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Monday, March 31, 2014

Gialdroni & Condello on Law and Architecture (between History and Philosophy)

Dear All,
this week classes will be devoted to the meaning and function of the Italian Court of Cassation's building, better known in Rome as "Il Palazzaccio".
We will start with a philosophical introduction on semiotics with a focus on symbols (in particular using Peirce and Cassirer). On Thursday we'll apply the theoretical framework to the historical context of Italian unification, with regard to the construction of the Supreme Court.
Finally, on Friday we will "learn by experience" - by visiting the Supreme Court as well as Piazza Cavour.
Don't forget the bring your cameras and IDs (carta d'identità)!
T. Rossi Kirk, The Politicization of the Landscape of Roma Capitale and the symbolic role of the Palazzo di Giustizia, in Mélanges de l'Ecole Française de Rome: Italie et Mediterranée, 109.1 (2006), pp. 89-114
If you want to have a general overview on C. S. Peirce and E. Cassirer please read 
Dr. Gialdroni's CV:

Dr. Stefania Gialdroni is a legal historian with a passion for interdisciplinary studies.
She graduated in Law from the RomaTre University in 2003 and in 2005, after having finished her legal apprenticeship, she started the International Max-Planck Research School for Comparative Legal History in Frankfurt am Main. In 2006 she was admitted as a Marie Curie fellow to the PhD in European Legal Cultures. In the framework of this Doctorate, she spent one year at the LSE in London and two years at the EHESS in Paris as a visiting Ph.D. student.
As a research fellow at RomaTre University, she has been coordinating the Law and the Humanities course since 2008 and since 2011 she has been the instructor of the Human Rights in Historical Perspective Course at Arcadia University. She has published articles and a book on legal history and on law and literature. 

Dr. Condello's CV:

Angela Condello studied law at the University of Torino and at the University of Roma Tre, where she focused on international and comparative law, and worked since then as a research assistant for the chair of philosophy and sociology of law (Prof. Dr. Eligio Resta) after graduating. In 2013, she received her doctorate at the University of Roma Tre with a thesis entitled Analogica.

Since January 2014, together with Prof. Dr. Emanuele Conte and Dr. Stefania Gialdroni, she collaborates on the pluri-disciplinary course, Law and the Humanities at the Department of Law at Roma Tre. Since 2008 Angela has been teaching philosophy of law and legal theory at the International University Uninettuno. As of 2013, Angela works with the Human Rights Committee of the ItalianSenate of the Republic, as an assistant to the President of the Commission, Prof. Luigi Manconi.

In terms of research, Angela has collaborated with: Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public and International Law (Heidelberg), the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris), the Department of Philosophy and the School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, the Australian National University in Canberra. Recently, she completed a scholarship program at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public and International Law (Heidelberg). As of January 2014, Angela is a member associé of the Centre d'étude des normes juridiques at the EHESS in Paris, directed by Prof. Dr. Paolo Napoli. She is also currently involved in an international research project entitled ENTRE A JURISDIÇÃO E A MEDIAÇÃO: O PAPEL POLÍTICO/SOCIOLÓGICO DO TERCEIRO NO TRATAMENTO DOS CONFLITOS, based in Brazil. Additoinally, Angela Condello is a Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Centre for Advanced Study “Law as Culture”.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

REMINDER: Visit to the Court of Cassation, April 4th 2014

Dear all,
as you already know, we are going to visit together the Italian Supreme Court on Friday April 4th. The visit is intended to provide a "learning-by-experience" approach to the classes devoted to the topic "Law and Architecture", which will focus on the history and meaning of the so called "Palazzaccio". We will meet at 10.00 in Piazza dei Tribunali (near Castel Sant'Angelo).
See you tomorrow

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Let's get started with our collection of images of law and justice

Dear students,

as promised, we will post the images you will send us related to the topic "Law and Iconography". We can modify this post in the future, so just send the images with a comment to We will start with a picture that can't be excluded from a photogallery on "Law and Iconography": Ambrogio Lorenzetti's Buon Governo frescoes (Siena). Don't forget that you can use our facebook page to post whatever you like (well, if related to this course!) 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Prof. Georges Martyn on Law and Iconography

Dear Students,

next week classes will be held by Prof. Georges Martyn (Gent). 
The main theme around which the three lectures will be developed is law and iconography.

