Forum Summaries:

Meridian 180 publishes summaries of the central themes and ideas discussed in our online forums. Forum summaries are drafted by students and interns (and occasionally by Meridian members).

Law as Translation in the Complex Making of Divergent Legal Systems
Summary by Jiaxin Zhou, Nimrah Alvi, and Damian Holden-Smith

Translation is one of the most powerful tools in cross-cultural legal scholarship, yet it is also one of the most difficult to use.  As today’s legal challenges have become increasingly more complex, this difficulty is highlighted by the inability of many scholars to accurately convey their ideas across different languages.  Law as Translation (“LaT”) is one new legal perspective that helps address this growing problem.  LaT is important because it examines not only the translational connections between legal norms and values, but also the connections between cultural and societal orders across East Asia.  This two-pronged approach addresses the very nature of interpretation and translation in legal thinking across divergent societies in ways that previous legal theories have not. (read more)


What is a Book? Experiments in Idea Dissemination
Summary by Mary Picarella, Andrew Lai, Owen Yisoo Kim, and Solene Fanny Alexia Balaguette

The book, a “form for producing knowledge . . . since the European Middle Ages,” has played a crucial role in fostering scholarship and disseminating ideas.  But, as Professor Annelise Riles (Cornell Law School) noted, printed academic works—and the publishing industry that produces them—face “new ‘threats’ in the digital age.”  Modern, digitally-connected audiences expect quick and efficient access to new ideas, a demand that traditional books, still a mainstay in academia, may not be able to satisfy. (read more)


Keyword: Destruction
Summary by Jessica Kim, Frances Wang, and Sophia Wang

After the Northridge Earthquake, an art institution relocated to a facility formerly used to develop technologies for destruction; a center of creation reappropriated a center of destruction.  But perhaps this reappropriation was not so ironic.  Destruction is commonly linked with haunting visuals, wars, and tragedies.  Yet, destruction may not always be negative.  Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento inaugurated this forum by asking, “Should we destroy art in order to create something better?”  Xingzhong Yu responded, “Is [destruction] absolutely bad? . . . Could destruction be a value in itself?”  Throughout the discussion, participants considered the notion of destruction through different perspectives, including its symbiosis with creation and preservation. (read more)


Rule of Law Anew: Comparison Across Countries
Summary by Hanna Ko, Michelle Min and Tomohiro Saito

As with most concepts and ideas, the way in which rule of law is understood varies greatly across cultural and demographic borders. In this forum, members discussed various meanings and approaches to the “rule of law” and its implications in a global framework. (read more)


Secrets in an Age of Transparency
Summary by Afoma Ofodile, Chloe Lichtenstein, and Yi Zhang

Transparency in modern democratic governance provokes discussion regarding various forms of non-disclosure and secrecy occurring in the political sphere, and how much access should be granted to the individual or media. In this forum, members asked to what degree transparency is necessary, and where the distinctions lie between various forms of disclosure. (read more)