Skip to main content


BOOKING NOW OPEN: CREATe Public Lectures Autumn 2021-22 series

Posted on    by Elena Cooper
BlogCopyright History

BOOKING NOW OPEN: CREATe Public Lectures Autumn 2021-22 series

By 22 September 2021November 9th, 2021No Comments

CREATe are delighted to open bookings for our Public Lectures for the autumn term of the 2021-22 series.

Both speakers – Dr Anjali Vats and Prof. Kathy Bowrey – have recently published monographs in the field of intellectual property and we hope that the lectures will provide an opportunity for an in-depth consideration of aspects of these important works. An overview of the themes of these two books – ‘Copyright, Creativity, Big Media and Cultural Value’ by Bowrey and ‘The Color of Creatorship’ by Vats – are discussed in a CREATe blog post ‘Recommendations for Summer Reading: Copyright Books in Review‘, as part of a more general overview of recent scholarly landmarks in the field.

As we are still unable to hold events in the University of Glasgow’s beautiful Humanity Lecture Theatre, we will be hosting the lectures online this autumn. We hope this will allow us to reach a new and wider audience, in addition to welcoming back those who know us well.  

Both lectures will be chaired by Dr Elena Cooper (Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, CREATe). 

Each presentation will be for 40 minutes followed by 20 minutes for Q&A. Attendees will be able to submit questions during the lecture for the Q&A session at the end or questions can be emailed to prior to the lecture.  

All CREATe public lectures are free. You can book direct by clicking here.

Title of Talk: Intellectual Property Citizenship and American Racial Imaginaries 

Date: Wednesday 13 October 5:30 pm UK TIME GMT+1

Speaker: Anjali Vats  


The Color of Creatorship: Race, Intellectual Property, and the Making of Americans (Stanford UP, 2020) critically examines the racial histories of intellectual property law, specifically those themes that simultaneously animate copyright, patent, and trademark law over 200 years and mirror the nation’s racist and xenophobic sentiments about citizenship. It posits that explicit and implicit imaginaries of “true imagination,” “human progress,” and the “consumer gaze” have been repeatedly invoked in ways that entrench racist legal and visual cultures and naturalize racial hierarchies. This book talk highlights a set of critical race studies methodologies that may be helpful to intellectual property scholars in thinking through how race has historically and contemporaneously operated in the context of intellectual property law.

The term “intellectual property citizenship,” which is introduced in the book, calls for reading copyright, patent, and trademark doctrine alongside racial rhetorics of citizenship, in order to understand how the two concepts are mutually constitutive. In this, the book’s central lens brings Natalia Molina’s ground-breaking conceptualization of “racial scripts” together with Ian Haney Lopez’s landmark discussion of the “racial prerequisite cases” to map remnants of racialization in law over time. Reading intellectual property’s impulses to entrench whiteness as (intellectual) property in familiar and novel archives through the methods proposed here demonstrates the historical and contemporary embeddedness of copyright, patent, and trademark law with larger and continuing struggles of national identity and property rights. 


Anjali Vats, JD, PhD is Associate Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law with a secondary appointment in the Communication Department at the University of Pittsburgh. She is interested in issues related to race, law, rhetoric, media studies, and popular culture, with particular focus on intellectual property. Her book, The Color of Creatorship: Intellectual Property, Race and the Making of Americans (Stanford University Press, 2020), examines the relationship between copyright, patent, and trademark law, race, and national identity formation. She has published in law reviews and academic journals, including the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, the Quarterly Journal of SpeechCommunication and Critical/Cultural Studies, and Communication, Culture & Critique. She also recently co-edited a special issue of First Amendment Studies on race and free speech. From 2014 – 2021, Vats was Associate Professor of Communication and African and African Diaspora Studies at Boston College and Associate Professor of Law at Boston College Law School (by courtesy), where she taught Critical Race Theory and studied questions of Critical Race Intellectual Property. In 2016-2017, while on an AAUW Postdoctoral Fellowship, she served as a Visiting Law Professor at UC Davis School of Law. She was also previously a faculty member in the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University, where she was affiliated with the Center for Intellectual Property Research at the Maurer School of Law. Before becoming a professor, Vats clerked for the now retired Chief Justice A. William Maupin of the Supreme Court of Nevada.  

Our next Public Lecture presentation will be on Wednesday 10 November *** please note an earlier time 09:00-10:30 GMT*** with Prof. Kathy Bowrey, Faculty of Law & Justice, University of New South Wales, Australia 

Title of Talk: The Society of Authors Meets Hollywood: Why authors and playwrights lost out

Date: Wednesday 10 November 9 am UK TIME GMT 

Speaker: Kathy Bowrey  


In the early 20th century there was a fundamental shift in the industrial significance of authorship. Individual and family firms gave way to multi-national enterprises, contractual terms became standardised and the negotiating power of the individual was substantially diminished. This talk looks at how the Society of Authors (UK) facilitated the rise of industrial authorship.

Throughout the 19th century many popular stories found in books were staged as plays and vice versa. Writers were often actively involved in developing new audiences and avenues to profit. However, reforms enacted in the Copyright Act 1911 (UK) that sought to clarify adaptation rights to books and plays essentially allowed publishers to control the future of adaptation rights. In 1914 the Society of Authors established a Cinematic Sub-Committee to work with Hollywood to prevent competing film versions of the same story coming out in the same geographical markets. Their collaboration with Hollywood contributed to US domination of international film markets and a restriction of the commercial opportunities for playwrights. The natural rights of the author were denatured, diluted and copyright’s ideologically celebrated characteristic property — primarily rewarding creative, as opposed to commercial endeavour — was fundamentally disrupted.

This talk draws upon Chapter 5 from Copyright, Creativity, Big Media and Cultural Value: Incorporating the Author, (Routledge, 2021). 


Professor Kathy Bowrey is a legal and cultural historian interested in how commodification of creativity and knowledge operates on a global scale. She is a Co-Director of the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP). Her current research project Producing, managing and owning knowledge in the 21st century university’ is a collaboration with Prof Kimberlee Weatherall; Dr Kylie Pappalardo; Prof Irene Watson; Em/Prof Jill McKeough; Em/Prof Tom Cochrane.