The 2024 Grafstein Lecture in Communications

Thursday, March 14, 2024 - 17:30
Jackman Law Building (J250) or virtual

The Communicating Commons: Varieties of the Public Domain in Modern Literature and Culture

There is no such thing as the commons, or the public domain. There are only the many public domains—emergent, dominant, residual—that exist at any moment in a place and culture, according to need or desire. The past 150 years have seen a proliferation of public domains in the theory and practice of modern writers and thinkers: varieties of the commons that temporarily flood the communications circuit with available voices of the competing or collaborating dead. This talk will examine some of these public domains—as resources, inventions, constructs, polemics—in the work of modern and contemporary authors, theorists, and legal scholars.

Professor Robert Spoo
Leonard L. Milberg ’53 Professor in Irish Letters
Princeton University

Robert Spoo
 is Leonard L. Milberg ’53 Professor in Irish Letters at Princeton University. Until recently, he was Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of English at The University of Tulsa, where he co-edited the James Joyce Quarterly. In recent years, his interdisciplinary work has appeared in the Stanford Law ReviewUCLA Law ReviewLaw & LiteratureCardozo Arts & Entertainment Law JournalJournal of Modern LiteratureJames Joyce Quarterly, and other venues. His recent books include Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain (2013) and Modernism and the Law (2018). The latter was written with the support of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in the Humanities. With Simon Stern, he edits the Law & Literature series for Oxford University Press.