Law & Culture

Law and CultureIn our Law & Culture column, you will find original works of fiction, reviews of a wide range of publications — not just conventional legal texts — as well as broader cultural forms such as films, TV shows, CDs, DVDs, art exhibitions and so on. The column links in with the Alternative Law Journal’s focus on law for the disadvantaged, human rights law and law reform.

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Girl Trouble: Panic And Progress In The History Of Young Women

Beth Wilson

girl-trouble-carol-dyhouse-150Carol Dyhouse; Fernwood Publishing, 2014; 328 pp; $16.95 (paperback)

‘Are girls better off today than they were at the beginning of the twentieth century?’ Carol Dyhouse, social historian and research professor of history at the University of Sussex, answers her own question: ‘In parts of the world girls suffer disproportionately from poverty, lack of education, and appalling levels of sexual violence. But there can be no doubt that in some countries, at least, they have more opportunities, more choices, and infinitely more personal freedom than ever before.’ She goes on to question the impact of modernity on girls and examines whether they have emerged as winners or losers in modern history.

(2015) 40(2) AltLJ 145


Law Of The Jungle

Evan Hamman

Law-of-the-Jungle-150The $19 Billion Legal Battle Over Oil In The Rain Forest And The Lawyer Who’d Stop At Nothing To Win

Paul M Barrett; Crown Publishing, 2014; 302 pages; $26 (paperback)

The story Paul Barrett tells in Law of the Jungle is nothing short of extraordinary. In the 1970s and 80s, Texaco (now Chevron) drilled for oil deep in the Ecuadorian rainforest. What they left behind was a legacy of disgraceful environmental mismanagement: hundreds of unlined oil waste pits and evidence (disputed) of widespread contamination causing serious human health impacts on the local people. The ‘Amazon Chernobyl’ as it’s been dubbed by some.

(2015) 40(2) AltLJ 145



Mike Daly

JINX-150Hugh McGinlay; Threekookaburras, 2015; $22 (paperback), $16 (ebook)

A desperate phone call interrupts Catherine Kint’s leisurely breakfast, triggering a deadly chain of events. Her friend Boris the barman has stumbled across the body of a woman with her throat cut in a nearby back alley. It’s the start of a complex and highly entertaining crime caper by Melbourne muso and author Hugh McGinlay, set amid the city’s inner northern suburbs.

The blood-spattered corpse is an all-too familiar sight to the intrepid Catherine, a crime scene investigator-turned milliner, but more puzzling are the apparently ritualistic symbols found near the body. McGinlay teases the reader with a semi-comic occult plot strand woven around a shady spiritual cult run by two brothers.

A former police colleague has lined up Catherine’s friend — a ‘celebrity witch’ — as chief suspect but, as the murders start piling up, it appears more sinister forces are behind the mayhem.

McGinlay has created an offbeat, likeable heroine in Catherine. I, for one, look forward to more of her adventures in future.

(2015) 40(2) AltLJ 146


Wild Law – In Practice

Peter Boulot

Wild-Law-in-Practice-150Michelle Maloney and Peter Burdon; Routledge, 272 pp; $140 (hardcover)

What is Wild Law?

Is it being wild at the law? Many of us feel that way…

Or is it practicing law wildly? Many of us have wished that that were possible in such a closed profession. Rather, in fact, Wild Law is an inverted approach to law, one sourced in humility and mystery. But I hear your guffaws oh reader as you say, ‘Horseshit, that is an oxymoron. I’ve never met a lawyer that is humbled by the limitations of their profession’. Well, Wild Law is just that; the acceptance of a greater law which is based on cosmological constants and respect for life and of which our constructed legal systems only form a small part.

(2015) 40(2) AltLJ 146



Samuel Blashki

the-case-against-8-smDirected by Ben Cotner and Ryan White; HBO, 2014; Distributed in Australia by Leapfrog Films —

The Case Against 8 documents the inspiring story of a lawsuit challenging Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment in California that had the effect of banning same-sex marriage in the state.

Spanning five years, the HBO documentary directed and produced by Ben Cotner and Ryan White follows the case from its inception to trial, through various appeals and ultimately, to a winning verdict in the US Supreme Court. It largely focuses on the four plaintiffs and their legal team, who ultimately succeed in legalising same-sex marriage in California.

(2015) 40(1) AltLJ 70


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