Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University
James Parker

James Parker

parker (at) unimelb.edu.au

James Parker is a Visiting Research Fellow with the Program on Science, Technology and Society and a senior lecturer at Melbourne Law School, where he is also Director of the research program ‘Law, Sound and the International’ at the Institute for International Law and the Humanities. James’ research addresses the many relations between law, sound and listening, with a particular emphasis at the moment on sound’s weaponisation.

James’ monograph Acoustic Jurisprudence: Listening to the Trial of Simon Bikindi (OUP 2015) explores the trial of Simon Bikindi, who was accused by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda of inciting genocide with his songs. In doing so, it develops two main threads: one substantive, the other methodological. Substantively, it is the first detailed study of a trial of considerable legal, historical and musicological importance, both to Rwandans and to the wider international community. Methodologically, the book examines a dimension of legal thought and practice that is scarcely ever remarked upon. Sound is a condition of the administration of justice, and yet as a community we have become largely deaf to law and to the problem of the acoustic. The book argues therefore for a specifically acoustic jurisprudence, an orientation towards law and the practice of judgment attuned to questions of sound and listening.

James is also a music critic and radio broadcaster. He will be co-curating an exhibition and parallel academic program on Eavesdropping at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in Melbourne between July and October 2018.