Category: Conferences

ClassCrits Conference Call for Papers

The ClassCrits blog has a number of interesting posts up recently. The group has announced a call for papers for a September conference; here is the notice:

ClassCrits IV, “Criminalizing Economic Inequality”

This workshop, the fourth meeting of ClassCrits, takes as its theme the criminalization of economic inequality. The dominance of “free market” economic theory and policy has been accompanied in the U.S. by increasing reliance on the criminal justice system to make and enforce economic policy. The criminal justice system is increasingly used to control persons and groups whose participation in formal markets is marginal at best. Many aspects of traditional immigration law have morphed into “crimmigration”, appropriating domestic criminal law enforcement tools and redefining whole communities of workers and their families as “illegal people.” States and municipalities have criminalized the lives of homeless people, including those who are mentally ill.

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YLJ Online Symposium: A Republic of Statutes

yljonline

The Yale Law Journal Online has just published the final piece of a symposium devoted to William N. Eskridge, Jr. and John Ferejohn’s remarkable new book, A Republic of Statutes: The New American Constitution. The book chronicles the development of constitutional principles derived not directly from the text of the Constitution itself but from the implementation of entrenched “superstatutes” by administrative and executive officials. The symposium essays examine both the broad contours of the theory advanced by Eskridge and Ferejohn as well as its application to particular fields of law, such as immigration, national security, and health care. Visit YLJ Online to read the full collection:

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Gender Justice and Indian Sovereignty

It is my pleasure to invite you to Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s upcoming 10th Anniversary Women and the Law Conference, “Gender Justice and Indian Sovereignty: Native American Women and the Law,” on Friday, February 18, 2011.

This one-day conference will be held at TJSL’s brand-new state-of-the-art building in downtown San Diego, and will feature the annual Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lecture (founded in 2003 with generous support from Justice Ginsburg), by our Keynote Speaker, Interim Associate Dean Stacy Leeds, University of Kansas School of Law, former Justice of the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court and currently chief judge of three Indian Nation tribal courts. Her Lecture will be titled: “Resistance, Resilience, and Reconciliation: Reflections on Native American Women and the Law.” Read More

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What If? Symposium

I’m pleased to announce that the Indiana Law Review will hold its 2011 Symposium on “What If?  Counterfactuals in Constitutional History.”  The following are expected to attend this conference on April 1 (an appropriate day for a counterfactual event):

David Fontana, George Washington Law School

Heidi Kitrosser, Minnesota Law School

Alison LaCroix, University of Chicago Law School

Carlton Larson, UC Davis Law School

Kim Roosevelt, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Ilya Somin, George Mason Law School

Amanda Tyler, George Washington Law School

If you’re interested in attending, please contact Amanda Mulroony at amanbake@iupui.edu

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Stalking About Your Generation

Yesterday, I had the all-too-brief pleasure of sitting in on the first couple of talks at the Wisconsin Law Review’s Symposium, Intergenerational Equity and Intellectual Property, here in Madison.

Organized by my colleague, Shubha Ghosh (and starring, among others, CoOp-erator Deven Desai), the goal is important:  How do we understand the intergenerational consequences of a legal regime—intellectual property—that is strongly determined by the present, but which has significant, but under-theorized, consequences for the future?  Fights about extending the term of the Mickey Mouse copyright—or any set of long-haul rights—don’t just affect my kids, but potentially their kids, their kids’ kids, and so on.  These are, in short, really fights about intergenerational equity.

I was only able to hear Michigan’s Peggy Radin (Property Longa, Vita Brevis) and Penn’s Matt Adler (Intergenerational Equity: Puzzles for Welfarists), but as expected, both provided awesome overviews of these sorts of problems.  As Radin pointed out, intellectual property (knowledge and information law generally) always involves two types of generational problems: One is temporal (my parents, me, my kids, their kids, etc.); the other is technological (my students barely know from videotape; I will never beat my daughter at any computer game).

