A few notes from this year’s conference.
- The Association of for the Study of Law, Culture and Humanities Conference ended yesterday with a fury. Table contributors Mai-Linh Hong from Legal Lacuna, and Marc Roark each presented papers and participated together on a panel titled Global Citizens: Violence and the Transnational Subject. Mai Linh presented a paper titled Another Vietnam: War, the Archive and the USS Kirk. Marc presented Re-Entering the Loneliness: Robert Penn Warren and the Exile. Perhaps they will post a brief write up on their respective papers.
- The folks at Texas Wesleyan were all incredibly hospitable. I understand one faculty member bought lunch for several guests on Saturday. Southern hospitality never gets old.
- The keynote address was incredible. Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis discussed their new book Re-Presenting Justice: Visual Narratives of Judgment and the Invention of Democratic Courts. In the words of Austin Sarat, one of the respondents to the talk, the work represents “an audacious representation” and the “best for what we are attempting to do.” I wanted to shell out $75.00 immediately. The book looks incredible. A Summary of the keynote was tweeted by Mai Linh.
- If you were not following our TWEETS from the conference, you can access them here and here. They are a little uneven, due to the depth of different talks. Nevertheless, several were enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed David Fisher’s Medea’s Laws: Reading Euripides’ Medea as Law and Literature.
- This year’s conference was well done. Kudos to Linda Meyer and her organizing committee. Next year’s conference is in London.
Tomorrow and Saturday, myself (@warrenemerson) and Mai-Linh of Legal Lacuna (@legallacuna) will be live tweeting from the Association for the Study of Law Culture and Humanities. Hashtag #ASLCH. Follow us or come find us. My offer still stands for a free drink to the winner.
The classical model of liberal education has been eroded, I must conclude, so that students before they arrive in law school have lost any sense of propriety and courtesy in their interactions. Martha Nussbaum in Volume 70 of the Chicago Law Review writes that the traditional view of liberal education included the capacity to “develop each person’s capacity to be fully human, by which he means self-aware, self-governing, and capable of recognizing and respecting the humanity of all our fellow human beings, no matter where they are born, no matter what social class they inhabit, no matter what their gender or ethnic origin.” She concludes this statement with Seneca’s charge “Soon we will breathe our last. Meanwhile, while we live, while we are among human beings, let us cultivate our humanity.”
In laying out the case for the developing of human beings in law school, Nussbaum advocates for several critical components:
- Socratic Self-examination — to be critical of one’s self and one’s traditions
- Cultivation of a world citizenship — moving outside of the narrow confines of personal, economic, or social interests
- The development of narrative imagination
Learning these things is critical. They will not make students successful of themselves. But certainly lacking them will hold them back from achieving a truly good life. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “life is not so short, but that there is always time for courtesy.”
Martha’s article Cultivating Humanity in Legal Education, 70 Chicago L. Rev. 265 can be accessed here.