Monday, December 28, 2009

Stanford/Harvard Third Annual International Junior Faculty Forum

Harvard Law School and Stanford Law School
Third Annual International Junior Faculty Forum

Call for Papers

Stanford Law School and Harvard Law School have established an International Junior Faculty Forum. The idea behind this is to stimulate exchange of ideas and research, among younger scholars in the academy, from all parts of the world; and to encourage younger scholars in their work. We live today in a global community-- especially a global legal community-- and it is important to develop legal scholarship on a transnational basis. Scholars in different countries are often divided by barriers of time and space, as well as barriers of different legal traditions and cultures. We hope that the forum will be a step in the direction of surmounting these barriers.

The papers at the 2009 Forum were on a very wide range of subjects, from the WTO to issues of Muslim marriage in South Africa to the role of lawyers in the financial crisis. The young scholars came from many different countries, and, so too, did the senior scholars. Together, six continents and a wide range of points of view were represented.

The sponsors, Harvard and Stanford law schools, are pleased to announce plans for the third International Junior Faculty Forum. The Forum will be held in October 2010 at the Stanford Law School, Stanford, California with the precise dates to be determined later.

Junior scholars whose home institution is outside the United States and who have held a faculty position for less than seven years, as of 2010, or whose last degree was earned less than ten years earlier than 2010 and are not U.S. citizens, are invited to apply for the 2010 session. The first step in applying is to submit an abstract of the proposed paper. We would like these to be no more than 4 pages. Tell us what you plan to do; lay out the major argument of the paper, say something about the methodology, and what you think will be the paper's contribution to scholarship. We ask you to submit the abstract in English. The due date for the abstracts is January 20, 2010, although earlier submissions are welcomed. Please submit the abstract electronically to both schools-- at Harvard, to Juliet Bowler ( jbowler@law.harvard.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ), and at Stanford to Stephanie Basso ( sbasso@law.stanford.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ). The subject line should be: International Junior Faculty Forum. The abstract should contain the author's name, home institution, and the title of the proposed paper.

After the abstracts have been reviewed, we will in February invite a number of junior scholars to submit full papers, electronically (in English) by May 31, 2010. Papers may be on any legally relevant subject. We especially welcome work that is interdisciplinary. The papers can make use of any relevant approach; they can be quantitative or qualitative, sociological, anthropological, historical, or economic. The sponsoring schools would like to emphasize that they welcome papers from junior scholars from all parts of the world. No country or group of countries has a monopoly of talent. Please note that already published papers are not eligible to be considered.

An international committee of legal scholars, who themselves come from across the globe, and represent many different styles and approaches, will review the papers. In the end, about ten of the papers will be chosen for presentation at the conference. And, as before, at the conference itself, two senior scholars, will comment on each paper. After the commentators give their remarks, all of the participants, juniors and seniors alike, will have a chance to join in the discussion. Meeting junior and senior colleagues, and talking about your work and theirs, may be one of the most valuable-- and enjoyable-- aspects of the forum.

The sponsoring schools will cover expenses of travel, including airfare, lodging, and food, for each participant. Questions should be directed to Juliet Bowler ( jbowler@law.harvard.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or Stephanie Basso ( sbasso@law.stanford.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

Friday, December 25, 2009

Symposium: A Changing of the Guard: The Future of International Law and Development under Obama

A Changing of the Guard: The Future of International Law and Development under Obama
North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commerical Regulation

Friday, January 29, 2010
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Kenan-Flagler Business School, Kenan Center
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Register for the 2010 Symposium

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the international aid and development policies of the United States and other Western powers were dominated by the Washington Consensus, a standard package of legal and economic reforms designed to allow the free hand of competitive markets to bring economic prosperity and political stability to the developing world. The Consensus stressed the shrinking of states and their regulatory structures; privatization; trade liberalization; protection of individual rights; and the general Westernization of poor countries' legal systems. In the view of most commentators, these Consensus reforms failed to achieve their intended results. Poor countries who adopted them become poorer and less politically stable.
In recent years, U.S. development policy has focused on the importance of healthy institutions. While the Consensus aimed to drastically pare governmental institutions, the new institutional approach acknowledges the vital role of institutions - particularly laws and legal enforcement mechanisms - and focuses on ensuring that those institutions are healthy, high-functioning, and conducive to economic growth and political stability.

