29 December 2012


American Anthropological AssociationPoLAR Announcement and APLA & AES Joint Spring 2013 Meeting Reminder

PoLAR, the journal of the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology (APLA), has a second virtual issue. Entitled Reflections from Occupied Worlds, it

marks the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Movement with a collection of essays and postscripts that provide a unique commentary on challenges of pursuing social justice and activism alongside anthropological inquiry. In recognition of other resistance movements, including the Arab Spring, protests in Europe, and many others that predated and coincided with Occupy, the issue focuses not on the U.S.-based movement, but rather, on other parts of the world to explore the multiple and multiplicative dimensions of occupation. In short, it considers the “99%” beyond the United States.

In selecting articles that predate the Occupy Movement, the issue attempts to provide a view of how anthropologists have been conscious of resistance movements and attempted to explain tensions within and between resistance and political institutions that inevitably ensue. The articles highlight how anthropologists have studied spaces of occupation and activism and the struggles within them. They take readers to North America, the Middle East, Ireland and Ecuador, addressing questions and tensions around anthropology and activism along the way.

Readers are also reminded that the deadline for proposals for the Anthropologies of Conflict in a New Millennium Conference is approaching.

BOOK: Catá Backer and Broekman on the Semiotics of Legal Education

Springer has announced the publication of Larry Catá Backer and Jan Broekman (eds), Lawyers making meaning: the semiotics of legal education II (2013). 

The sequel to Broekman and Francis J Mootz II (eds), The semiotics of legal education (2011),

[t]his book present a structure for understanding and exploring the semiotic character of law and law systems. Cultivating a deep understanding for the ways in which lawyers make meaning—the way in which they help make the world and are made, in turn by the world they create —can provide a basis for consciously engaging in the work of the law and in the production of meaning. The book first introduces the reader to the idea of semiotics in general and legal semiotics in particular, as well as to the major actors and shapers of the field, and to the heart of the matter: signs.  The second part studies the development of the strains of thinking that together now define semiotics, with attention being paid to the pragmatics, psychology and language of legal semiotics. A third part examines the link between legal theory and semiotics, the practice of law, the critical legal studies movement in the USA, the semiotics of politics and structuralism. The last part of the book ties the different strands of legal semiotics together, and closely looks at semiotics in the lawyer’s toolkit—such as: text, name and meaning.

The book’s Preface, Table of Contents, and Sample Pages are available here.

28 December 2012

CALL FOR PAPERS: Global Perspectives on Entrepreneurship: Public and Corporate Governance

Call for Papers for Special Issue Conference
Corporate Governance: An International Review

Global Perspectives on Entrepreneurship: Public and Corporate Governance

April 25-26, 2013, Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, Canada

- Abstract Submission Deadline: January 15, 2013
- Special Issue Submission Deadline: April 1, 2013
- Paper Development Workshop Dates: April 25-26, 2013

Keynote Speakers:
- Craig Doidge, University of Toronto Rotman School of Management
- Shaker Zahra, University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management
Guest Editors:
- Rajesh Chakrabarti, Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, India
- Douglas Cumming, York University, Toronto, Canada

BACKGROUND AND SPECIAL ISSUE PURPOSE: Governments in both developed and developing countries are in agreement that entrepreneurship and innovation will facilitate economic growth and determine the competitive advantage of nations in the 21st century. Massive amounts of resources are expanded to foster both innovation and entrepreneurial activity in these countries. It is therefore crucial that public policy matters are able to distinguish between supporting entrepreneurial activity or merely supporting small and medium sized enterprises. Entrepreneurial activity, or the generation of value through the creation or expansion of economic activity in terms of new products, processes or markets, is not restricted to smaller enterprises. Innovation and entrepreneurial activity may also take place in larger, more established enterprises.

CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS: Strangers, Aliens and Foreigners

5th Global Conference
Strangers, Aliens and Foreigners

Thursday 5th September – Saturday 7th September 2013
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom

Call for Presentations

This multi-disciplinary project seeks to explore the crucial place that strangers, aliens and foreigners have for the constitution of self, communities and societies. In particular the project will assess world transformations, like phenomena we associate with the term 'globalisation', new forms of migration and the massive movements of people across the globe, as well as the impact they have on the conceptions we hold of self and other. Looking to encourage innovative trans-disciplinary dialogues, we warmly welcome papers from all disciplines, professions and vocations which struggle to understand what it means for people, the world over, to forge a sense of self in rapidly changing contexts where it is no longer possible to ignore the importance of strangers, aliens and foreigners for our contemporary nations, societies and cultures.
Presentations, papers, performances, panels and workshops are invited on any of the following themes:

27 December 2012

REMINDER: Juris Diversitas Conference and Membership

Juris Diversitas Annual ConferenceREMINDER -- CALL FOR PAPERS

Co-Sponsored with the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law
3-4 June 2013, Lausanne, Switzerland 

Proposals should be submitted to Seán Patrick Donlan at sean.donlan@ul.ie by 15 January 2013

Registration fees (excluding optional conference dinner, €50) are: 

50: Juris Diversitas Members (Full membership 2012 and 2013) 
100: Juris Diversitas Members (Full membership 2013) or Members of the AiSDC 
200: Non-Members

Membership information is available here.

JOURNAL: Oñati Socio-Legal Series

The (2012) 2:6 Oñati Socio-Legal Series is available. It’s entitled Diferencias Invisibles: Género, Drogas y Políticas Públicas. El enfoque de género en las políticas europeas de drogas.

