Atelier Doctoral at the École Française in Rome

On February 18-23, Project director Professor John Hudson, senior researcher Professor Emanuele Conte, project post-doctoral researchers Dr Andrew Cecchinato, Dr Will Eves, Dr Attilio Stella and Dr Sarah White, and doctoral researchers Dan Armstrong and David de Concilio participated in the Atelier Doctoral at the École Française in Rome, on the theme: ‘Dal caso alla regola, dalla teoria ai fatti: alle radici della cultura giuridica europea‘.

The doctoral week provided the opportunity for PhD and early career researchers to present their research and act as discussants to papers delivered by other attendees. Professor John Hudson delivered a keynote lecture on the subject of Learning from casuistic approaches to Common Law. Dan Armstrong gave a paper entitled Politics, Law, and Ecclesiology in Anglo-Papal relations, and David de Concilio presented on the topic of Dialectic in the development of medieval legal thought: a European history.The event was attended by a number of senior scholars from around Europe, who offered advice and support to the junior scholars who were present.

The week was punctuated by a visit to Ostia Antica on Wednesday 20 February, during which the Atelier Doctoral delegates were given a guided tour of the ancient Roman site. On the evening of the 21 February, the delegates were kindly welcomed to Le Palais Farnèse, the French Embassy in Rome, and given a tour of the library of the École Française, which is located in the building.

Atelier Doctoral Programme (Click to expand)

Law and Television: The Wire

In mid-October John Hudson taught classes in Emanuele Conte and Angela Condello’s ‘Law and Humanities’ course at the University of Roma Tre. The classes concentrated on the presentation of law within the acclaimed HBO series ‘The Wire’.

Comparison was made between the state-based law of police and judicial system on the one hand, and on the other the customary norms of ‘The Game’, that is, the culture and practices of the drug trade and its participants, as well as the customary norms of medieval Icelandic law as revealed by Njál’s Saga. Also considered were the differences of Common and Civil Law practices for televisual presentation; does the Common Law’s adversarial trial system particularly suit dramatic purposes, be it for depiction of straightforward contests between good and evil or of more nuanced conflicts? does the audience stand in the same place as the Common Law jury? may an inquisitorial system in the Civil Law break down some of the genre differences between police and legal drama?

With a class from four continents and ten countries, we were able to assess such questions not just in terms of authorial aims, but also of audience reception. Those from Civil Law systems watched The Wire’s trial scenes in subtly different ways than those from Common Law systems, whereas that difference of legal tradition had less effect on perception of the customary norms that can be uncovered in ‘The Game’ or in Njál’s Saga.