Literature and Law cancelled
It seems that the law as such should never give rise to any story. To he invested with its categorical authority, the law must be without history, genesis, or any possible derivation. That would be the law of the law…However, the inaccessible incites from its place of hiding. One cannot be concerned with the law, or with the law of laws, either at close range or at a distance, without asking where it has its place and whence it comes.
—Jacques Derrida, “Before the Law”
Literature and law exist in a mutually constitutive relationship, a condition of entanglement. In this course, we will look not only to the law as a perpetual preoccupation of literature but also to the ways in which the law itself exists as a literary construction. Herein, our primary goal will be to investigate the processes by which power relations come to be (un)made at the intersection of literature and law. Authors we will read may include William Shakespeare, David Walker, Herman Melville, Lucy Parsons, Franz Kafka, Susan Glaspell, and B. Traven.