Chalmers on How Clothes Maketh the Man: Mimesis, Laughter, and the Colonial Rule of Law @IILAH_UniMelb
Shane Chalmers, Institute for International Law and the Humanities (IILAH), Melbourne Law School, the University of Melbourne, has published Clothes Maketh the Man: Mimesis, Laughter, and the Colonial Rule of Law at
Shane Chalmers, ‘Clothes Maketh the Man: Mimesis, Laughter, and the Colonial Rule of Law’, 2 Index: Griffith Law Review 84 (2020).
This article ventures into the mythology of modern law, through the artwork of Anglo-Australian artist S T Gill, to interrogate the concept of equality that both promises and is the promise of “the rule of law”. The scene is colonial Australia in the mid-nineteenth century. The call is Governor Arthur’s Proclamation to the Aboriginal People (c1830), a proclamation that both illustrates and enacts the promise of the rule of law. The response is Gill’s Native Dignity (1860), a painting that plays on the racialised and racist contradictions within the promise (of equality, of the rule of law). By offering a histrionic reading of Native Dignity – a reading that focuses on the figure of the histrio, whose role it is, traditionally, to represent society’s mythologies through burlesque – the article offers a new reading of Gill’s artwork that thickens our understanding of the role of clothing, laughter and the rule of law in colonial and anti-colonial Australia.
Download the article from SSRN at the link. The author notes that a longer version of the article is available as Shane Chalmers, Native Dignity, Griffith Law Review (2019).