Looking for Law in All the Wrong Places

Looking for Law in All the Wrong Places

Bryan Wagner


Marianne Constable, Leti Volpp, and Bryan Wagner, Editors

Fordham University Press, 2019
Critical Theory
Cultural Studies

For many inside and outside the legal academy, the right place to look for law is in constitutions, statutes, and judicial opinions. This book looks for law in the “wrong places”—sites and spaces in which no formal law appears. These may be geographic regions beyond the reach of law, everyday practices ungoverned or ungovernable by law, or works of art that have escaped law’s constraints. Looking for Law in All the Wrong Places brings together essays by leading scholars of anthropology, cultural studies, history, law, literature, political science, race and ethnic studies, religion, and rhetoric, to look at law from the standpoint of the humanities. Beyond showing law to be determined by or determinative of distinct cultural phenomena, the contributors show how law is itself interwoven with language, text, image, and culture.

“This extraordinary collection is a veritable lost and found of law’s traces. Moving across disciplines, it offers rich and surprising refractions of law’s ephemera: What do we learn about the opacity of governance when we look for justice beyond its expected ‘place’ in the confines of textual or rhetorical jurisprudence? What is revealed when the legal inhabits the sacred, informs the literary, performs geography, polices time, seeps through the agora, regenerates itself within bodies?  This indispensable book excavates how seemingly robust juridical processes may teeter in concert with more fragile norms for mobility, status, and human affinity.”—Patricia J. Williams, Columbia Law School

 Bryan Wagner
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