Kent Law School launches ‘Law and the Human’ network

The ‘Law and the Human’, a UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded interdisciplinary network led by Kent Law School, has launched with a roundtable at the University of Westminster in London on 5 February.

In partnership with Amherst College (USA), the network brings together legal scholars with researchers from across the social sciences and humanities worldwide, to advance research into the theme of law and the human.

Initiated as a response to evolutions in science, medicine, technology and politics, the network asks whether and how law has adapted its traditional defining role in shaping what we understand a human to be.

A clearer view of “law’s human” is critically important today, because law frequently uses its understanding of human life as a check on rapid change, and as the underlying basis of its authority.

Areas of examination will include the “universal” idea of humanity, race, contemporary politics and technology, reproductive medicine, moral rights in the age of technical reproduction, and the rise of Artificial Intelligence. The focus is to understand how law traces a human outline in legal language, processes, methodologies, representations, regulations and judgments.

The network will advance and support research on from across these fields; disseminating its findings via public meetings, events and publications aimed at fostering dialogue and debate.

The launch of the network included speakers from Kent Law School, Birkbeck Law School, Cardozo Law School, University of Gothenburg, University of Westminster, University of Naples and Columbia Law School.

Dr Connal Parsley, Senior Lecturer at Kent Law School and Principle Investigator of the Law and the Human network said: ‘We often take for granted what we think a “human” is, but new technologies are calling many assumptions about the human into question. We are excited to explore how our underlying sense of human life has been shaped by legal power, concepts and practices, and in what ways these ideas are changing today.’