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Law, Culture and the Humanities. Volume 7, Number 2 (2011), p. 289-309.


affect; Deleuze; imperialism; law and film; Legal Pluralism; Western genre; William Blake


The failures of Western law in its encounter with indigenous legal orders have been well documented, but alternative modes of negotiating the encounter remain under-explored in legal scholarship. The present article addresses this lacuna. It proceeds from the premise that the journey towards a different conceptualization of law might be fruitfully re-routed through the affect-laden realm of embodied experience – the experience of watching the subversive anti-western film Dead Man. Section II explains and develops a Deleuzian approach to law and film which involves thinking about film as ‘‘event.’’ Section III considers Dead Man’s relation to the western genre and its implications for how we think about law’s founding on the frontier. Finally, the article explores the concept of ‘‘becoming’’ through a consideration of the relationship between the onscreen journey of the character Bill Blake and the radical worldview of his poetic namesake.

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