IV International Conference in Transatlantic Studies

In Nomos of the Earth, Carl Schmitt underscores the intimate connection between law and territory: “nomos is the immediate form in which the political and social order of a people becomes spatially visible” (Nomos of the Earth, 70). Michel Foucault’s complementary point is that “[t]he successes of history belong to those who are capable of seizing these rules, to replace those who had used them, to disguise themselves so as to pervert them, invert their meaning, and redirect them against those who had initially imposed them” (“Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” 86). Cultural forms do play a crucial role in the visualization not only of space but its regulation. However, the practical articulation of rules and the locale where they apply and are implemented may be deployed to reaffirm or to unsettle domination. Aesthetics and the law are imbricated in their world-shaping force, which bears significant consequences for the conceptualization and implementation of the relatively autonomous norms of cultural fields; the local, national, international, and transnational balance of cultural, economic, and political power; and the tense negotiation between action, representation, performance, and judgment. 

At the Fourth International Conference in Transatlantic Studies: “Spaces of Law,” we hope to elucidate the historical co-constitution of law and space in Transatlantic culture, map their unfolding in networks of central and peripheral agents and institutions, and trace genealogies and trajectories of the forces that constitute them. What laws govern (the often transnational) Transatlantic circulation, exchange, and contamination of ideas, tropes, genres, etc.? What spaces correspond to, imagine, or activate what forms of justice? What are the sites of the “seizure, replacement, perversion, inversion, and redirection” of the violence contained in laws implemented by those in power? How does the circulation of individuals affect those that inhabit that space and what are the legal ramifications of such spatial movements? How do the environment and communities settling into a new space affect each other?

This conference attempts to bring together scholars from a myriad of disciplines in the humanities working on American, Latin American, and/or European humanities studies to explore the interrelationship that the senses and spatial constructions have had within their disciplines and in doing so build connections between both shores of the Atlantic. We welcome proposals for panels and individual papers that probe the encounter of law with literary and cultural productions.

Issues to explore include, but are not limited to: 

  • Literary trials
  • Piracy sites
  • (Law and) crime fictions
  • Figures of crime: from pícaroto the hacker
  • Territorialization and the State
  • Deconstructing law: the force of law and the law of genre
  • National sovereignty and beyond
  • Aesthetic and literary judgment
  • The right to space
  • Scriptural practices
  • Smuggling cultures

The conference will be held on April 12th and 13th at the Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The official language of the conference will be English. 

KEYWORDS: Literature, Humanities, Latino Studies, Spanish Studies, Anglo-American Studies, American Studies, History, Space, Legal Theory, Critical Discourse Studies, Media Studies, Sociolinguistics, Ideology and Language. 


  • Abstracts must be between 250 and 300 words. A brief bio note of approximately 150-200 words must be included. A list of 5 keywords must be included.
  • Abstracts must be submitted to [email protected] before December 15th, 2018, at midnight – United States EST. 
  • The Executive Committee will notify applicants about the selection of submissions no later than January 30th, 2019.
  • Formats for sessions: a) 20-minute individual paper; b) Chaired panels with three participants; c) Round tables