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Showing posts from August, 2018

Call for Participation - C4: The Conference on Contemporary Celebrity Culture

I came to the study of celebrity because I was fascinated by the cultural obsession with celebrity pregnancy that I observed among women in the United States, and had a growing concern that such an obsession was facilitating the surveillance, commodification, and regulation of pregnancies for regular, every day people.   Since the publication of my book Pregnant with the Starslikeminded law and society scholars have seemed to come out of the wood work – admitting, sometimes a bit bashfully, that they, too, are interested in celebrity culture.  And why not? Or, why bashfully?  Celebrity is a particularly important phenomenon for law and society researchers to grapple with.

Happily, in the past three years, I’ve engaged in conversation with scholars interested in the phenomenon of celebrity as it relates to our contemporary political moment, and the construction of reality stars as viable sources of truth and authenticity; I’ve spoken with friends and colleagues who care very much about …

“When they come for you”: How Lawyers Resist Authoritarianism in Russia

By Freek van der Vet, PhD. Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki, Finland
Honorary Research Associate, Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia, Canada



Following Vladimir Putin’s return to the Presidency in 2012, the Russian State Duma (parliament) passed a string of repressive laws. The Duma installed fines for those participating in unauthorized demonstrations, amended extremism laws, and passed a law that curtailed the work of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) by cutting their ties with their foreign—primarily, North American—donors.

This “law on foreign agents” forces Russian NGOs to register as “foreign agents” (inostrannye agenty) with the Ministry of Justice when they receive foreign funding and engage into political activities. NGOs registered this way have to label all their publications with “foreign agent”. NGOs that fail to comply can expect a surprise inspection, often…