How are law and iconography related?

Here following you'll find some helpful introductory remarks on the law and iconography discourse (with a selection of suggested readings) - Buon lavoro!

Law and Iconography

‘Law’ and ‘image(s)’ interact in many ways. Traffic signs, for instance, are at the same time ‘rules’ and ‘images’. Legislation on the protection of minors prohibits and penalizes the exhibition of pornographic material, artists risk to be held civilly liable when offending individuals or protected minorities by laughing at them in cartoons, etc. There is actually a lot of ‘law on art’, and all of these rules can be seen as part and parcel of the vast research field of ‘law and iconography’. However, subject of the three lessons in Rome will not be ‘law on art’, but rather ‘art on law’. This theme will be studied from a historical point of view. What will be focused on, is the representation of law, justice, legislation, and other legal concepts… Three themes will be treated.

The verticality of the law: how art is used to legitimize judicial power. Looking at the ‘places of justice administration’, starting under a tree in prehistoric times, passing by the medieval church entrances (with their red painted western doors) and the Renaissance painting of divine and historical exempla iustitiae, over the ‘templar’ architecture of nineteenth century palaces of justice, to the present day transparent office buildings of our contemporary courts, there is a connecting thread: worldly men (and recently women) deciding cases over their compatriots, try to legitimize their power by stressing the ‘higher’ origin of their competence. In the early middle ages, before Christianisation, the biggest tree of the village served as a gathering place for all important questions. The tree reaching to the sky, was replaced by the church and the religious legitimating of the judges’ competence was represented by Crucifixions and Last Judgments in the late middle ages. Again, the source of power was sought ‘above’, in heaven. Even after the French and American revolutions, the palaces of justice still resembled temples of worship. Although today, legitimising representations are far more scarce, we do still use expressions like: ‘Be you ever so high, the law is always above you’ (Thomas Fuller-Lord Denning). The verticality is still present today, be it for instance in the symbol of Lady Justice’s sword, ...and even in her blindfold (blind to the temporal world, she should only listen to the voice of God, the voice of fairness and truth), but in earlier times we found it also in justice trees, pillories, belfries, etc.


·       A.L. Nettel, “The power of image and the image of power: the case of law”, Word and Image, 21, 2005, 527-539 (

·       G. Martyn, “Inspiring Images for Judges. Late Medieval Court Room Decorations in the Southern Netherlands”, in A. Kérchy, A. Kiss & G. Szönyi (eds.), The Iconology of Law and Order (Legal and Cosmic), in Papers in English & American Studies, XXI, Szeged (Hungary), Jatepress, 2012, 41-53 (

Signs, symbols, gestures and tools: legally telling details in (religious and profane) art. Lady Justice’s blindfold, sword and scales, an ‘iconographic construction’ of the Renaissance, are still understood today as symbols of justice and law. Many other symbols and signs, however, but also objects and (portrayed) gestures, in our contemporary eyes, do no longer spread the message they sent to spectators in earlier centuries. It is an interesting quest for jurists and legal historians to go and visit museums, using ‘legal (historical) spectacles’. Artistic iconography was undoubtedly influenced by law. Left and right, for instance, have an important legal meaning; the overall (religious) influence of the antithesis ‘good and bad’ was paramount; colours of cloths can tell us about the goodness or badness of the persons wearing them; a branch of a tree can tell us that the man holding it is a judicial officer; the use of a glove can refer to marriage, etc. Very few paintings or other works of art explicitly deal with law and justice as such, but quite often, juridical elements are present, be it very often as hazardous details. A classical example is the depiction of the Gospel’s scene of Jesus being brought before Pontius Pilate. Although this story is to be situated in the first century, many artists show Pilate as a medieval, early modern or modern judge. This way, we get to know the robes of the judges, their bench, their symbols... We can probably ‘trust’ these representations more – as they are just unimportant details slipping in without thinking about them – than, for instance, the many representations of torture and execution, represented in paintings, drawings and statuary of saints and martyrs. If we compare these representations to marginal drawings by court clerks, for instance, we should conclude that a lot of artistic exaggeration was used for religious purposes.