The papers ‘result[] from the workshop held in the International Institute for the Sociology ofLaw, Oñati. 12-13 May 2011’ and the issue was ‘edited by Xabier Arana (Universidad del País Vasco-Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea), Iñaki Markez (Ekimen2000) and Virginia Montañés (investigadora independiente).’

The Oñati Socio-Legal Series publishes work linked with the activities of the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law. Each year there will be:

· one issue containing the best of the theses produced by our Master´s students each year (those graded summa or eximia cum laude);
· one issue of articles by visiting fellows and other researchers linked to the IISL, and
· thematic issues of articles on the topics of workshops organised at the IISL, with an Introduction by the workshop organiser(s).

All the articles will be peer-reviewed.

ARTICLE: Michaels on Legal Transplants

Our friend at the Irish Society of Comparative Law (ISCL) recently posted information on Ralf Michaels' 'One Size Can Fit All' – On the Mass Production of Legal Transplants', available on SSRN and to be included in Günter Frankenberg (ed), Order from transfer: studies in comparative (constitutional) law (Elgar, forthcoming 2013). 

Its abstract reads:

Law reformers like the World Bank sometimes suggest that optimal legal rules and institutions can be recognized and then be recommended for law reform in every country in the world. Comparative lawyers have long been skeptical of such views. They point out that both laws and social problems are context-specific. What works in one context may fail in another. Instead of “one size fits all,” they suggest tailor made solutions.

I challenge this view. Drawing on a comparison with IKEA’s global marketing strategy, I suggest that “one size fits all” can sometimes be not only a successful law reform strategy, but also not as objectionable as critics make it to be. First, whereas, “one size fits all” is deficient a functionalist position, it proves to be surprisingly successful as a formalist conception. Second, critics of legal transplants often insists on what can be called “best law” approach, whereas in law reform, what we sometimes need is law that is just” good enough” law. “Third, legal transplants no longer happen in isolation but rather on a global scale, so that context-specific rules are no longer necessarily local.

This is not a plea for formal law, for commodification of laws, and for “one size fits all”. But it is a plea to overcome the romanticism and elitism that may lurk behind the seemingly benign suggestion that law reform must always be tailored to the specific societal context.

Note, too, the ISCL's 2013 Conference and Call for Papers.

26 December 2012

ARTICLE: Kuran on Islamic Law and Economic Development

bookjacketA colleague noted that Timur Kuran’s ‘Why the Middle East is Economically Underdeveloped: Historical Mechanisms of Institutional Stagnation’ might be of interest. On SSRN, its abstract reads:

Although a millennium ago the Middle East was not an economic laggard, by the 18th century it exhibited clear signs of economic backwardness. The reason for this transformation is that certain components of the region's legal infrastructure stagnated as their Western counterparts gave way to the modern economy. Among the institutions that generated evolutionary bottlenecks are the Islamic law of inheritance, which inhibited capital accumulation; the absence in Islamic law of the concept of a corporation and the consequent weaknesses of civil society; and the waqf, which locked vast resources into unproductive organizations for the delivery of social services. All of these obstacles to economic development were largely overcome through radical reforms initiated in the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, traditional Islamic law remains a factor in the Middle East's ongoing economic disappointments. The weakness of the region's private economic sectors and its human capital deficiency stand among the lasting consequences of traditional Islamic law.

He noted, too, Kuran’s The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East (2010) and a related video.

24 December 2012

23 December 2012

POSITION: National Science Foundation (US) Program Officer - Law and Social Sciences Program

National Science Foundation


National Science Foundation (US) Program Officer - Law and Social Sciences Program

The National Science Foundation is seeking a candidate for a Program Director position in the Law and Social Sciences (LLS) Program within the Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES), Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE), Arlington, VA. SES supports research to develop and advance scientific knowledge focusing on economic, legal, political and social systems, organizations and institutions. In addition, SES supports research on the intellectual and social contexts that govern the development and use of science and technology. SES programs consider proposals that fall squarely within disciplines, but they also encourage and support interdisciplinary projects, which are evaluated through joint review among Programs in SES, as well as joint review with programs in other Divisions, and NSF-wide multi-disciplinary panels, as appropriate.

Additional information is available here.

CALL FOR PAPERS: 2013 American Society for Legal History Conference

Call for Papers:
2013 Meeting of the American Society for Legal History

The 2013 meeting of the American Society for Legal History will take place in Miami, Florida, November 7-10, 2013. The ASLH invites proposals on any facet or period of legal history, anywhere in the world. In selecting presenters, the Program Committee will give preference to those who did not present at last year’s meeting.

Travel grants will be available for presenters in need; these resources will nevertheless still be limited, and special priority will be given to presenters traveling from abroad, graduate students, post-docs, and independent scholars.

The Program Committee welcomes proposals for both full panels and individual papers, though please note that individual papers are less likely to be accepted. As concerns panels, the Program Committee encourages the submission of a variety of different types of proposals, including:

  • traditional 3-paper panels (with a separate commentator and chair)
  • incomplete 2-paper panels (with a separate commentator and chair), which the Committee will try to complete with at least 1 more paper;
  • panels of 4 or more papers (with a separate commentator and chair);
  • thematic panels that range across traditional chronological or geographical fields ;
  • author-meets-reader panels;
  • roundtable discussions.