- ARC Future Fellow
- Professor, ANU College of Law and ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
- Founding Director (2008-2011), Institute for the Public Life of Arts & Ideas, McGill Univ. Montreal
- Editorial Boards: Law Text Culture; Macquarie Law Journal; Law & Literature; Law, Culture and Humanities; Studies in Law, Politics, and Society
In the Media
This event explores the role and responsibilities of universities in these urgent times. It matters not just to scholars, administrators and students – but to everyone concerned about adaptation and change in the 21st century. The event will be broadcast to the public – and will anchor refreshed internal
dialogue at ANU during the year in which its world-leading law school turns 60.
What is the role of art and aesthetics in developing the capacities of the public sphere to engage with the crises of the 21st century? What new resources do they offer to Australia’s endemic political failure to come to terms with our unfinished business, including the failure to offer constitutional recognition of First Peoples, denial of anthropogenic climate change, fears of immigration and growing social alienation? How can aesthetic forms engage with political ideas and public discourse?
For the very first installment of the ANU College of Law Book Club, we celebrate Professor Desmond Manderson's new book: Danse Macabre.
Melbourne Law School’s Institute for International Law and the Humanities and ABC Radio National’s Big Ideas are hosting a public discussion on The Politics of Art.
This reading group, convened by author and philosopher of aesthetics Robyn Ferrell, now an Adjunct Professor with the Centre for Law, Arts and the Humanities, will excavate the history of critical theory from Benjamin and Adorno, with a focus on theoretical work by leading figures in recent years and on contemporary issues of the most urgent importance.
ABC Radio National broadcast of Big Ideas program on Utopian Thinking - recorded on 28 March at a joint event presented by the National Library of Australia and ANU Law's Centre for Law, Arts and the Humanities.
Please note, only a small selection of recent publications and activities are listed below.
How my works connects with public policy
There is a crisis in law today. At best we think of it as a technical power imposed on society that tells us what to do. At worst we think of it as fundamentally unjust and corrupt. We can address this crisis by improving our processes of law-making and law-enforcing. But we can also address this crisis by radically shifting how we think about law – what it is and how it relates to us and to the rest of our lives. What if law was not just ‘out there’ like a machine; but ‘in here’ like a person or a memory? What if law was not just made by lawyers and politicians – but a product of all of us through how we thought, saw, and spoke about it?
One of the most innovative areas of legal scholarship in recent years has been law and the humanities. Its goal is to re-connect law to its roots in the humanities: in history, the arts, literature, philosophy. By studying how law is represented culturally in our society, we can gain crucial insights into its origins, its functions, and its problems. We can give to law a relevance that it often seems to lack – by taking seriously ideas of law and justice in the work of Plato or Shakespeare and equally on the screen, on the box and on the web. And we can give back to law a sense of its ethical and human dimensions – breaking down that sense of law as a coercive (even amoral) system outside of us and unrelated to us and encouraging instead a more engaged social dialogue about what we mean by responsibility and tolerance in the modern world.
- Does law have a history and why does that matter?
- Does justice have a philosophy and if so what is it?
- Does literature tell us about law and with what effect?
- Does TV?
- Does art?
- Does music?
- Is justice a fact or an idea or a feeling? Is law? Is authority?
- Is law more than the sum of its parts—or less?