Spaces of Law. IV International Conference in Transatlantic Studies

David Yague Gonzalez's picture
April 12, 2019
Massachusetts, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, British History / Studies, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Literature, Philosophy

In Nomos of the Earth, Carl Schmitt underscores the intimate connection between law and territory: “nomos is the immediate form in which the political and social order of a people becomes spatially visible” (Nomos of the Earth, 70). Michel Foucault’s complementary point is that “[t]he successes of history belong to those who are capable of seizing these rules, to replace those who had used them, to disguise themselves so as to pervert them, invert their meaning, and redirect them against those who had initially imposed them” (“Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” 86). Cultural forms do play a crucial role in the visibilization not only of space but its regulation. However, the practical articulation of rules and the locale where they apply and are implemented may be deployed to reaffirm or to unsettle domination. Aesthetics and the law are imbricated in their world-shaping force, which bears significant consequences for the conceptualization and implementation of the relatively autonomous norms of cultural fields; the local, national, international, and transnational balance of cultural, economic, and political power; and the tense negotiation between action, representation, performance, and judgment. 


At the Fourth International Conference in Transatlantic Studies: “Spaces of Law,” we hope to elucidate the historical co-constitution of law and space in Transatlantic culture, map their unfolding in networks of central and peripheral agents and institutions, and trace genealogies and trajectories of the forces that constitute them. What laws govern (the often transnational) Transatlantic circulation, exchange, and contamination of ideas, tropes, genres, etc.? What spaces correspond to, imagine, or activate what forms of justice? What are the sites of the “seizure, replacement, perversion, inversion, and redirection” of the violence contained in laws implemented by those in power? How does the circulation of individuals affect those that inhabit that space and what are the legal ramifications of such spatial movements? How do the environment and communities settling into a new space affect each other?


This conference attempts to bring together scholars from a myriad of disciplines in the humanities working on American, Latin American, and/or European humanities studies to explore the interrelationship that the senses and spatial constructions have had within their disciplines and in doing so build connections between both shores of the Atlantic. We welcome proposals for panels and individual papers that probe the encounter of law with literary and cultural productions.


Issues to explore include, but are not limited to: 

Literary trials

Piracy sites

(Law and) crime fictions

Figures of crime: from pícaroto the hacker

Territorialization and the State

Deconstructing law: the force of law and the law of genre

National sovereignty and beyond

Aesthetic and literary judgment

The right to space

Scriptural practices

Smuggling cultures


The conference will be held on April 12thand 13that the Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The official language of the conference will be English. 


KEYWORDS: Literature, Humanities, Latino Studies, Spanish Studies, Anglo-American Studies, American Studies, History, Space, Legal Theory, Critical Discourse Studies, Media Studies, Sociolinguistics, Ideology and Language. 






Abstracts must be between 250 and 300 words. A brief bio note of approximately 150-200 words must be included. A list of 5 keywords must be included.


Abstracts must be submitted to transatlanticstudies2019@gmail.combefore January, 20th 2019, at midnight – United States EST. 


The Executive Committee will notify applicants about the selection of submissions no later than January 30th, 2019.


Formats for sessions: a) 20-minute individual paper; b) Chaired panels with three participants; c) Round tables




Speakers must pay a registration fee:

-     Before March 15th, 2015: $80

-     After March 15th, 2015: $100

Contact Info: 

This Study Group arises from the International Conference that took place in RCC, in April 2014, and brings together the interest of Humanities Scholars working on both sides of the Atlantic. The next International Conference will take place on May 12th-13th, 2017.

Transatlantic culture often presents itself as a narrative of encounter and dialogue that transcend the limits of the local. However, the trace of colonialism, the living memory of exile, and an uneven distribution of economic, political, and symbolic power haunts transatlantic imagination. This conference aims to explore the many ways in which antagonisms, uneasy pluralism, and tense negotiations of difference overdetermine sites of Transatlantic cultural practices.