The End(s) Of Legality

This panel examines legal regimes in order to examine their limits and blind spots, as well to probe the aftermath of their disintegration. It has become clear that we live in an era where the legitimacy of law is relentlessly eroded by post-fact politics as well as the increasing appearance of forms of popular justice that seek to sidestep formal laws and legal process. At the same time, codified, formal law has also been seen to become implicated and called upon within populist agendas and resistance movements. Positioning ourselves amidst these volatile and often contradictory transformations, we seek to interrogate the relentless making and unmaking of legal ways of knowing around the world, to examine the epistemological and theoretical limits of law as authoritative truth claim.

We ask: How do legal regimes become productive of or implicated in moral orthodoxies?  How do protectionist legal discourses open up spaces for abjection and injury? How does the law create the conditions for its own interrogation and disruption? What new political and moral affective possibilities open up when legal regimes disband? And what residues of old truth claims remain? By examining human trafficking laws, laws regulating religious conversion, the rapid but uneven transformation of medical marijuana regulations, [and others to come], we seek to approach the epistemological, methodological, and political problems and possibilities in law’s unraveling. In doing so, we aim to reflect on how an attention to the ends of legal regimes may force us to interrogate whether the contemporary moment is, in fact, “post-law.” We particularly welcome contributors who consider themes that attend to loopholes and contradictions with law, the disbanding of legal regimes, as well as emergent forms of popular justice that increasingly seek to call into question formal legal process.

If interested, please contact Caroline Melly ( or Pinky Hota ( as soon as possible.