Professor Clare Eby presents “The Zero-Sum Game of Corporate Personhood.” April 18, 1:30-3:00pm, Austin 217.
Citizens United (2010) provoked outrage at the idea of corporations having free speech rights. Drawing upon benchmark Supreme Court decisions, this talk looks at how US law has developed inconsistent rationales to theorize corporate rights. These incongruities should be exposed and corporate personhood abolished because this “legal fiction” (as it is called by legal scholars) has become a zero-sum game in which extending rights to corporations becomes the pretext for curtailing the rights of actual human citizens. Corporate personhood is also a metaphor, and literary writers have much to teach us about it. This talk therefore also examines recent novels that expose the incommensurability of the corporate and the human, such as Richard Powers’s Gain, Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, and Chang-Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea.