Amherst College Professors are Editors of Law on the Screen

March 31, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Austin Sarat, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science; Lawrence Douglas, associate professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought; and Martha Merrill Umphrey, associate professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought at Amherst College are the editors of Law on the Screen ($50, 288 pp., Stanford University Press, Palo Alto 2005), a collection of essays that explore the connections between law and film, examining film for its jurisprudential content.

The contributors to Law on the Screen are among the scholars who have only recently begun to examine how law works in the movies and to explore the consequences of this cinematic representation of law. Images of law, legal processes, and officials on television and in film have proliferated in recent years. This is significant because mass-mediated images are as powerful, pervasive and important as are other social forces, such as globalization, neo-colonialism and human rights, which are transforming legal life. Law on the Screen critiques the present legal world and imagines an alternative one that expands studies of the representation of law in film to include questions of reception.

Sarat, who has taught at Amherst since 1974, has written many books. Most recently he was the co-author with Stuart Scheingold of Something to Believe In: Politics, Professionalism and Cause Lawyering (2004). His next book, Mercy on Trial: What It Means to Stop an Execution, will be published in 2005 by Princeton University Press. Sarat has served as president of the Law and Society Association and of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities.

Douglas is the author of the acclaimed book The Memory of Judgment: Making Law and History in the Trials of the Holocaust (2001). His current book project, Reflections on the Glass Booth, on perpetrator trials, will be published by Princeton University Press. His essays and commentary have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The Times Literary Supplement.

A member of the Amherst faculty since 1993, Umphrey is currently completing a book on criminal responsibility in the gilded age trials of Harry K. Thaw, and editing an anthology, Trials, for the International Library of Essays in Law and Society. She has also, with Sarat and Douglas, co-edited Lives in the Law (2000), Law's Madness (2001) and The Place of Law (2003), previous volumes in the Amherst Series in Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought.

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Peter Rooney
Director of Public Affairs
(413) 542-2321
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