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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Legal History Workshop on Monday, November 25

The Program in Law and History is hosting the Legal History Workshop on Monday, November 25 from 2:00-3:25pm in room 15 of Mondale Hall. Barbara Welke will be presenting her play "Owning Hazard: Genre, Law, and History."

Abstract: What is the difference between a "historical argument" and the"journey" in a play? How does voice, genre, and audience shape the stories we tell about law and history? The two pieces you have here - one a forthcoming article in the Journal of American History, and the other a play written for the 2010 conference "'Law As . . .': Theory and Method in Legal History" and published in the UC Irvine Law Review -both begin with a series of tragic incidents between 1942 and 1954, in which an unknown number of children were severely burned when the cowboy suits they were wearing caught fire turning them into human torches. Dozens of the children died; others were crippled and scarred for life. With this episode "flammable fabrics" came to public attention in the United States. The two pieces, drawn from my ongoing research, are very different attempts to deal with what I call "owning hazard" in the goods of everyday life. My hope is that in addition to the substance they address, that our discussion can focus on the question of genre, and also that you may have suggestions for me as I work to revise the play for an actual theatre production.