Call for Papers

Law, Text and Contrapuntal Reading

Thursday 24 and Friday 25 November 2022

Image taken outside Union House, University of Melbourne, 2022
Image taken outside Union House, University of Melbourne, 2022

A contrapuntal reading of laws and texts aims to make visible the positionality of the authors, as well as the omitted actors and untold narratives. It goes beyond reading what is explicit in the text. We borrow the idea of contrapuntal reading from Edward Said, who views it as an invitation to a ‘different kind of reading and interpretation’ that includes the ‘forcibly excluded’, ‘overlooked’ or ‘played down’ episodes, traversing the distance between the ‘dominating discourse’ and such episodes. A contrapuntal reading provides a window into the world that laws might overlook, forget or meet with indifference. Contrapuntal reading can also pay attention to the ‘hidden transcript’ that represents subversive discourse. Against this backdrop, we invite participants to the DFLT-15 to share their readings of laws and texts that form part of their research.

We construe the theme of the Forum broadly. We welcome contributions from different disciplines and fields to explore their engagement with law. The idea of the DFLT-15 is to bring together doctoral and early career scholars and build a community of peers. We envision the Forum to include a series of presentations and panel discussions in a supportive and collegial environment.

We invite submissions on varied issues, including (but not limited to):

  • Law-making:
    How does the absence of certain entities from the law-making process exclude their perspectives from influencing the laws?
  • Methodology:
    How can different legal methodologies be employed for a contrapuntal reading of laws and texts?
  • Third world:
    How is the third world, particularly its marginalised and oppressed groups, represented in the laws and texts?