1993-94 Pembroke Seminar

Law, Letters and “Difference”
Ellen Rooney, Professor of Modern Culture & Media and English

Every aspect of contemporary United States society has been subject to the law: real and intellectual property, labor, commerce, technology, art, domestic relations, the environment, health, reproduction, sexuality and so on.  Under the pressures of economic, social and demographic changes this “nation of laws” has become the site of vigorous debates on the status of legal categories and institutional practices.  This year’s seminar will focus on some of these debates.  What happens when traditional legal principles are applied to new sets of problems?  What are the processes by which legal categories are currently being expanded and rethought?  What influence does new research on gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and so forth have on existing legal categories and on concepts of the juridical subject?  Have recent critiques of the western enlightenment affected the production of juridical subjects?