This Symposium will explore questions such as:

•Will - or should - the new institutional approach remain at the center of future law and development policy?
•Will other voices prevail, such as the growing call for the United States to stop meddling in the developing world and withdraw entirely from the international development business?
•Will the emergence of China and India as powerful economic and political actors alter the rules of the law and development game?
•Will a bold new vision for international law and development take shape under the Obama administration?
Confirmed symposium panelists include:

•Emily Burrill, University of North Carolina Department of Women's Studies
•Amy Cohen, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
•James Gathii, Albany Law School
•Margaret Lee, University of North Carolina Department of African and Afro- American Studies
•Ezra Rosser, American University Washington College of Law
•Sophie Smyth, Temple University Beasley School of Law

Thursday, December 24, 2009

China and India: The End of Development Models?

The Wellington Conference on Contemporary China


China and India: The End of Development Models?

An International Conference to be held at

Victoria University of Wellington
Wellington, New Zealand
April 12-13, 2010

Sponsored and organised by
The New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre
in association with
The Asian Studies Institute

Over the last thirty years, the impressive growth performance of China and India has caused a new wave of global anxiety about the rise of power and wealth outside the developed world. More pointedly, scholarly interests and debates have focused on how the rising of China and India would change the international political and economic structure, and whether India or China would outperform the other in the long run. What is missing amidst the anxieties and fanfare about the two new “giants” is a genuine scholarly interest in an understanding of how the impressive growth and social transformation has been achieved in these two unique countries. With “Japan as No 1” in the 1950s and 1960s, the “four little dragons” in the 1960s and 1970s, the extension of the “East Asian miracle” to the rest of the Pacific Asia in the 1980s and 1990s, and now China and India, scholars must have enough empirical evidence to revisit some of the long-troubling issues in post-War development research and debate: Is the developmental state essential for economic growth? Is export concentration inevitable? Are corporate groupings necessary? Does law matter? How do cultural and social relations contribute to economic and social development?

Moreover, China and India are two major world civilizations that have taken very different paths in modern development. Modern state building started in each of these countries under a set of very different conditions. China and India have been problematic cases in modern development. With the two countries reaching a new historical phase of their modern development, it would be useful to revisit the scholarly debate on modern development again and hopefully to lift it to a new level: how do colonial experiences, nationalism, communism and socialism affect a nation’s modern development? How do traditional social structure, values and relations transform or persist in modern development and how do these shape the emergent modern state? Are there different types of modernity or different models of modern developments?

The conference is designed to bring leading scholars in the field to address these issues. We are very pleased to have Professor Wing Thye Woo of UC Davis; Professor Pranab Bardhan, UC Berkeley; Professor Zhenglai Deng of Fudan University; Professor Prasenjit Duara of National University of Singapore; Professor B. Sudhakara Reddy of Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research; Professor Fu Jun of Peking University; Professor Sun Shihai of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Dr John Alexander Michael of University of Madras; Professor Sheng Kaiyan of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences; Professor Guo Sujian of Fudan University; Professor Dilip K. Das, of Conestoga College; Professor Heng Quan of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences;

We are inviting paper proposals on any aspects of the conference theme and welcome participation of scholars in related disciplines. We will publish selected papers as an edited volume by an international publisher. Those interested in giving a paper at the conference should forward their paper proposals (title and a 150-word abstract, with full contact details) to Professor Xiaoming Huang ( and Professor Sekhar Bandyopadhyay (, co-chairs of the conference organizing committee, no later than 30 January 2010. Registration details for the conference and acceptance letters will be sent shortly after that. For those who require a formal letter for travel and visa purposes, please send your proposal early and indicate accordingly. We look forward to your participation.

New Challenges for Taylor Trial

Came across this article in the Sunday Times last week. Despite a number of challenges (political, economic, legal) the trial of Charles Taylor will continue in the new year.

An international panel of four judges, based in The Hague, is trying Mr. Taylor specifically for arming and controlling a brutal rebel force in Sierra Leone during the country’s 1991-2002 civil war that led to the deaths of some 200,000 people. His indictment holds him accountable for the rebels’ crimes as they pillaged, killed and raped, used children as soldiers and hacked off hands to terrorize civilians. Many others died in his home country, Liberia, but events there are not within the mandate of the court.

Read more

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Law and Development: Women and Africa

Two recent conferences held in Africa focused on the role of women in achieving equality and political empowerment. The Eighth Africa Regional Conference on Women (Beijing+15) took place in Banjul, Gambia, in West Africa in November and the Pan-African Women Conference 2009 was held in Sandton, South Africa in October.

For more details see here:

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Evolution of Ideology, Fairness and Redistribution

A new paper worth reading is The Evolution of Ideology, Fairness and Redistribution by Alberto F. Alesina (Harvard), Guido Cozzi (Glascow), and Noemi Mantovan (Glascow). They add a contribution to understanding the development mystery.

