CfP: The Cultural Techniques of Law University of Helsinki (17-19 January 2024) Deadline 16 June 2023

Provisional CfP: The Cultural Techniques of Law (17-19 January 2024)


Ericsson Bakelite telephone, 1931. Design: Jean Heiberg.

University of Helsinki, Finland

Convenors: Matilda Arvidsson (Göteborg), Tormod Johansen (Göteborg), and Panu Minkkinen (Helsinki)


In the Anglophone world, German legal historian and critical legal theorist Cornelia Vismann (1961–2010) is best known as an innovative interpreter of French high theory, especially of Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, and Michel Foucault. This type of reception is, however, limited in the sense that at the same time as it tries to establish common ground that would enable Vismann to take part in the discursive constellations of Anglo-American legal theory, it also neglects the very specifically German soil from which her scholarship arose. For Vismann the media theorist, the critical study of law was first and foremost a practically oriented critical discipline that addressed law’s operations as media and ‘cultural techniques’.

This workshop is not intended to be about Vismann, but to be inspiredby her. Papers proposing to analyse specifically Vismann and her work are, of course, more than welcome, as well. Working towards an edited collection and/or a special issue of a journal, the main aims of this pluridisciplinary event (social sciences, humanities, fine arts) are to, among other things:

  • investigate Vismann’s media-theoretical contributions and to assess their relevance for the study of law;
  • examine her collaborations with other media theorists such as Friedrich A. Kittler, Markus Krajewski, Sybille Krämer, Jussi Parikka, Bernhard Siegert, Anna Tuschling, Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, and others;
  • create further synergy between scholars in the various disciplines; and, finally
  • assess what these media-theoretical insights might offer the critical study of law more generally.

The workshop does not assume that the disciplines involved could be brought together into a tranquil interdisciplinary melange but, rather, that agonistic encounters between the disciplines have the potential of opening up genuinely new and innovative paradigms.


We invite proposals for papers from both established and early-career scholars (including doctoral candidates/postgraduate researchers) that address themes and topics such as (but are not limited to):

1, Media theory, cultural techniques, law

  • the theory of cultural techniques
  • media theory (German, Canadian, or other) and law
  • the ‘French connection’ providing the bridge between media theory and the critical study of law
  • law as a cultural technique
  • the media artefacts and cultural techniques relevant to law
  • archival and computational techniques as cultural techniques of/and law
  • media law (writing, codex, diagrams, commentaries, certificates, court rooms, and architecture)
  • digital law, automation, and cultural techniques

2. Material, digital, non-human

  • legal materiality and/or law and new materialisms and cultural techniques 
  • law and the posthuman in cultural techniques
  • law in the Anthropocene and cultural techniques   
  • legal machines and human-non-human legal entanglements

3. Queer, gender, race

  • queer inquiries into/queering media theory and law
  • gender inquiries into/gendering media theory and law
  • race, colonialism, and media theory

4. Disciplinary, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary

  • law seen from media theory
  • the pedagogy of media theory and law
  • Wednesday, 5 April 2023, call for papers opens officially.
  • Friday, 16 June 2023, deadline for proposals.
  • Monday, 14 August 2023 (latest), notification of accepted proposals and early-career stipends (see below).
  • Wednesday, 17 January 2024, to Friday, 19 January 2024, workshop dates.

Please note that due to the nature of the workshop, a maximum of 25 proposals can be accepted for the event.


The event is generously supported by the Hilkka and Otto Brusiin Foundation. Attendance at the three-day workshop including its social programme is free of charge, but participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. Work will commence with lunch on Wednesday and end Friday afternoon. Limited financial support for accepted early-career speakers (doctoral candidates/postgraduate researchers, postdoctoral researchers, assistant/associate professors, etc.) who are not supported by their institutions will be made available. The value of the individual stipends will depend on the overall demand, but they are expected to only cover part of a speaker’s expenses.

Markus Krajewski (Basel).

A keynote will be presented by Markus Krajewski, Professor of Media History and Media Theory at the University of Basel. His current research interests focus on marginal epistemologies, the history epistemic accuracy, as well as media and architecture. His recent publications include Bauformen des Gewissens: Über Fassaden deutscher Nachkriegsarchitektur[‘Structures of conscience: on the facades of German post-war architecture’] (Stuttgart, 2016), Lesen Schreiben Denken: Zur wissenschaftlichen Abschlußarbeit in 7 Schritten [‘Reading, writing, thinking: On the academic thesis in 7 steps’] (Wien et al, 2013), Paper Machines: About Cards & Catalogs, 1548–1929 (MIT Press, 2011), and The Server: A Media History from the Present to the Baroque (Yale University Press, 2018). Professor Krajewski also co-autored the 2007 article ‘Computer Juridisms’ together with Vismann (Grey Room, issue no. 29), and he has co-edited two of Vismann’s posthumous publications. For more information about our keynote speaker, kindly visit his personal web page at


Any questions may already at this point be addressed by email to the convenors or through the comments box below. Alternatively, you may wish to join the event’s mailing list for updates.

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