The Center for Law, Society, and Culture ( is sponsored by the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. The Center actively supports and promotes multidisciplinary understanding of law and legal problems through scholarship, teaching, and discussion. The Center is located in the School of Law on the Bloomington campus of Indiana University, but produces, presents and coordinates research conducted by more than 70 scholars from schools and departments across Indiana University. The Center's affiliated scholars hold appointments in African-American studies, business, criminal justice, journalism, history, economics, English, law, and gender studies, among others, and are dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the role of law in society and culture. The Center supports research related to the law in a broad sense, including the cultural aspects of law expressed through political theory and scientific aspects of law expressed through technological advances in biotechnology, environmental science and information technology.

Sponsored by: Indiana University Maurer School of Law

"Book Review ― Michael Plaxton, Implied Consent and Sexual Assault: Intimate Relationships, Autonomy, and Voice. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2015" Free Download
Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, Forthcoming

LUCINDA VANDERVORT, University of Saskatchewan

This is a review and critical commentary on Michael Plaxton's 2015 book, entitled Implied Consent and Sexual Assault, in which Plaxton proposes that the legal definition of sexual consent be amended to permit sexual partners to define the terms and conditions of sexual consent in accordance with private "normative commitments" between themselves. The proposed "reform" is intended to permit an individual to agree to be a party to sexual activity that would otherwise constitute sexual assault under Canadian law. For reasons explained in the review, this reviewer concludes that Plaxton's proposal and the rationale he presents in support of its adoption are unpersuasive.

"Vagueness Principles" Free Download
Arizona State Law Journal, Vol. 50, 2017 Forthcoming

CARISSA BYRNE HESSICK, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law

Courts have construed the right to due process to prohibit vague criminal statutes. Vague statutes fail to give sufficient notice, lead to arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement, and represent an unwarranted delegation to law enforcement. But these concerns are hardly limited to prosecutions under vague statutes. The modern expansion of criminal codes and broad deference to prosecutorial discretion imperil the same principles that the vagueness doctrine was designed to protect. As this Essay explains, there is no reason to limit the protection of these principles to vague statutes. Courts should instead revisit current doctrines which regularly permit insufficient notice, arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement, and unwarranted delegations in the enforcement of non-vague criminal laws.

"Fighting Fire with an Inferno" Free Download
SUR 22 - v. 12 n. 22, 2015

GUY LAMB, University of Cape Town (UCT)

In the context of high levels of firearm violence in South Africa this article assesses the attempts by the police to leverage effectual control over the proliferation and misuse of firearms. A key strategy has been that of militarised high density policing operations in the context of a ‘war on crime’ ideology. Through roadblocks and cordon-and-search interventions police have seized very large quantities of firearms and ammunition from high crime areas, and arrested thousands of individuals for a range of crimes, including being in possession of unlicensed firearms. Declining trends in firearm homicide between 1998 and 2011 possibly suggest that these South African Police Service (SAPS) operational efforts may have contributed to reductions in firearm homicide. However, such operations have led to the police being exceedingly invasive and employing heavy-handed methods. Some individuals have also been injured, or have lost their lives as a result of these police operations.

"Riot Control Agents: The Case for Regulation" Free Download
SUR 22 - v. 12 n. 22 (2015)

ANNA FEIGENBAUM, Bournemouth University

Tear gas, first used in World War One, is increasingly becoming the weapon of choice for security forces across the globe. Anna Feigenbaum offers a bleak picture of how companies – with a particular focus on Condor in Brazil – are capitalising on this trend and reaping financial benefits by marketing it as a “non-lethal? weapon. She demonstrates how in reality categorising tear gas as “non-lethal? is at best misguided and at worst disingenuous. Feigenbaum sets out the historical reasons for this “non-lethal? categorisation of tear gas – ones which governments and big business are happy to rely on today despite the ever increasing body of evidence that shows the extreme human rights abuses that its use inflicts on civilian populations worldwide.

"Lesbian Spanners: A Re-Appraisal of UK Consensual Sadomasochism Laws" 
July 2016, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 63–80

SARAH BERESFORD, University of Lancaster

There continues to be legal invisibility of lesbians as sexual beings; in particular, for those lesbians who engage in BDSM. A cursory glance at work both within and outside of the academy gives the impression of increased social and legal acceptability for those who engage in BDSM. However, I suggest that this acceptance is illusory and that instead, gay men who engage in BDSM experience increased legal supervision and increased invisibility for lesbians. These issues are examined in the context of two seemingly disparate legal events. The first is the 30 year anniversary of Operation Spanner and the second is the introduction of the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014. Amongst other things, the 2014 Regulations criminalise the portrayal of female ejaculation (but not male). Given this criminalisation of certain kinds of female sexual pleasure, the potentiality to significantly adversely impact upon lesbians is clear. 2017 will be the 30 year anniversary of Operation Spanner and the subsequent focus has been primarily upon gay male BDSM. I speculate as to the possible legal reaction(s) to a lesbian ‘spanner’ BDSM event. I speculate as to the legal reactions to an all-female BDSM dungeon.

"'The Forgotten Victims' How Racialized Gender Stereotypes Lead to Police Violence Against Black Women and Girls: Incorporating an Analysis Of Police Violence into Feminist Jurisprudence And Community Activism" 
Amuchie, Nnennaya (2016) 'The Forgotten Victims' How Racialized Gender Stereotypes Lead to Police Violence Against Black Women and Girls: Incorporating an Analysis of Police Violence Into Feminist Jurisprudence and Community Activism,' Seattle Journal for Social Justice: Vol. 14: Iss. 3, Article


This paper expands on the “#SayHerName? campaign by examining how historical racialized gender stereotypes police violence against Black women. Using an intersectional black feminist lens, this paper centers five stories of Black women and girls that deal with police violence. Black women and girls are often ignored and erased within the discourse of police brutality and police violence both in the racial justice (anti-discrimination) movement and the mainstream feminist movement. This article urges legal scholars, community activists, policy makers to recognize and capture the nuances and complexity of Black women and girls’ lives. Finally, this paper uses these experiences to create solutions that center Black women and girls I hopes to combat police violence.


About this eJournal

Sponsored by: Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

This eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts of empirical or theoretical scholarship on topics related to crime, criminal law, and criminal punishment (including the death penalty), from any disciplinary perspective. Covered topics include victims' rights, criminal sentencing rules, criminal sentencing procedures, criminal punishment, theories of criminal punishment, alternatives to traditional criminal punishment, criminal law doctrine, and administration of criminal justice.

Editor: Joseph L. Hoffmann, Indiana University


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Advisory Board

Law & Society: Public Law - Crime, Criminal Law, & Punishment eJournal

Roscoe C. O'Byrne Professor of Law, Indiana University-Bloomington, Maurer School of Law

Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

George H. Young-Bascom Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School

Willard and Margaret Carr Professor of Labor and Employment Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Director, Center for the Study of Law and Society, Agnes Roddy Robb Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence & Social Policy Program and Center for the Study of Law and Society

Marion Butler McLean Professor in the History of Ideas, Wellesley College - Department of Anthropology

Voss-Bascom Professor of Law, Professor of Sociology [Emeritus] Review Section Editor - Law & Social Inquiry, University of Wisconsin Law School

Professor of Law, Adjunct Professor of Latino Studies, Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

John & Rylla Bosshard Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison

Co-Director, Center for Law, Society and Culture, Professor of History & Law, Indiana University-Bloomington, Maurer School of Law

Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Editorial Advisory Board, Law and Society Review, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Sociology

Professor of Law and Political Science, SUNY Buffalo Law School

Professor of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law