Sara Ross

Lecture: Novelis Nullius: Legal Norms and the (dis)appearance of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian Fiction

Signa Daum Shanks and Kate Sutherland are presenting the lecture Novelis Nullius: Legal Norms and the (dis)appearance of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian Fiction on February 13, 2017, between 12:30pm and 2:00pm in Osgoode Hall Law School’s Room 2027. According to the event description:

Fiction writers both invent new visions of society, but they also often depict trends that they already observe. In Canada, a series of novels acted as a tool for writers’ interests in either or both purposes. McClelland and Stewart’s “New Canadian Library Series” introduced both new re-printed titles to an audience that also wanted some reflections from the academy about those works’ impact. With either an “introduction” or “afterword”, the NCL novels invited more readers to learn more about Canada and literature by having a lower cost and some guidance not typical of other publishing houses or editions.

By focusing on the NCL titles about Canada’s West, and critiquing how those works and their accompanying scholarly essay represented the historic trends experienced by Indigenous peoples, we investigate how the learning of law giving a more accurate portrait of how these works did, or failed to, illustrate Indigenous peoples accurately. While proponents of the “law and literature” subfield often purport that reading literature can tell us more about the law, we want to discuss how appreciating legal norms can help better evaluate the accuracy and impact of fiction. Thinking about a community’s laws can also refine what we think about the responsibility of all writers – regardless of whether they write a fictional work or a non-fictional presentation.

Make sure to RSVP to confirm your attendance at:


Sara Ross

Art News: Canadian Art on Toronto Art Gallery Shuttered by Police

Blank Canvas Gallery

Canadian Art has published an article by Leah Sandals on an incident that occurred at Toronto community art space and art gallery Blank Canvas this past New Years Eve. The gallery was hosting a New Years Eve party offering alcohol without a Special Occasion Permit, under the supervision of co-owner John Samuels and Andrew Davy. During the evening, the Toronto Police entered the establishment in order to place Samuels under arrest, firing a taser at him in the process. Following the incident, the gallery was shuttered, and its locks changed. The article quotes several figures in the Toronto art scene who describe how the incident may have been racially charged. An excerpt from the article reads as follows:

“To me, this speaks to a much larger issue, which is the way that racism and the Toronto Police Service has been playing out over the last 30 years,” says artist, activist and researcher Syrus Marcus Ware, who is also a member of Black Lives Matter Toronto. “But this is also a story about the way the contemporary art scene does or doesn’t interact with issues of anti-blackness.”

You can read the full article here:

Sara Ross

Law.Arts.Culture event – Tell: making poetry from law

Tell - Sutherland poster

On January 16, 2017 Law.Arts.Culture is holding the event “Tell: making poetry from law”. It will feature Soraya Peerbaye and Sheila Batacharya in conversation with Kate Sutherland, between 10:30am and 12:30pm at Osgoode Hall Law School in Room 4034. The event description includes the following:

In writing the award winning Tell: Poems for a Girlhood, poet Soraya Peerbaye was deeply influenced by legal materials from the trial of the murderers of Reena Virk and the scholarship of Dr. Sheila Batacharya on reading the case through the lenses of race, crime and law. Join us to hear Soraya Peerbaye and Sheila Batacharya in discussion with Osgoode Professor Kate Sutherland about the story of Reena Virk, the process by which legal materials can be turned into poetry, and the power and potential of this kind of work.

To attend ensure you rsvp at the following link:


Sara Ross

2016 Clawbies Nomination

This year’s Clawbies nominations are in the process of being made, and I would like to nominate the blog Jurisculture: Exploring Law, Culture and Media, run by Dr. Alexandra R. Harrington and Dr. Amar Khoday of Robson Hall. Postings include “explores the ways that law is constructed and represented through various cultural forms including film, television, literature, music and news media outlets.” I find it an invaluable resource here in Canada, and you can read more on their blog here.

Sara Ross

Call for Conference Papers: Canadian Law and Society’s Mid-Winter Meeting & Symposium


The Mid-Winter Meeting of the Canadian Law and Society Association has been announced, and the deadline for the submission of your conference papers is December 20th, 2016. This year the meeting and conference will be held in Fredericton, New Brunswick, at the University of New Brunswick Faculty of Law over January 20-21st, 2017. According to the Association:

The theme for this year is Piluwitahasuwawsuwakon (the Wolastoqey word for Changing Minds, Living the Truth) as part of our continuing engagement and response to the challenges put forward in the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Calls to Actions. The keynote address, “Sāsipihkeȳihtamowin: Restorying the Indigenous Feminine in an Age of Reconciliation,” will be delivered by Dr. Margaret Kress-White (Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre, UNB).

Abstracts should be no more than 250 words, and submitted to Nicole O’Byrne at . For further information you can check the CLSA website here.

