Professor Desmond Manderson FAAL, FASSA, FRSC

desmanderson.jpg
Professor
BA (Hons) LlB (Hons) (ANU), DCL (McGill), FRSC
+61 2 6125 5792
Room 6.3.9

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Research Theme

Appointments

  • 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 

Recent news

04
Aug
2021
Professor Desmond Manderson FAAL, FASSA, FRSC
After a decades-long hiatus from acting and writing in plays, ANU Law Professor Desmond Manderson returns to his passion with a powerful part-thriller, part-black comedy.
13
Jul
2021
Professor Desmond Manderson and Associate Professor Anna Olsen
A proposal to decriminalise small amounts of illicit drugs in the ACT has been welcomed by ANU experts in law, history, criminology, sociology and medicine.
12
Nov
2020
Award
Five ANU Law scholars have been shortlisted in the ALRAs for their excellence and innovation in the discipline of Law.
28
Oct
2020
ANU Moot Court art
ANU Law students have tried their hand at videography for a group assignment exploring the intersection between law, art and Indigenous Australians.

In the Media

11
Mar
2020
Desmond Manderson writes in The Canberra Times
13
Nov
2019
Desmond Manderson interviewed by ABC Radio National - Big Ideas
23
Oct
2019
Desmond Manderson writes in The Canberra Times

Past events

09
Sep
2021
For One Day Only
12.00PM to 2.00PM Webinar

Legal space and legal geography have been important focuses of research in socio-legal scholarship in recent years. In what ways has the experience of public space been transformed under the pressures of neoliberal ideology and contemporary governmentality?

09-10
Sep
2021
For One Day Only
12.00PM to 10.30AM Webinar

For One Day Only brings together a global community of thinkers, scholars and artists for 24 hours of conversations on the moment we are living through and the future we want. Hosted by an international consortium of research centres spanning four continents, the workshop sessions will roll around the world from Canberra and Johannesburg, through Rome, Helsinki and Lucerne, to Virginia and Melbourne.

17
Mar
2021
Coel Kirkby seminar
1.00PM to 2.00PM ANU College of Law Visitor Seminar
  • Dr Coel Kirkby

Join our next ANU College of Law 'virtual visitor' Dr Coel Kirkby (University of Sydney) as he discusses his latest research.

04
Dec
2020
Carolyn Strange
4.30PM to 5.30PM Book launch

Written by Professor Carolyn Strange, The Death Penalty and Sex Murder in Canadian History provides an incisive analysis of responses to sex murders and the shifting politics of the death penalty.

Currently supervising

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    Topic: Novel citizens: represenations of citizenship in law and literature
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    Topic: Performing sovereignty: How to make a refugee disappear with legal magic My PhD dissertation looks at how sovereignty iterates, presents and reifies itself in the Australian refugee context. In Australia, refugees can be detained without reasons for the decision...

Current courses

Year Course code Course name
2021 LAWS4286
Class #4276
Literature, Law and Human Rights
2021 LAWS4005
Class #4755
Beyond Chaos

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?

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team