Adler explained that it is easy (and perhaps imprudent) to dismiss the utility of welfare economics as a tool to make these sorts of decisions.  Certainly, we might say, Benthamite sums of utils could predict little for those not in existence (the future):  what would their utility function be, really?

Hope I die before you get old

Yet, he observed, robust and subtle analytic models and conceptual frameworks are being developed by the Sens and Arrows of the world, and they may (if the future is bright) help develop more equitable and effective decision tools for matters with a long temporal reach.

Those who follow state politics may find this all a bit ironic. Wisconsin’s recent election was a decisive victory for Republicans, who captured both houses of the legislature and the Governor’s office on a message which may strain the state’s motto, “Forward.”

If Republicans keep their word, tax breaks for the rich and elderly will replace education and healthcare spending for the young and unborn; fossil fuel (old tech) subsidies will replace biofuel (new tech) development; and the University may have to fight to continue its path-breaking stem-cell research, certainly a way to kill both jobs in the present and medical miracles in the future. This may be good for baby boomers, but isn’t likely so hot for their grandkids.

Hope you die before I get old

Wisconsin’s liberals are, of course, despondent over their loss of power and position.  Yet, forecasting and discounting long-term causation are among the things that make questions of intergenerational equity  so interesting and difficult.  I doubt Newt Gingrich thought in 1994 that the Contract with America would virtually assure Bill Clinton a second term, but today the former seems to have led to the latter.   Likewise, it is certain that neither Jeremy Bentham nor Pete Townshend could have predicted the duration of their memetic contributions to today’s discussions about tomorrow.  They probably just thought it was all rock and roll.

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CELS V: The Year of the Experiment

Data Collection Makes Everyone Grumpy and Hunched Over

For the last several years, I’ve posted recaps of the Annual Empirical Studies Conference.  (See me, @ Cornell, @ USC).  This year, as promised, will be no different.  Yale hosted CELS V, and the committee did a bang up job: the food was tasty; there were no technical snafus of note; and the panels appeared to have a high degree of internal validity & congruence. Richard Brooks, Alan Gerber, Dan Kahan, Yair Listokin, Tracey Meares, and (especially) Roberta Romano are all due a round of applause, or, better yet, supersized computer monitors so they can see their data better.  In this post, I’m going to provide a running diary of the conference.  It will be like you were there with me, except you don’t have to suffer through my bouts of social anxiety!

Unfortunately, I missed the hottest ticket of the conference, Bruce Ackerman’s commentary on Law/Versteeg’s The Evolution and Ideology of Global Constitutionalism.  From all reports, Ackerman said something like: “wrong questions, wrong data, wrong theory,” and then imploded in frustration.  Instead of watching those fireworks, I was watching Yair Listokin present The Meaning of Contractual Silence: A Field Experiment [Here’s an older version of the paper].  Listokin ran a field experiment selling ipods on ebay, some with a warranty, some as-is, and some silent on the warranty term. He found that individuals paid attention to the contract, and there was some evidence that the UCC default was about what they thought silence meant.  As he admitted, there were problems with the design of the study – particularly, (1) small & skewed samples; and (2) a lack of clarity about how much buyers know about ebay’s unique and self-contained dispute resolution system.  As someone remarked after the presentation, it would have been interesting had Listokin sold all the customers bad ipods (instead of good ones) and studied how the contract terms influenced behavior post-“breach”.  Then again, who needs that IRB hassle?

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Questioning the Value of Omnibus Academic Conferences

As part of my current job, I try to track and distribute information about conferences and workshops that will interest my colleagues and provide good opportunities for them to obtain critical feedback on their scholarly work, as well as make connections with other scholars in their fields. Perhaps because I pay more attention to all types of conferences now (or perhaps because there truly are more of them), I sense a proliferation of smaller legal scholarship workshops focusing on particular subject matters or disciplines, bringing together scholars from schools in a specific region, or fostering development of junior faculty (of course, there are also combinations of these). Much of the anecdotal feedback I get from my colleagues suggests that these smaller workshops are extraordinarily helpful to participants because of the type and depth of feedback they get on their papers. The size of these gatherings also allows for richer opportunities to engage in informal discussions with colleagues and learn about each other’s work.

