CfP: “Law and Literature from the Global South,” special issue of the Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies.

Call for Papers: The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies

Spring 2018 Special Issue: Law and Literature from the Global South


Guest Editors: David Babcock (James Madison University) and Peter Leman (Brigham Young University)


Deadline for Submissions (approximately 4,000-5,000 words): December 20, 2016


Contact Email:

CfP: available here


The editors of this special issue of JCPCS seek essays that respond to the question: what does it mean to study law and literature from the global south? “Law and Literature,” as a field, has responded in recent years to criticism of its longstanding attention to Anglo-American contexts, and more and more, scholars are turning to regions of the global south in thinking about the literary in relationship to international, colonial, and post-colonial forms of law. Though this widening geographical scope is praiseworthy and necessary, there remains the question of method: can the literatures and legal cultures of the global south inflect, augment, or otherwise reshape not only where we direct our critical attention as scholars of law and literature but how?

In posing this question, we take as initial inspiration Jean Comaroff and John L. Comaroff’s Theory From the South (2012), in which they question the tendency of theory work to be unidirectional, emerging from the north and then circulating within and being “applied to” the south. If, however, the global south has played an essential role in “world-historical processes” (7) and can, therefore, afford “privileged insight into the workings of the world at large” (1), then perhaps theory—including law and literature—ought to take this into account. When we speak of “postcolonial law and literature” or “law, literature, and the global south,” are we speaking of the conventional critical paradigms of law and literature as it emerged from Anglo-American contexts in the 1970s and 80s, or does the postcolonial/global open us up to new configurations of the legal and the literary? If so, what might these configurations look like? What new concepts emerge? Are there forms of law, justice, obligation, harm, personhood, etc. that originate in but circulate beyond the cultures of the global south that might provoke us to think differently about the dominant normative assumptions of the field at large? Are there colonial legal practices that still survive in contemporary states, and if so, what creative concepts or images of law can we see emerging in literary responses to these problematic legacies? In what ways has international law been adapted, reimagined, or otherwise modified in its years of deployment throughout the global south—for good or for ill—that can be understood through the lens of the literary and brought back to our conventional assumptions about law as it has developed in the north? Are there forms of intersection between law and literature in the global south that make even the implied distinction of “and” irrelevant? Submissions should seek to demonstrate how the literatures and cultures of the global south, broadly conceived, offer provocative ways for scholars throughout the world to think about the field of law and literature and the fluid nature of its most fundamental terms.


Manuscripts must be written in English and follow the MLA Style Manual.

JCPCS uses a double-blind review process.

Full, formatted manuscripts should be submitted to jcpcs.lawlit[at] by December 20, 2016.

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