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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.

Keynote Speakers

  • Rei Terada (UC Irvine)
  • Nathaniel Mackey (Duke)

More details and schedule coming soon.


Sponsored by a grant from the Center for Ideas and Society.
Co-sponsored by Religious Studies, English, Comparative Literature and Languages, Asian American Studies, Middle East and Islamic Studies, Hispanic Studies, and College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Image – Artist: Emily Jacir. Photo credit: Fabio Mantegna, 2015

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