Special issue of Utopian Studies on Law and Utopia
Call for Papers Date:
Call for Papers: Special Issue of Utopian Studies on Law and Utopia
Guest Editor: Peter Sands, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Utopias are prescriptive, normative alternatives to already existing societies. Thomas More, himself a lawyer, envisioned a society free from lawyers and with few positive laws, and that trope has since made frequent appearance in utopias and dystopias. But, like all societies, utopias depend on rules and rule-making—they are societies of laws.
Law itself, too, is a utopian expression, an attempt to shape a particular vision of society. Such visions enact conflicts between and among competing views of rights, duties, punishment, redemption, distribution, and nearly every other aspect of human life. Zoning laws describe someone’s desired organization of space and industry. Constitutions write into being a normative alternative to the society that exists before the constitution takes effect. Positive law presents a normatively different belief system from natural law, carrying implications for societal organization.
In fiction and film, utopian and dystopian expression addresses fundamental jurisprudential issues of good and evil, of right and wrong, of rights proper, of economics, criminality, state power and more. A Handmaid’s Tale dramatizes, for example, conflicts over reproductive rights; The Dispossessed juxtaposes anarchist, capitalist, and socialist societies. Soylent Green and Zardoz imagine wholly alternate legal structures and their consequences.
For this special issue of Utopian Studies we invite papers on any aspect of law and utopia.
Deadline: complete drafts by 31 May 2009.
Inquiries about the special issue to: Peter Sands
All submissions should be sent to:
Department of English
University of Alaska Anchorage
3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
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