Australian Feminist Law Journal: Call for Papers: Special Issue Volume 40 (June 2014)



Evidence and the Archive: Ethics, Aesthetics and Emotion

This Special Issue explores the stakes, risks and opportunities invoked in opening and exploring law’s archive and re-examining law’s evidence. It draws together papers exploring how evidence is used or mis-used during the legal process, and re-used after the law’s work has concluded. It asks that contributors engage with ethical, aesthetic or emotional dimensions of using law’s evidence.

Within socio-legal discourse, the move towards ‘open justice’ has emerged concurrently with a much broader cultural sensibility, one that has been called the “archival turn” (Ann Laura Stoler), the “archival impulse” (Hal Foster), and “archive fever” (Jacques Derrida). Whilst these terms do not describe exactly the same phenomena, they collectively acknowledge the process by which we create a fetish of the stored document. The archive facilitates our material confrontation with history, historicity, order, linearity, time and bureaucracy. For lawyers, artists, journalists, publishers, curators and scholars, the document in the archive has the attributes of authenticity, contemporaneity, and the unique tangibility of a real moment captured in material form. These attributes form the basis for the strict interpretive limits imposed by the rules of evidence and procedure. These rules do not contain the other attributes of the archival document, those that make it irresistible as the basis for creative work:  beauty, violence, surprise, shame, volume, and the promise that it contains an tantalising secret.

Whereas institutions holding medical scientific collections, human remains, and indigenous cultural heritage have already undergone long processes for the development of guidelines and frameworks for decision-making about access, display and use of their collections, courts and legal archives have yet to undertake this work. Public archives and collections oscillate between traditional policies of restriction and emerging missions of generosity. However, questions of access, use and interpretation of legal evidence during and after the trial, and for court archives generally, have yet to be resolved. In the absence of rules or guidelines, creative and scholarly practices flourish in ways that may be imaginative, significant, transgressive or simply surprising.

Submissions are encouraged from scholars, creative writers, curators and artists.

Possible themes could include:

  • Making art from evidence
  • Telling history from legal sources
  • Sensitivity, secrecy and privacy in archival research
  • Cultural and critical perspectives on evidence
  • Regulating access to court information
  • Open justice, transparency and accountability in legal record-keeping

What we are looking for

Australian Feminist Law Journal seeks to focus upon scholarly research using critical feminist approaches to law and justice, broadly conceived. As a critical legal journal we publish research informed by critical theory, cultural and literary theory, jurisprudential, postcolonial and psychoanalytic approaches, amongst other critical research practices.

Articles are usually limited to 8000 words, including footnotes. Prospective contributors are invited to discuss any proposed submissions with an Editor.

Deadline for Submissions

Manuscripts should be sent in electronic form to the Special Issue Editors, Katherine Biber, University of Technology Sydney, [email protected] or Trish Luker, University of Technology Sydney, [email protected].

Earlier submissions are welcomed.

Refereeing of Articles

Australian Feminist Law Journal referees all manuscripts submitted for publication and follows the double-blind refereeing procedure. Referees will be selected with expertise in the author’s area of scholarship. Authors are requested to place their name and affiliation on a separate page, and to eliminate any self-identifying citation of one’s own work. This can be done by leaving such citations or reference material blank or otherwise referring to the work in a way which disguises the name of the author. The journal will not accept manuscripts for consideration which are already under consideration by another journal.

The Australian Feminist Law Journal is published by the Socio-Legal Research Centre, Griffith University, Australia and is available in all major University libraries and online with Informit, Hein Online, Proquest and EBSCO.

An electronic version of the journal style guide can be found on the AFLJ website:

Subscription enquiries: [email protected]


Information courtesy: Knowledgesteez.