"Is the Law Hopeful?" A talk with Annelise Riles


Chancellor Day Hall Common Room, 3644 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

Join us for a talk by Professor Annelise Riles (Cornell), sponsored by the Katharine A. Pearson Chair in Civil Society and Public Policy.

What does the law contribute to hope? Is there anything hopeful about law? What can legal studies contribute to the now vigorous debates in economics, sociology, psychology, philosophy, literary studies and anthropology about the nature and sources of hope in personal and social life? Rather than focus on the ends of law (social justice, economic efficiency, etc.), Riles will focus instead on the means (or techniques of the law). Through a critical engagement with the work of Hans Vaihinger, Morris Cohen and Pierre Schlag on legal fictions and legal technicalities, she argues that what is “hopeful” about law is its “As-If” quality.

Annelise Riles is Jack G. Clarke Professor of Far East Legal Studies and Professor of Anthropology at Cornell University Law School.