CFP: (2020 GSA Panel) - Show Trials: Film, Law, and Performance, Washington, D.C.

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Show Trials: Film, Law, and Performance



Hello, Dennis Johannßen and I (Daniel Schwartz) are looking for one more member for our panel on show trials for the next GSA. We're also looking for a chair and discussant. Below you'll find a short description of our panel, as well as some possible paper topics, though feel free to propose your own! Please write back on H-Net if you're interested, or email me directly (you can find my email by searching for Daniel Schwartz on LLC department website at McGill University).




Dennis and Daniel


Panel Proposal:


Does the law have to be a performance? From Socrates’ “Apology” to the Nuremberg Trials and today’s impeachment proceedings, the reliance of legal discourses on visibility and public exposure has been the object of literature, philosophy, and historiography. How did the advent of film and digital media change the representation and perception of law? What is film’s specific ability to depict the performative and theatrical aspects of legal trials? What if film is used as evidence or part of the proceedings? What if film is used to expose a “show trial?” Can film intervene in or be a second order critique of legal discourses? Our panel examines the interdisciplinary and intertextual relationships between film, legal trials, literature, and performance. We seek to understand how film participates in the performance and reevaluation of law and justice, whether as documentation, evidence, or critique. Possible paper topics may include: 


  • Testimonies in film (The Specialist; Shoah; A Film Unfinished; The Art of Killing)

  • Russian show trials in film and literature, from Stalin to Putin (The Moscow Trials;  The Trial) 

  • Film as legal evidence or part of the proceedings (Nuremberg Trials)

  • Trials as the subject of documentary or feature film (O.J. Simpson: Made in America, The Jury; The Specialist; The Reader; Mr Death) 

  • Cinematic interventions in legal questions (The Thin Blue Line; 

  • Denial, trauma, and libel (Mr. Death; The Accountant of Auschwitz)

  • Show and performance in court (The Devil Next Door) 

  • Medium-specific relationships to legal discourses (Film, literature, television, digital media)

  • Trials and legal scenes in literature and film (Kleist, Kafka, Bachmann, Celan, Maxim Biller) 

  • Broadcasts and recordings of legal proceedings



Redaktion: Constanze Baum – Lukas Büsse – Mark-Georg Dehrmann – Nils Gelker – Markus Malo – Alexander Nebrig – Johannes Schmidt

Diese Ankündigung wurde von H-GERMANISTIK [Mark-Georg Dehrmann] betreut –