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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 how the new affective attachments that were demanded at this time were given visual form. I will conclude by suggesting that the demand for such attachments remain at the heart of constitutional crises in our own time.

Marco Wan is Associate Professor of Law and a Director of the Programme in Law and Literary Studies at the University of Hong Kong. He is also Managing Editor of Law & Literature. His research focuses on the intersections between law and the humanities, especially law and literature, law and film, and the ways in which perspectives from the humanities shed light on the legal regulation of gender and sexuality. His first book, Masculinity and the Trials of Modern Fiction (Routledge, 2017), was awarded the Penny Pether Prize from the Law, Literature, and the Humanities Association of Australasia and the University Research Output Prize from HKU. He is the author of a forthcoming monograph entitled ‘Screening Law: Film and Constitutional Controversies in Hong Kong’.

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