: Law & Culture

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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The Baby Farmers: A Chilling Tale Of Missing Babies, Shameful Secrets And Murder In 19th Century Aus

Beth Wilson

the-baby-farmers-annie-cossinsAnnie Cossins; Allen & Unwin, 2013; 304pp; $29.99 (paperback)

The chilling title of Annie Cossin’s book The Baby Farmers is unfortunately all too apt. It describes the poverty and deprivation suffered by poor unmarried women who sought out ‘a kind mother’ to care for their babies for a fee in the late 1800s in New South Wales. Some of these mothers may have dreamed of being reunited with their babies at some time in the future, but choosing the Makins to care for their offspring was never going to allow that to happen. Thirteen babies’ bodies were found in shallow graves in the yards of houses where the Makins and their children lived. John Makin was eventually hanged, and Sarah jailed, for murder.

(2014) 39(3) AltLJ 203

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Charlie’s Country

Samuel Blashki

charliescountryDirector: Rolf de Heer; starring David Gulpilil; eOne film distributor, 2013; 108 minutes.

Available on DVD November 2014.

Charlie’s Country tells the story of Charlie, an indigenous man living in a remote community whose traditional way of life becomes increasingly difficult to maintain. Charlie is exasperated by frequent visits from the police, interfering with his life and trying to enforce laws that his community doesn’t understand. Charlie, played by David Gulpilil, desperately clings to traditional ways as he attempts to find his place in a country that has drastically changed.

(2014) 39(3) AltLJ 203

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Gender Issues And Human Rights

Kate Galloway

gender-issues-and-human-rightsDianne Otto (Ed); Edward Elgar, 2013; 2604 pages; UK£775 (3-volume hardcover set).

Dianne Otto’s magnificent three-volume edited collection is the fourth in the Elgar Research Collection’s Human Rights Law series, edited by Sarah Joseph. Otto has brought together a diverse range of previously published works that together provide a comprehensive chronicle of the genesis and development of scholarship about women and gender within an international human rights framework.

(2014) 39(3) AltLJ 205

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The Death Of The Sun

Luke Rowe

The lament of Charles Dickens, and the NSW Criminal Courts

WL Morison said that Lord Denning could recite the opening paragraphs of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House by heart.1 I suppose Lord Denning hoped nothing of the sort could be said about any court that he presided over. Bleak House opens as follows:

LONDON. Michaelmas Term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. … And hard by Temple Bar, in Lincoln’s Inn Hall, at the very heart of the fog, sits the Lord High Chancellor in his High Court of Chancery.2

(2014) 39(3) AltLJ 206

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Zombies and the Law — no, seriously!

Darren Peter Parker

LawCulture-Parker-Zombies-150Arrrrrgghhhhhh – who doesn’t like zombies? I certainly do! I mean I don’t ‘like’ like them. I certainly wouldn’t want to become one nor, I suspect, would you either, but I absolutely love the allegorical undercurrents of a good read about zombies (and not just a well-constructed one). Case in point, the graphic novel series The Walking Dead. Recently, I returned to read my Hardcover Deluxe volumes of The Walking Dead (yes, I am ‘one of those people’ who are of a certain age that still read comics; unashamedly so). Of late, thankfully, there has been academic movement around ‘law and comics’ which has given the medium some [cough] credibility. But, I suspect that the genuineness of that credibility is dependent upon who you are speaking to. If you ask any comic-nut (and I certainly put myself in that category) about the credibility of comics, be very careful how you ask, because ‘them there’s fighting words’ (not that comic-readers are inherently violent, but just saying). When you can spend a couple of hundred bucks on comics in a week (not every week but nonetheless) and not think anything of it, you qualify as a comic-nut (though I don’t think that there is any real ‘hurdle’ as such, just a love of comics will suffice).

(2014) 39(2) AltLJ 146

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