The Politics of Difference
and the Threshold of Law
A Conference in Law and the Humanities
Liberal Studies Program, University at Albany
Albany Law School
March 31 – April 1, 2017 Albany Law School
Violence constructed around difference appears in contexts that may initially seem remote (consider the role of science in generating debate about environmental justice). It gives rise to new strategies of social transformation, in conditions where legal action appears impossible (such as with the Truth Commission in South Africa). Legal systems themselves adjust and transform in response to new social conditions. NGO activity and social movements such as Occupy and Black Lives Matter, respond to violence and injustice, both before and after the law has intervened. How are we to understand the various ways in which violence is negotiated, within the law and beyond the threshold of law? These questions bear on the constant disequilibrium between “law” and “justice.” The conference includes papers that speak to these issues from a broad range of disciplines and perspectives.
The conference gratefully acknowledges support from
The Collaboration Venture Fund, supporting the Affiliation between Albany Law School and the University at Albany
Albany Law School
The Office of Sponsored Programs, Division of Research
The College of Arts and Sciences
The Department of English
University at Albany
This conference hosts a multidisciplinary conversation on how we contend with the emergence of violence toward difference, before and after it receives remedial treatment by the law, that is, beyond the threshold of the rule of law. Many – perhaps most – forms of injustice persist for long periods of time beneath the threshold of the law, and may continue indefinitely after the law has addressed it (one thinks of recent debates about the Confederate flag at the South Carolina State Capitol, following the Charleston Church shooting). Many social institutions outside the legal system are forced to develop strategies of negotiating violence, even when this is not their principal function (one thinks of recent university responses to racial and sexual violence, or to government travel bans on targeted populations). Other social institutions that may not appear to be concerned with law can in fact be shown to have a significant engagement with legal issues (one thinks of Greek tragedy in democratic Athens, or the sentimental novel in nineteenth-century America, or the development of post-colonial studies in the university).
Special Thanks to