Ten years ago, a group of scholar-activists organized a series of conversations about law and economicclass. Building on “outsider” jurisprudence that has moved inequalities of race, gender, and sexuality from the margins to the center of law, the group proposed a jurisprudence of economic inequality. To foreground economic justice, the group sought to critique mainstream law and economics and to focus on the lives of poor and working class people.
Rejecting the neoliberal ideology of scarcity, and reclaiming the possibilities presented by the commons and by collective action, ClassCrits was born. Our name, “ClassCrits,” reflects our ties to critical legal analysis and our goal of addressing economic class in the multiple intersecting forms of subordination.
We confront the roots of economic inequality in divisions such as race and gender and in legal and economic systems destructive to the well-being of humanity and the planet. Alternative visions and solutions have become even more essential in the contemporary moment. In the United States, 2017 has begun with historic dangers, global protests, and major constitutional litigation against the new federal administration. The 2016 presidential election has exposed deep rifts in the foundations of law, economy, and society, reflecting a broad and deep discontent with neoliberal globalization. Decades of bipartisan policies have focused on privatization and de-regulation of economic power. Perceptions that established systems of law and economy are “rigged” against ordinary people have led to demands for change. Some blame liberal “identity” politics for giving short shrift to those harmed by economic disruption. Others rationalize increased inequality and insecurity as the inevitable results of innovation and potential growth that necessarily skews rewards to a privileged few.
What we cannot deny is the reality we are facing: A counter-democratic revolution. In response to this discontent, the prevailing response has been to take the neoliberal vision further. In place of principles and practices of law, democracy, and public service, this vision idealizes unaccountable authority aimed at unequal private gain. Policy proposals include selling off public lands, privatizing the already fragile public education system with vouchers, and permitting private interests to foul the air and water held in common as fundamental to health and life on earth. Promises to “Make America Great Again” seem to entail a rollback of civil rights protections for people of color, women, immigrants, religious minorities, and LGBTQ persons, along with an increase in militarization and an expanding carceral state, in the name of never ending foreign threats and geared toward hands of private profiteers.
The new dangers of oligarchy and authoritarianism risk fostering hopelessness and cynicism. Many of us grope around silences to find reasoned words of persuasion. Many struggle to find strategies for scholarship, teaching and advocacy sufficient to address emerging threats.
At the same time, this moment has sparked new voices and energy. Whether it is attending town hall meetings, calling or writing democratically elected representatives, engaging in numerous strikes and protests, or filing lawsuits, a resurgence of public dissent and collective action suggests the possibility of alternative solutions. Protests by indigenous persons at Standing Rock, by diverse groups of women marching in cities all over the world, by workers of color in the “Fight for Fifteen,” and by immigrants speaking out against the rising xenophobia and racism have inspired support and action challenging established boundaries of identity, interest, and policy.
During this exciting moment of possibility and struggle, we invite participants to submit applications to present at the 10th Annual ClassCrits conference, held at Tulane University Law School. We invite panel proposals, roundtable discussion proposals, paper presentations, poetry and fiction reading, and art that speak to this year’s theme, as well as to general ClassCrits themes. We are also interested in receiving proposals from law clinicians who engage in activist lawyering as a core part of their curriculum design. See the following page for details.
Finally, we extend a special invitation to junior scholars (i.e., graduate students and non-tenured faculty members) to submit proposals for works in progress. At least one senior scholar, as well as other ClassCrits scholars, will provide feedback and detailed commentary upon each work in progress in a small, supportive working session at this year’s workshop
The general themes of ClassCrits, include:
• The legal and cultural project of constructing inequalities of all kinds as natural, normal, and necessary.
• The relationships among economic, racial, and gender inequality.
• The development of new methods (including the interdisciplinary study and development of such methods) with which to analyze and criticize economics and law (beyond traditional “law and economics”).
• The relationship between material systems and institutions and cultural systems and institutions.
• The concept and reality of class within the international legal community, within international development studies and welfare strategies, and within a “flattening” world of globalized economics and geopolitical relations.
Proposal Submission Procedure and Deadline
Please submit your proposal by email to email@example.com by June 1, 2017. Proposals should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation and contact information, the title of the paper to be presented, and an abstract of the paper to be presented of no more than 750 words. Junior scholar submissions for works in progress should be clearly marked as “JUNIOR SCHOLAR WORK IN PROGRESS PROPOSAL.”
The venue for the gathering is Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans, LA. The workshop will begin with continental breakfast on Friday, November 10 and continue through the afternoon of Saturday, November 11. Arrangements are being made for conference hotels. The registration fee is $210.00 for all conference attendees who are full-time faculty members from the Global North. Registration is free for students and activists. Participants who do not fit into these categories, and/or who for individual reasons cannot afford the registration fee, should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Workshop attendees are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses.