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LLHAA Conference Abstracts

Following is a list of all abstracts with summary accepted for presentation at the Law, Literature and Humanities Association of Australasia (LLHAA) 2019 Annual Conference. Abstracts are sorted alphabetically by paper title. Click on the title or ‘read more’ link to see full information.  You can also locate papers by using the A-Z index of all abstracts by title or the A-Z index of all authors and institutions

Promethean Longing: Ridley Scott’s Speculative Legalism

Professor William MacNeil Southern Cross University This paper will argue that Ridley Scott’s much anticipated return to the Alien series Prometheus, speculates materially, indeed realistically, on the nature of creation (in the character of android, David), evolution (in the monstrous Medlab “birth” of the alien spore) and extinction (as intended for humanity by their creators, “the Engineers”), as well as the “missing link” between the three (ironically, in the high heteronormativity of the...

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Ratio! A Game of Judgment: Playtesting and Reflective Discussion

Dr Thomas Giddens University of Dundee Dr David Yuratich Royal Holloway, University of London A case has come before the court: Sam’s fate hangs in the balance. Only the best judge among you can determine the outcome! Ratio! is a competitive game of judgment. 2 to 5 players take turns collecting, playing, and discarding cards to build up a well-reasoned judicial ruling. To win, you must show that you can cope with legal complexities and apply the law to the facts. Construct a judgment with the...

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Reading Disintegration in Mieville’s Novels: Chaos, Genre, Law

Dr Daniel Hourigan University of Southern Queensland The speculative novels of China Mieville are constantly marked by the theme of disintegration. Whether the State, an industry, or a family, or other monstrous things, the theme of disintegration flares to prominent exposure time and again. Nonetheless, such figurative disintegration is unevenly deployed in Mieville’s novels. Often it is the post-apocalyptic trace of industrious Progress, a tain as in the Bas-Lag trilogy Perdido Street...

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Reckoning with Rights: Storying New Worlds for End Times

Dr Kathleen Birrell Melbourne Law School In this paper, the call to explore juridical and temporal encounters and deferrals evoked in apocalyptic narratives, or ‘end times’, prompts a reckoning with rights – as the ‘last utopia’ of our age – and a critical consideration of an ethics of encounter and recuperation of obligation suitable to the ‘new climatic regime’.  The existential crisis prompted by imminent climatic catastrophe necessitates a juridical recalibration to accommodate extant and...

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Refugee Regimes and Aesthetic Revolution

Ms Katariina Kaura-aho University of Helsinki The paper focuses on aesthetic revolutions in current refugee regimes by analyzing the political end points of the sensibility of refugee law. By using Rancière’s philosophy and his theorization of aesthetics of politics, the paper reflects on the interruptive, subversive effect of refugees’ acts of resistance on the stabilized aesthetic sensibility of refugee regimes and interprets how refugee activism challenges the prevailing symbolic...

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Reliving the Apocalypse in “The Journals of Knud Rasmussen”

Dr. Ruth Buchanan Osgoode Hall Law School, York University Dr Rebecca Johnson University of Victoria The apocaplytic film genre has thrived in the 21st century.  Just as the end of the Cold War rendered the ‘atomic bomb’ genre somewhat obsolete (at least in its bipolar geopolitical version), terrorism and the climate crisis have given Hollywood scriptwriters plenty of potentially disastrous futuristic scenarios with which to mesmerize and terrify audiences. The time of the apocalypse is always...

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Remnants of Voice: Understanding the role of voice in managing politically heightened trauma

[icon name="home" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Memorialisation after Catastrophe: On Law, Loss and Collective Reckoning Panel Home Associate Professor Juliet Rogers The University of Melbourne In 1980 flight DC-9 plunged into the Mediterranean killing all 77 passengers and 4 crew. After several inquiries that produced corrupted findings, it was ultimately found to have been the result of a mistaken missile by NATO. Victims groups were given funds that would result in the commissioning of...

