CfP: Critical Legal Conference 2024: Speculation(s)

by | 13 May 2024

We live under orders of speculation, where both financial capital and nation-state modes of accounting, or not accounting for, lives and ways of living perpetuate how we come to understand and act in the world. At the same time, such orders of speculation invites the possibility of thinking: what if there could be other ways of accounting for, visualizing, sensing, caring and re-worlding. Here we turn for example to the speculative turn in philosophy which has invigorated critical theory by renewed interest in materialist and realist thinking. By connecting different streams of critical thought, such theories have brought increased interest in object oriented ontologies, critical and speculative fabulation, new materialisms, agential realism and critical posthumanities as well as more recently come to influence also the critical legal field.

As expressed by Stengers and Debaise: “(…) speculative thinking calls on us to explore modes of existence in their own setting, in their mode of success, in their immanent demands“ (Stengers and Debaise 2017: 15). In a 1997 article, Haraway argues for a new virtual speculum that has the capacity to investigate the entanglement between bodies and technologies for reproductive means (or control). The speculum, as she reminds us, was produced as an object for opening up bodies and examining the inside. The non-innocence of new media that is used to make the world sensible is therefore a vital theme of this conference, placing a particular focus on critical examinations on the array of AI related technologies. Additionally, the ethical impulse behind the speculative scheme involves ensuring the significance of experience, particularly as it relates to specific instances in history. This can be achieved through practices that operationalise response-ability as proposed by Haraway (2016), or by adopting an ethico-onto-epistemological approach as suggested by Barad (2007). In doing so, we also invite contributions that go against the catastrophes of our time where the economy of speculation pushes against an increasing number of limits in the material world, leading to a situation where “nature” pushes back, showing the limits of human centered critical thought, possibly once and for all. With this in mind, we invite contributions that seek to speculate the multiple sites and possibilities of concepts and modes of existence that present themselves in critical thought/thinking. We especially encourage submissions that ask which exclusions are needed for new forms of being-in-common to emerge.

Please submit your paper proposal to any of the following streams by 30 June:

Encounters of Flat Ontologies and Law

Speculative Legal Theory and Philosophy

Restoring the Rule of Law and Speculating on How To Do It Properly

Critical Encounters with the Autonomy of Law and Legal Personhood in Times of Speculative Orders

Semantics, Imagination, Extinction of the Human and the Post-Human Conception of Law and Its Histories 

Vulnerability in the Automated State 

Infollectuals in Digital Era: The Agony of Theory

Sport, Law, and the Unreal Reality of Capitalist Society

Sensorial Legalities: Speculating Aesthetics and Art/Law  

Sensing the speculative with Michel Serres’s eco-philosophy

Reasoning and Speculation in Process

Speculations on Territory, Territorialisation and Reterritorialisation

Speculating with Critical Legal Geographies

More-than-human Subjectivities and Environmental Law 

Polar Speculation(s) and the legal imagination

Critical Nordic Colonial Legal Histories

Speculative International Lawyering: Past, Present and Future

Abolition: Reconfiguring What We Have to Address What We Need

A Call for Action: We Need the Time to Speculate!

Critical Impropriety?

States of Exception and the Gray Area of Governance: Modes of Thinking Legal Dynamics

Speculation, Legal Reasoning, Distribution 

More information on the streams and how to submit your abstract can be found under the pages for streams: Streams 1 and Streams 2

Confirmed Plenary Speakers include:

Leif Dahlberg, Professor in Communication at KTH and Associate professor (Docent) in Comparative Literature at Stockholm University, Sweden.

Maria Drakopoulou, Professor of Law, Director Centre for Critical Thought (CTT), Kent Law School, UK.

Fiona Macmillan, Professor of Law, University of Roma Tre; Emeritus Professor of Law, Birkbeck, University of London; Visiting Professor of Law, University of Technology Sydney.

Panu Minkkinen, Professor of Jurisprudence, Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki, Finland.

Since its first annual meeting in 1986, the Critical Legal Conference (CLC) has been a key site for the critical study of legal and political questions both in UK and internationally. It attracts a wide range of radical legal and political thinkers from across the globe. In contrast to most annual conferences there is no committee or scholarly association behind it, and it has no formal existence outside the 3 days of the conference itself. Instead, conference delegates meet each year to collectively decide where it will be hosted the following year. The host chosen by the conference then decides on the themes and specific details for the next CLC. This minimal structure seeks to promote and maintain a communal and anti-establishment ethos, in line with the critical focus of the conference itself.

Each year the conference host chooses the general theme of the conference, with recent examples being ‘turning points’; ‘catastrophe’, ‘regeneration’, ‘alienation’, ‘frankenlaw’, “liminalities” and “sanctuary”. This year’s theme is then, “speculation”. The conference is co-organized by the Sociology of Law Department, Lund University and the Law Department, Gothenburg University, Sweden. It will take place in Lund. This is a physical conference. Stream convenors may accept, in special cases, papers to be presented remotely via Zoom, which they will have to arrange independently.


Jannice Käll, Associate Professor in Sociology of Law, on behalf of the Sociology of Law Dept. Lund University and Håkan Gustafsson, Professor in Jurisprudence, on behalf of the Law Dept. University of Gothenburg

For questions, please contact: or 

Important Dates:

Call for papers (to be sent to each stream convenor) 30 June 2024

Conference Dates & Times

September 16 – September 18 
09:00 – 17:00
Stockholm, GMT+02:00
Sandgatan 2, Lund
Conference fees 
Senior scholars in high-income countries3300 SEK (around 300 EUR)
Senior scholors in other countries1600 SEK (around 150 EUR)
PhD candidates/students1600 SEK (around 150 EUR)
Conference dinner at AF-Borgen 850 SEK (around 75 EUR)
All fees are incl. VAT 25%. Fee covers conference materials, lunches, coffee breaks and receptions (conference dinner not included)


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