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Rutgers Law Journal



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Mid-Atlantic People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference, literary technique, literary canon


The Fourth Annual Mid-Atlantic People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference, which took place at Rutgers Law School in Camden on February 12-14, 1998, poignantly captured the theme around which the conference was organized. The theme of the conference was "Law and Literature: Examining the Limited Legal Imagination in the Traditional Legal Canon." True to the theme of the conference, many presenters sought to expand our collective imagination through poetry, fiction, and narrative. The presentations were intellectually stimulating and provocative. Indeed, there was a literary quality to some of the presentations. Perhaps most importantly, the conference itself, in the tradition of the Regional People of Color conferences, provided us with the necessary sustenance that can only be found in a community of scholars united by a particular undertaking. The dual focus of our undertaking is reflected in both the title of the conference and the papers included in this issue of the Journal. First, conference participants were concerned about the "limited legal imagination" reflected in the traditional legal canon. Of particular focus was the question of which voices, perspectives, and experiences have become central to the canon, and which are marginalized. Second, participants focused on "law and literature," invoking literary fiction and poetry to explore the justice of legal rules and legal decisionmaking. Many scholars at the conference persuasively made the case that literature, and literary techniques (like narrative), can broaden the scope of legal discourse by bringing voices and perspectives which might otherwise go unrecognized, unheard, or unappreciated.