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
For this special issue of Utopian Studies we invite papers on any
aspect of law and utopia.
Deadline: complete drafts by 31 May 2009.
All submissions should be sent to:
Department of English
University of Alaska Anchorage
3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Inquiries about the special issue to: Peter Sands
Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies
UW-Milwaukee English Department
http://www.uwm.edu/~sands || http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/EnglishM
414.229.5912 || 414.229.2643 (fax)
Editor, H-UTOPIA || http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~utopia/
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