Sara Ross

SSHRC Storytellers Contest 2017


The annual SSHRC Storytellers Contest has been announced for 2017, with entries being accepted between January 7th and January 31st. The contest challenges postsecondary students from across Canada to explore the SSHRC-funded projects being done at their institution, and develop a short 300 word pitch telling the story of that project to the public. You can either select your own project, if SSHRC funded, or the work of any other student or professor as long as you have their permission. The goal is to “show Canadians how social sciences and humanities research is affecting our lives, our world and our future prosperity.”

According to SSHRC, the “Top 25 Storytellers will each receive a cash prize of $3,000, a spot in our exclusive research communications master class at Congress 2017 (registration and three nights’ accommodation included), national promotion of their project and the chance to present their work at the Storytellers Showcase.” The final five will also give presentations of their work at the 2017 SSHRC Impact Awards ceremony.

For more information, you can visit the competition site here.

Sara Ross

Conference Call For Papers: Images, Copyright, and the Public Domain in the Long Nineteenth Century


The Winterther Museum, Garden and Library (Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

The call for papers has been released for the Winterther Museum conference entitled “Images, Copyright, and the Public Domain in the Long Nineteenth Century”, which will take place between March 29-30th, 2018 in Winterthur, Delaware. Following the conference, speakers will be invited to a follow-up workshop in the Spring of 2019 held at the Université Paris Diderot “with the goal of finalizing the joint publication and discussing further research opportunities in this field.” According to the conference description:

This project aims to bring together scholars from a range of disciplines and fields (printing history, art history, law, literature, visual culture, book history, etc.) to explore the cultural and legal consequences of the proliferation of images in the long nineteenth century. Our geographic focus will be on Great Britain and the United States in connection with the wider world, not only their colonies and territories, but also their commercial and artistic links with other countries. Contributions that consider the transnational circulation of images, or provide a comparative perspective on copyright, are most welcome, as are case studies that reveal the local factors that shaped attitudes and practices related to the circulation of images. In referring to the “long 19th century,” we want to encourage specialists of earlier and later periods to help us elucidate the broader history of imaging and printing techniques and the legal and cultural norms that surrounded them.

Your abstract of one page and a short cv are due by February 1, 2017 at the email address of To read more about the event, you can view the posting here.

Sara Ross

Call for Papers: Special Issue of the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law

International Journal for the Semiotics of Law

The International Journal for the Semiotics of Law has issued a call for papers for its upcoming special issue on “Music, National Identity & Law”. Abstracts with a maximum of 300 words should be submitted by December 1, 2016 to guest editor Anne Wagner at If accepted, the maximum length of papers is 15,000 words and they must be written in English. The call for papers includes the following:

Music is a space of possibilities, a realm of cross-cultural events where interpretation is deeply rooted in history and societal evolution. The main complexity is to analyze the coded meaning and view how the same signs, notions and concepts are appropriated, translated, rehistorized and read anew in songs, be they pop songs or national anthems.

This special issue will explore the richly complex manifestations of ‘Music, National Identity and Law’ in the following ways:

How do we stimulate our senses with music?
How do we combine music with national identity and law?
Is music combined with other sign systems?
How de we ‘hear’ music, national identity and law?
What is the creatively approach perception of Music, National Identity and Law?

 The issues is expected to be published some time during 2017 or 2018.

Sara Ross

New Book News: Copyright Beyond Law: Regulating Creativity in the Graffiti Subculture by Marta Iljadica

Copyright Beyond Law

Later in November 2016, Marta Iljadica’s new book Copyright Beyond Law: Regulating Creativity in the Graffiti Subculture will be released on Hart Publishing. Iljadica is a Lecturer in Law at Southampton Law School, having completed her PhD from King’s College London School of Law in 2012. According to the publisher, the book covers the following:

The form of graffiti writing on trains and walls is not accidental. Nor is its absence on cars and houses. Employing a particular style of letters, choosing which walls and trains to write on, copying another writer, altering or destroying another writer’s work: these acts are regulated within the graffiti subculture. Copyright Beyond Law presents findings from empirical research undertaken into the graffiti subculture to show that graffiti writers informally regulate their creativity through a system of norms that are remarkably similar to copyright. 

You can read more about the book at its publisher’s website here.

Sara Ross

IP Osgoode event: The Discursive Structure of Patent Law by Professor Dan Burk

Burk event poster

On November 25th, 2016, the Chancellor’s Professor of Law Dan L. Burk of the University of California, Irvine is providing a lecture entitled The Discursive Structure of Patent Law at Osgoode Hall Law School. The event will be held between 12:30 and 2:30pm in Room 2027 IKB. According to the event description, the lecture will cover the following:

Patents are widely believed to offer a crucial legal predicate to technical innovation, but their actual function remains poorly understood. Unlike other forms of intellectual property, the exclusive rights entailed in patents are textually and intertextually defined. By examining the structure of the patent text, we see that patents are deeply embedded in particular communities of composition, interpretation, and practice. We also see that the patent text as artifact serves as a passage point between these communities. Such rhetorical studies of the patent point the way to better outcomes in current jurisprudential debates over patent use and patent reform.

Please ensure you RSVP by November 21, 2016 with the code word “Burk” at the following link: