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Law and the Emotions: Welcome

Welcome to the website for Law and the Emotions: New Directions in Scholarship. The conference took place in Berkeley, California on February 8 and 9, 2007, and brought together leading scholars in the rapidly developing field of law and the emotions. The goals of the conference were to showcase new work, forge new avenues of inquiry, and facilitate collaboration among those in the diverse disciplines that contribute to the field. Law and the Emotions was the first gathering of its kind since the May, 1998 meeting in Chicago that evolved into The Passions of Law (Susan Bandes ed. 1999). Since that time and until 2007, the study of law and the emotions had become increasingly sophisticated and interdisciplinary. The core insights of the field-that human emotion is amenable to rigorous study, that it is highly relevant to law, and that its role in law is deserving of closer scrutiny-are moving closer to the academic mainstream in a range of disciplines.

Just as the 1998 meeting moved the then-nascent field to a new level of focus and prominence, Law and the Emotions aimed to move the field yet further forward by fostering conversation and collaboration among scholars, particularly in newer areas of analysis. Two prominent keynote speakers-Arlie Hochschild and Dacher Keltner-explored important connections with sociology and psychology. A series of panels addressed cutting-edge issues in the mind sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Moving away from the traditional focus on emotion as an internal, subjective experience, the conference highlighted work that analyzed emotions as relational and dynamic players in the context of legal institutions. The conference concluded with a roundtable discussion reflecting on the varied ways in which law is capable of engaging the emotions: for example, by mirroring emotions, acting upon them, moderating or challenging them, scripting them, and even bringing them into being.

The event was an intimate, dynamic, and highly interactive gathering featuring:

  • Kathryn R. Abrams
    Herma Hill Kay Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California,
    Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall)
  • Susan Bandes
    Distinguished Research Professor, DePaul University College of Law
  • Hila Keren
    Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Terry Maroney
    Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School