Thursday, 1 March 2018

Interested in proposing a special issue of Law Text Culture?



Vol 23 (2019)

Due 30 May 2018

The Editorial Board of Law Text Culture is seeking proposals for the 2019 special edition of the Journal (Volume 23), due for publication in December 2019.   
Law Text Culture is a transcontinental, peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal which aims to produce fresh insights and knowledges about law and jurisprudence across three interconnected axes:
Politics: engaging the relationship of force and resistance
Aesthetics: eliciting the relationship of judgment and expression
Ethics: exploring the relationship of self and other.

The annual thematic special issue, curated by guest editors, is selected by the editorial board.  Each issue explores its theme across a range of genres, with scholarly essays and articles sitting alongside visual and literary engagements. In this way, Law Text Culture excites unique intersectional and interdisciplinary encounters with law in all its forms.
Proposals by potential guest editors should include:
       a concise description of the proposed theme;
       a draft call for papers setting out the aims and concepts of the issue;
       an indication of the intended authors and how they are to be identified/contacted (eg whether the proposal arises out of a seminar series, conference or workshop);
       the range of genres (eg poetry, scholarly essays, visual arts etc) expected to be included in the edition; and
       brief details of the guest editor(s).

Proposals should be no more than 1000 words and should be emailed to the Managing Editor by close of business 30 May 2018. For further information, including the role of guest editors, and the journal style guide, please visit Details on the editors and themes of previous editions of Law Text Culture are available at:
Associate Professor Cassandra Sharp
Managing Editor Law Text Culture
School of Law, University of Wollongong NSW

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Exciting Symposium coming up...

The Legal Intersections Research Centre (LIRC) warmly invites you to:

‘Posting’ the law: Emerging Narratives of Law and Justice within Social Media discourses

Presented by:

Cassandra Sharp, Jason Bainbridge, 
Kieran Tranter, Kate Tubridy, Yvonne Apolo, Olivia Todhunter 

Date:               15 September 2017
Time:              12.30 to 5.00pm
Building 67, Room 202 (Moot Court)

There is little doubt that new digital technologies have performed a dynamic function in metamorphosing culture, both positively and negatively. Public engagement within social media regarding issues of legality, political discourse, and identity serves to shape, (re)interpret and transform cultural expectations of law. This symposium seeks to invite specific reflection on the performance of social media in its role of transmuting or challenging understandings of law. The symposium is designed to particularly explore the work of narrative and/or discourse in the interaction of law and social media in contemporary communication. It will provide a frame within which law and social media scholarship can investigate themes such as: the role of discourse in transforming, mirroring, creating, and sustaining legal consciousness; the way law is framed (or questioned and critiqued) within social media narratives; and the extent to which meaning-making about issues of justice is complicated by social media platforms.

We warmly invite you to attend this event and to participate in discussions arising out the presentations.

Registration is free but places are limited.  Please register your intention to attend.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

What can video games tell us about the law?

The Moral Choice of inFAMOUS: Law and morality in video games 

Michael Barnett and Cassandra Sharp 

24(3) GLR 482

Photo taken from
In this article, which is part of the Special Issue of the Griffith Law Review I mentioned in my last post, Michael Barnett and I explore the unique popular medium of video games - and we use inFamous as a case study. This article had its genesis in a final research project that Michael produced for my Law and Popular Culture elective in 2014 (which he then presented at the Through the Looking Glass symposium that same year). Following the symposium, we together crafted his idea into a greater analysis of the Infamous series, which positions Cole McGrath as the superpowered protagonist in a self-contained post-apocalyptic world that is chaotic, broken and absent of legal sanction and protection. Reading both the bifurcated narrative, and ‘moral mechanic’ jurisprudentially, in this article, we demonstrate that the game (through both mechanic and narrative) reinforces a legal consciousness that requires morality to be fulfilled in the law, and we argue that Infamous reflects a normative privileging of natural law that reinforces understandings of the relationship between power, law and morality. 

Here is an extract of the introduction (footnotes removed) - but you can access the full version here.

'In a world where technology is exponentially advancing, video games are certainly keeping apace. With increasing capacity for real-life simulation, high definition graphics, and complex interactive narrativity, video games now offer a high level of sophisticated engagement for players, which contribute significantly to their widespread popular support. Contemporary video games are no longer controlled by ‘mindlessly’ pushing buttons, but are instead navigated by complex problem solving and strategic decision-making within the bounds set by the mechanics of the game. Choices by players are a pivotal element of gameplay, and so while ‘players engage rich narrative storylines and employ complex discursive practices and problem solving strategies in order to understand and master underlying game mechanics’, they do so within a simulated environment that has its own rules, narratives, and ethics constituted within the game’s ideological framework. As an extremely prevalent sub-culture of new media, video games can perform an interesting function of provoking thought on issues of law, justice and crime. Exploring video games then, from within a cultural legal studies framework, acknowledges not only the culturally constructed nature of ‘playing’ video games, but also the normative expectations of law that are facilitated by the narrative structures inherent within the game itself. This article looks at one game series within this framework (Infamous), and asks what meaning can be transformed about issues of law, morality and power from playing these games. Specifically, the article seeks to analyse and critique the combined effect of the narrative and ‘moral mechanic’ of the game to explore connections between law and morality from a jurisprudential point of view. Our argument is that this connected narrative and moral mechanic of the Infamous video game series, provokes an application of normative value to the ethical choices a player might make that are inevitably underscored by natural law theory.'