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Call for Papers: Teaching Comparative Civil Rights Law

June 28

Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting
Civil Rights Section & Comparative Law Section

(Jan 2-5, 2020 in Washington, DC)

Civil rights law is increasingly globalized, as states around the world borrow from one another, and from international conventions, in defining the rights of individuals and groups to be free from discrimination and oppression. The future of the field of comparative civil rights finds itself at the crossroads of global forces pushing on one side toward further integration of nation states (e.g. projects like the currently defunct FTAA in which “integration” means the harmonization of national legal differences to facilitate foreign direct investment often at the expense of democratic accountability and substantive civil rights); and on the other side, we see forces pushing for the disintegration of previously established transnational arrangements charged with the progressive development and incorporation of human rights norms (e.g. projects of withdrawal from the EU, the ICC, and other international bodies, like U.S. withdrawal from the Human Rights Council). Put bluntly, the globalization of civil rights law is caught between forces seeking to unleash a “race to the bottom” and forces seeking to promote a “race to the top.” In this context, teaching comparative civil rights is as much a question of why teach it as a question of how, presenting new challenges: why and how do we learn the civil rights laws of multiple jurisdictions, and more specifically, identify the areas of comparison most relevant to properly evaluating competing projects of legal harmonization and national difference? How does our engagement with comparative civil rights laws uncover the conditions of possibility for promoting a race to the top or exacerbate the forces pushing us further toward the bottom? How do we teach in this challenging field? Are team teaching methods particularly useful? Is this a rich area for experiential learning? Can we leverage the power of the internet to teach more effectively?

We welcome the submission of one-page proposals (500 words or fewer) addressing innovations in teaching comparative civil rights law.

Please submit proposals to the Program Chairs: David Oppenheimer (doppenheimer@law.berkeley.edu), Elizabeth M. Iglesias (iglesias@law.miami.edu), and Richard Albert (richard.albert@law.utexas.edu)