As part of the research network we convened the following events:









AHRC Legal Materiality Research Network

Concluding Conference

Birkbeck, University of Law, Malet Street Building, Room B20

Torrington Square Entrance


Thursday 9 January 2020

A 10:00-10:40 Introduction 

Hyo Yoon Kang and Sara Kendall (University of Kent, Law)

B 10:45-12:00 Paper panel: Other legalities, other materialities of law?

Mark Antaki (McGill University, Law)
‘Material Legalities’

Daniela Gandorfer (Princeton University, Comparative Literature)
‘Matterphorics of Law. Physical States of Legal Matters.’

Commentators: Swastee Ranjan (Sussex University, Law)


C 13:00 – 14:15 Paper Panel: Material and medial formation of legality 

Bernard Keenan (Birkbeck College, University of London, Law)
‘From Office Practices to Human Rights: A Media Genealogy of Interception Warrants’

Gustav Kalm (Columbia University, Anthropology)
‘Corporate Serious: Visual Rhetoric in Contemporary Law Firm Paperwork’

Commentator: Matei Candea (Cambridge University, Anthropology)


D 14:45 – 16:00 Paper panel: Versions of legal materiality

Manuela Bragagnolo (Max Planck Institute for Legal History, Frankfurt)
‘Textuality and Materiality in Early Modern Legal Books. Martin de Azpilcueta’s Manual de Confessores’

Markus Krajewski (University of Basel, Media Studies)
‘Against the Power of Algorithms. Closing, Literate Programming, and Source Code Critique’

Commentator: Wouter Werner (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

– A very short walk around the square for those inclined –

E 16:15 – 17:30 Roundtable on the Special issue on ‘Legal Materiality’, Law Text Culture

Matei Candea (Cambridge University, Anthropology)

Mahmoud Keshavarz (Uppsala University, Anthropology and Design)

James Leach (CNRS Pacific-Credo, Anthropology)

James Martel (San Francisco State University, Political Theory)

Amin Parsa (University of Lund, Law) 

Wouter Werner (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Law)

Moderation: Hyo Yoon Kang and Sara Kendall (University of Kent)



at the Marquis Cornwallis pub, 31 Marchmont Street  (5:45pm – 7pm)

Friday 10 January 2020

F 10:00 – 11:15 Legal materiality of objects

Amanda Perry Kessaris (University of Kent, Law)
‘Material prefiguration as legal research strategy’

Tanja Aalberts (Vrije Universitaet Amsterdam, Law)
‘People, Rules and Objects. Transnational Legal Encounters and the Politics of Protection’

Commentators: Mahmoud Keshavarz (Uppsala University, Anthropology and Design) and Amin Parsa (University of Lund, Law) 


G 11:30 12:00 INTERJECTION: Record, line

Marie-Andree Jacob (University of Leeds, Law) & Anna Macdonald (Manchester Metropolitan University, Contemporary Performance) on Line and Strikethrough

H 12:00 – 1:15 Paper Panel: Legal material shaping of futurity

Nathan Moore (Birkbeck College, University of London, Law)
‘Making the Future Decidable: What is Foreseeability?’

Klaas Eller (Tel Aviv University, Safra Center for Ethics)
‘The Code of Global Supply Chains. On the Normativity of Infrastructure in the World Economy’

Commentator: Isobel Roele (Queen Mary University of London, Law)


I 14:15 – 15:30 Paper panel: The force of legal materials 

Anne Bottomley (University of Kent, Law)
‘Ground Force: Cultivating Land, Law and Legacy on two ‘small islands’’

Agnieszka Kubal (University College London, Sociology)
‘The Paper Does Not Blush: Materiality in Refugee Law in Russia’

Commentator: Mark Antaki (McGill University, Law)

Short Break – Refreshments served

J 15:40 – 16:40 Keynote 

James Leach (CNRS Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur l’Oceanie, Universite d’Aix-Marseille, Anthropology) ‘Documents against Knowledge’

K 16:45 – 17:30 Open Floor

Looking back to the project: impressions, critique, directions



The event is now hosted and supported by Dr Bernard Keenan of Birkbeck Law School in observance with the University and College Union support of the boycott of all events held at the University of London Senate House, Warburg Institute and Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in solidarity with outsourced cleaning and security staff. The event was originally scheduled to take place at the Warburg Institute. More info can be found here: We thank Bernard for his help.

The network activities were made possible by the AHRC research networking grant and realised with the support of Kent Law School and our network partner, Stuart J. Murray, at Carleton University. Thank you.

Thanks to all those who have contributed to and engaged with this theme over the past years, especially Matei Candea, Marianne Constable, Markus Krajewski, James Leach, James Martel, Jill Stauffer, and the reviewers of the special issue on legal materiality of Law Text Culture. We also thank the Association for Law, Culture and the Humanities and the panelists who have participated and engaged with us over the last three years, as well as those who have hosted and provided us with spaces for discussion (Marianne Constable and the Townsend Center for Humanities, UC Berkeley; Stuart Murray; Brenna Bhandar).

Special thanks to KLS Research, especially Sian Robertson, for all her tremendous help in organising this and previous events.