Law: New Agendas for Legal Pedagogy
Organised in collaboration with
School of India University, Bangalore
by IDPAD, New Delhi)
9:00 AM-9:30 AM: Inaugural
AM-11:00 AM. Keynote Session: Contemporary Challenges for Scholarship
in Law Society and Culture
Upendra Baxi (University of Warwick) - 'The Dominant, Residual,
and the Emergent Cultures of Law: Some Voices From the Past'
B.S.Chimni (National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkota)
- 'The Future of the New Law Schools: Some Critical Reflections'
Eleanor Wong (National University of Singapore) - 'Pedagogical
challenges for en-culturing the law classroom: Reflections on
the legal writing program at NUS'
11:00 AM-11:30 AM. - Tea Break
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM- Discussion after comments from session respondent:
Prof. Babu Matthew (Currently Country Director, Action Aid India,
p.m - Lunch Break
PM - 2.30 PM Session 2: Critical and Interdisciplinary Traditions
in Anglo-American Legal Scholarship
Roger Cotterrell (Queen Mary and Westfield College, London)
- 'Culture, Comparison, Community - Social Studies of Law Today'
W T Murphy (London School of Economics) - 'Cultures of Criticism:
Reflections on contemporary legal education'
PM-3:15 PM - Discussion after comments from session respondent:
Sudhir Krishnaswamy (NLS, Bangalore)
PM- 3:30 PM - Tea Break
PM - 4.30 PM Session 3: Challenges for the Comparative Study
of Legal Cultures
Partick Glen (McGill University, Montreal) - 'Legal Systems, Legal
Traditions and Legal Education'
Volkmar Gessner (International Institute for the Sociology of
Law, Onati) - 'Legalization and the Varieties of Capitalism'
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM - Discussion after comments from session respondent:
Arun Thiruvendagam (Doctoral Candidate, New York University),
and special respondent on the day's proceedings: Prof. Peter Van
Der Veer (Co-Chair, IDPAD, The Netherlands).
10 AM - 11.30 AM: Session 1: Reworking Legal Methods I: The
Women's Question in Post-Colonial Societies: Challenges for a
Comparative and Cultural Study of Law
Hyunah Yang, Seoul National University, Seoul - 'Reading the Recent
Changes in Korean Family Law: Toward a Postcolonial Legal Feminism
Jothi Sauntharajah (National University of Singapore) - 'Toying
with Tradition: Law, CEDAW and Singapore'
Flavia Agnes (Advocate, High Court of Mumbai) - 'Re-visiting the
Personal Law Conundrum: Reflections on the Resolution of the Womens
Question in Hindu Personal Law'
11:30 AM -11:45 AM - Tea Break
11:45 a.m - 12:45 p.m - Discussion after comments from session
respondent: Dr. Rajeshwari Sundar Rajan (University of Oxford,
p.m Lunch Break
PM - 2.00 PM Session 2: Reworking Legal Methods II: Social
and Political Histories in the Study of Law
Tanika Sarkar, Delhi University, Delhi - 'Between Laws and Faith:
Hindu Personal Laws in the 19th Century Public Sphere'
2:00-2:45 p.m - Discussion after comments from session respondent:
Janaki Nair (Centre for the Study of Social Sciences, Kolkata)
PM -3:00 PM - Tea Break
PM - 4.30 PM Session 3: Reworking Legal Methods III: Re-Focussing
Rights: Reflections on the Place of 'Rights' in a Legal Classroom
Jayadeva Uyandgoda (University of Colombo) - Righting the Wrongs
in the Margins: Issues in Constitution Making in a Society in
the Transition from War to Peace: Sri Lanka
Jonathan Klaaren (University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg) -
'The Globalisation of Governance: New challenge for conceiving
regimes of rights" Oliver Mendelsohn (La Trobe University,
Victoria) - 'What is Distinctive About Indian Law and How Can
that Distinctiveness be Represented in the Classroom?'
4:30 pm -5:30 pm - Discussion after comments from session respondent:
Dr. Sitaramam Kakarala, CSCS, Bangalore
9.30 AM- 11.00 AM Session 1: New challenges for the cultural
scholarship of law I: Law and the Study of Cinema (Organised by
Anne Barron (London School of Economics) - 'The (Legal) Properties
of Film: Copyright Law and Cultural Analysis'
Ashish Rajadyaksha (CSCS) - 'On the Properties of Cinema: Why
Law is Important for Cultural Analysis'
AM - 1.00 PM Session 2: New Challenges for the Cultural Scholarship
of Law II: Law and the Study of Media Practices and Knowledge
Production (Organised by ALF)
Shuddhabrata Sengupta (The Sarai Programme, Centre for the Study
of Developing Societies, Delhi) - 'Cyber-culture, New Media and
the Proliferation of Knowledge Production: Challenges for the
Regulation of Knowledge Practices.
Lawrence Liang and Namita Malhotra (ALF, Bangalore) - 'Media Practice
as Legal Practice: Exploring the World of the Cinematograph Act,
1:00-2:00 p.m Lunch Break
2.00 PM - 3.00 PM Session 3: Rounding Up
Exploratory discussions for future collaborations for research
in Law Society and Culture, etc.
For Further Details:
person: Mathew John, Fellow,
The Law & Culture Programme
Centre for the Study of Culture & Society
on the Conference:
note seeks to address some of the critical problems facing contemporary
legal education, especially legal education in large parts of
the global south. While the problems are likely to be numerous
and varying from context to context we try to identify some range
of the possibly common problems that assume salience for a study
of law in its social and cultural context. Not having full access
to the range of challenges facing other social and legal contexts
we start with the problems that animate our own efforts to initiate
this conversation on legal education.
program for Law, Society and Culture at the Centre for the Study
of Culture & Society (CSCS), Bangalore was set up in 2003 in order
to address what we believe is a crisis in law teaching, research
and scholarship in India. We see the problem at three levels:
it is far from controversial today to assert that contemporary
India has rather modestly developed traditions of legal scholarship.
