Call for Abstracts (Issue 3)

Law Undone: De-humanizing, Queering, and Dis-abling the Law – Further Arguments for Law’s Pluralities

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Guest Editors: Greta Olson, Sonja Schillings

Sociological and anthropological approaches to law and legal processes have long suggested that state-made law has to be understood as culturally produced and embedded and thus as but one form of normative ordering amongst others. Culturalist approaches to law such as Law and Narrative, Law and Semiotics, Law and Cultural Studies, and Law and Visual Culture have, similarly and more recently, argued that law neither belongs to an autonomous realm of activity nor transpires with exclusively rational means. Such approaches have also contributed to more subtle understandings of “culture” as neither monolithic, homogenous, nor static.

Posthumanist and queer critiques of law suggest, in turn, that humanism’s conceptualization of rational subjects needs to be rethought as the basis of legal orders. Distinctions between legal persons and non-persons, humans and non-humans rest on a post-Enlightenment project that has privileged the White, Western, Able-Bodied, and Propertied Man as origin and subject. These critiques follow on insights by feminist and queer scholars into law’s masculinist and paternalistic premises and the contributions of legal practices to misogynist and heteronormative forms of policing. Further, practitioners of critical disability theory have shown how legal systems privilege the able bodied and marginalize the non-able-bodied; this includes practices such as immigration screening and prenatal testing.

This special issue of On_Culture follows out of a conference on Law’s Pluralities: Cultures | Narratives | Images | Genders at the University of Giessen and the Neuer Kunstverein Giessen, which was supported by the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture. Yet it explicitly welcomes proposals by all scholars working on related topics. It invites contributions that name and radically question the humanist, heteronormative, and able-bodied presuppositions and practices of law. Alternatively, essays may suggest strategies and theories for de-humanizing, queering, and dis-abling law and legal practices.

Proposals of 300 words for essays are invited to be received until September 30, 2016; they should include a short author’s bio (100 words). Selected authors shall be asked to submit full articles of 7,500 words by January 15, 2017. Proposals and articles will be selected in a double blind peer-reviewed process. Proposals should be submitted to the special issue editors Sonja Schillings ( (Postdoctoral Researcher and Assistant Graduate Studies Executive at the International Graduate Study for the Study of Culture) and Greta Olson ( (Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities “Law as Culture” in Bonn and Professor of English and American Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Giessen).

Please note: On_Culture also features a section called _Perspectives which is devoted to shorter, creative pieces pertaining to each issue topic. These can include interviews, opinion pieces, reviews of exhibitions, analyses of cultural artifacts and events, photo galleries, videos, works of art…and more. These contributions shall be posted on a rolling basis. Interested in contributing? Send your ideas to the Editorial Board at any time:

Deadline: September 30, 2016


On_Culture: The Open Journal for the Study of Culture (ISSN: 2366-4142) is a biannual, peer-reviewed academic eJournal that has been created and edited by doctoral researchers, postdocs and professors working at the GCSC. It provides a platform and forum for pursuing and reflecting on the study of culture. It investigates, problematizes, and develops key concepts and methods in the field. More often than not, developing such new approaches and emerging topics is a collaborative and collective process. On_Culture is dedicated to fostering such collective processes and the cultural dynamics at work in thinking about and reflecting on culture.

The journal consists of three sections: peer-reviewed academic _Articles, _Essays and _Perspectives such as video clips, interviews and visual statements which can be submitted on a rolling basis. On_Culture results out of the emergence of collaborative processes and new structures in the field of e-publishing. On_Culture places new approaches and emerging topics in the (trans)national study of culture ‘on the line’ and, in so doing, fills the gap____ between ‘on’ and ‘culture.’ There are numerous ways of filling the gap, and the plurality of approaches is something we strive for with each new issue.

The journal offers numerous opportunities to contribute. Calls for abstracts that are posted biannually shall need contributors of peer reviewed academic articles, while ideas for shorter pieces (textual, visual, graphic…you name it) pertaining to any and all of the issue topics are welcome for submission at any time.