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Conference: 2021 Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, 27-30 May

May 27, 2021 - May 30, 2021


We are excited to announce the theme of the 2021 Annual Meeting that will take place in Chicago from May 27-30! Please keep an eye out for the official Call for Papers later this fall.
Ours is an era of multiple and overlapping crises. Climate, democracy, economy and health are newly unstable throughout the world. Last summer, for the first time, the physical Law and Society conference was canceled in light of a global pandemic. In the United States, the pandemic exacerbated underlying racial inequalities that erupted in protests throughout the country, and beyond. Across the globe, these crises reveal existing social inequalities in different ways, and demand that we adapt to survive. What is the role of law, which strives for stability as well as justice, in this volatile context?
The 2021 Law and Society Association Annual Meeting will be held, we hope, in Chicago, a city that embodies inequality and violence but also has a long history of reform and re-imagination. In this setting, we invite scholars in the law and society tradition to submit panels and papers that speak to the themes of law and justice in crises and disasters, but also in healing and reparations, in building sustainable systems, in reshaping social practices and imaginaries, and in creating new possibilities. A conference focused on crisis foregrounds the present, but it also looks to the past and to the future with the themes of healing and re-imagining. As scholars, we have a special role in re-imagining law and legal institutions to make our societies and institutions more resilient and just. We can also contribute to a multi-faceted understanding of healing, which opens new and different entry points to old problems. These themes cut across disciplines and invite creative thinking beyond law and beyond social science, to encompass the humanities, the arts, medicine, and the natural sciences.
Questions include, but are not limited to:
  • Health: How has law contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic response and to the racial and economic inequities in exposure and morbidity? What might be the role for law and justice in creating a sustainable system for access to health in its wake?
  • Democracy: What is the role of law and legal institutions in facilitating or retarding the global erosion of democracy?
  • Race: The mass demonstrations against police brutality that followed the death of George Floyd in 2020 spread around the world. Can policing and the carceral state be re-imagined in response to what many now refer to as the pandemic of violence against racialized minorities? What might defunding look like in practice?
  • Environment: Climate change has caused many to question whether we are reaching the limits of the planet’s ability to sustain human society in its current form. What role has law played in getting us here, and what role might it play in creating an economic system that is resilient and sustainable?
  • Economy: The set of legal institutions that governed the expansion of trade over the past decades are being rapidly undermined. What role will law play in an economic downturn and recovery?
  • Law: How has law contributed to the various crises we find ourselves in? How might legal institutions themselves be re-imagined?


May 27, 2021
May 30, 2021
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