The Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory is an annual interdisciplinary workshop hosted by graduate researchers at Melbourne Law School. The Forum brings together research students from a range of academic disciplines to engage with social, political, theoretical, and methodological issues raised by law and legal theory.
The 11th Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory will take place on 4 and 5 December 2018. The theme for this year’s Forum is ‘Facts, Law and Critique’. The call for papers can be found here.
We welcome papers from all areas of law, and from scholars in all disciplines whose work engages questions of method, law or theory. Limited bursaries are available for interstate and international participants. Please send abstracts of up to 500 words and biographies of up to 200 words to Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory by 5 September 2018.
The Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory is proudly supported by the Melbourne Law School, the Institute for International Law and the Humanities and the Laureate Program in International Law.
Facts, Law and Critique
The 11th Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory will take place on 4 and 5 December 2018. The Forum brings together graduate researchers and early career scholars from a range of disciplines and backgrounds to think methodologically, theoretically and critically about law and legal theory. The theme for this year’s Forum is ‘Facts, Law and Critique’.
Facts sustain law and legal institutions. Contesting, debating, and then, ‘finding’ or establishing facts is seen as essential to the process of law-making that follows. But, far from acting on or applying to a set of pre-existing facts, law produces, writes and determines its own facts, knowledges and truths. And the politics, procedures and histories of legal facts, unlike the law itself, are often taken as given, establishing a dichotomy between contesting the legal and accepting what remains outside of, or prior to, law. The recent unsettling of our contemporary faith in facts, objectivity, and transparency as a form of public knowledge and a precondition for politics provides us with an opportunity to revisit the relationship between law and facts.
In this Forum, we invite papers critically examining the relationship between facts and law as it relates to your own research. How can understanding the way in which facts — as well as institutions, procedures and methods for finding facts — have been established and contested over time and throughout history shed new light on the present moment? How does law develop and reach out for technologies which establish facts through particular means? How does selecting and assembling facts in particular ways use law to establish and embed particular narratives? What is the place of critique in a time in which facts are ‘alternative’, or in struggles over who is authorised to produce truth? How does examining processes of fact-finding highlight the politics of legal facts and the exercise of power they represent? What is seen, and what lives become unseen, as law and law’s facts come to constitute a way of experiencing the world?
Possible ways of addressing the topic might include, but are not limited to:
- Facts and institutions, including legal procedures of establishing facts such as international fact-finding missions, commissions of inquiry and truth commissions
- Facts and representation, including the role of media, art and the image in law and legal analysis
- Facts and empirics, such as work critiquing the role of data, technology, and the turn to economic and quantitative analysis in law
- Facts and courts, agreed and disputed facts, evidential processes and the judgment as public record
- Facts and governance, including the place of, and challenges to, objectivity, publicity, and transparency in contemporary forms of legal governance and law
- Facts and epistemologies, including indigenous forms of knowledge, fact and law, as well as epistemologies of the South
- Custom as law and the translation of fact and practice into law
- Facts and imperialism, and the role of history in critiquing or recreating imperialist narratives and knowledges
- Queer theory, ontology and the selectivity of law’s facts
- Feminist critiques of the divide between law and fact
- The craft of the lawyer: lawyers’ agency in and responsibility for the making of law and fact.
Please submit abstracts of up to 500 words and biographies of up to 200 words to Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory by 5 September 2018. Applicants will receive a response by late September.
We particularly invite applications from those interested in exploring methodological questions within the collegial and supportive environment of the Forum. Depending on interest, we may organise sessions specifically focusing on questions of method. If you are interested in participating in one of these sessions, please indicate this and address these questions in your abstract.
A limited number of travel bursaries are available for interstate and international presenting participants who are unable to claim sufficient funding from their home institution. Please indicate in your application whether you wish to be considered for a bursary.
We are pleased to announce the following keynote speakers for the 2018 Forum
We will have limited space available for non-presenting participants and priority will be given to postgraduate research students. If you would like to express your interest in attending the Forum please email: Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory
4-5 December 2018
Room 109, Level 1
The 2018 Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory will be held at Melbourne Law School, located in the suburb of Carlton directly north of the City of Melbourne's Central Business District.
Referred to as the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne is emblemised by its iconic trams, distinctive blue cobblestone laneways and impressive array of cafes that underscore the city's artistic atmosphere. It is with great pleasure we welcome you to our city for the 2018 Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory
Traveling from the airport
Visitors new to Melbourne should note that there is no train connecting the city to the airport.
There are two bus services called SkyBus and StarBusShuttle that cost around 18 AUD one way from the airport to Melbourne's CBD at Southern Cross Station. Services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Tickets can be purchased at the airport or online (SkyBus or StarBusShuttle).
Alternatively, a private taxi will typically cost between 50 and 70 AUD and an Uber will usually cost between 40 and 60 AUD.
Visitors from outside Australia should note that the conference will take place at the start of Melbourne summer. During the month of December, the average maximum temperature in Melbourne is 24°C and the average minimum is 14°C. Further information about average weather conditions and reliable weather forecasts are available from Australia's Bureau of Meteorology.
December is an ideal time to visit Melbourne and its surrounding beaches. For those participants who wish to stay longer, there is plenty to do around Victoria, from taking in the spectacular views of the Great Ocean Road to seeing penguins and koalas on Philip Island. For tourist information about Victoria, see: https://www.visitvictoria.com