ABSTRACT: Ideas about what is "fair" above and beyond the individual's position in the income ladder influence preferences for redistribution. We study the dynamic evolution of different economies in which redistributive policies, perceptions of fairness, inequality and growth are jointly determined. We show how including fairness explains various observed correlations between inequality, redistribution and growth. We also show how different beliefs about fairness can keep two otherwise identical countries in different development paths for a very long time.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

UN General Assembly on Legal Empowerment of the Poor

One of the trends in law and development practice in the past few years has been towards emphasizing legal access for the poor. The high-level Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor issued its report in 2008, and I now see that the report has received the endorsement of the UN General Assembly (see Document A/C.2/64/L.4/Rev.2 if you are interested). Like much in law and development, it seems to reflect a consensus between political right and left: much of the emphasis is on formalization of property rights, but also on legal services to the poor and poverty reduction.

I must admit some skepticism about what all this means on the ground. Its probably safe to say that anything endorsed by the UN General Assembly must represent a consensus so shallow as to be insipid. In most countries, for structural reasons, the law is a mechanism in which the "haves come out ahead." Political movements, of course, can force redistribution much more effectively than the courts. I wonder if there is any evidence on this kind of thing affecting large scale change in any particular country.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Law and Development as Democratic Practice

An older title but relevant I think to discussions about the role of law and development in Afghanistan and beyond...

McInerney, TF (2005) Law and Development as Democratic Practice Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 37, p. 935

Despite appreciable gains in the stature of law and development during the past decade, new doubts about the field's viability have surfaced. Recent scholarship seems united in the belief that rule of law and good governance promotion have until now delivered neither improved rule of law nor improved governance. The causes of these alleged failures are not yet well understood. This article contends that the problems critics have identified are principally the product of conceptual and methodological weaknesses of efforts in this area. After identifying some of these foundational problems, this article attempts to re-conceptualize law and development in terms of a broader process of democratic development. In a departure from the prevailing instrumentalist agenda, this article contends that rule of law promotion activities must respect the internal relation between law and democracy in order to bring about the conditions under which legitimate legal orders can emerge.

Keywords: Rule of Law, Law and Development, Governance

Monday, December 14, 2009

Request for CVs - Criminal Justice Reform in Georgia

******************* Positions have been filled ********************

The Center for Justice Law and Development ( is seeking interested parties for 2 consultancy positions in the Republic of Georgia.

Through Georgia-EU cooperation, the Georgia Action Plan focuses on the cooperation in the fields of Rule of Law and Justice specifically related to the implementation of the criminal justice reforms in Georgia (including judiciary, prosecution, penitentiary, police and law enforcement agencies). This project has not yet been awarded, so CVs would be vetted by a relevant Executing Agency for inclusion in an upcoming proposal.

Interested parties should have relevant education, at least ten years of experience as an international consultant, and ideally would have regional experience in the FSU. Salary is competitive and the assignment is based around 3 trips to Georgia over the next two years.

Please contact for more information.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Universities and Development in Canada

A note from north of the border, where participation in international development may become more difficult for Universities in the years ahead.

See here

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Impact Assessments in Finance and Private Sector Development: What Have We Learned and What Should We Learn?

I call to our readers' attention a new article in the World Bank Research Observer, Impact Assessments in Finance and Private Sector Development: What Have We Learned and What Should We Learn?, by David McKenzie, who makes the important point that we need better evaluative tools, including impact assessments to determine whether or not programs are effective.

ABSTRACT: Until recently rigorous impact evaluations have been rare in the area of finance and private sector development. One reason for this is the perception that many policies and projects in this area lend themselves less to formal evaluations. However, a vanguard of new impact evaluations on areas as diverse as fostering microenterprise growth, microfinance, rainfall insurance, and regulatory reform demonstrates that in many circumstances serious evaluation is possible. The purpose of this paper is to synthesize and distill the policy and implementation lessons emerging from these studies, use them to demonstrate the feasibility of impact evaluations in a broader array of topics, and thereby help prompt new impact evaluations for projects going forward.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Toward a L&D Afghan Research Program

Thanks for the interest expressed by some of you in this piece...

The recent announcement by the Obama Administration of increased troop deployments to Afghanistan (or should that be the Af-Pak region?) has been met with an air of skepticism by some and inevitability by most. It is hoped this surge will provide the basis for a new sort of stabilization required to promote an effective civilian strategy in partnership with the UN and Afghan people. Yet while some details of the new military strategy have been released, it is not clear how the civilian surge can address the dysfunctional Afghan governance structures. There are two cancers growing in Afghanistan. One is from the resurgent Taliban and Al Qaida remnants that challenge the Afghan people’s physical security. The other is the corrupt system of governance that fails to deliver basic human needs to its population and engages in detainee abuses and other human rights violations. It is not clear that more troops can tackle these twin cancers. While they may help quell the violence in the short term, it will take a different sort of investment to build the local capacity required to tackle the corruption and continued human rights abuses that have sown the seeds of instability in a region with a history of poverty, religious intolerance, and gender inequality.