·       I. Bennett Capers, "Blind Justice", Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities, 24.1, 2012, 179-189 (

·       N. Illman Meyers, "Painting the law", Cardozo arts and entertainment law journal, 14, 1996, 397-406 (

Jurists exalted and fooled: For centuries artistic creation was all about religion..., all or almost all, only the king and the higher nobility being able to command portraits. It is striking that jurists were the first non-nobles and non-religious to have their portraits painted. This tells a lot about the social positions jurists were able to rise to, being professors, councillors, judges and advocates. But pretty soon, the juridical guild was also criticised, in songs and stories, but also in pictorial art. We see them represented as vultures, foxes, wolves and monkeys. Especially their hunger for money is portrayed.

Images indeed can be used to both exalt and fool the men of law.


·       R.J. Schoeck, “The aesthetics of the law”, American Journal Juris, 28, 1983, 46-63 (

·       P. Goodrich, “Visiocracy: On the futures of the fingerpost”, Critical Inquiry, 39.3, 2013, 498-531 (

Prof. Martyn's CV:

Biography: Georges Martyn (born in Avelgem, Belgium, 1966) studied Law (1984-89) and Medieval Studies (1989-91) in Kortrijk and Leuven (Belgium) and obtained a Ph.D. degree in Law at the Catholic University of Leuven in 1996, with a dissertation on private law legislation in the early modern Netherlands. He has been an ‘advocaat’ (barrister/lawyer) between 1992 and 2008 at the bar of Kortrijk, is now honorary member of the Ghent bar, and is a substitute justice of the peace in Kortrijk since 1999. He is full professor at the University of Ghent (Department of Jurisprudence and Legal History) since 1999 and leads the Institute of Legal History ( since 2010. He teaches ‘History of Politics and Public Law’, ‘General Introduction to Belgian Law’ and ‘Legal Methodology’. His publications deal with the history of private law and legal institutions in the Netherlands in the early modern era, the reception of Roman law, the legal professions, the evolution of the sources of the law in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and legal iconography. He was appointed by royal decree a member of the Belgian Royal Commission for the Edition of the Old Law (, he is the Flemish editor-in-chief of the Belgian-Dutch legal history review Pro Memorie ( and co-editor of the series Studies in the History of Law and Justice ( Bibliography on the Ghent University website ( and

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A new series of lectures on Law and Literature, in Paris!

This semester a series of meetings on law and literature will take place in Paris at the Centre "Yan Thomas" - EHESS (

The title of the seminar is:

Droit et littérature. La norme entre commandement et récit

It is organized by Emanuele Coccia and Michele Spanò.

All information about the calendar and a detailed description of the topic here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Prof. Paolo Napoli on Law and Philosophy - with a focus on Charisma

Dear All!

Here is a short abstract of this week's classes, provided by Prof. Paolo Napoli (don't get confused with names because of the picture here on the left...):

You may wonder why in a seminar about Law and Philosphy we should deal with the subject of "charisma". In fact, we have to understand charisma as a kind of normativity and, according to it, philosophy is just an attitude, a way to place oneself in the condition to reflect upon the relation between law and other kinds of social regulation. Philosophy is not a deposit of concepts and values which structure the theoretical basis of law. It's rather a way of problematising the "between" linking law and comparative normativities. "Charisma" is an ancient notion which was rediscovered by juridical, political and sociological thought at the end of 19th century. Since then, we have conceived "charisma" as a personified set of exceptional and supernatural qualities. How can we get rid of this current representation which seems to forget that charisma is primarily a normative function and not an personal substance?

