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Dr Diana Shahinyan
Sydney University
Dr Ari Mattes
University of Notre Dame Australia

Learning the title and theme of this year’s LLHAA conference, on the same day that US Vogue, in its cover story on the indefatigable, powerhouse celebrity, Kim Kardashian, reported the star’s decision to study law, felt appropriately disquieting. We live in the age of the anthropocene, but what does that mean for law? If the clarity and power of the Law is rooted in its dependence on history – on simultaneously creating, and bowing in deference to, its archive – then the anthropocene presents an ecology wholly incompatible with this: in the anthropocene everything is overdetermined by the future, but this future has, paradoxically, been foreclosed on us; it is a future of apocalypse.

In this paper we will use the figure of Kim Kardashian, lawyer – the celebrity lawyer – as a starting point to explore and speculate on what forms the law will take in the anthropocene, and from where it will derive its authority and violence.

Diana Shahinyan has a J.D. from the University of New South Wales and a PhD from Sydney University. Her thesis, which straddled the intersection of law and literature, traced the evolution of American jurisprudence through the detective fictions of Dashiell Hammett and William Faulkner. She publishes broadly across law and the humanities, and her work appears in Cambridge University Press, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and the Australian Humanities Review. She is currently writing a book presenting an erotic history of contract law.

Ari Mattes completed his PhD in American film and literature at the University of Sydney in 2010, and worked at ANU and the University of Sydney before securing an ongoing role at UNDA in 2013. He has published widely on multiple aspects of cinema, literature and culture, and is currently working on the following major projects: The Cinema of Accidents: Hollywood Film in the Age of Disaster; The Office, at Work: Office Cultures in Literature, Film and Media; The Man Who Fell to America: The Literature of Walter Tevis.

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