An immediate critique to this line of reasoning is that addressing the Afghan situation requires a two-step process. Step one requires providing basic security. Only then can the development community truly engage in the second step of working with Afghan citizens.  This may be right and the ideal way to proceed should an intervention of this kind be required in the future. The reality of course is that USAID and a host of other development agencies from countries around the world are all ready in place in Afghanistan. The delivery of foreign aid and governance reform programming is all ready underway. Despite recent concerns about cost by Thomas Friedman and others, the attention of the world is firmly fixed (for now) on Afghanistan. This may present an opportunity for scholars to begin to catalogue events and focus on the connections between social justice, legal reform, and human development. What can the study of Law and Development tell us about what is needed to promote human security, stability, and political reconciliation? What do we know (or think we know) and what might an L&D Afghan research program look like?

For the full blog:

see here

Friday, December 4, 2009

In Defense of Evidence in Law and Development

Reading through the 3-part colloquium on the future of law and development, by Northwestern University has been a great pleasure. Anyone who hasn’t taken some time to review these essays should.

In addition to providing some insights into this community, (very important for us young'uns), it was great to see the variety of views presented by so many law and development scholars from different institutions and traditions. I was particularly struck by Mariana Prado’s exploration about the utility of adopting a ‘what works’ approach to law and development. While I believe her contribution rightly points to some complications inherent in this approach, I am not so sure about the “what works” definition she presents.

While speaking about “what works” is certainly not new, as I understand it, recent explorations focus on applying more experimental research methodologies used in education and health to development. In this way, one can replace the inconsistent and theoretically limited approach to existing practice with a model based on ‘evidence-based aid’ as presented in Fissman & Miguel’s 2008 offering Economic Gangsters. On this view the use of evidence can replace the past practice of privileging tool kits or traditional managerial approaches to law and development. By gathering evidence of what works the development community can more easily support, disseminate, and integrate law and development lessons learned though past projects. This would allow evidence and not ideology to influence institutions and organizations that today are too often concerned with the pursuit of unproven policies based on unreasonable expectations and unrealistic time-lines.

Whatever the definitional disagreements, I do not mean to undermine the force of Prado’s critique. Her concern that this approach may result in the attempt to replicate successes in very different social, economic, cultural, or political environments is well placed. In addition what one calls evidence may also be of deep concern. While social and economic indicators can be useful, more robust measures of project success are needed. These must include the views of the people on the ground for whom various reforms are purportedly designed. To these concerns, one might add the very serious challenge that only a fraction of projects that currently receive aid could be subject to trials. While the debate about what constitutes evidence is on going, attempting to use what evidence exists and investing in research programs moving forward should not be.

The issue I take is with Prado’s final comment that focusing on a "what works" or evidence-based approach might somehow result in the co-optation of scholars by those who favor simplistic fixes for complex problems. This to me is exactly backward and points to one of the major challenges for academics who seek to engage with and not simply comment on the world around them. The time for hand wringing on the sidelines is over. Without developing and disseminating scholarly evidence to allow policy makers and practitioners to make better-informed decisions, scholars risk further irrelevance. By exploring existing approaches, analyzing their outcomes, and most importantly developing and testing different methodological approaches, those of us interested in law and development can better study projects operating at the intersection of the past, present, and future.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

That's What He Believes

The always quotable Thomas Friedman offers another view on Afghanistan in the NY Times today. In short - there is too much nation building to do at home.

More here

Scaling up or down in Afghanistan?

Fareed Zakaria is on record as providing a limited endorsement for the Obama Afghan plan. He argues that by scaling back objectives, the plan may have a reasonable chance of succeeding.

More here

Coming soon: Toward a L&D Afghan Research Program

Article on International Justice Coursework

At the risk of self promotion (!) - a paper came out in Oct which may be of interest to the L&D scholars who follow this blog.

Wheeldon, J (2009) “Between Pedagogy and Practice: Developing and Delivering International Criminal Justice Coursework" Crime, Law and Social Change. Volume 52, Issue 5 (October, 2009)

It is available for a short time here.

Although focusing primarily on social, political, and legal elements to understanding international issues of justice, the paper offers a revisable road map for those interested in developing new or building up existing coursework. Hope you like it.