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Sunday, December 04, 2011

Parry on "Sovereignty, Emergency, Legality"

My posts are going to be fairly limited while I'm recovering, and mostly of a "hey, read this" or "watch this" variety.  With that in mind, and aware of the depressing adage that charity begins at home, I thought I'd point to this short but thorough and graceful review, on the Texas Law Review's Dicta site (a way of allowing the journal to allocate more virtual space to book reviews, God bless 'em), of Austin Sarat's edited collection, Sovereignty, Emergency, Legality.  To quote the book's publisher, Cambridge University Press, the book "examines law's complex relationship to sovereign power and emergency conditions. It . . . concentrates on officials and the choices they make in defining, anticipating, and responding to conditions of emergency as well as the impact of their choices on embodied subjects, whether citizen or stranger."  The review's author is John T. Parry of Lewis & Clark Law School, who has written a good deal on these issues himself.  The review is largely descriptive, but it is a thoughtful and elegant description of a book whose primary essays (by Pat Gudridge, David Dyzenhaus, Michael Rosenfeld, and others) deserve more attention.

Sarat has run a number of symposia out of the University of Alabama, where I teach, and in my experience he has a knack for bringing together good people, asking good questions that offer worthwhile, defamiliarizing spins on perennial topics, and expecting (and getting) good original work out of the participants, rather than typical edited-collection recapitulations of other work.  Of course I am biased, but it's a bias that arises out of watching him at work and seeing the results, not out of a generalized sense of institutional loyalty.  His recent symposium on freedom of religion was especially good, and I can't wait to read the primary essays in the published collection that will result, and to add my own short commentary.  

Further to the home-charity bit, as Parry's review notes, I have a short piece in the Sovereignty collection.  It hardly measures up to the paper, by Pat Gudridge, to which I was responding.  But it offered me a nice opportunity to think and write further about the relationship between oath-taking, decision-making, and deference.  Hopefully this collection is in your law school's library (at $90, it's clearly priced for institutional and not individual purchase), and I hope you'll take a look at it; if you do, Parry's review offers a superb starting point.     

Posted by Paul Horwitz on December 4, 2011 at 04:15 PM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink


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Thank you for the kind wishes, and for providing such lovely reading during my recuperation. Best wishes on exams, which some would put right up there with surgery for unpleasantness.

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | Dec 16, 2011 8:04:55 AM

Thank you kindly for your coverage. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Posted by: Texas Law Review | Dec 14, 2011 10:27:22 PM

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