What Happens in Vegas: Law, Culture, and the Humanities

Just got home from a wonderful two days in Las Vegas. I didn’t even set foot on the Strip; why would I, when so much interdisciplinary excitement was happening at the 2011 Law, Culture, and the Humanities conference? The program was varied and interesting, with many panel options for each session. I live-tweeted the panels I attended.

It was especially nice to hear from newer scholars, currently in Ph.D. or J.D. programs, who are combining literary and cultural theory, historical research, and legal analysis. Two memorable presentations in this vein: Rebecca Ryder Neipris’ “Terroir-ism” offered an intriguing meditation on the cultural roots of legal protection for geographical indication, a concept that arises from the value consumers place on the “somewhereness” of a product. And Kirstine Taylor’s “Southern Exceptionalism or New South?: ‘White Trash’ and the Politics of Southern Modernization, 1944-1969,” argued that a violent, vulgar “white trash” figure served as a foil to the “modern” white southerner who could then lay claim to a (rather insidious) sort of racial innocence.

On Friday, I was honored to be part of the “Memory, Slavery, and Civil Rights” panel with Mark Golub and SpearIt, whose projects were mind-broadening and beautifully presented. The eloquent David Tanenhaus provided commentary. I was thrilled that our panel received this kind write-up from Anders Walker on the Legal History Blog!

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