Law and the Senses II 17-18 November 2016_ Final programme

The final programme is ready and you can download it here.



Law and the Senses II conference, 17-18 November 2016

Law and senses

17 November 2016 to 18 November 2016
Time: 10:00am to 6:00pm
Location: The Pavilion, University of Westminster, Cavendish Campus, 115 New Cavendish Street, London, W1W 6XH – View map
Register for a free ticket via Eventbrite

Law and the Senses II: human, posthuman, inhuman sensings proposes to investigate the sensing of law, the capacity for law to (make) sense, and the possibility for law to sense differently.

Do senses belong to the realm of the subjective and thus non sunt disputandum? Or are they objective, as the truth-validating paradigm of vision indicates? Can we touch without being touched? What remains of the subject/object dualism when we are immersed in the impersonal materiality of a soundscape? Are neurological phenomenologies of pheromones sufficient to account for the role played by odour in life?

And beyond the human: can senses be sensed outside the phenomenological? What about the promise of new technologies to rewrite the frontiers of the sensible into inhuman scales and temporalities? What does sensing become in the Anthropocene, and what will the sense of sensing be ‘after’ the human?

The Law has only marginally engaged with the sensorial: the dominant approach tends to separate law and the senses and maintain an often unquestioned opposition. However, in spite of this apparent incompatibility, the law is intrinsically dependent on the sensorial. How, then, do we understand the unfolding of this law-sense paradox?

The conference gathers trans-disciplinary contributions and seeks to interfere with a standardised conference format.


  • Alejandra Perez
  • Carey Young
  • Christopher Law
  • David Chandler
  • Daniela Johannes
  • Hamish Clift and Melody Woodnutt
  • Isabel Añino Granados
  • Julia J.A. Shaw
  • Lucy Finchett-Maddock
  • Olga Danylyuk
  • Riccardo Baldissone
  • Shira Shmu’ely
  • Susan Fletcher

Organising team: Danilo Mandic, Caterina Nirta, Andrea Pavoni with Andreas Philippopoulos- Mihalopoulos.

Law and the Senses Series – Touch


Non Liquet is delighted to publish the third issue on ‘Touch’ from the online Law and the Senses Series.

Following Taste and Smell, this issues explores the sense of touch in relation to the law and normativity. Described by Aristotle as the most vital and intelligent of senses, touch contains both the physical and metaphysical in its ability to express the determination of being. To manifest itself, touch relies on a precise and active bodily/physical involvement that other senses do not require: to touch is already to be active and to activate. This fundamental ontology makes touch the most essential of all senses.

Touch is deeply immersed in the here and now without being subject to spatio-temporal limitations. It refuses all representations, for its being can only exist within itself. However, Law’s temporality and representativeness are constantly open to negotiation and reinterpretation, thus making it reliant on a widely shared sense of collectiveness. With compelling contributions by Naomi Segal, Jan Hogan, Moritz Von Stetten and Michelle LeBaron, this issue attempts to look at this discrepancy and reconsiders the relation between the tactful intrusiveness of the law and the untactful movement of touch.

Law and the Senses Series – Smell

Law-and-the-Senses_Smell 1

The Law and the Senses series continues with taste’s neighbouring sense — smell. Smells are invisible, intangible and transitory, but despite their elusive quality they are intrinsically normative. Although hardly graspable by law, they both share the potential to perform the same acts of unification and division when constructing normative spaces. It is along these lines that this series engages with the olfactory: not as law’s object of regulation, but as a means through which the law performs, actualises, perpetuates and materialises itself. Smell exposes to view, it airs the way in which law conceptualises and contextualises its own actuality. Smell brings law forth by allowing it to show its underbelly, its elusive sense-making that is invariably sacrificed to the necessity of legal constancy. However, smell’s fragmentary, discontinuous and unstable nature, despite all the ordering that goes to it, poses a peculiar challenge to the law. This issue sets out to investigate this juncture.