UH Hilo hosts international law conference this week

Photo of ohia with words: Synesthetic Legalities: Sensory Dimensions of Law and Jurisprudence. 16th Annual International Roundtable for the semiotics of Law at Kilauea Volcano. Host: UH Hilo, April 29-May 1, 2015

Roundtable will focus on the ways in which sensory perception affects legal thinking.

Sarah Marusek
Sarah Marusek

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is hosting the 16th International Roundtable for the Semiotics of Law this week. The conference, which will explore the ways in which sensory perception affects legal thinking, will take place April 29-May 2 at Volcano, Hawai‘i Island. Previous locations of the annual conference throughout the years have included Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, and Hangzhou, China.

“This puts Hilo on the map in this international and interdisciplinary area of scholarship,” says Sarah Marusek, chair and associate professor of political science at UH Hilo who is organizing the event.

The conference is hosted by the UH Hilo Department of Political Science and will take place at Volcanoes National Park. Marusel says there are 26 conference participants, including eight UH Hilo undergraduate participants, five faculty from UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College who are presenters, as well as presenters from universities in the United Kingdom, Brazil, Hong Kong, China, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Bulgaria, and the continental United States.

The conference is titled, “Synesthetic Legalities: Sensory Dimensions of Law and Jurisprudence.” According to the conference announcement, “synesthesia” is the phenomenon where sensual perceptions are joined together as a combined experience, for example, the ability to feel color, hear the visual, or even smell emotion. These types of unions affect legal thinking, and when analyzed, can give creative insight into the complexities of how law works through the body — hands, ears, eyes, noses, tongues — in other words, through spatial, temporal, aural, tangible, culinary, and olfactory experience.

Attendees will first learn about the Hawaiian cycle of a‘o that emphasizes a continual process of learning through teaching and teaching while learning, and then within this context, the roundtable will explore the richly complex manifestations of synesthesia by exploring the ways in which law stimulates the senses.

Plenary speakers:

  • YUE ANG: The Enhanced Presence and Absence of Law through the Senses
  • KRISTIAN BANKOV: The Copyright of my Sensorimotor Experience
  • CELIA BARDWELL-JONES: Dependency and Care in Peirce’s Theory of Reasoning
  • JOHN BRIGHAM: The Map is Not the Volcano: Thoughts About Semiotics, Socio-Legal Scholarship, Synesthesia, and Law
  • MARILYN BROWN: “Do Not Touch”: Denial of Human Contact in Women’s Prison
  • MICHAŁ DUDEK: Coercive Embrace of Law Enchanted in Objects, or What Legal Norms are Suitable for Protruding Media of Law and Why?
  • JENNIFER EAGLETON: The Rule of Law and Civil Disobedience in Hong Kong: Occupying Central with Love and Peace
  • ANN EISENBERG: Colonial Courts and Indigenous Language: Sensory Experience at the Heart of the Rule of Law
  • LAURA ERVO: Feelings as an Indicator of Fairness and Legality
  • CELINA FRADE: The Institutionalization of Affirmative Actions in Brazil: The Law on the Quota System in Rio de Janeiro
  • MACIEJ HULICKI and SIGRAM SCHINDLER: Semiotic Aspects of Analyzing and Presenting Emerging Technology Claimed Inventions
  • UMMNI KHAN: The Semiotics of Songs Branded ‘Rapey’: Interpretive Claims, Affective Tensions and Regulatory Effects
  • ANITA LAM: Artistic Flash: Sketching the Courtroom Trial
  • CHRISTOPHER LAUER: How to Dance to the Law: Engaged Embodiment in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right
  • CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: Anachrony, Apparition, Law
  • SARAH MARUSEK: Synesthetic Layering of Law and Place: Seeing, Hearing, and Smelling Regulation
  • TRINA NAHM-MIJO: Artists as Synesthetic Cultural Activists
  • DYLAN ROBINSON: “Indigenous Triple Threats”: Questioning the Ontological Continuum of Indigenous Song
  • LIPING ZHANG: “Warmth” in Justice: (Re)semiotization of “Frozen Embryo” in the Civil Case of the Four Shidu Parents

Marusek expressed her appreciation for funding support from the UH Hilo Division of Social Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and adds a note of thanks to the UH Hilo Conference Center for the help in organizing the conference.

For more information, contact Sarah Marusek.