Law and the Humanities 2020: Syllabus!

The Syllabus of the Law and the Humanities 2020 Course (Roma Tre University, Law Department), directed by Prof. Emanuele Conte,  is now ready. Lots of interesting topics and guests from all over the world: have a look at it!

Law and the Humanities.

Studying Law at Roma Tre – Spring Semester 2020

Prof. Emanuele Conte


4-5-6 March

Emanuele CONTE

General Introduction


Jack M. Balkin & Sanford Levinson, Law and the Humanities: An Uneasy Relationship, 18 Yale J.L. & Human. 155 (2006).

Sarat, Anderson and Franck, On the Origins and Prospects of the Humanistic Study of Law

James Boyd White, Legal Knowledge, 115 Harv. L. Rev. 1396 (2002).

11-12-13 March

Emanuele CONTE

Law and History

The birth and the function of Legal History as an academic field


Joshua Getzler, Law, History and the Social Sciences: Intellectual Traditions of Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Europe

In: Law and History, ed. A. Lewis and M. Lobban, Oxford University Press 2004

18-19-20 March

Guest lectures : Stefania GIALDRONI

Law and Architecture

Gialdroni, S. (2018). Justice Petrified: The Seat of the Italian Supreme Court between Law, Architecture and Iconography. In A.C. Stefan Huygebaert et al. (eds.), “Sensing the Nation’s Law. Historical Inquiries into the Aesthetics of Democratic Legitimacy”, Springer International Publishing, pp. 117-152.
Gialdroni, S. (2019). (Hi)stories of Roman Law. Cesare Maccari’s frescoes in the Aula Massima of the Italian Supreme Court. In “FORUM HISTORIAE IURIS”, available at
Suggested reading
Rossi Kirk, T. (1997), The politicization of the landscape of Roma capitale and the symbolic role of the Palazzo di Giustizia. In “Mélanges de l’école française de Rome”, tome 109 n. 1, pp. 89-114, available at:

25-26-27 March

Guest Lectures : Anicetu MASFERRER

University of Valencia

Law, Religion and Morality: Past and Present

Wednesday 25 March

Law, Religion and Morality in the Western Legal Tradition: Natural law, Christianity and Ius commune

Reading: RH Helmholz, “Natural Law and Religion: Evidence from the Case Law”, Law and Religion: The Legal Teachings of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014, pp. 91-106 (available at google  books).

Thursday 26 March

Can legal precepts, moral precepts and religious precepts be separated? A brief historical and philosophical introduction to the distinction between law, religion and morality

Reading: Masferrer, “Law and Morality Revisited: Interdisciplinary Perspectives”, in A. Masferrer (ed.), Criminal Law and Morality in the Age of Consent. Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Springer (forthcoming, 2020)

Friday 27 March

The religious influence in the making of private law: marriage, law of property and obligations

Reading: Charles Donahue, Jr., “The Role of the Humanists and the Second Scholastic in the Development of European Marriage Law from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries”, Law and Religion: The Legal Teachings of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations (ed. by Wim Decock et altri), Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GmbH & Co. KG, Göttingen, 2014, pp. 45-62 (available at google  books); W Decock, “Law of Property and Obligations: Neoscholastic Thinking and Beyond”, The Oxford Handbook of European Legal History (ed. by Heikki Pihlajamäki, Markus D. Dubber, and Mark Godfrey), OUP, 2018, pp. 611-631.


1-2-3 April

Guest Lectures : Anicetu MASFERRER

Law, Religion and Morality: Past and Present

Wednesday 1 April

The distintion between criminal law and morality in the Western tradition

Reading: A Masferrer, “The Need for a Secularized Criminal Law: Past, Present andFuture. A Proposal to Unravel a Complex Issue in the Western Society”, Trending Topics of Law and Justice: Legal English Workshops 2015/16, Tirant lo Blanch, 2017, pp. 299-321.

