Law and New Media


This two-day conference turns the spotlight on recent thinking about art, legal evidence, media, and history. Speakers will stimulate new conversation about the ways in which new technologies of print media, photography, communications, film and digital culture impact and change the history of art and law. The term "new media" is here understood as the long and ongoing transformation of cultural forms and technologies, from illustrated legal texts to cartoons and mass media campaigns around famous trials, to the regulatory effects of law in digital culture. We ask the question: how have media production and law been co-produced and entangled, and with what consequences?

  • Plenary talk by Martin Rowson the evening before, Thurs., Sept. 15, 7: 30 p.m. - register below)
  • View safety protocols



7:30–9 p.m. | Plenary Talk (Free with separate registration) REGISTER
Martin Rowson (multi-award-winning Guardian editorial cartoonist, illustrator, author, graphic novelist, broadcaster & poet) “Mocking the Preposterous: How to Taunt Tyrants and Survive - A Short Guide to 45,000 Years of Visual Satire"


8:30–9:30 a.m. | Registration & Coffee

9:30–10 a.m. | Welcome & Remarks
Natalia Molina (The Huntington) & Jennifer Tucker (Wesleyan University)

10–11:30 a.m. | Session 1—The Equivocal Image
Moderator: Paul Halliday (University of Virginia)

  • Paul Raffield (University of Warwick), “Richard II, Elizabeth I, Arachne, and Lady Hale's Spider Brooch: Images of Sovereignty, 1395-2019”
  • Lynda Nead (Birkbeck, University of London), “The Persistence of Old Media: The Law and Visual Representation”

11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. | Lunch (extra charge)

1–2:30 p.m. | Session 2— Courting Public Opinion
Moderator: Paul Raffield (University of Warwick)

  • Jennifer Tucker (Wesleyan University), "Beyond the 'Mug Shot': Photography and the Court of Public Opinion"
  • Ian Burney (University of Manchester), “Erle Stanley Gardner's Court of Last Resort and the Pursuit of Innocence in Post-War America”

2:30–3 p.m. | Break

3–4:30 p.m. | Session 3— Witnessing and Visual Evidence
Moderator: Ian Burney (University of Manchester)

  • Sandra Ristovska (University of Colorado Boulder), “Witnessing Video Evidence in Court”
  • Allissa Richardson (USC), “Bearing Witness While Black: African Americans, Smartphones and the New Protest #Journalism”

4:30 p.m. | Session 4— Witnessing and Documenting Russian War Crimes in Ukraine
Moderator: Peter Rutland (Wesleyan University)

  • Alina Mozolevska (Petro Mohyla Black Sea State University, Ukraine), “Russia's War in Ukraine and New War Narratives”
  • Discussant: Christian Delage (Université Paris-VIII)


9:30–10 a.m. | Registration & Coffee

10–11:30 a.m. | Session 5—Legitimizing & Contesting Judicial Authority
Moderator: Lynda Nead (Birkbeck, University of London)

  • Paul Halliday (University of Virginia), “Envisioning Law’s Empire: Art Meets Politics in the Supreme Court of Ceylon, 1810-1830”
  • Zeynep Gürsel (Rutgers University), “Bertillon's Criminal Photography and the Struggle over the Image of the State”

11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. | Lunch (extra charge)

1–2:30 p.m. | Session 6—Mediatizing
Moderator: Zeynep Gürsel (Rutgers University)

  • Christian Delage (Université Paris-VIII), “The Silence of the Filmed Witness"
  • Mitali Thakor (Wesleyan University), “Embodied Capture: Humans, Algorithms, and the Policing of Child Sexual Abuse Images”

2:30–3 p.m. | Break

3–4:30 p.m. | Session 7—Implications of New Media for Law and Democracy Today
Moderator: Mitali Thakor (Wesleyan University)

  • Thaddeus Hoffmeister (University of Dayton School of Law), “Can the Internet Democratize the Jury?”
  • Siva Vaidhyanathan (University of Virginia), “Cacophony: Managing Speech in the Loud 21st Century”

4:30 Wrap-up | Panelist Roundtable and Audience
Moderators: Jennifer Tucker (Wesleyan University) & Siva Vaidhyanathan (University of Virginia)