Law's Slow Violence: a continuing conversation

Thanks to the great group of people who turned up for our workshop last Friday – much fun despite some absent people who were greatly missed.  The conference is described here, and all the discussions and comments leading up to the conference, from Dayna Scott, Angela Harris, Pearl Kan, Doug Hay and Estair Van Wagner, are available here.

I am still wondering about live tweeting conferences – sometimes it’s great (when I really want to be there and cannot), but for the ordinary twitter follower, the avalanche of tweets can be a bit much.  At any rate, I do think that some things can be very helpful – for instance, tweeting the full titles and links to articles, books, and other items mentioned by conference speakers.  Below are some of the things that our panelists relied on in their remarks:

There were many more! These are just the ones that I caught.

Thanks again to the panelists and especially to Rob Nixon, as generous and thoughtful an academic as you’re ever likely to meet.  We aren’t closing off our law’s slow violence conversation yet – stay tuned for the video of the opening remarks from Rob and Osgoode’s Dayna Scott on video, and we would welcome any blog posts from panelists.

Personally, I am still stuck on the question of whether we (those) in the global North can only be reached by arguments which reference some future time in which the “violence” is brought home to us (them)– either in the form of climate change (e.g. coastal flooding) or climate refugees.  Is that the narrative that is needed? Must we “go there”?  In addition, I am still struggling with how to integrate law into this conversation, as we agreed that the representational issues that the book takes on with respect to “slow moving attritional disaster” are very relevant to legal advocates.  But on the other hand we also agreed that formal. positive law is – to an almost complete extent – wildly resistant to efforts to either halt or attempt to remedy such violence.  I look forward to getting together a reading list of articles which, in some type of case study format, detail the ways in which law is implicated both in some particular “slow” violence and in ongoing efforts to ignore, deny and conceal the consequences.  Such fine grained approaches will, I think, be a starting point to mapping the ways that lawyers and legal scholars can think about other possibilities for legal interventions in “slow violence”. Finally, I want to think more about  the place of gender in these conversations (on which consider for a start “Slow Violence, Gender, and the Environmentalism of the Poor,” Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies 13.2-14.1, 2006-2007, 14-37 (special issue on environmentalism and postcolonial literatures) (pdf).)

-à la prochaine on these points-

One thought on “Law's Slow Violence: a continuing conversation”

  1. Thanks, Sonia, and everyone for organizing a great day. I deeply appreciate the dialogue and am thinking about the alliances we need to make amongst those who are primarily affected by slow violence and the lawyers, educators, writer-activists and others. I’ve jotted down a few of my thoughts on my blog:

    Like you, i’m “stuck” on the question of what stories might folks in the Global ‘North’.

    Hope to see some of youse all about



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