Thursday 2 April

The religious influence in the making of Constitutional law: human dignity & human rights

Reading: A Masferrer, “Human Dignity in the Early Sixteenth Century Spanish Scholasticism: Francisco de Vitoria and Fray Bartolomé de las Casas”, De rebus divinis et humanis. Essays in honour of Jan Hallebeek (Harry Dondorp, Martin Schermaier & Boudewijn Sirks, eds.), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Verlage 2019, pp. 203-213.

Friday 3 April

The religious influence in the making of Constitutional law: the religious freedom from the Peace of Westphalia (1648) to the Second Vatican Council (1968).

Reading: Dignitatis humanae (Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, by Pope Paul VI on December 7, 1965; M Rhonheimer, “Christian secularity and the culture of human rights” (available at

8 April Mid-Term exam
15-16-17 April

Guest Lectures : Pierre THEVENIN

Ecole Normale Superieure de Cachan, Paris

Law and Literature

The classes will explore the appropriation, by avant-garde poets from the 20th and 21st centuries, of the formal use of language associated with the practice of law. Looking at legally trained American poets, ranging from Charles Reznikoff to Vanessa Place, we will discuss how an engagement with judicial documents played a part in developing an “uncreative”, “objectivist” or “conceptualist” trend of writing. How can law set an example for poets keen to face the challenge that the digital age is putting on the original expression of private sentiments?


Charles Reznikoff, Testimony: The United States 1885-1890. Recitative, Black Sparrow Press, 2015 (selection).

Kenneth Goldsmith, Uncreative Writing. Managing Language in the Digital Age, Columbia University Press, New York, chapter 1 “Revenge of the Text”.

James Boyd White, “The Writing Life of the Lawyer and Judge”, third section of “An Old-Fashioned View of the Nature of Law”, Theoretical Inquiry in Law, 2011-12, p. 381-402.

22-23-24 April

Guest Lectures : Charles YABLON

Cardozo University, New York


Law, music, the center and the frontiers of normativity

1)          General discussion of law and music and its relationship to other interdisciplinary approaches to law.  What are we actually studying when we seek to study law and music?

2)          Law and jazz; the social context of jazz in the United States, its simultaneous existence as a worldwide popular art form and as a unique expression of African American experience and culture.  Jazz as a form of “rule breaking.”


D. Manderson and D. Caudill, “Modes of Law: Music and Legal Theory”, 20 Cardozo Law Review 1998-99, 1325

Amy Leigh Wilson, “A Unifying Anthem or Path to Degradation: The Jazz Influence in American Property Law”, 55 Ala. L. Rev. 425 (2004).

6-7-8 May

Emanuele CONTE

Guest Lecture on 7th May: Ivo JOSIPOVIC

Former President of the Republic od Croatia

6 May: Law, Music and Liturgy

7 May: Music and Politics

8 May: Music, Constitution and the People

13-14-15 May

Guest Lectures : Cinnamon DUCASSE

University of St Andrews, UK

Contemporary British anti-rave law (from 1980s)

Laws against slave music in the British Caribbean (C18th)

Theodosian constitutions on festival.

Listen to the following track, which was composed in response to Part V of the Criminal Justice Act 1994, which criminalised the gathering of 20 or more people around music characterised by the ‘emission of a succession of repetitive beats’. Each beat in the track is different and therefore cannot be defined as repetitive. I think if they listen to the track they can figure this out, so don’t tell them why I’ve asked them to listen to it!

Autechre, ‘Flutter’ on Anti EP (Warp, UK: 1994)



Here are 2 introductions to sounds studies volumes, to introduce critical thinking about sound and music:

Jonathan Sterne, ‘1. Sonic Imaginations’, in The Sound Studies Reader, ed. Jonathan Sterne, (London: Routledge, 2014), pp.1-13.

Michael Bull and Les Back, ‘Introduction: Into Sound… Once More With Feeling’, in The Auditory Culture Reader, 2nd Edition, eds. Michael Bull and Les Back. (London: Bloomsbury, 2016)

And one tough article which incorporates some of this thinking into jurisprudence:

James E. K. Parker (2019) ‘Sonic lawfare: on the jurisprudence of weaponised sound’, in Sound Studies, 5:1, 72-96, DOI: 10.1080/20551940.2018.156445

27-28-29 May Overview and final revision for exam


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