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Christina O. Spiesel

Senior Research Scholar in Law
Christina Spiesel is an artist, writer, and teacher with a background in technology. She was a participant on a commercial software development team and has been a pedagogue in digital environments for twenty years. Spiesel is a Senior Research Scholar in Law at Yale Law School and a Fellow of the Information Society Project. In addition, she is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Quinnipiac University School of Law, where she developed and co-teaches the course “Visual Persuasion in the Law.” In the years she has been teaching this course, she has overseen the production of well over a hundred student legal video arguments.

Her published work includes the book Law on Display, The Digital Transformation of Legal Persuasion and Judgment, (2009) co-authored with Neal Feigenson. Her other published writing takes on many dimensions of the interaction between law and pictures. In “Reading Words and Pictures: Some Suggestions from Cognitive Science, Some Thoughts for the Law,” (in Law, Mind and Brain, Ashgate, 2009, winner of the Otto Walter Prize for Distinguished Writing by Adjunct Faculty, New York Law School, 2010) she took up the difference between words and pictures and what literacy about picturing can offer the law. In “The Fate of the Iconic Sign: Taser Pictures,” she discussed video recordings made by Tasers and their relationship to representations of torture (Courting the Media: Contemporary Perspectives on Media and Law, 2010). In 2012, she published comments on pictures as speech in “More Than a Thousand Words in Response to Rebecca Tushnet” (Harvard Law Review on-line). “Trial by Ordeal: CSI and the Rule of Law” (in Springer’s Law, Culture, and Visual Studies, 2013) examined a popular culture television series and argued that there’s not a lot of modern law in the show. Her review of Karen Eltis’ Courts, Litigants, and the Digital Age, “Eyes on the Horizon,” (McGill Law Journal, 2013) examined the implications of modern technology, especially the Internet, for the law. Forthcoming is an essay on the semiotics of property on the Internet: “Stay the Execution, Don’t Kill the Golden Goose: Creativity, Property, and the Internet” in Intellectual Property - International and Comparative Perspectives (Fordham/Oxford Press). She has presented her work at annual meetings of the International Roundtable for the Semiotics of Law, the Law and Society Association, the American Society for Law, Culture, and Humanities, the International Association for Law and Mental Health, and at an annual meeting of the International On-line Dispute Resolution Forum. She serves on the Editorial Board of the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law. Finally, she has acted as a visual consultant in a series of successful litigations including medical malpractice, negligence, criminal appeal, and patent infringement. She was educated at Shimer College and at the University of Chicago, where she was supported by a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship.

M.A., University of Chicago, 1965
B.A., Shimer College, 1962