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Sandvliet Boerdery (Pty) Ltd v Maria Mampies: rights, space, living and death in South African land law

Professor Karin Van Marle University of the Free State Professor Danie Brand University of the Free State Maria Mampies, a farm worker, lived and worked her entire life on three farms: Boplaas, Middelplaas and Onderplaas. Although separate cadastral units, the farms were used and regarded as one. While Ms Mampies’ house was on Onderplaas, she and her family had unrestricted access to the other farms and always buried their dead on Middelplaas. In 1991 the three farms were split up and...

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Screening Law in Apocalyptic Times: the case of ‘The Unwritten Law’

Dr Marco Wan University of Hong Kong From the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984 to the protests sparked by fears about extradition to China in 2019, Hong Kong has been through apocalyptic times more than once. In this paper, I return to the early 1980s -- a period explicitly described as 'apocalyptic' -- to examine the anxieties, fears, and hopes of the city in a time of major constitutional change. By focusing on The Unwritten Law, a sentimental courtroom drama, I explore...

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Speaking out in ‘end times’: whistleblowing as truth telling

Dr Claire Loughnan University of Melbourne This paper examines attempts to silence those who speak out against institutional violence.  Using the language of necessity and crisis to defend these moves, the suppression of dissenting voices is increasingly achieved through criminal sanctions, as well as through removal of the very means of communication, such as access to phones and limited human contact for those confined in detention, for example.  While whistle-blowing has traditionally been...

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Speaking Out: Feminism, Rape and Narrative Politics

Dr Tanya Serisier Birkbeck College, University of London #MeToo is only the most recent, and most prominent example of survivors of sexual violence telling their stories online in recent years. While much commentary focuses on the novel elements of this online speech in this presentation I want to place it within a history of feminist political practice and belief. I argue that, since the early 1970s, feminist anti-rape politics have been characterised by a belief in the transformative...

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Spectres of Automation: Machinic Representations of the Refugee in International Law

André Dao Melbourne Law School “Some people think we left ghosts behind in the Feudal Age,” says Derrida, “but these new technologies, of the image, of the telephone, have not diminished the realm of ghosts but rather enhanced their power to haunt us.” Under the banner of the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN’s Global Pulse has begun to use machine learning to automate a range of data-gathering practices, from listening to Ugandan talkback radio during the “South Sudan refugee crisis”, to...

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Still Lives: Mining Myopias (PANEL HOME)

Lee Harrop Charles Darwin University Dr Bronwyn Lay RMIT Dr Jana Norman University of Adelaide Susan Reid University of Sydney Associate Professor Mandy Treagus University of Adelaide Mining in Australian land is a significant contributor to Australian culture and economy. Although mining booms have created social wealth and encouraged immigration, a number of mining practices have raised environmental issues and faced social contestation. Depending on one’s point of view, mining is either...

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Taking Justice to Sea

 Still Lives: Mining Myopia Panel Home Susan Reid University of Sydney Development-tilted governance regimes and their extractivist imaginaries continue to swing wrecking balls through the ocean, while failing to adequately account for the resulting species extinguishments and changed conditions of habitability. Through the extractive view, ‘the ocean is instrumentalised as quarry, pantry, sink and sump’. Despite its conservation provisions, for example, the United Nations Convention on the...

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The (im)possibility of living together in end times: Two reports

Prof Karin Van Marle University of the Free State, South Africa Antjie Krog, known as a poet already from a young age, published her first work of prose, Account of a murder only in 1995. She worked as reporter for SABC radio during the time of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. Country of my skull, Krog’s telling of the work of the commission appeared in 1998. Many commentators reflected on this work and described it amongst others as a hybrid work, which engages deeply...

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The Alien Corporation Invasion

Dr Penny Crofts University of Technology Sydney (UTS) The corporate ethicist Peter French asserted that aliens and corporations have common characteristics as non-human entities that are rational, intentional and have invaded the world once dominated by human beings. In the science fiction film Aliens(1986), whilst the aliens are the most obvious villains, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation facilitates, enables, exploits and exacerbates harms caused by the aliens. The Weyland-Yutani Corporation is...

