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Law Research Seminar Series - Coal Seams and Bit Streams: Two Recent Cases On The Conceptual Difficulty Of Being And/Or Having

Venue: Birkbeck 30 Russell Square

Coal Seams and Bit Streams: Two Recent Cases On The Conceptual Difficulty Of Being And/Or Having

Speaker: Nathan Moore (Birkbeck, University of London)

This paper takes two recent cases (Bocardo SA v Star Energy UK [2010] UKSC 35; Your Response Ltd v Datateam [2014] EWCA Civ 281) on the difficulty of defining possession as a starting point from which to re-visit, once more, the perennial problem of how to distinguish the rational from the material and, more specifically, subject from object. In so doing, it will not seek to arrive at a 'new' or 'final' method for defining 'personhood' or 'thing-ness', nor will it attempt to 'return' to some sort of 'original' conceptualisation of their difference. Perhaps counter-intuitively, it will argue that subject and object are best left confused. In aid of this, it will call upon a number of sources for support, including the artist Paul Nash and the writer JG Ballard. Its purpose will be to try to gesture towards short circuiting that politico-theological holding known, variously, as the 'anthropological machine', the 'paradigm of immunisation', the 'apparatus of capture', and so on.

Nathan Moore is a Senior Lecturer at Birkbeck School of Law. He studied law at Kent Law School, and undertook a PhD at Birkbeck College. His first book, The Decision, will be published soon by Fordham University Press, as part of their Commonalities series.

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Law Research Seminars are held on Wednesdays at lunchtime. The seminars are free and open to the public, and a light lunch is provided. For more information please contact Dr Başak Ertür

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This event is part of the School of Law's 25th Anniversary celebrations. The School of Law, Birkbeck was founded in 1992 as a Department of Law with three members of academic staff. Over the last twenty-five years it has become a School comprising the Departments of Law and Criminology as well as the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, four research Centres, 40 members of staff and an overall student body of over 1,000. The School is proud of being a pioneer in establishing and developing a hub for the field of critical legal studies. While our national and international reputation has been forged through critical legal research, more recently we have gained recognition for critical criminological and activist research, socio-legal scholarship and policy-engaged empirical research. In recognition of this the last Research Excellence Framework exercise ranked us as being in the top 10 law schools in the UK and in the top 3 in London, while our research environment was judged conducive to producing research of the highest quality.

In this our 25th Anniversary year we will be holding a series of events reflecting on our history and successes as well as looking forward to the opportunities and challenges facing critical legal and criminological teaching and scholarship in the 21st century. Find out more about the 25th Anniversary celebrations here.


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