All of this brings me to the larger question I want to pose. What is the purpose of the annual January AALS meeting? Don’t get me wrong. I love New Orleans and San Francisco and catching up with friends and colleagues from other schools as much as anyone. But at this point, the conference itself seems like a bit of a dinosaur. If the principal justification for the meeting is intellectual enrichment, it’s pretty inefficient. Hundreds of papers are presented, the vast majority of them beyond any single professor’s areas of interest or expertise. And personally, with some important exceptions, I often have been disappointed with the papers presented at the annual meeting compared to the papers I have heard at specialized conferences (including specialized AALS conferences). One could make the case for the general meeting as an opportunity to hear work in fields beyond our specialty areas, but how many of us actually attend panels in fields completely unrelated to our work? I’m sure some administrative work gets done at AALS, but probably nothing that couldn’t be accomplished by a conference call.

Some academic disciplines combine their annual meetings with their hiring conferences. For example, the Modern Language Association has a long tradition of facilitating faculty job interviews at its annual meeting. That approach makes a little more sense because faculties from most schools are gathered in one place to interview candidates, anyway. But the AALS separated out its Faculty Recruitment Conference from the general meeting many years ago, so that rationale has disappeared.

I approach my thinking about the AALS meeting from a resources standpoint as well. At this time of year (as the early bird registration deadline approaches), I receive lots of faculty requests for funding to attend the meeting. Our school spends a disproportionate percentage of its travel budget sending faculty to AALS. In tight fiscal times, it seems useful to contemplate whether that is a good use of funds, or whether that money would be better spent sending faculty to the smaller specialty or regional conferences discussed above. Or, might we decide after considering the heretical idea of scrapping the annual meeting that the AALS’s winter fest is just too big to fail?

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Symposium on National Security Policy and the Role of Lawyering

On Thursday, October 28, the Seton Hall Law Review is hosting a day-long symposium in Newark, New Jersey entitled National Security Policy and the Role of Lawyering: Guantanamo and Beyond.  Here’s the description:

The broad focus of the Symposium will be to discuss preventive detention and the future of United States national security policy.  As the United States prepares for the closing of Guantánamo Bay detention center, the country still faces the challenge of balancing national security and individual rights.  Controversy continues to plague U.S.-run prisons abroad, such as Bagram in Afghanistan; at the same time, the country has yet to resolve critical questions surrounding the scope of executive detention authority in the “war on terrorism,” leaving the future of U.S. detention policy uncertain.  We hope to discuss the mark Guantánamo has left on the United States and explore the future of preventive detention from the standpoint of lawyers, scholars, policymakers, the media, and former detainees. 

Panelists will include Peter Finn of the Washington Post,  Dafna Linzer from ProPublica, Steve Vladeck from American University and Joe Margulies from Northwestern.   You can find the full symposium schedule and a list of panelists here.

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GW’s Junior Scholar Workshop and Prizes

As anticipated, the Center for Law, Economics and Finance at George Washington University Law School (C-LEAF)  has formally announced its first annual Junior Faculty Business and Financial Law Workshop and Junior Faculty Scholarship Prizes.    The Inaugural Workshop will be held and Prizes awarded on April 1-2, 2011, at GW Law School in Washington, DC.

Up to ten papers will be chosen from those submitted for presentation at the Workshop. At the Workshop, one or more senior scholars will comment on each paper, followed by general discussion of each paper among all participants. The Workshop audience will include invited junior scholars, faculty from GW’s Law School and Business School, faculty from other institutions, and invited guests.

At the conclusion of the Workshop, up to three papers will be awarded Junior Faculty Scholarship Prizes, of $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000, respectively. Chosen papers will be featured on C-LEAF’s website as part of its Working Paper Series. In addition to participating in the Workshop, all scholars selected to present at the  Workshop will be invited to become Fellows of C-LEAF. Read More