Law and Literature 2019

Organising Committee

The course is co-organized by prof. dr. Elizabeth Amann (Literary Studies, Ghent University), prof. dr. Andrew Bricker (Literary Studies, Ghent University) and prof. dr. Georges Martyn (Legal History, Ghent University).

The members of the scientific committee are: Sascha Bru (Literature, KU Leuven), Vivian Liska (Literature, University of Antwerp), Gertrudis Van de Vijver (Philosophy, Ghent University).


Storytelling is ubiquitous in the law, and the law is the focus of many canonical texts and popular literary genres. In the past few decades, the intersection between these two fields has attracted the interest of legal and literary historians alike and has given rise to a wide range of approaches. The goal of the course is to help students to make their way in the heterogeneous and interdisciplinary field of “Law and Literature” and to introduce them to methodologies useful for analysing the relations between law and literature. Through lectures and seminar-style discussions with experts in the field, the course will encourage doctoral students to apply insights from “Law and Literature” to their research.


• to teach students to analyse representations of legal concepts, institutions and procedures in literary texts (“law in literature”)
• to familiarize students with narratological approaches to legal texts and genres (“law as literature”)
• to clarify the role of the law and legal institutions in the literary field (censorship, trials, regulation)
• to introduce students to the complicated legal issues surrounding new media
• to explore the intersection between law and literature and new critical theoretical fields such as ecocriticism and the anthropocene.

Dates and programme - Venue

  • Monday 04/03, 14:00-17:00: Gary Watt (University of Warwick): Introduction to the field of law and literature. Venue: Facultaire Raadzaal, Campus Aula (Law Faculty). This session will be followed by a social event in the evening.
  • Tuesday 05/03, 9:30-12:30: Greta Olson (University of Giessen): Law as literature: legal narratology. Venue: Facultaire Raadzaal, Campus Aula (Law Faculty)
  • Wednesday 20/03, 14:00-17:00: Martin Zeilinger (Anglia Ruskin University) and Eva Lievens (Ghent University): New technologies and the law. Venue: LL.M room, Campus Aula (Law Faculty). This session will be followed by a happy hour.
  • Wednesday 27/03, 9:30-12:30: Kevin Curran (University of Lausanne), Geert Van Hoorick (Ghent University) and Hendrik Schoukens (Ghent University): Law, literature and the environment. Venue: Facultaire Raadzaal, Campus Aula (Law Faculty)
  • Thursday 23/05, 14:00-17:15: Simon Stern (University of Toronto), Sebastiaan Vandenbogaerde (Ghent University), Caroline Laske (Ghent University) and Elizabeth Amann (Ghent University): Law in literature. Venue: Auditorium A, Campus Aula (Law Faculty)
  • Tuesday 28/05, 14:00-17:00: Catherine O’Leary (University of Saint Andrews), Marc Cools (Ghent University) and Andrew Bricker (Ghent University): Censorship, press regulation and literature on trial. Venue: Auditorium A, Campus Aula (Law Faculty). This session will be followed by a happy hour.

Registration fee

Free of charge for members of the doctoral schools of Arts, Humanities and Law of UGent


Doctoral students who would like to include this course in their Doctoral Training Program are requested to register by February 25 by email to . For practical reasons, other participants are also asked to RSVP to this email. The course is also open to non-Ghent researchers.

