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Corpus Juris, Habeas Corpus, and the 'corporeal turn' in the humanities

Kayman, Martin A. ORCID: 2016. Corpus Juris, Habeas Corpus, and the 'corporeal turn' in the humanities. Law and Literature 28 (3) , pp. 355-378. 10.1080/1535685X.2016.1232923

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The article identifies a “corporeal turn” in the humanities and locates its implications for the politics of reading within the postmodern crisis in the legitimacy of traditional humanities approaches to culture. The powerful language of the “corpus” is also found during the same period in the staging of a confrontation over liberty between British and European legal systems. Using this as a political framework, the article traces the metaphysical resonance of the “corpus” to its origins in a theological ecology and examines the contrasting ecology revealed by the “monuments” of the unwritten English law, sustained not by faith but by fiction. Central to belief in the justice of the verdicts of this law is the separation of literal fact from legal significance and the allocation of responsibility for their interpretation in the jury trial to different readers. The challenge of the corporeal turn to traditional approaches is the critique of the “close” human reader as the determiner of the facts in favour of a “distant” digital reader. Rather than simply asserting the superiority of the human reader, however, the essay argues that, despite their opposition, the traditional jury and corpus humanities both work institutionally to elide fictionality in their critical judgments. Nonetheless, fictionality persists in the possibility that things could be imagined otherwise, be they verdicts of law or laws of cultural history.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: A General Works > AZ History of Scholarship The Humanities
K Law > K Law (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Digital humanities – critical methodologies – distant reading – culturomics – jury trial – unwritten law – transubstantiation – corpus vs body
Publisher: University of California Press
ISSN: 1535-685X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 6 March 2016
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 22:29

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