SUNY Buffalo Law Links - March 2015

Law Library launches its first Scholarship Salon


Please join the Law Library on Tuesday, March 31, from 2:00-3:00 p.m., for its first Scholarship Salon. This flagship event will feature Associate Professor Samantha Barbas who will be discussing her upcoming book, The Laws of Image. This free event will take place in the 2nd Floor Reading Room of the Charles B. Sears Law Library at the University at Buffalo (North Campus).

From the publisher, Stanford University Press:

Americans have long been obsessed with their images -- their looks, public personas, and the impressions they make. This preoccupation has left its mark on the law. The twentieth century saw the creation of laws that protect your right to control your public image, to defend your image, and to feel good about your image and public presentation of self. These include the legal actions for invasion of privacy, libel, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. With these laws came the phenomenon of “personal image litigation” -- individuals suing to vindicate their image rights.

The Laws of Image tells the story of how Americans came to use the law to protect and manage their images, feelings, and reputations. In this social, cultural, and legal history, Samantha Barbas ties the development of personal image law to the self-consciousness and image-consciousness that has become endemic in our media-saturated culture of celebrity and consumerism, where people see their identities as intertwined with their public images. The laws of image are the expression of a people who have become so publicity-conscious and self-focused that they believe they have a right to control their images, to manage and spin them like actors, politicians, and rock stars.

Barbas researches and teaches in the areas of legal history, First Amendment law, and mass communications law. Her work focuses on the intersection of law, culture, media and technology in United States history. Her recent research has explored the history of the law of privacy and defamation. Her work has appeared in several law and history journals, including the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, The Rutgers Law Review, and The Columbia Journal of Law and the Arts. She is also the author of Movie Crazy: Fans, Stars, and the Cult of Celebrity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2001) and The First Lady of Hollywood (University of California Press, 2005).