Littoral Law

Littoral Law

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

5:30 PM–7:00 PM
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In this Research and Academic Program lecture, Sora Han (University of California, Irvine / Clark Fellow) examines the colonial law of the high seas and its various doctrines regulating everchanging natural borders between land and water to inform a reading of the break between the oceanic law’s words and how contemporary artists rearticulate them into other aesthetic forms. The focus of her talk is Charles Gaines’s Manifestos 4 (2020) and Sky Box II (2020), which break the words of the infamous 1857 Supreme Court opinion, Dred Scott v. Sanford, with alternative rules-based processes of musical and sculptural composition. Breaking law conceptually offers a portal to a mystical realm of legal experience and interpretation beyond nomos into an arranging, translational field of black study.

Sora Han is professor of criminology, law & society, comparative literature, and African American studies, and is affiliated faculty with the School of Law at the University of California, Irvine. Her research focuses on the law and history of slavery and abolitionism, and Lacanian psychoanalysis and poetics. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including Letters of the Law (Stanford University Press 2016); the law casebook, Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law, 3rd Edition (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2020); the multimedia essay, Res Nulla Loquitur in b2o (2022); and Mu: 49 Marks of Abolition (Duke University Press 2024). Her first book of poetry, ㅁ: to regard a wave, is forthcoming from Selva Oscura Press in 2024. At the Clark, she will be working on a book project titled Break Law, which examines how a new genre of contemporary art uses the written texts of American jurisprudence to make drawings, sculptures, videos, musical compositions, and other multimedia forms.

Free. Accessible seats available; for information, call 413 458 0524. A 5 pm reception in the Manton Research Center reading room precedes the event.

Image: Charles Gaines, detail of Sky Box I, 2011