in the field, New Directions furnishes a guide to the most exciting new work in law and literature while also situating that work within more established debates and conversations. Bagchi, Barnita,...

Karlijn Herforth | Justice for Trees: Representations of the Law in Richard Powers’ The Overstory

33.2 War, Literature, and Law
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Abstract This article examines the representation of ecological justice and the legal responsibilities for nonhuman species in the novel The Overstory (2018) by Richard Powers. Focusing on the preservation of the forest, I argue that the novel illustrates how the capitalist and anthropocentric foundations of the legal system hinder any human attempts, whether it is through breaking or fixing the law, to achieve ecological justice for trees. Without reducing the need for immediate environmental interventions, The Overstory portrays the complex ambiguity of acting on the behalf of nature in the...

Maria Aaftink | God on Trial: Forgiveness and Justice in the Trial of Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow

33.2 War, Literature, and Law
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Abstract  Atrocities challenge not only our belief in justice, but they also pose serious challenges to our ability to continue living in the aftermath of injustice. The Sparrow (1996), by Mary Doria Russell, is a science fiction story about a Jesuit mission to an alien planet, during which the human characters are confronted with atrocities; the response to being involved in such events is a central theme of the novel. Using Eliezer Berkovits’ Holocaust theology, Jacques Derrida’s approach to forgiveness and justice, and Yasco Horsman’s conceptualization of the trial as a healing event, I analyse how The Sparrow points to possibilities of restoring...

Sofía Forchieri | Unsettling Spaces: Responsibility and Complicity in Roberto Bolaño’s By Night in Chile

33.2 War, Literature, and Law
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 Abstract This essay explores artworks’ potential to foster a critical engagement with forms of involvement in political violence that often fall beyond the scope of the law. It does so by means of a reading of Roberto Bolaño’s short novel By Night in Chile (2004) and drawing on interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives on the relation between complicity, responsibility, the law, and the arts. The essay argues that By Night in Chile compels readers to acknowledge a form of responsibility that is not attached to legal culpability, but also, crucially, to reckon with their own reluctance to assume such an expanded form of...

Gaana Jayagopalan | The Interstitial Representation of Militaristic Masculinity in Amitav Ghosh’s Flood of Fire

33.2 War, Literature, and Law
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 Abstract This critical reading of Amitav Ghosh’s Flood of Fire (2015), the final instalment of the Ibis trilogy that fictionalises India’s role in the Opium Wars, evaluates the representation of imperial masculinities through the interpretive lens of cosmopolitan openness. Discourses of masculinity and soldierhood during nineteenth-century colonial India are closely analysed to explicate Ghosh’s representation of masculinity. Reading the militarized masculinity of the Indian sepoy Kesri Singh in the novel, configured by prevailing notions of hegemonic masculinity as a British soldier and a Rajput warrior, I argue here that positions of hegemonic masculinities are characterized by various anxieties, problematising cosmopolitan feelings and creating an ambivalent sense of openness to the...

Brad Evans | The Shame of Being Human

33.2 War, Literature, and Law
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Abstract This essay develops the question of shame in the context of the memory of atrocities. Drawing upon Gilles Deleuze’s claim on the shame of being man, it offers a literary and aesthetic critique of war and violence in order to cast a poetic light over the politics of shame. Addressing specifically how shame functions politically in the development of the liberal conception of humanity, it makes the case for critiquing the violence of the past through the art of the political, which is to say—the poetic field of interruption that is open to a politics to...

Sara Deutch Schotland | “Out of the Loop”: What Drone Fiction Can Teach about the Regulation of Collateral Damage from Lethal Autonomous Weapons

33.2 War, Literature, and Law
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Abstract Under the current United States Department of Defense policy, military drones are semiautonomous aerial vehicles operated remotely, with some level of human supervision. However, at a time when China has developed a fully autonomous drone, the question arises whether other political powers will follow suit or retain humans “in the loop” for drone targeting and engagement. Short stories such as “Collateral” by Peter Watts and “In the Loop” by Ken Liu caution against the risk of civilian casualties if machines make the final decisions in target choice without human...

Jonathan Luke Austin | The Poetry of Moans and Sighs: Designs for and against Evil

33.2 War, Literature, and Law
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Abstract Can we think of war asubjectively? Today, the contours of warfare are expeditionary, spatially disembedded and temporally expansive. Broadly, these trends hint at an ontology of war exceeding identifiable subjects around which to attribute its origins and prevalence. War is coming to be seen in machinic terms, driving on and expanding regardless of our desires. These controversial conceptualizations radically challenge the basis of most social scientific understandings of war and profoundly disorder (international) legal understandings of justice, accountability and responsibility. In this essay, I begin by reading the asubjective nature of war through an engagement with Ahmed Saadawi’s novel Frankenstein in Baghdad, which depicts post-2003 Iraq as a warscape stalked by the “Whatsitsname,” a monstrous presence stitched together from the bodies of those killed across the city by different political factions. Drawing on Donna Haraway’s notion of response-ability, I suggest the Whatsitsname can serve not only as a metaphor for the asubjective ontology of war but also as a means through which to imagine new modes of intervening against that asubjectivity. I thus conclude by speculating on the possibility of developing what I term a material-aesthetic poetics of designing against war, evil and...

Claudia Vásquez-Caicedo and Maico Mariën | Foreword

33.2 War, Literature, and Law
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The wide array of articles that compose FRAME 33.2 "War, Literature, and Law" interrogate the relationship between war and law and their literary representation. They touch upon different dimensions of conflict and legislation: the ethical implications of human involvement in war or lack thereof (Austin, Schotland, Evans, Forchieri), the nuance spaces where war and law intersect with gender and religion (Jayagopalan, Aaftink), and the non-human and more than human actors that are also involved in conflicts (Herforth). We hope these articles offer insights into this continuous...

Exposition: Further Reading

33.1 Urban Studies
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Shaw, Debra Benita Posthuman Urbanism: Mapping Bodies in Contemporary City Space Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2017 ISBN: 978-1-7834-8079-1 The World Health Organisation estimates that, by 2030, six out of every ten people in the world will live in a city. But what does it mean to inhabit the city in the twenty-first century? Posthuman Urbanism evaluates the relevance and usefulness of posthuman theory to understanding the urban subject and its conditions of possibility. It argues that contemporary science and technology is radically changing the way that we understand our bodies and that understanding ourselves as ‘posthuman’ offers new insights into urban inequalities. By analysing the relationship between the biological sciences and cities from the nineteenth-century onward as it is expressed in architecture, popular culture and case studies of contemporary insurgent practices, a case is made for posthuman urbanism as a significant concept for changing the meaning of urban space. It answers the question of how we can change ourselves to change the way we live with others, both human and non-human, in a rapidly urbanising world. Birdsall, Carolyn Nazi Soundscapes: Sound, Technology and Urban Space in Germany, 1933-1945 Amsterdam University Press, 2012 ISBN: 978-9-0896-4426-8 Many images of Nazi propaganda are universally recognizable, and symbolize the ways that the National Socialist party manipulated German citizens. What might an examination of the party’s various uses of sound reveal? In Nazi Soundscapes, Carolyn Birdsall offers an in-depth analysis of the cultural significance of sound and new technologies like radio and loudspeaker systems during the rise of the National Socialist party in...