Monthly Archives: February 2018

Sara Ross

Law.Arts.Culture event: Perilous Light: On the Visual Economy of Western Humanitarianism

On February 14h, 2018 Law.Arts.Culture of Osgoode Hall will be hosting Professor Fuyuki Kurasawa of the Department of Sociology at York University and Director of the Global Digital Citizenship Lab, for his lecture entitled Perilous Light: On the Visual Economy of Western Humanitarianism.

“Thus, the art form of the 19th century, cinema, made the 20th century exist, which by itself did not exist much.” (Jean-Luc Godard, Histoire(s) du cinéma)

Simultaneously broadening and narrowing Godard’s statement, one could argue that still and moving images made humanitarian crises exist, which by themselves would not have existed much as transnational public events in the Euro-American world during the last century—and even less so in our own. Perhaps we understand this intuitively today, with social media platforms instantaneously and ubiquitously flooding us with massive numbers of photographs and videos of instances of distant suffering from around the world. In such a heightened state of constant and intensifying visual exposure, images of this kind can appear to blur into a random, overwhelming, and meaningless digital stream that distracts and blinds as much as it mobilizes and enlightens.

However, out of this seeming pictorial morass can be detected a series of structural logics and aesthetic principles that have organized what can be referred to as Western humanitarianism’s visual economy. To uncover the latter and analyze its operations, this presentation proposes a tripartite conceptual framework: the cultural repertoire of iconographic conventions through which images of humanitarian crises are invested with a certain meaning and recognized as such; the complex institutional networks of media and aid organizations that generate, select, and diffuse such images; and the iconological field in which these organizations compete with each other to establish the legitimacy of their preferred aesthetic genres and politico-ideological framings of a crisis. Having put forth this conceptual apparatus, the presentation will turn to its application to specific famines or genocides whose pictorial corpus has been instrumental in the constitution of three periods of Western humanitarianism’s visual economy (nascent, totalizing, and ambivalent iconophilia). Throughout, the presentation will discuss the status of images as culturally and politically contested evidentiary artifacts, whose meanings and standings in public spaces are the sources of perpetual symbolic struggles amongst social actors.

The event will take place from 12:30pm to 2:00pm in Room 2027 IKB. Lunch will be provided, please RSVP in advance to the following link: 


Sara Ross

Upcoming Osgoode lecture: From Timbuktu to the Hague: The War Crime of Intentional Destruction of Cultural Property

On February 9th, 2018 Osgoode Hall will be hosting Professor Mark Drumbl of the Washington & Lee University School of Law for his lecture entitled From Timbuktu to the Hague: The War Crime of Intentional Destruction of Cultural Property. The lecture will take place between 2:30pm and 4:00pm in Room 4034 IKB. RSVPs are appreciated, which you can do at the following link: .

Sara Ross

Call for Applicants: Artist in Residence for Osgoode Hall

Osgoode’s Artist in Residency Program is seeking applications for artists interested in taking up the position of Artist in Residence beginning in 2018. Artists will receive a residency period of one semester, either during the Summer, Fall, or Winter terms. Remuneration for the position is $25,000, in addition to a $5000 budget for the artistic project of their choice. According to the call:

We welcome projects focused on interpreting legal history, examining law’s realities today, and imagining law’s future, whether in Canada and/or elsewhere in the world. We are particularly interested in artists and projects that will reflect and enhance the diversity of the Osgoode community. Osgoode welcomes applications from artists of all disciplines, who work in any medium or combinations of media.

Applications must include a CV, a one to two page statement of interest, the names of three referees, and a detailed budget. The deadline for submission is February 23rd, 2018. To apply, click through the following full advertisement of the position, where you will find the application link near the bottom: