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Durham University

School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Events in Modern Languages & Cultures

Justice and the Arts Research Group: Round Table Presentations 'Outlaws: Exploring the Extra-Legal in Literature, Film, Theory, 2001-'

11th March 2015, 12:00, A56, Elvet Riverside I, Durham University

Our speakers are: 

Professor Louise Amoore 

Professor Michael Bohlander 

Dr Angharad Closs Stephens

Sarah Hughes, PhD student, Department of Geography

In recent years, a great deal of work has been done by critical theorists, legal theorists and spatial theorists on the 'extra-judicial' /’extra-legal’- that which is outside, beyond or beneath the law. To take only the most influential example, Giorgio Agamben's recently completed Homo Sacer project has traced a sovereign logic of exceptionality from Ancient Greece and Rome to the modern concentration camp. Yet, at the same time, the theme of the 'outlaw' has increasingly captured the popular imagination with a diverse range of literary and filmic texts from Hollywood blockbusters to independent films exploring everything from extra-legal torture and killing (the Batman trilogy, the Bourne trilogy, Zero Dark Thirty) to depictions of the biopolitics of the camp (Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, Rashid Mashrawi’s Curfew and Haifa, Juliano Mer’s Arna’s Children, Green Zone, District 9, Elysium). This panel invites papers on the (aesthetic, philosophical, ethical or historical) representation of the 'extra-legal' in contemporary literature, film and theory. What forms does the extra-legal take? How do contemporary literary and filmic texts represent such phenomena as the vigilante, extra-legal torture and killing, the 'secret' state, the appearance of non-state actors and the proliferation of extra-legal spaces from 'black sites' to refugee camps? To what extent do such representations serve to critique, question or even reinforce the politics of the extra-legal state?

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