Sensing the Nation’s Law - Huygebaert, S., Condello, A., Marusek, S., Antaki, M.

Sensing the Nation’s Law

Historical Inquiries into the Aesthetics of Democratic Legitimacy

Huygebaert, S., Condello, A., Marusek, S., Antaki, M.


London, 2018


This book examines how the nation – and its (fundamental) law – are ‘sensed’ by way of various aesthetic forms from the age of revolution up until our age of contested democratic legitimacy. Contemporary democratic legitimacy is tied, among other things, to consent, to representation, to the identity of ruler and ruled, and, of course, to legality and the legal forms through which democracy is structured. This book expands the ways in which we can understand and appreciate democratic legitimacy. If (democratic) communities are “imagined” this book suggests that their “rightfulness” must be “sensed” – analogously to the need for justice not only to be done, but to be seen to be done. This book brings together legal, historical and philosophical perspectives on the representation and iconography of the nation in the European, North American and Australian contexts from contributors in law, political science, history, art history and philosophy.

Mark Antaki, Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley 2005) is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at McGill University. His research focuses on the relation of ethics and aesthetics and that of law and language. He is active in the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities, and has been a fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study and McGill’s Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas. He teaches courses in public and private law as well as legal theory.

Angela Condello, PhD (2013, Roma Tre) is Temporary Lecturer at the University of Roma Tre and Adjunct Professor (Jean Monnet Module “Cultures of Normativity” 2017-2020) at the University of Torino, where she also directs LabOnt Law. She cooperates with the Human Rights Committee of the Italian Senate of the Republic. In 2015 she was Fernand Braudel Fellow (EHESS, CENJ) and in 2014 she was a Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Law as Culture”. Until 2016 she was Guest Professor at the Law School of the University of Ghent. She teaches Law and Humanities at Roma Tre. She organizes the International Roundtables for the Semiotics of Law (New York 2017; Torino 2019) and is in the boards of Law Text Culture, Law & Literature, Rivista di Estetica. She is Associate Editor of Brill Research Perspectives in Art and Law and directs a book series on French Philosophy and Law (Westminster University Press). In 2016 she received a Jean Monnet award.

Stefan Huygebaert is a Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) PhD Fellow at the Ghent Legal History Institute and Department of Art History, Musicology and Theatre Studies (Ghent University). His dissertation, entitled Visual Ideals of Law and Justice is an iconological study of legal imagery in nineteenth-century Belgium. In 2014-2015, and again in 2016-2017, Stefan was a PhD fellow (Stipendiat) within the Minerva Research Group The Nomos of Images: Manifestation and Iconology of Law at the Kunsthistorisches Insitut in Florenz (Max-Planck-Institut). He publishes and teaches on legal iconography and nineteenth-century art, and recently co-edited the catalogue for the exhibition The Art of Law: Three Centuries of Justice Depicted (Groeningemuseum, Bruges).

Sarah Marusek, Ph.D (University of Massachusetts Amherst 2008), is an Associate Professor of Public Law in the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo. Her research interests focus on sites of constitutive law, legal geography, and legal semiotics that engage legal pluralist frameworks of everyday jurisprudence. She teaches courses in U.S. Constitutional law, legal studies, and legal geography.