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Monday, September 19, 2011

Professor Edwards Contributes to "Law as a Discourse Community: Critical Perspectives on Legal Discourse"

Congratulations to Professor Linda Edwards who is writing a chapter in a book entitled "Law as a Discourse Community: Critical Perspectives on Legal Discourse," which will be published by Carolina Academic Press. Please see below for a description of the book.

Proponents of critical legal studies, critical race theory, feminist legal theory, lat crit, and postmodern legal theory all have critiqued traditional foundationalist legal discourse and have attempted to construct alternative discursive accounts of law and its relationship to society. Peter Goodrich has argued that these critical perspectives are all located within legal discourse. Many critical and postmodern theorists, however, have maintained that these critiques are external to legal discourse, i.e., that they are essentially meta-critiques of the domain itself. If Goodrich is correct, then how can critical perspectives really fundamentally change the discourse community? Alternatively, if the latter position is correct can legal discourse evolve in order to accommodate the perspectives of these “outsider” narratives? The essays in this volume will engage these questions directly.

This book will bring together some of the foremost experts in legal discourse theory in a wide-ranging discussion concerning the relationship between traditional discursive practices in law and various critical stances concerning those discursive practices. The critical schools will include critical theory, critical race theory, feminist theory, lat crit theory, linguistics, postmodern legal theory, rhetoric, and semiotics, and will situate their critical perspectives within the larger debates about law as a discourse community. It will include articles flowing from the Law and Interpretation section program at the 2012 AALS Annual meeting, with presentations by Richard Delgado (Seattle University School of Law), Stanley Fish (Florida International University School of Law), Peter Goodrich (Cardozo University School of Law), Theresa Godwin Phelps (American University Washington College of Law), and Jean Stefancic (Seattle University School of Law).

In addition to articles flowing from these presentations, an introductory essay will situate the topic within the context of contemporary debates on discourse, jurisprudence, rhetoric, and semiotics in the legal domain. Essays by other authors will be included in order to round out the substantive coverage of the interdiscursive aspects of the law and society debates in the early twenty-first century.

These essays on the interrelationship between these critical discourses and law as a social institution will open the study of legal discourse for students and scholars who proceed from any of these standpoints, and will show how law in modern societies—especially in the United States—contains overlapping narratives and discursive practices. The high visibility of the authors who have agreed to contribute to both the AALS panel and the book sets this project apart from any other book on legal discourse. The authors’ contributions will make this a central work that anyone interested in legal discourse and critical theory will consult.

The authors are: Richard Delgado—Seattle University School of Law, Linda Edwards—William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV, Peter Goodrich—Cardozo University School of Law, Theresa Godwin Phelps—American University Washington College of Law, Tayyab Mahmud—Seattle University School of Law, David Ritchie—Mercer University School of Law, Jack Sammons—Mercer University School of Law, Jean Stefancic—Seattle University School of Law, James Boyd White—University of Notre Dame School of Law, and Steven Winter—Wayne State University School of Law.