Monthly Archives: February 2016

Sara Ross

Call for Papers: Law, Literature and the Humanities Association of Australasia Conference


The call for papers has been released for the Law, Literature and the Humanities Association of Australasia Conference 2016. The conference will be held at the The University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law between December 8th and 10th, with an application deadline of May 15th.

The theme of ‘spectacular law’ invites reflection on the performance and dramaturgy of political and legal power, the affective lures of sovereignty and the technologies that reveal – and conceal – legality, dissent, (dis)obedience, and different modalities of regulation. This conference will examine the various ways in which we can see, and be seen by, law, politics and power. The location of this year’s conference prompts its theme. Hong Kong is a visually striking city: fading tower blocks, gleaming edifices, remnants of a colonial past, and canopies of neon suspended over street corners, all enframed by lushly forested hills and the increasingly contested waters of the South China Sea. The powerful visual affect, as much a result of the city’s geography as it is of its legal and political orderings, inspires an exploration of the spectacle.

The conference will be preceded by a half-day graduate workshop, and 10 partial graduate bursaries are available for successful applicants. You can read more about the conference itself and the application process here.

Sara Ross

News Piece of Interest: PBS on Ai Weiwei


Sculpture Exhibition by Ai Weiwei in NYC, image by P. Fedynsky 

Chinese dissident artist and activist Ai Weiwei is becoming one of the leading international voices of protest in relation to the immigration crisis in Europe. In January he shut down an exhibition in Copenhagen to protest Danish anti-immigration laws recently put in place. This February 2016, he used 14,000 salvaged refuge life vests and used them to cover the Konzerthaus concert hall in Berlin. PBS has released an article on these two protests as well as three other international actions that the activist has taken in recent years. The article, written by Dominique Bonessi is entitled “5 times Ai Weiwei’s art has called attention to the refugee crisis”.

You can read the article by visiting PBS here.

Sara Ross

Ban on “Too Thin” Fashion Models Enacted in France

Elie Saab Paris Fashion Week photo

2011 Elie Saab show at Paris Fashion Week by Simon Ackerman

In December 2015, the government of France enacted legislation on the size of models that could appear in commercial runway shows in the country or in commercial photo-shoots. The bill calls for those women seen as “excessively thin” to not be used in fashion collection showings at Paris Fashion Week as well as all other collection debuts. On top of this, the law requires that any commercial image that is altered digitally to make the model appear either thinner or wider be labeled when published as “touched up”, in order to ensure that fashion labels cannot adjust the size of the models after photographs have been taken of them.

Enacted as “weight standards”, France first debated the law in early 2015 on the strength of similar laws passed in Italy and Spain. The standard is determined according to BMI, with large fines levied against modeling agencies and fashion labels that break the law–criminal charges were considered during the legislative debate as well. A previous attempt to pass a similar law in France was defeated on the floor of the Parliament in 2008. The main reason behind the law is to help prevent the inflammation or idolization of eating disorders through the fashion industry, something seen as a public health issue for both the models on the runways and the audience.

A movement towards this kind of ban is popping up outside of Europe as well. In February 2016, word came out that the State of California–home to Los Angeles Fashion Week and Hollywood–is considering a similar ban, along with the Parliament of Great Britain. The law in France is partially enforced by a rule that models must now submit a doctor’s note to their employer stating that their BMI meets the national standard.

Sara Ross

Street Art Pilot Program in Toronto


The City of Toronto has approved a pilot program to incorporate street art in several of Toronto’s city neighbourhoods and byways. The decision, entitled “Options for Permitting Street or Intersection Murals on Local Streets” was adopted without amendments on February 3rd, 2016. According to the program,

City Council permit the installation of up to four mid-block pilot street murals on low volume, local streets during existing street events which include permitted road closures in summer 2016 on condition that the pilot projects meet the following requirements:

a. each street mural is to be developed by and be the responsibility of local community groups;

b. community consultation on design is undertaken and support from local residents on the murals is demonstrated to the General Manager, Transportation Services;

c. the full cost of design, community consultation, installation, and ongoing maintenance is incurred entirely by the community group, with no cost to the City of Toronto;

d. designs, project materials and location suitability are reviewed and approved by the General Manager, Transportation Services during the design process and in advance of installation;

e. Transportation Services is to conduct traffic safety reviews before and after installation and has the authority to remove any installations found to diminish road safety; and

f. the General Manager, Transportation Services consider establishing a practical life span for street murals, at the end of which the mural will be evaluated, and considered for removal or replacement through a new project.

