Austin Sarat, series editor
Editorial Board: Peter Brooks Princeton University | Susan Sage Heinzelman University of Texas at Austin | Bernadette Meyler Stanford University | Ravit Reichman Brown University | Eric Slauter University of Chicago
The crossroads of legal scholarship and literary criticism has, over more than forty years of writing and research, become a busy intellectual intersection. As a ground of inquiry, law and literature has transformed from a novel set of proposals to a mature field of study and writing, with well-established perspectives and positions, courses offered for both undergraduates and law students, and the emergence of its own journals. Writers who have shaped the field include legal and political theorists, jurists, literary scholars, ethnographers, and historians.
Despite these accomplishments it remains the case, as Kenji Yoshino observed nearly ten years ago, that “law and literature has been caught in limbo for a particularly long time.” The early division in the field between law-in-literature and law-as-literature has been exhaustively explored. The time is ripe for the encouragement and development of new approaches in the field, pathways offering the possibility of greater insights and new analyses of challenges confronting societies in a variety of cultures and legal orders.
Laws, Literatures, and Cultures, a new series supported by the Amherst College Press, will provide a forum for this work. As a digital-first, open-access scholarly publisher, the Amherst College Press offers scholars working at the intersections of these questions new tools for supporting research and publishing—and the potential of greatly increased impact through immediate and unfettered access to titles we produce.
In our new series, we are seeking work that will set law, literature, and culture in new dialogues, exploring the textual dimensions and cultural work of law and the legal frameworks of literature. Law and literature have for millennia been closely allied, as means of persuasion and the creation of cultural norms. Setting law and literature in juxtaposition permits a mapping from one to the other that often produces startling and important results. In addition, we seek work that brings literary, legal, and/or cultural analysis together to explore specific social and political problems and that attends carefully to historical contexts and issues.
We also seek work expanding the consideration of these questions to cultural settings, literary traditions, and legal systems outside the common law. Of particular interest are works that define and argue a thesis drawing on both textual and non-textual sources for which a multimodal, digital presentation offers unique expressive power.
Laws, Literatures, and Cultures will entertain proposals for works of all forms, from longer, traditional monograph-length studies to collections of shorter works. We are open as well to projects with no clear parallel in the print tradition. In the case of all our works we will subject submissions to a rigorous process of peer review and evaluation. Upon release, works will be supported by the Press’s commitment to creating pathways to annotation and comment from the community of scholars and students engaging with our work. While developed in the first instance as web-based and downloadable digital works, books in the series will also be prepared and released as printed works through a print-on-demand pathway.