Conference: Manhood in American Law and Literature

Friday, February 17, 2012 - 9:00am - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - 6:00pm
Rooms V, VI, Courtroom, South Green Lounge

The University of Chicago Law School’s upcoming Manhood in American Law and Literature conference, which will take place on February 17th and 18th, 2012, brings together a number of distinguished thinkers from a variety of fields to discuss issues of sexuality and law within the context of literary works. The conference is being organized by Professors Eric Slauter, Alison LaCroix, and Martha Nussbaum, who hope it will catalyze thinking about significant issues of sexuality and the law in American society. 

The conference will include two dramatic performances by members of the faculty of the University of Chicago’s Law School. The first scene, from the Caine Mutiny Court-Martial by Herman Wouk, will feature Judge Richard Posner as Lt. Commander Queeg, Professor Jonathan Masur as Barney Greenwald, and Professor Daniel Abebe as Stephen Maryk, and Judge Diane Wood as Captain Blakeley. The second scene, from The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman, will feature Professor Martha Nussbaum as Regina Hubbard Giddens and Professor Douglas Baird as her husband Horace.  A musical interlude will be provided by Jajah Wu, Gary de Turck, and Martha Nussbaum.

Students papers will be presented on Friday morning, and guests will begin giving papers at 1 PM. The two dramatic performances will take place at 4:00 p.m. that afternoon, and they will be followed at 5:00 p.m. by a plenary session, which will feature a reading by Joyce Carol Oates and a discussion of the conference’s general theme. At 6:15 there will be a reception. On Saturday, guests will continue to give papers between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. 

Papers will be given in Room V. The dramatic performances (at 4:00 Friday) and the plenary panel (5:15 Friday) will take place in the courtroom.

Full Schedule:

Friday, February 17:
9:00: Welcoming Remarks (audio)
9:15 to 11:15: Student papers
     Chair: Emily Buss
          Patrick Barry: Frederick Douglas: Law, Manhood, and Anti-Slavery (tentative)
          Hilary Leewong: Shooting Blanks: Hapa Men and Mixed Race Sex in Kip Fulbeck’s Paper
          Benjamin Ogles: A Strong and Beautiful Bug
          Paxton Williams: The indictment of the law and notions of masculinity in Ossie Davis’ Purlie
11:15 to 12:00: Fatherhood and Manhood (audio)
     Chair: Randy Berlin
          Emily Buss: Fatherhood in Classic American Literature
12:00: Lunch for presenters
1:00 to 3:45: The Manly Man: Guns, Courage, Failure (audio)
     Chair: Eric Posner
          Richard Posner: Manhood in Hemingway
          Deak Nabers: Law from a Gun: Nuclear Warfare, Manhood, and Post-World War II
               Constitutional Formalism
          Douglas Baird: American Stoic
          Michael Warner: Manning Up: Failure in Masculinity and Failures of Masculinity
4:00:  Dramatic scenes (with musical interlude)
5:15 to 6:30: Oates plenary reading and plenary panel
     Plenary panel:
          Alison LaCroix, Martha Nussbaum, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Posner, Diane Wood
6:30: Reception


Saturday, February 18
9:15: Breakfast for presenters
9:45 to 11:30 Unmanly Men (audio)
     Chair: Todd Henderson
          David Halperin: Bitch Baskets: Sex Roles and Gay Male Femininity
          Martha Nussbaum: Jewish Men, Jewish Lawyers: Roth’s Eli, the Fanatic and the Question of
               Jewish Masculinity in American Law
          Saul Levmore: Informants, Barn Burning, and the Public Interest: Loyalty in Literature, Law, and
               Manly Endeavors
11:30 Lunch for presenters
1:15 to 3:30: Manhood, Race, Empathy (audio)
     Chair: Laura Weinrib
          Glenda Carpio: Obama and the Staging of Scottsboro Boys
          Richard McAdams: Empathy and Masculinity in To Kill a Mockingbird
          Brook Thomas: Of Mules and Men, Schools and Suffrage
3:45 to 6:00: Manhood, Rights, and Responsibilities (audio)
     Chair: Jane Dailey
          Robin West: The Great Gatsby and the Death of Torts
          Colin Dayan: Like a Dog: Animal Law, Human Cruelty, and the Limits of Care
          Eric Slauter: Conceptions of the Rights of Man


Presenters should speak for no more than thirty minutes, allowing ample time for discussion.

The attendees and paper topics are as follows:

  • Douglas Baird, The Law School, University of Chicago: American Stoic
  • Emily Buss, The Law School, University of Chicago: Fatherhood in Classic American Literature (Tentative)
  • Glenda Carpio, Department of African-American Studies, Harvard University: Obama and the Staging of Scottsboro Boys
  • Colin Dayan, Department of English, Vanderbilt University: Like a Dog: Animal Law, Human Cruelty, and the Limits of Care 
  • David Halperin, Department of English, University of Michigan: Bitch Baskets: Sex Roles and Gay Male Femininity
  • Saul Levmore, The Law School, University of Chicago: Informants, Barn Burning, and the Public Interest: Disloyalty in Literature and Law
  • Richard McAdams, The Law School, University of Chicago: Empathy and Masculinity in To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Deak Nabers, Department of English, Brown University: Law from a Gun: Nuclear Warfare, Manhood, and Post-World War II Constitutional Formalism
  • Martha Nussbaum, The Law School and Department of Philosophy, University of Chicago: 
    Jewish Men, Jewish Lawyers: Roth’s Eli, the Fanatic and the Question of Jewish Masculinity in American Law
  • Richard Posner, US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and The Law School, University of Chicago: Manhood in Hemingway
  • Eric Slauter, Department of English, University of Chicago: Conceptions of the Rights of Man
  • Brook Thomas, Department of English, University of California at Irvine: Of Mules and Men, Schools and Suffrage
  • Michael Warner, Department of English, Yale University: Manning Up: Failure in Masculinity and Failures of Masculinity
  • Robin West, Georgetown University Law Center, Georgetown University: The Great Gatsby and the Death of Torts

We hope the conference will be stimulating, productive, and enjoyable.

Please note, papers are passworded. (The handouts are not passworded.) If you have an academic interest in one or more of the papers, please email Hard copies of all papers will be available at the conference.

Martha C. Nussbaum
Alison L. LaCroix
Richard A. Posner
Saul Levmore
Douglas G. Baird
Emily Buss
Richard H. McAdams
Jonathan S. Masur
Daniel Abebe
Laura Weinrib
M. Todd Henderson
Diane P. Wood
Jane Dailey