Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-76fb5796d-skm99 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-25T13:14:43.473Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

1 - A Humanities of Resistance: Fragments for a Legal History of Humanity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2010

Austin Sarat
Amherst College, Massachusetts
Matthew Anderson
University of New England, Maine
Cathrine O. Frank
University of New England, Maine
Get access


I first realized that there was something strange about the term “Humanities” when, as the director of my university's Humanities Institute, I participated in a meeting to set up a European Consortium of Humanities Centers. Except for the host center in Utrecht and mine, no other participating European university had a Humanities Institute. The aspiring founding fathers and mothers came from single disciplines: Archeology, English, Dutch, Media, and Philosophy. Then it struck me: No proper or widely used term translates the term Humanities in Greek or Italian, their supposed mother tongues. The Humanities, despite their desperate look eastward and backward, are a consummately modern and decidedly American invention. No faculties, courses, or centers for the Humanities existed in European universities until recently. The few British exceptions – of which my own institution is a shining example – do not follow a long tradition of Humanities education. They are, rather, the result of our “special relationship” with our transatlantic cousins and of the managerial culture that has replaced the older genteel governance of universities, and is perennially trying – and on the whole failing – to create economies of scale, grant-producing interdisciplinary initiatives, and a teaching, scholarship, and evaluation culture that rather pathetically imitates the marketplace.

What are the Humanities? According to the flourishing American debate, the Humanities have been defined in two related ways.

Law and the Humanities
An Introduction
, pp. 49 - 72
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Ullman, B. L., “What are the Humanities17/6 Journal of Higher Education301, at 302 (1946)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schroeder, James, “The Enemy Within” in 25/8 College English561 (1964)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Feinberg, Walter, “To Defend the Humanities3/2 The Journal of Aesthetic Education91 (1969)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Perry, Ralph Barton, “A Definition of the Humanities” in The Meaning of the Humanities (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1938), 4Google Scholar
Kuhns, Richard, 1/2 The Journal of Aesthetic Education7 (1966), 12, 15CrossRef
Pound, Roscoe, “The Humanities in an Absolutist World” in XXXIX/1 The Classical Journal (October 1943), 1Google Scholar
Balkin, Jack and Levinson, Sanford, “Law and the Humanities: An Uneasy Relationship”, 18 Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities155 (2006)Google Scholar
Nussbaum, Martha, “Cultivating Humanity in Legal Education,” 70/1 University of Chicago Law Review265 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Humanities and Human Development36/3 Journal of Aesthetic Education39 (2002)
Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997)
Nussbaum, Martha, “The Use and Abuse of Philosophy in Legal Education,” 45 Stanford Law Review1627 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bhabha, Homi, “Unpacking my Library…Again” in Chamber, Iain and Curti, Lidia, eds. The Post-colonial Question (New York: Routledge, 1996)Google Scholar
Braidotti, Rosi, Transposition (Cambridge: Polity Press 2006)Google Scholar
Ignatieff, Michael, The Lesser Evil (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dershowitz, Alan, Why Terrorism Works (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002)Google Scholar
Gray, John, Torture – A Modest Proposal in Heresies (London: Granta, 2004), 132Google Scholar
Ross, Alf, On Law and Justice (London: Stevens & Sons, 1958), 274Google Scholar
Hayek, Friedrich, Law, Legislation, and Liberty (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1972), 168Google Scholar
Finch, Sir H., Law, or, A Discourse Thereof in Four Books (London: Society of Stationers), 1627Google Scholar
Douzinas, Costas and Gearey, Adam, Critical Jurisprudence (Oxford: Hart, 2006)Google Scholar
Balkin, Jack, “Deconstructive Practice and Legal Theory,” 96 Yale Law Journal743 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ignatieff, Michael, Human Rights as Politics and Ideology (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000)Google Scholar
Lefort, Claude, The Political Forms of Modern Society, Thompson, John, ed. (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1986), 240Google Scholar
Baldry, H. C., The Unity of Mankind in Greek Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965), 201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sepulveda, Gines, Democrates Segundo of De las Justas Causa de la Guerra contra los Indios (Madrid: Institute Fransisco de Vitoria, 1951) 33Google Scholar
Todorov, Tzvetan, The Conquest of America, Howard, Richard, transl. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999) 153Google Scholar
Casas, Bartholomé de las, Obras Completas, Vol. 7 (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1922) 536–7Google Scholar
Zizek, Slavoj, “Against Human Rights,” 34 New Left Review56 (July–August 2005)Google Scholar
Heidegger, Martin, “Letter on Humanism” in Basic Writings, Krell, D. F., ed. (San Francisco: Harper, 1977), 201–2Google Scholar
Hodge, Joanna, Heidegger and Ethics (London: Routledge, 1995), 90Google Scholar
Villey, Michel, “L'Humanisme et le droit,” in Seize essais de philosophie du droit (Paris: Dalloz, 1969) 60Google Scholar
Edelman, Bernard, Le Droit saisi par la photographie (Paris, Maspero, 1973) 102Google Scholar
Jacobi, Russell, The End of Utopia (New York: Routledge, 1996)Google Scholar
Douzinas, Costas, The End of Human Rights (Oxford: Hart, 2000) 253–61Google Scholar
Douzinas, Costas, Human Rights and Empire (London: Routledge, 2007)Google Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats