2011 Conference Program (PDF) - Syracuse University College of Law


2011 Conference Program (PDF) - Syracuse University College of Law

Linda L. Berger

Inevitability in Judicial Opinions Part III

If there are inevitabilities in the law comparable to those in works of art, what is needed

next are examples of this “inevitability” and this approach to law as a social

phenomenology. For this, we will explore what one would search for in a judge and in an

opinion in using this criterion, as an art critic might, as a measure of good law. For

example, a judge who approached law in the manner that Beethoven approached music

would have a certain form of humility before the materials of the law and the “negative

capabilities,” in Keats’s terms, needed to let the “inevitability” of the law speak itself. We

will display this in one or more opinions.

4.8 Bodies of Law

Steven Macias

Law of the Men’s Room

Long before Senator Craig was caught soliciting sex in an airport restroom, gay men

were taking advantage of social spaces—like public toilets and locker rooms—for the

unique mix of public and private opportunities they presented. For this reason, there is

also a long history of policing these locales, and prosecuting those who violate the

socially approved modes of behavior within their confines. The taboo against the

expression of sexual interest is especially strong where heterosexual men are literally

exposed. Nevertheless, these sites of male exposure reinforce heterosexual masculinity

through both conscious and unconscious demonstrations of non-interest in that exposure.

These public spaces at once reinforce heterosexual identity yet remain highly vulnerable

to homosexual intrusion. Because these locations present contradictory understandings of

privacy and sexuality, legal actors have had a difficult time coming to terms with how the

law should apply in these quasi-public sites of male identity.

Elizabeth Anker

Bodily Dignity and the Construct of Human Rights

This paper analyzes and interrogates how the expectation of human dignity lends

coherence to liberal articulations of human rights. While human rights norms work to

protect the human body from injury and harm, the standard of dignity, I argue, also

contributes to an idealized, purified conception of human embodiment. Moreover, dignity

as a standard is consolidated by images of violated and broken bodies. As such, this paper

considers how the premium on dignity smuggles in an array of foreclosures and

exclusions. In contrast, I maintain that a formulation of human rights that instead “takes

embodiment seriously” might better remedy those inequities, and I develop a

phenomenological account of social justice as a means of evading and surmounting many

of the impasses that current trouble dominant discourses of human rights.

4.9 Rethinking National Boundaries and Borders

David Louk

Rights Beyond Borders: The Nation as Imagined Community and the Problem of Global

Ethical Obligations

This paper addresses the role of the nation as imagined community in instigating,

constituting, and sustaining strong ethical obligations among citizens in cases of political,

civil, and social rights. In recent decades we have observed widespread growth in support

of human rights and individual entitlements backed by institutional arrangements at the

national level. While many political theorists have argued for and against extending these

commitments across borders internationally, I question whether the attempt to broaden

such ethical obligations globally may undermine the very support for these obligations,



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