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Grant number like: FB-54349-09

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Lawrence Douglas
Amherst College (Amherst, MA 01002-2372)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

$25,200 (approved)
$25,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2009 – 6/30/2009

Reflections on the Glass Booth: A Jurisprudence of Atrocity

My project seeks to offer a broad history of the law's contact with atrocity since Nuremberg, and to provide a critical re-thinking of the theory and purposes of what I have called a "jurisprudence of atrocity." Against contemporary communitarians and universalists such as Arendt, I insist that crimes of atrocity should be understood less as attacks on humanity writ large than as attacks on human life as an enterprise organized in terms of group attachments, collective identities, and community allegiances. Doing justice to such crimes, I argue, can best by accomplished by trials in situ and by a legal process that attends to the intimate connections between people and place ruptured by horrific acts. In support of this argument, I will closely study the Eichmann and Papon trials, as well as the records of leading trials conducted by the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.