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Arizona Law Review to Host Symposium on Political Discourse

The Arizona Law Review will present a free, one-day symposium exploring the nature of political dialogue in contentious times. Entitled Political Discourse, Civility, and Harm, this symposium will be held Saturday, January 14, 2012, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., in Room 156 at the College of Law. Guest scholars from across the country will explore the role of incivility in political discourse and whether there is a causal relationship between incivility and various kinds of harm, from physical violence to psychological harm, including subtle forms of discrimination. The symposium is funded in part by the law firm of Polsinelli Shughart ( and the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona (

Legal scholars known for their work in various dimensions of the field will engage in a panel discussion about their scholarship:

  • Professor Bernard Harcourt, of the University of Chicago Law School, will discuss the relationship between minor disorderliness and political violence, drawing from and informing government, public policy, and sociology studies.
  • Arizona Law Vice Dean and Professor Marc Miller, with Yale Law School Professor Richard Brooks, will discuss uncivil language and its correlation with violence against police officers.
  • University of Michigan Law School Professor Margaret Jane Radin will discuss strategies of rhetorical capture and how it is used in numerous contexts.
  • Finally, Professor Kenji Yoshino, of NYU Law School, will examine public and legal discourse relating to same-sex marriage using a “law and literature approach” to assess what is gained and lost in discourse by the inherent civility required by the court.

The program is free and open to the public, though reservations are required. Those wishing to attend may register by calling Alexis at 480-225-1879, or by e-mail at

Founded in 1959, the Arizona Law Review is a general-interest academic legal journal. The Review is edited and published quarterly by students of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. The Arizona Law Review covers wide-ranging topics of law and policy. Editor-In-Chief Alexis Danneman notes that, “We are thrilled to finally see to the civility conference happening. The conference has been the major endeavor of the Arizona Law Review over the past year. Many people and several organizations have contributed to this project, most notably Polsinelli Shughart. In recent years, Arizona has been in the center of the increasingly polarized national political discourse. We chose to organize this conference to foster legal thinking about the significance of this discourse on society.”