In the theorization of law and literature and in the conceptualization of decolonization, both the law and decolonization have often been thought in terms of narrative, but rarely in terms of poetics. To think law and decolonization together with poetry is to enable an interrogation of the very moment of making and unmaking of institutions. Where narratives legitimate the coming-to-be of established law, or enter new subjects into that law’s purview, poetic language can be seen as a suspension of decision or an undoing of sense. Poetry’s capacity for generating, dissolving and multiplying possibilities suggests a conception of justice that is not about the restoration of persons or things to their proper places but about the capacity to cohabit in “the togetherness of the diverse”, as Theodor Adorno once described just relations. The conference on “Poetics of Law, Poetics of Decolonization” will focus on the investigation of legal and poetic form, each in relation to the other, and, together, in relations to histories of colonialism, of juridical institutions, of colonial settler-colonial violence, and of anti-colonial struggle and practice.
Rei Terada (UC Irvine)
Nathaniel Mackey (Duke)
Sponsored by a grant from the Center for Ideas and Society.
Special thanks to the Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, the Departments of Comparative Literature, English, Hispanic Studies, and Religious Studies, the Program in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and Undisciplined Encounters the for their support of this conference.
Image – Artist: Emily Jacir. Photo credit: Fabio Mantegna, 2015