On Theater, Law, and Justice (Not Necessarily in That Order)

  • Steff Nellis (Ghent University)


This special issue of Documenta delves into the reciprocal relationship between ‘Theater and Law,’ establishing an interdisciplinary space for justice that transcends conventional legal boundaries. In contrast to traditional, rigid judicial frameworks that revolve around accusing and sentencing clearly defined defendants, the performing and visual arts provide a reflective environment for reevaluating legal cases and systems. Each article in this issue aspires to reconceptualize established legal perspectives by presenting artistically inspired alternatives. The contributions illustrate how the performing and visual arts foster empathetic and progressive alternatives to the judicial process, both within and beyond traditional court settings. To underscore the significance of these artistically inspired alternatives, this introduction examines the tragic case of Sanda Dia, a twenty-year-old student who died during an extreme initiation ritual from a student corps at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 2018.

Keywords: theater, law, justice, re-enactment, pre-enactment

How to Cite:

Nellis, S., (2023) “On Theater, Law, and Justice (Not Necessarily in That Order)”, Documenta 41(2): 1, 3-25. doi:

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Published on
20 Dec 2023
Peer Reviewed