Prof. Paolo Napoli's CV:

 Prof. Paolo Napoli is currently Directeur d'études at the Ecole des
Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales - EHESS, in Paris (since 2010),
where he directs the Centre d'étude des normes juridiques "Yan Thomas"
- CENJ. In 1987 he graduated at the Faculty of Law of the University
La Sapienza (Rome), with a degree thesis on power and law in Michel
Foucault's works. He afterwards began his research on the notion of
police during the modern era in Italy (CNR), France (EHESS), Germany
(Max Planck Institut für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte Frankfurt am
Main) and USA (Berkley). In 1997 he received his first Ph.D in Legal
philosophy at the University of Bologna and in 2002 he received a
second Ph.D. in Law and Social Sciences at the EHESS (Title of the PhD
thesis: La police en France à l'âge moderne (XVIII-XIX siècle).
Histoire d'un mode de normativité.
He is the author of many articles and two books:
- Naissance de la police moderne. Pouvoir, normes, société, La
Découverte, Paris 2003.
- Le arti del vero. Storia, diritto e politica in Michel Foucault, La
città del sole, Napoli 2002.
See also:

Friday, March 14, 2014

Summum ius, summa iniuria?

Dear students,

with reference to the discussion we have started this morning, I would like to ask you to continue it here. You can write answers to all the following questions or just one.

You can also have a look at this:

1) What could be the "dangers" of equity?
2) Can you give examples of the use of equity (in any historical period and in any place)?
3) What is the purpose of law?
4) What is the aim of a trial today in your country? 

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Dear students,

next week the classes will be held by prof. Conte on Wednesday and by me (Stefania Gialdroni) on Thursday and Friday. The first class will be devoted to the (strict) relationship between Law and History while the other two classes will be dedicated to the analysis of Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice", a very classical topic of the Law in Literature strand. The readings will be provided as soon as possible as we are still writing the definitive version of the mailing list. In the meanwhile, you can find the following article on J-Stor, available online if you are using the RomaTre wifi ( 
D.J Kornstein, Fie Upon Your Law! in "Cardozo Studies in Law and Literature", 5.1 (1993): A Symposium Issue on "The Merchant of Venice", 35-56. 

Emanuele Conte: Law & History 

Suggested reading:
J.Q. Whitman, Bring back the Glory!, in "Rechtsgeschichte, 4 (2004), 74-81.  

Prof. Conte's CV
Professor of Legal History a the Università degli Studi di RomaTre and Directuer d'études at the EHESS in Paris. 
He graduated cum laude in 1983 at the University La Sapienza in Rome, and received his Ph.D in Medieval Legal History from the University of Milan. He has done rsearch at the Max-Planck Institut fuer Europaeische Rechtsgeschichte in Frankfurt am Main and the University of California at Berkley.  
He has held visiting professorships at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain), the EHESS in Paris, the University of Toulouse I (France), the University of Paris X Nanterre and the Ecole Normale Superieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Lyon (France). He has been visiting fellow at Berkley University (USA) and Cambridge University - UK (Peterhouse). 
He serves as a member of the board of direction of many academic journals and series in Italy, France, Spain and the UK. 
He has given many papers and lectures in Italy, Germany, France, UK, USA, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Argentina and Spain. His books and other publications focus mainly on medieval and modern legal history, on philology of legal texts and on the relationship between history and law in the 19th and 20th century. See also: 

Stefania Gialdroni: Shakespeare in Law
Brief Outline:
The lessons will focus on the following questions:
1) What was the role of Jewes in 16th-17th century Europe? What does it mean to be part of a minority?
2) What is usury? How was it regulated?
3) What was the relationship between law and equity in Shakespeare's England? What does equity mean? 

Suggested readings: 
D.J Kornstein, Fie Upon Your Law! in "Cardozo Studies in Law and Literature", 5.1 (1993): A Symposium Issue on "The Merchant of Venice", 35-56.

[Not compulsory!]: S. Gialdroni, La clausola penale tra finzione e realtà. Il caso limite di Shylock alla prova del diritto veneziano, del diritto comune e del common law, in "La pena convenzionale nella prospettiva storico comparatistica", Napoli: Jovene, 2013, 19-49. 

