Jamie Boyle has a sad remembrance for Keith Aoki, the legal scholar and artist who co-wrote and illustrated Bound By Law, a brilliant "Understanding Comics"-style volume about copyright and documentary filmmaking. Keith, who taught at UC Davis, died at 55, leaving behind a family and a wide circle of friends and colleagues.
It is hard in a few words and pictures to convey the sheer scope of Keith's work. Have you ever heard about so-called bio-piracy -- the taking of plant genetic resources from the developing world that are then tweaked, and layered with new intellectual property rights? Keith wrote the book on it. Literally. Or did you ever wonder if aesthetics -- particularly changing ideas of architecture and urban planning -- had a political effect on housing patterns and segregation in American cities? Think it would be kind of cool if someone wrote a history of that? Someone did. It is called Race, Space and Place. And it is by Keith. Oh, and hey, it would be great if someone documented the rise of "regionalism" in US immigration politics -- like the Arizonan immigration legislation. You might want to read "Welcome to Amerizona: Immigrants Out!" Guess who wrote that. While you are at it, you could also read about critical race theory, or the distributive effects of intellectual property, or open source plant development. How about a critical analysis of the politics of farm labor? Try "Pastures of Peonage?: Agricultural Concentration and Labor Migration: The Case of North America in the Early 21st Century" Asian American electoral participation in 2008? Keith's got that covered too.RIP, Keith Aoki