Studies in Law, Politics and Society: Volume 33
Table of contents(8 chapters)
List of Contributors
Aesthetic jurisprudence must take seriously the myth of community,1 the antagonistic of intimacy; love and death.2 Myth, however, must also be seized in its peculiarity. Rather than affirming coherence or the pattern of the past, it is a discourse that undoes itself. Indeed, myth does not provide a comforting story of belonging and foundations, it reminds us of the antagonisms of the human condition and the problematic nature of thought itself.
DETOUR ABOUT THE VIPERS’ NEST
Map of this detour: This is one of a series of detours compelled by consideration of inheritance law as an aspect of cultural transmission. 1 This course draws attention to three problematic time forms (temporalities) through which the “self” and its relations with history are often written and read. These implicit time forms are all too common and all too easily go unrecognized. Each involves the illusion of some kind of exalted and immediate convergence between the self (the subject) and an object of exaggerated importance to this self (the world, the universe, the metaphysical or artistic beyond, the origin, etc.). Three figures are explored here: that of Hercules in Hegel’s Aesthetics, and those of Adrian and Breisacher in Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus. Each of these invites attention to a different temporality through which an exalted convergence may be imagined: the first involves a fantasy of immediate belonging to the whole of history, the second, that of escape forward from history (toward a self-created “ultimate” object), and the third, that of return to fullness in origin (before history). This detour also suggests ways of reading history (including “reading for mana through glances,” which will be explained) that protect against the problems just described. The detour closes considering implications of all of the above for U.S. inheritance law. The tutor text for this last leg is François Mauriac’s Le noeud de vipères.
SEXUAL TENSIONS OF POST-EMPIRE
In this essay Katherine Franke examines two contemporary cites in which state efforts to eradicate the traces of empire and to resurrect an authentic post-colonial nation have produced sexual subjects that serve as a kind of existential residue and remainder of a demonized colonial past and absence. Looking first at post-colonial Zimbabwe, Franke argues that President Mugabe’s aggressively homophobic policies have played a key role in fortifying his leadership as authentically African and post-colonial.
Franke then turns to current efforts by the Mubarak government in Egypt to publically prosecute men for having sex with men. The Mubarak government has used homosexual show trials, first in security courts, and then in civilian courts, as a dry run for the reorganization of the Egyptian court system’s jurisdiction over dissenters and outcasts.
In this article Professor Perry argues that Plessy v. Ferguson and the de jure segregation it heralded has overdetermined the discourse on Jim Crow. She demonstrates through a historical analysis of activist movements, popular literature, and case law that private law, specifically property and contract, were significant aspects of Jim Crow law and culture. The failure to understand the significance of private law has limited the breadth of juridical analyses of how to respond to racial divisions and injustices. Perry therefore contends that a paradigmatic shift is necessary in scholarly analyses of the Jim Crow era, to include private law, and moreover that this shift will enrich our understandings of both historic and current inequalities.
This article considers the independent liberty interests of children in foster care and their mothers in parental termination proceedings. Recent federal reforms impose a mandatory deadline for the state to terminate parental rights. That policy erroneously presumes that the passage of time alone establishes parental fault and satisfies a parent’s due process rights. It also fails to protect the minority of children who assert an interest in preserving a safe relationship with mothers who are unlikely to meet the state’s schedule – including many substance abusers and victims of domestic violence.
This paper argues that contemporary executions by lethal injection represent spectacles of death. This spectacle of death upholds the sovereignty of the liberal state by evoking a sense of fear among the citizens. The State uses the apparently “painless” and “humane” form of execution by lethal injection to legitimize the death penalty in the U.S. I take the example of McVeigh’s execution to suggest that spectacles of execution continue in modern society, along with disciplinary processes that the liberal state depends on for its legitimacy. This paper, thus, aims to contribute towards a rethinking of a Foucauldian notion of power.
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