Dr. Gialdronis' CV:
Stefania Gialdroni is a temporary instructor in Legal History at the University of RomaTre, Law Department. She received her PhD in 2009 from the University of Milano-Bicocca and the EHESS in Paris ("co-tutelle"). In 2006 she entered the Marie Curie Program "Doctorate in European Legal Cultures". In the framework of this PhD, she spent one year at the London School of Economics and two years at the EHESS in Paris. She was awarded several scholarships from the MPIER in Frankfurt am Main where she also attended the International Max-Planck Research School for Comparative Legal History for one year. 
She has been teaching the course "Human Rights in Historical Perspective" at Arcadia University - Rome Center since 2011 and worked as a tutor in Legal Histor at the online University UniNettuno (2011-2012).
She published articles, essays and a book (East India Company. Una storia giuridica (1600-1708), Bologna: Il Mulino, 2011) on the history of commercial law and on Law and Literature. 
She has been assisting prof. Conte in the organization of the "Law and the Humanities" course at the RomaTre University since it was first created in 2008. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

2014 Law and the Humanities Calendar

Aristotle on the nature/convention dichotomy: let's start with the debate

Dear All, as a follow-up to our discussion:

in the Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle claimed that: “there are two forms of justice, the natural and the conventional. It is natural when it has the same validity everywhere and is unaffected by any view we may take of the justice of it. It is conventional when there is no original reason why it should take one form rather than another and the rule it imposes is reached by agreement, after which it holds good. It is not obvious what rules of justice are natural and what are legal and conventional, in cases where variation is possible. Yet it remains true that there is such a thing as natural, as well as conventional, justice” (Book V, Chapter II)

What do WE think? 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Law and the Visual Conference in Canberra, Australia

This workshop will take place on July 7-8 2014 (Convenor: Prof. D. Manderson). It will bring together leading scholars on issues like:
  •     What are the implications of the assertion that “the representation of power reveals the power of representation”?
  •     Is law iconophilic or iconoclastic or both?
  •     In what way do visual representations of law throughout the pre-modern, modern and contemporary periods both illuminate and challenge our understanding of the changing relationship between law, aesthetics, and power?
  •     How does the aesthetics and technology of the digital screen transform the representation of legal concepts such as the rule of law, sovereignty, security, or human rights?

Please check the following link for more information


Dear students,

Prof. David Skeel (University of Pennsylvania Law School) will be the first guest speaker of the Law and the Humanities Course 2014. He is a good friend of this course, an expert in the field of Law and the Humanities and a wonderful teacher. He will begin his week of lessons on March 5th 2014, describing  the most important strand of the Law and the Humanities movement: Law and Literature. The readings will be provided during the course if they are not available on the RomaTre online databases.

The Law and the Humanities classes will take place as follows:
Wed.: 2:15 pm - 4:00 pm - Aula 3
Thur. and Fri.: 10:15 am - 12:00 - Aula 4
See you soon!

Brief Outline: 
In this class, we will briefly explore the history of law and literature scholarship in the United States, and consider the prospects of this movement for the future. We will focus in particular on three recent strands of law and literature scholarship, which are often referred to as 1) law as language (associated with James Boyd White); 2) literature as empathy (associated with Robin West and Martha Nussbaum) and 3) law and narrative (associated with Patricia Williams).

Suggested Readings:
- D.A. Skeel, Lawrence Joseph and Law and Literature, in "University of Cincinnati Law Review", 77.3 (2009), pp. 921-939.

Prof. David Skeel's CV:
David A. Skeel is currently the S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School (2004-), after having been Associate Professor of Law at the Temple University School of Law (1993- 1998) and Professor of Law at University of Pennsylvania Law School (1999- 2003) .
He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina (B.A. 1983) and the University of Virginia (J.D. 1987). His poems have appeared in Boulevard, Kansas Quarterly and elsewhere. He has written on law and literature or related issues for Columbia Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Legal Affairs, Wallace Stevens Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, and other publications; and he served as an advisory editor of Boulevard in the 1990s.
He also is the author of two books:
- Icarus in the Boardroom: The Fundamental Flaws in Corporate America and Where They Came From (Oxford U. Press, 2005)
- Debt’s Dominion: A History of Bankruptcy Law in America (Princeton University Press, 2001) .
In 1999 & 2002 he received the Harvey Levin Award for Excellence in Teaching and in 2004 the Lindback Award (university-wide “Great Teacher” award).

For a complete overview on Prof. Skeel’s CV and his extensive list of publications see: