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School of Law

Department of Law Staff Seminars 2020-21: Pacing scholarly lives at the Law School Café

Please see the nearly complete schedule for this term below. We have adjusted the timings so that colleagues are able to attend CCLS and DoL seminars when these occur on the same day. The CCLS seminars are held from 12.00pm to 12.45pm on Wednesdays, details available on our QMplus site and from the convenor Garry Gabison via e-mail reminders. The Department of Law seminars will now normally start from 12.45pm.

We look forward to seeing you at our Café and hope that these meetings will help sustain us as scholars through this difficult winter. We will no doubt again pick up on earlier exchanges, as we make time for thinking holistically, theoretically, methodologically and substantively about researchers and research activities.

Term 2

27 January 2021 - Checking in

Please note, this seminar will be held from 1.30-2.30pm.

We again begin with an unprogrammed gathering to catch up as Term 2 begins and we deal with a third national lockdown. Everyone who participates in the scholarly life of the Law School, whether as administrator or academic, PhD student, teaching associate or Professor, is most welcome to this and all our gatherings. The timing has exceptionally been varied given we expect a good number of colleagues will be at the Faculty Early Careers Event from 12h00 to 13h30 pm

3 February 2021 - Making the most of work for funding bids

  • Sarah Saines
  • Claire Trenery
  • Anna Boneham

We are very grateful that our DoL Research Manager, Sarah, will be joined by Claire, who is Research Manager in the School of History, and Anna, who has recently taken over from Aurelija Povilaike as HSS Research Manager. They will each speak for 10-15 minutes, drawing on their varied experiences of research funding to give their perspectives on how to make the most of our work for research bids, including unsuccessful ones.

10 February 2021 - On writing

We welcome reflections from colleagues on the different roles of writing in their scholarly lives, with Isobel, Conor and Tim kicking off the discussion as follows:

  • Isobel on essay writing workshops with Equity students and the distinction between 'writing to be read' and 'writing for the record’. Isobel elaborates on this distinction in her forthcoming monograph Articulating Security.
  • Conor on being a creative writer and the difference between creative writing and academic writing. Conor has published short stories, one of which Journeys, won the 2019 Moth short story competition. Recently, his article Why Fair Procedures Always Make a Difference was published in the Modern Law Review.
  • Tim on the writing tactics involved in creating a persuasive, truthful and compelling institutional research narrative, and on writing original philosophy

3 March 2021 - Originality in research

Two PhD speakers to be confirmed

This session looks at the challenge of ‘being original’ as a researcher. We invite PhD students and post-doctoral academic staff to reflect on the different ways that scholars produce original research.

What does doing ‘original research’ mean to you? Tell us about a piece of original research that you’re proud of and why? Have you experienced particular challenges to the characterization of your research as original? How did, or do, you deal with such challenges, especially if they come from a supervisor, examiner, journal reviewer or editor, research funder, peer, colleague, or student? Do you have any particular tricks for making the originality of your research clear and engaging for different kinds (specialist/generalist, methodological/theoretical/substantive) of research audience?

Building classrooms with our Students

Postponed and to be re-scheduled.

This session responds to a request by the Anti-Racism Working Group to invite colleagues to share how they are currently engaging with students and building inclusive and responsive classrooms.

24 March 2021 - Methodological experimentation with Primary Legal Sources

A dichotomy is often made between traditional legal doctrinal research and more experimental scholarship. Yet this opposition elides that research into primary legal sources has immense potential for answering research questions other than classic doctrinal ones. In this session Alan, Jonathan and Roxana will talk about their experience with, and plans for, research using primary legal sources (and Lizzie may chime in given this is a particular area of interest for her). Alan has since 2014 been working on a large scale empirical project examining corporate disregard in the UK over the course of the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries. Jonathan is in the course of writing a piece about how property rights are written about in judgments, and Roxana in various ways brings a distinctive perspective to research using primary legal materials, including as a legal historian.

14 April 2021 - A discussion of our experiences in online teaching/learning this year

Please note, this seminar will be held from 12:45-2.30pm.

28 June 2021 - Roundtable with members of the Anti-Racism Working Group

Please note, this seminar is held from 2:15-4pm (2 x 45 minute roundtbales and a 10 minute break).

Members of the anti-racism working group have been meeting since the summer of 2020 and would like to invite colleagues to this research café to hear what we’ve been thinking about, and to let us know your thoughts on future possible activities. We’ve had conversations about what it means to do anti-racist and decolonising work, group organisational practices, working with students, making policy and funding interventions inside and outside the university, and more. Members of the group have different kinds of expertise in relation to research, teaching and lived experience of racisms, so meeting online has been an opportunity to talk through questions together, figure out gaps in our own knowledge and think about how to fill them.

We share a commitment to making the law school a place that values the wealth that differently racialised staff and students bring to the world and that tackles the processes by which that wealth is devalued at individual, collective and systemic levels. We share a curiosity about the best ways of enacting and enabling that commitment, a curiosity that values local knowledge in the best traditions of decolonial scholarship, local knowledges in all corners of the school. We also have concerns about doing this work, concerns about how it is resourced when we are stretched, about the influence of superficial or fashionable versions, and concerns about how our critical and curious labour might be co-opted or operationalised in ways we find problematic. So far we have found that scholarship on anti-racism and decolonisation has valuable insights for how to address these concerns and build on our commitment and curiosity. And we hope that colleagues will scrutinise, support and continue this work from a variety of critical perspectives.

We have already been hearing through the research cafés, and elsewhere, that colleagues are doing rich work on concepts, methods, histories and doctrine relating to understanding and challenging racism and colonisation. At our first anti-racism event back in October, Miriam Goldby shared how she introduced Shipping Law on the LLM with the story of Zong and the massacre of enslaved people by the ship’s captain so that he could make an insurance claim for lost cargo. At a café on teaching in April, Roxana Banu shared how she has developed land law tutorials on colonial dispossession. In hearing from others about modes of student participation such as student juries, podcasts and writing workshops we learned about pedagogical practices that could decolonise by making the most of what students living with colonial legacies bring to the classroom. We have no doubt that there is lots of work going on in the school which we could all draw on and develop. We will begin this café with a selection of short inputs (3-5 mins) from members of the working group and very much welcome participation from colleagues across the School.

Roundtable One (2:20-3:05pm)

  • Ratna Kapur on insights from the anti-racist internationalism event
  • Sanmeet Dua on the proposal for a student prize
  • Tanzil Chowdhury on proposing Law and the Legacies of Empire
  • Jonathan Griffiths on possible curriculum review opportunities
  • Roxana Banu on decolonial land law tutorials

Roundtable Two (3:15-4pm)

  • Kate Malleson on engagement over the People, Culture and Inclusion Strategy
  • Isobel Roel on a proposed Art of Law student projects café
  • Anjana Bahl on reaching out to Indian students in light of the Covid crisis
  • Ruth Fletcher on a future teaching café on reading cases through a critical race lens
  • Hedi Viterbo on proposing the LLM child law module and contextual approaches