Law and Humanities Roundtable 2020 Call for Papers University of Southampton 3 July 2020

Law and Humanities Roundtable 2020



University of Southampton, Friday 3rd July 2020

Theme: Law, the Senses and Beyond


This second annual Law and Humanities roundtable invites original paper presentations on the relationship between law and the senses, marking 250 years since the birth of Beethoven. Beethoven’s life and music are marked by acute ambivalences towards political power (initially dedicating his Symphony No.3 to Napoléon Bonaparte and then furiously withdrawing that dedication upon learning that Napoleon had declared himself ‘Emperor’), and towards community and social norms (the composer was [in Goethe’s words] ‘an utterly untamed personality’ who often found ‘the world detestable’ but nevertheless joyfully celebrated solidarity in the choral refrain of his Ninth Symphony – now the anthem of the European Union), as well as by uncanny triumph over his own sensory deprivation in his later years. All of these represent a timely provocation to scholars to reflect on how we experience law, justice and power: about the role and limitations of the senses in this regard, and the ways that law signifies beyond that which can be seen, heard, touched, felt and smelled.


Therefore, interdisciplinary humanities-focused paper presentations are invited for an intimate roundtable event on themes that speak to notions of, for example:

  • Law and acoustics: what can be heard, and not heard, in legal proceedings?
  • Legal vistas, signs and symbolism: which aspects of law are conspicuous by their visibility, and which by their invisibility?
  • Law and touch: how does law physically touch us (roughly or otherwise), and in what ways does it physically withdraw?
  • Law’s taste and its smell: is it the fine red wine on a judge’s dining table, or the salt spray on a boat carrying undocumented migrants?


If you would like to present a paper at this workshop, please send your title and abstract (up to 500 words) by Friday 13th December 2019 to David Gurnham (School of Law, University of Southampton –, Stephanie Jones (Department of English, Southampton –, or Gary Watt (School of Law, University of Warwick –


Law and Humanities also welcomes submissions of full-length articles, and the editors are happy to discuss with presenters at this workshop how their piece might be worked up for submission. Please note however that publication cannot be guaranteed since all submissions are peer reviewed.

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