Number of participants

Maximum 20


  • Prof. dr. Elizabeth Amann is a professor in the Department of Literary Studies at Ghent University. From 2013-18, she directed an FWO-financed project on the cause célèbre, a literary genre that deals with notable legal cases. She is currently co-editing a collective volume titled Collecting Cases: Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Visions of Social (Ab)normality.
  • Prof. dr. Andrew Bricker is a professor in the Department of Literary Studies in the English section. His first book (forthcoming) deals with 17th- and 18th-century satire and the development of defamation law. He is also the author of several articles and chapters on law and literature, including the field’s methodology (“Law, Literature and Reciprocity”); narrative and the law (“Is Narrative Essential to the Law?: Precedent, Case Law and Judicial Emplotment”); the relationship between censorship and visual art (“After the Golden Age: Caricature, Libel and the Deverbalization of Satire”); press regulation and publication (“Who was ‘A. Moore’?: The Attribution of Eighteenth-Century Publications with False and Misleading Imprints”); defamation and satiric naming practices (“Libel and Satire: The Problem with Naming”); and the use of trial reports as sources for literary studies (“Case Reports and Legal Literature”).
  • Prof. dr. Marc Cools is a full professor of criminology at Ghent University and the Free University of Brussels. He is a board member of the Belgian Intelligence Studies Centre (BISC) and the Criminologist Association on Private Security (CAPS), where he built a large research coordination and cooperation in intelligence studies and private security. His main research focus is private security, intelligence studies, historical criminology and criminology.
  • Prof. dr. Kevin Curran is the founder and Director of the Lausanne Shakespeare Festival as well as the Editor of the book series “Edinburgh Critical Studies in Shakespeare and Philosophy,” published by Edinburgh University Press. He is a specialist in Shakespeare and English Renaissance Drama with a strong interest in the law. He is the author of Marriage, Performance, and Politics at the Jacobean Court (Ashgate, 2009) and Shakespeare’s Legal Ecologies: Law and Distributed Selfhood (Northwestern University Press, 2017).
  • Prof. dr. Greta Olson is Professor of English and American Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Giessen and was Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture” in Bonn (2014, 2016). She is a general editor of the European Journal of English Studies (EJES), and the co-founder of the European Network for Law and Literature.
  • Dr. Caroline Laske holds graduate and post-graduate degrees in law and in linguistics/translation studies from the Universities of Cambridge and Birmingham. She obtained her PhD in legal history from Ghent University, where she is now a research fellow. Her research interests lie at the cross-roads between history, law and languages, and she applies linguistics methodologies to the study of legal texts.
  • Prof. dr. Eva Lievens is an Assistant Professor of Law & Technology at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of Ghent University and a member of the Human Rights Centre. From 2003 until 2015, she was a member of the KU Leuven Centre for IT and IP Law. Eva obtained her law degree at Ghent University in 2002 and a Master’s degree in Transnational Communications and Global Media at Goldsmiths College, London in 2003. She defended her PhD in law titled “Regulatory instruments for content regulation in digital media – A prospective study on the protection of minors against harmful content” in June 2009. A recurrent focus in her research relates to protection of minors in digital media, human / children’s rights and alternative regulatory instruments, such as self- and co-regulation. Eva is a member of the the Flemish Regulator for the Media, the Strategic Advisory Committee for Media (“SARC Sectorrraad Media”), the Belgian Film Evaluation Committee (“Commissie Filmkeuring”), and the Advisory Committee for Telecommunications (“Raadgevend Comité voor de Telecommunicatie”). She is the associate editor for the International Encyclopaedia of Laws – Media Law (edited by Prof. Peggy Valcke) and is a member of the editorial committee of Auteurs & Media (Larcier).
  • Prof. dr. Catherine O’Leary studied International Marketing and Languages at Dublin City University before going on to complete a PhD in Spanish literature at University College Dublin. She lectured at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth from 2000 until moving to St Andrews in 2013. Since her arrival at St Andrews, she served as Head of the Department of Spanish (2014-17) and Associate Dean of Arts (2017-18). She has published widely on contemporary Spanish theatre and her works include a monographical study of the theatre of Antonio Buero Vallejo and articles on Fernando Arrabal, Antonio Buero Vallejo, Carlota O’Neill and the Nosotros Theatre Group. Other publications include A Companion to Carmen Martín Gaite (with Alison Ribeiro de Menezes; Tamesis, 2008; pb 2014), Legacies of War and Dictatorship in Contemporary Spain and Portugal (co-edited with Alison Ribeiro de Menezes, Peter Lang, 2011), and Global Insights on Theatre Censorship (co-edited with Diego Santos Sánchez and Michael Thompson, Routledge, 2015). The latter is one of the outputs of the AHRC-funded project Theatre Censorship in Spain: 1931-1985 ( Her work on translation includes an article on Alfonso Sastre’s versions of Sean O’Casey’s work (Translation Studies, 2018) and another on the Spanish translations of Jean-Paul Sartre’s theatre (Perspectives, forthcoming). Current research projects include the preparation of a book for the Spanish research group, Métodos de propaganda activa en la Guerra Civil, and work on Spanish Civil War exiles.