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The anti-positivist jurisprudence of Mikhail Bakhtin

Professor Julen Etxabe Assistant Professor, Peter Allard School of Law UBC Mikhail Bakhtin’s groundbreaking theory of language as concrete living speech presents a radical challenge to the dominant conception of language as an arbitrary system of signs. The most poignant exposition of this critique can be found in Voloshinov’s Marxism and the Philosophy of Language (1929), which targets the Geneva School of linguistics spearheaded by Ferdinand de Saussure. Behind the critique to Saussure’s...

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The Big Picture: The High Court’s Imaginary Constitution

Professor Desmond Manderson Australian National University In Australia over the past 25 years, the ‘big picture’ of what a constitution is, and why it matters, has been relentlessly reduced to a technocratic minimalism that shows scant interest in the social and cultural functions of a constitution in the modern world.  The notorious ‘dual citizenship’ cases (2017-18), involving section 44 of the Australian Constitution, provide an exceptional case study. The paper develops through a legal...

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The Bloody Mystification of a New Planetary Order: Agamben and the Global Democratic Spectacle

Dr Daniel McLoughlin University of NSW The introduction to Homo Sacer states that the book “was originally conceived as a response to the bloody mystification of a new planetary order.” While Homo Sacer focuses on deep historical analysis of the Western political tradition, Agamben develops a withering and detailed critique of this planetary order in The Coming Community and the essays collected in Means without End. These works draw heavily on Guy Debord to argue that a new state form, which...

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The Effects of Female Genital Mutilation Law in Australia: Can the Subaltern Not Speak?

[icon name="home" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Speaking otherwise – representation, repression, regression Panel Home Professor Nan Seuffert University of Wollongong In 2015, in Australia’s first criminal trial for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) resulted in the conviction of a mother of two girls, a midwife and an Amil (religious leader) from Sydney’s Dawoodi Bohra community.  The defence argued that a ‘ritualistic ceremony … that … did not involve any mutilation or any injury to either...

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The End of Nature and Environmental Crisis in Catherine McKinnon’s Storyland

Professor Jaroslav Kusnir University of Presov, Slovakia In her novel Storyland, Catherine McKinnon depicts a loosely interconnected stories of five characters/ narrators spanning from the convict past up to the present. The stories are interconnected through a depiction of a specific place, that is Australia, and the author depicts not only a revisional and alternative versions of Australian history and as transformation of its cultural identity, but also the importance of Australian...

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The Estranged Presence of Modern Law in Science Fiction

Professor Kieran Tranter School of Law, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology This paper argues that modern law, the legalities of positivism and paper - has an estranged presence in science fiction. Beginning with two of the most well-known laws of science fiction, the Star Trek (1967-) franchise’s  i and Isaac Asimov’s Laws of Robotics, it will be shown that both entwine with technology, and in doing so, evaporate as law. Both present across their multiple texts as highly...

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The Girl with all the Gifts: Refugees, monsters and the figure of the girl

Associate Professor Penny Crofts University of Technology Sydney Dr Honni van Rijswijk University of Technology Sydney Dr Anthea Vogl University of Technology Sydney The cult science fiction novel by M.R. Carey, The Girl with all the Gifts, begins with Melanie, a little girl, who goes to school, has friends, loves books and is highly intelligent. The novel depicts a dystopian future in which most of humanity was wiped out by a fungal infection twenty years ago. Melanie lives in an underground...

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The Invisible Ones: The making of a research protocol with humans and spirits in Southern Colombia

Ivan Vargas Roncancio McGill University This presentation discusses how a particular kind of forest beings in the Colombian Andes referred to as the ‘invisible ones’, engage with the law. It tells the story of the making of a legal contract between an indigenous community and a plant scientist in the Southern department of Nariño. The contract outlines a research protocol on ethno-botanical classifications of a ritual plant, which required the mediation of the invisible people of the mountain...

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