The importance of developing and reflecting on humanistic perspectives on legal practice and legal pedagogy has acquired a specific kind of urgency in contemporary iterations of legal questions in India today. It has become imperative to recover, highlight, and underline the quest of law towards humanity to interrogate the normalization of law’s attachment to cruelty. The Centre for Law and Humanities aims to consolidate the prolific histories, traditions, and forms of life and thought that challenges the idea that law as language must serve as hollow instrument of power. By pointing to the relationship between law and/or in humanities, it strives to recover a sensibility that is literary, lyrical, poetic, sensory, and aesthetic to invite self-reflexivity at the heart of the legal enterprise. To the project of constitutional law or human rights law, the very idea of the human (or the post-human) and humanity must take center stage. And such projects then must cultivate forms of sensibilities that enable legal experts, academics and students to see and feel (or sense) how lives that stand or fall in the shadow of the law are made illegible. Such forms of seeing and sensing are framed through artistic, cinematic, poetic, literary or sensory ways. The symbolic forms of law or the structure of feelings that are embedded in legal architecture as a given must be unpacked from a postcolonial reading of our own literary, cinematic, poetic, artistic and sensory traditions.
The Centre for Law and Humanities strives to promote reflections on the intersections between law and the humanities by initiating interdisciplinary conversations on how we may think of law in humanities, law and humanities, and law as humanities. The Centre provides a forum to scholars from diverse intellectual traditions and disciplinary perspectives to converse and dialogue on how to deepen laws quest for humanity. The Centre seeks to elicit newer ways of framing law’s vexed relationship with caste, gender, politics, identity, morality, and justice. It strives to invite conversations about the cultural lives of law by addressing both state law and non-state law. Towards this goal, the Centre regularly organises individual and collaborative research projects and writings, conferences and scholarly symposia, public and distinguished lectures, and joint events.
In the summer of 2021, the Centre for Law and Humanities will collaborate with the Law and Social Sciences Research Network (LASSnet) to initiate a series of conversations on books, methods and concepts that further the quest for humanistic perspectives on law.