  • Dr. Hendrik Schoukens is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Public, European and International Law of Ghent University. He obtained his doctorate degree in 2017, with a PhD thesis focused on the legal aspects of ecological restoration at the EU level. His main research interests include environmental law, nature conservation, sustainable development and climate change policy. He also has been an environmental lawyer for more than 12 years, primarily dealing with environmental and planning litigation.
  • Prof. dr. Simon Stern teaches and researches in the areas of civil procedure, law and literature, legal history, and criminal law. His research focuses on the evolution of legal doctrines and methods in relation to literary and intellectual history. Current research topics include the development of the "reasonable man" standard (and its precursors and analogues) since the eighteenth century and the changing conception of legal fictions between the renaissance and the present. He is co-chair of the Critical Analysis of Law Workshop, and is co-editor of Critical Analysis of Law. His research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Foundation for Legal Research.
  • Dr. Sebastiaan Vandenbogaerde studied history (Ghent University, 2006) and law (Ghent University, 2010). In 2014, he obtained a PhD in Law on the topic “Vectors of the law. History of Belgium’s legal periodicals”. Since 2010 he has been affiliated with the Ghent Legal History Institute where he conducts research on the legal periodical press, the impact of both world wars on national and international law and gender and legal history. After several academic mandates at the Ghent Faculty of Law (Ghent University), the FWO granted him a postdoctoral scholarship. Since 1 October 2017, his research project focusses on legal periodicals published in continental Europe during the Nazi era (1933-1950). This project scrutinizes how legal ideas could be disseminated internationally and what role legal journals play as an intermediator. Sebastiaan is also editor of the Rechtshistorische Courant, the electronic newsletter which informs every month the readership about the legal historian world in the Low Countries.
  • Prof. dr. Geert Van Hoorick is full professor of administrative law and environmental law at Ghent University, where he teaches environmental and urban development law, notarial administrative law, agrarian law and the recently developed optional master’s course ‘Animals and the Law’. His research focuses on nature protection law. Since 1992, he has been an attorney at the Ghent Bar. He is a member of the Environmental Law Commission of the IUCN, and of the European Environmental Law Forum (EELF). His PhD thesis was awarded the VDK Price for sustainable development. Since 2012 he has been the president of the Flemish Bird Protection Association (Vogelbescherming Vlaanderen vzw).
  • Prof. dr. Gary Watt teaches in the School of Law at The University of Warwick. He was named ‘Law Teacher of the Year’ in 2009 and made a National Teaching Fellow in 2010. He is the co-founding editor of the journal, Law and Humanities and his books on law and literature include Equity Stirring: The Story of Justice Beyond Law (Oxford: Hart, 2009) and the collection Shakespeare and the Law (Oxford: Hart, 2008, co-edited with P. Raffield) which arose from a major international conference held at Warwick. He has also written for the Times Literary Supplement and BBC Radio 3, and regularly leads rhetoric workshops at the RSC. Recent papers related to Dickens include ‘The Character of Social Connection in Law and Literature: Lessons from Bleak House’, International Journal of Law in Context (2009); ‘The Equity of Esther Summerson’, Law and Humanities (2009); ‘The Origin of Jarndyce and Jarndyce’, TLS (2009) and ‘Hard cases, hard times and the humanity of law’ in Jonathan Bate (ed.) The Public Value of The Humanities (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2011). He is the author of core texts in law, including Trusts and Equity 5th edition (Oxford: OUP, 2012).
  • Prof. dr. Martin Zeilinger teaches at Anglia Ruskin University where he focuses on issues of intellectual property and cultural ownership in digital contexts, including contemporary art, entertainment media, and game culture. He has published widely on IP and digital culture, has served as consultant and legal expert on copyright and entertainment law issues, and has been convenor of a seminar on intellectual property theory at the International Summer Institute for the Cultural Study of Law, University of Osnabrück/GER.



Evaluation criteria (doctoral training programme)

100% attendance and active participation in discussions