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HERC Seminar: The Alien Corporation Invasion - CANCELLED

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - 16:00 to 17:30
Hamilton House, Room 7, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD


Unfortunately due to the unfolding health situation a decision has been made to cancel the seminar, Steve Tombs.

HERC Seminar: The Alien Corporation Invasion

16.00-17.30, Wednesday 25 March 2020

Penny Crofts, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney
Chair: Steve Tombs, HERC

The Alien Corporation Invasion

Penny Crofts, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney


There is a wealth of academic literature pondering the difficulties criminal law has in conceptualising organisational culpability. The larger an organisation, the more capable it is of inflicting systemic harms, and the less likely it is that it will be held criminally liable. Whilst criminal law has difficulties in conceptualising corporate culpability, evil organisations are a staple of horror and science fiction films. Horror films meditate upon technologies of wickedness and attributions of blameworthiness. In the science fiction film Aliens (1986), whilst the aliens are the most obvious villains, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation facilitates, enables, exploits and exacerbates harms caused by the aliens. The Weyland-Yutani Corporation is an insidious, ubiquitous organisation that asserts ownership over the colonial marine unit, their equipment, their spaceship and the colony Hadley’s Hope that the marines are sent to investigate. This assertion of property rights privileges profit over people – with the corporate representative Burke demonstrating a willingness to sacrifice human life for the potential profit of developing a new biological weapon. The film portrays the dehumanising effect of the corporate form, an entity with legal personality but seemingly no interest in humanity. Aliens provides an antidote to the synoptic effect of corporate power, whereby corporations are ever-present as a focus of our attentions and desires. It highlights the need to modify the atomistic individualist liberalism favoured in legal discourse to negotiate the new world order of domination by corporations.


Doctor Penny Crofts is an Associate Professor at the University of Technology Sydney. Crofts is an international expert on criminal law and models of culpability. Her research is cross-disciplinary, drawing upon a range of historical, philosophical, empirical and literary materials to enrich her analysis of the law. Her analysis of criminal legal models of wickedness has contributed to a jurisprudence of blameworthiness. Her research is a call to responsibility – to the legal system, law-makers, legal academics, and the general community – to be more aware and critical of the models of culpability held out and enforced by criminal law. Penny is currently researching a project funded by the Australian Research Council: Rethinking institutional culpability: Criminal law, philosophy and horror. 


Tea and coffee available from 3.30pm

Attendance is free and open to all but you must register for this event please as there are limited places, link below.