The legal community as well as other allied humanities disciplines
have by and large failed in building a research project in law
with distinctly Indian problems and possibilities. Model centres
of legal teaching and research like the Indian Law Institute and
the National Law School have also largely failed to definitively
determine the paths of Indian legal scholarship. Thus even at
its very best (though of course with a few notable exceptions)
Indian legal scholarship has not managed to travel far beyond
the production commentaries that chart the movement of doctrinal
legal trends across various fields.
Modest research traditions have meant that the legal classroom
has not been able to grapple with social problems outside the
vicelike grip of doctrinal legal analysis. Though experiments
like the National Law School in Bangalore have met with some success
in moving beyond strict doctrinal approaches, the legal lens continues
to blur when it falls upon approaches outside of its disciplinary
frame. Teaching and learning law has therefore continued to remain
a self-referential enterprise in the interpretation of rules.
As a result, legal education in India has not been successful
in going beyond meeting minimal requirement of producing 'legal
technicians' for a range of legal markets.
these two aspects of the problem give rise to a third problem.
That is, the inability of legal education in India to respond
holistically and meaningfully to contemporary challenges. This
problem is made especially acute today with the collapse of the
developmentalist/wefare state. Without the institutional and conceptual
backing of the developmentalist state the contemporary Indian
university in general and legal education in particular is unsure
of the concerns that it ought to be contending with and consequently
the content that academic programs must now assume.
this discussion has been framed by the Indian example we suspect
that it would roughly hold true for many other countries of the
global south. The problem of the ideological crisis of the welfare/developmentalist
state is however a far more general problem that throws open the
question of the social mandate of legal education in all contexts
across the world as well. There is therefore no denying the usefulness
of comparative discussions through these problems. It is in this
context that we propose a seminar to dialogue some range of the
issues that we identified above from an international and comparative
the promise of interdisciplinary study
way in which the CSCS Law and Culture Programme has sought to
respond to the problems outlined above has been by advocating
a strongly interdisciplinary approach to the study of law. Drawing
heavily from social, cultural, economic, historical and anthropological
approaches to law, the program has been committed to exploring
an approach to contemporary social issues that would be distinct
from the prevalent model emphasising doctrinal analysis. While
the turn towards interdisciplinary study holds promise for a holistic
response to social problems the usefulness of this approach is
not necessarily self-evident and thereby raises a further range
of questions. Some of them include - What shifts in the contemporary
political economy and mindscapes have made for the generation
of contemporary interdisciplinary study in law, society and culture?
What merits does this mode of studying social phenomena possess?
Does this mode of addressing problems make significant advances
in the manner in which these problems have conventionally been
addressed? If so, how? Is the cultural turn an alibi for the impossibilities
and impasses in the study of human societies? If so how might
we move beyond these stumbling blocks?
one might not necessarily be convinced about the usefulness of
the interdisciplinary approach one cannot help but notice its
usefulness in identifying and studying distinct sets of pointed
socio-legal conversations of considerable contemporary significance.
Some examples of these exchanges relevant to India would include
the debates on caste, the contests over rights to the urban metropolis,
the challenge of religious and ethnic violence, issues of rights,
the questions raised by women's movement in India and so on. Underpinning
many of these debates are the concerns that frame legal systems
in most parts of the global south through the tensions of Modernity
and Tradition, Coloniality and Post-Coloniality as well as Orientalism
and Post Orientalism. We believe that many of these conversations
tease out interesting aspects of legal problems in contemporary
India especially the difficulties involved in understanding the
working of law in post-colonial contexts. It is against this background
that we propose a three-day seminar to discuss the manner in which
these issues are configured as challenges for legal education.
Further we also believe that all or many of these concerns resonate
with experiences in contexts beyond India. Therefore we expect
the seminar to think through some of the issues outlined above
from a range of international perspectives, a task made especially
urgent by the challenges of globalisation and the global crisis
in determining the social mandate of law, legal systems and legal
Details and Particulars
organizers we believe that an ambitious academic exercise such
as the one outlined above one cannot but be a truly cross-cultural
and cross-disciplinary exercise in order to make it both meaningful
as well as enriching. Accordingly we are hopeful that a wide range
of scholars from across the world will contribute to the dialogue
at the seminar.
seminar is structured as a set of three panels per day on each
of the three days, with two to three speakers per panel and each
panel moderated by a joint respondent. The audience beyond the
participants will primarily be law students and other interested
social science students from Bangalore and probably a few other
parts of the country.
seminar breaks down as follows: The first day is concerned with
socio-legal debates emanating from legal academy and the concerns
that it will explore are: -
The institutional and epistemic challenges facing legal academy
in the global south (through the case of India).
2. The burdens of the critical traditions in legal study ( i.e.
Marxist tradition, feminist traditions, the Critical Legal Studies
movement etc.) and their impact or usefulness in the study of
contemporary social problems.
3. The challenge of comparative legal study given that liberal
legal models are the templates that determine the contours of
legal systems (jurisdictions) in most parts of the world.
second day deals with the way in which social scientist have found
themselves confronted with legal problems, the manner in which
they have addressed these problems and the place that such efforts
must or could have on legal curricula. We hope to explore the
Law and the resolution of the women's question in post-colonial
2. The place of social and political histories in the study of
3. The Margin of Rights: Post colonial critiques of rights discourses
third day will be put together by a collaborating organisation,
Alternative Law Forum and will primarily address new forms of
knowledge production outside the conventional university space
and which have implications for the study of law.