The program was initially approved by the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, and BlogTO wrote at the time that similar programs exist in other Canadian cities, including Halifax and Vancouver. The first mural of this kind, spearheaded by David Meslin, appeared in the Regal Heights neighbourhood during the summer of 2015.

Sara Ross

Roderick A. MacDonald Graduate Student Essay Prize


The Canadian Law and Society Association has announced that its annual graduate student essay prize has been renamed the Roderick A. MacDonald Graduate Student Essay Prize, after the late Professor MacDonald of the McGill University Faculty of Law. This year submissions are due by March 30th, 2016 and the winner will be announced at the Canadian Law and Society Association conference at Congress in May. According to the Association:

The inaugural ACDS-CLSA 2016 Roderick A. Macdonald Graduate Student Essay Prize dedicated to the legacy of a well-known Canadian scholar is inviting submissions. Under a generic name, this prize has been awarded annually for the best essay on a topic in law and society written by a graduate student at a Canadian university. Graduate students at Canadian universities are invited to submit papers in English or French on socio-legal issues, past, present and future.

Papers should be approximately 8000 words long and should be submitted in .doc or .docx format. Papers must be submitted by March 30, 2016 to Josephine Savarese (, Chair of the ACDS-CLSA Roderick A. Macdonald Graduate Student Essay Prize Committee.


Sara Ross

IFLS and BLSA Event: Whitewash

Whitewash poster

On February 11th, 2016 The Institute for Feminist Legal Studies and the Black Law Students Association of Osgoode Hall will be presenting White Wash by Osgoode Aritst-in-Residence Nadine Valcin between 2:30pm and 4:00pm at Osgoode Hall Law School. The event, a five minute video installation, will take place in Room 1014 followed by a panel discussion. It is open to both students and the public.

Sara Ross

LAC event: Treaty Canoe at Osgoode: A Dialogue

Treaty Canoe poster

Professors Ruth Buchanan and Jeffery Hewitt will be presenting Treaty Canoe at Osgoode: a Dialogue at Osgoode Hall Law Library on February 5th, 2016 between 1pm and 2:30pm. You can RSVP for the event at

Sara Ross

Call for Streams – Critical Legal Conference 2016 at Kent Law School


The 2016 edition of the Critical Legal Conference has been announced for Kent Law School, and the organizers have officially released their call for research streams. Taking place over September 1-3, 2016, this year’s conference will be held on the theme of “Turning Points”. The call for streams includes the following:

The present is notoriously difficult to diagnose. Are we living at a decisive turning point for global and European history, politics and law? Are we witnesses to a new epoch? Or perhaps we just have a bad case of “presentism”? The Critical Legal Conference 2016 will open a forum for critical reflection on precarious political situations, particularly that of Europe in a global context – an apposite theme for a critical conference at the University of Kent, ‘the UK’s European University’ and a point of origin for the CLC.

Taking a global and historicised view of contemporary Europe and its intellectual and political traditions (as well as an interrogative stance on their centrality), we anticipate that this year’s CLC will enable a creative response to some of the many problems of our collective present. The difficulty in thinking the present lies partly in its immediacy, and partly in the way in which spaces for that thinking are themselves precarious, colonised, dis-placed, degraded, recast or simply made untenable. From individuals’ housing, employment and migration experiences to the broader question about the intensification or disintegration of the European political project, are life’s very objects and experiences now peculiarly shaped by precarity?

 You can read more about the call for streams here: