•  
  •  
 

Hofstra Law Review

Abstract

This essay builds on post-colonial theory and black literary theory to pose a pair of questions. If the reading of Western literature can be enriched by examining the great canonical texts through the lens of race, can a similar enrichment obtain from using a similar reading practice to read the law? Stanley Fish has argued that we each belong to interpretive communities, and that members of these communities are guided in their readings of texts by a common consciousness, which produces interpretive "strategies [that] exist prior to the act of reading and therefore determine the shape of what is read." If this is true, what does it mean for the study of law to have a community of black readers?

This essay engages these questions and attempts to describe a reading practice of reading black. To illustrate the reading practice, the essay examines two cases that do not appear to be engaged in race work at all, The Queen v. Dudley & Stephens, and Muller v. Oregon. The essay demonstrates that far from diminishing these opinions - these grand narratives, these master texts - reading black reveals other layers, other meanings, and in the process deepens and widens our understanding not only of the holdings of these opinions, but also the how and why of them.

Included in

Law Commons

Share

COinS
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.