Minor Jurisprudence 2016


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Berkeley School of Law 
Warren Room, 295 Law Building



“Law As …” is the umbrella title for a biennial symposium that, since 2010, has worked to assemble original configurations of historical, social scientific, literary, and legal scholarship in the service of conceptual innovation in the analysis and history of law.

Attendance is open to all-comers. The symposium is committed to mixing established senior scholars with junior scholars (including pre-doctoral scholars); and scholars trained in history and law with scholars from other disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities; and scholars based in North America (Canada and the U.S.A.) with scholars from Europe and Australasia.  The results have been consistently stimulating and encouraging.  The symposium has become well known and has a considerable following.

The first three meetings of the symposium took place at the University of California Irvine in 2010, 2012, and 2014.  The fourth meeting will be held at Berkeley December 2nd – 3rd 2016.  The theme for the fourth meeting is the exploration of “minor jurisprudence.”

Each Irvine meeting resulted in publication of a dedicated symposium issue of the UC Irvine Law Review Vol. 1 #3, 2011; Vol. 4 #1 (2014) and Vol. 5 #2 (2015). 
Essays based on the Berkeley meeting will appear in a future issue of Law Text Culture.


Conceptually, “minor jurisprudence” was an invention of the 1990s. It had two distinct incarnations. In 1994, Panu Minkkinen, then a research fellow at the University of Helsinki, published an intriguing essay entitled “The Radiance of Justice: On the Minor Jurisprudence of Franz Kafka,” in which he applied the concept of “minor literature” developed by Gilles DeLeuze and Félix Guattari to Kafka’s conception of law. In Minkkinen’s view minor jurisprudence stood for a mode of jurisprudence that (like Kafka’s literature) simply could not be contained within any established canon or genre. It signified something completely new, completely unlike the known “major” canons of orthodoxy. Two years later, Peter Goodrich’s book Law in the Courts of Love gave minor jurisprudence a different inflection as any species of legal knowledge that had escaped “the phantom of a sovereign and unitary law.” The product of “rebels, critics, marginals, aliens, women and outsiders,” in this register “minor jurisprudence” is simultaneously plural, subaltern and subversive. In 1999 Minkkinen responded, briefly, that in his view Goodrich’s formulation was “too much of a ‘critical oeuvre’ of its author,” but otherwise did not take any further the matter of conceptual definition. As a result, this interesting and potentially productive idea has ever since lain largely undeveloped.

The three sets of essays produced since 2010 by the “Law As …” enterprise have followed their own distinct path toward minor jurisprudence. The choice of this theme for the fourth symposium is intended to give the concept the full and complete attention, both theoretical and empirical, that it has thus far lacked. Preliminary and general contacts with a large number of academics across a range of disciplines at UC Berkeley, elsewhere in the University of California, nationally, and internationally have disclosed considerable interest in this initiative.

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 Friday, December 2, 2016

8.00-8.45 am

Registration & Breakfast

 Warren Room (Room 295 Law Building)

8.45-9.00 am

Christopher Tomlins

UC Berkeley

Introduction & Welcome 

9.00-10.10 am

Panu Minkkinen

University of Helsinki

Comment: Marianne Constable

                     UC Berkeley

10.25-11.35 am

Peter Goodrich

Yeshiva University

Comment: James Porter

                    UC Berkeley

11.50-1.00 pm

Jothie Rajah

American Bar Foundation

Comment: Nan Seuffert

                    University of Wollongong

1.00-2.00 pm

 Dean’s Welcome & Lunch

Goldberg Room (Room 297 Law Building)

2.00-3.10 pm

Mark Antaki

McGill University

Comment: Kinch Hoekstra 

                     UC Berkeley

3.25-4.35 pm

Kirsten Anker

McGill University

Comment: Beth Piatote 

                     UC Berkeley

4.50-6.00 pm

Laurent de Sutter

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Comment: Leti Volpp 

                     UC Berkeley

6.00-7.15 pm

Opening Reception

Goldberg Room (Room 297 Law Building)

 Saturday, December 3, 2016

8.30-9.00 am Breakfast Warren Room (Room 295 Law Building)
9.00-10.10 am

Genevieve Painter

McGill University

Comment: James Martel

                    San Francisco State University

10.25-11.35 am

Julieta Lemaitre

Universidad de los Andes

Comment: Karen Tani

                    UC Berkeley

11.50-1.00 pm

Olivia Barr

Melbourne Law School

Comment: Rebecca McLennan

                    UC Berkeley

1.00-2.00 pm Lunch Goldberg Room (Room 297 Law Building)
2.00-3.10 pm

Natalie Davidson

Hebrew University

Comment: Saira Mohamed

                    UC Berkeley

3.25-4.35 pm

Shaun McVeigh

Melbourne Law School

Comment: Bryan Wagner

                    UC Berkeley

4.35-4.50 pm

Christopher Tomlins

UC Berkeley

Closing Remarks
4.50-6.15 pm Closing Reception Goldberg Room (Room 297 Law Building)


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Symposium Participants


Symposium Papers



All sessions held at:

University of California, Berkeley
School of Law
Warren Room, 295 Law Building [Google Maps]


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Christopher Tomlinsctomlins@law.berkeley.edu  
Professor of Law

Thembi Anne Jackson, thembianne@berkeley.edu
Conference Planner     


Symposium Sponsors
The “Minor Jurisprudence” symposium is grateful to have received financial and material support from the following units of the University of California Berkeley: Berkeley Law; the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program; the Center for the Study of Law and Society; and the Townsend Center for the Humanities.
The symposium is also supported by the Department of History, the Department of English, the Department of Rhetoric and the Program in Critical Theory.
Beyond UC Berkeley, the symposium is grateful to have received financial support from the American Society for Legal History, and the American Bar Foundation (Chicago).
The symposium would not be taking place without the financial, material and moral support of all these sponsors.

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