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Delayed Dispatches from LSA in Hawai'i, Part III

Capping off our series of grad student reports from LSA in Hawai’i, here’s Osgoode own (now Emory’s in a way) Stu Marvel (more about Stu’s current projects at the link). Got a way with words, does our Stu.   Enjoy. And think about what kind of dispatches you might want to send us!

 

Read Part I (Shanthi Senthe) here and Part II (Nikki Karalekas) here.  These “delayed dispatches” from Hawaii are a set of reports and reflections on the substance and the experience of conferencing as a graduate student.  Why read them? Because you want to know what is up with these conferences.  Because you are a grad student and need some encouragement about conferences, and about what networking can be when it’s being “it’s best self”. Because you are a prof and need the same.  Because you are contemplating grad work. Or because you are a professor and it’s always useful for professors to think about what’s happening for the grad students at these events and how we can improve the experience for everyone.

 

Take 2600 sociolegal scholars from around the world, plunk them on the beaches of Waikiki, add Power Point presentations, and serve in a giant pineapple. The most overwhelming part of the 2012 LSA conference in Honolulu was simply how overwhelming everything was. This was conference-going writ large! Thirty-two concurrent panels at all times! Cavernous rooms filled with jet-lagged people in sunglasses! Mega tour bus shuttles whisking everyone off to rolling lawns and the strains of ukulele music!

The organizers were tops (nice work, IFLS’ own Annie Bunting), our hosts were gracious and always present was our debt to the island itself: the green vistas and golden beaches upon which we talked, debated, laughed, lectured, shared and made community. Yet these conversations across a sea of islands also offered an explicit invitation to reframe colonial modalities of landscape and look instead across our waterways; liquid convergences of space and world-making, power and history. Inspired by the work of Polynesian scholar Epeli Hau’ofa, the guiding logic of the conference fluidly shifted dominant frameworks of sovereignty and challenged us all to ask new questions about the cultural and legal terrain of our 65 home countries (and countless more unrecognized nations).

Our conversations flowed especially toward issues of settler colonialism and indigenous rights, eddying through the 525 panels, roundtables, plenaries and author discussions, and rising (for me, anyway) in the keynote given by Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller from the University of Hawai’i. A brilliant meditation on the spatial re-framing advanced by Hau’ofa, this talk was delivered in the Wednesday afternoon session and provided a welcome opportunity to gather with the hundreds of other grad students at the conference. Such attention to grad students and an interest in nurturing our often tentative contributions was keenly felt throughout the week.

Because part of what felt so thrilling to me was the inclusivity of this conference, with seasoned academic rockstars and fledgling young scholars meeting in the halls and hunkering over sandwiches together. The egalitarianism of our rushed lunchtime repasts may not have translated into equal attendance at the panels – I saw a couple sessions where panelists outnumbered the audience; while author talks with high-profile scholars had people crammed into the aisles – but for those wise enough to get themselves on a CRN (Collaborative Research Network) or IRC (International Research Collaborative), there was generally someone to talk to.

Hot tip for y’all: Get yourself onto one of these specially organized sessions! These panels were crafted with much care, and topics and themes could be discussed in breadth over the course of the conference arc. Grad students, talk to your supervisor and find out how to land in your dream CRN stream! Professors, organize more of these in collaboration with your grad students!

And the choice of feminist streams was nothing short of inspiring, with CRNs on Feminist Legal Theory; Gender and Judging; Women in Legal Professions; International Socio-Legal Feminisms; Gender, Sexuality and Law; Gender and Judicial Education; and Gender Equality. There was also an excellent series on Care and Autonomy in the Age of Austerity, as well as CRNs on Critical Research on Race and the Law; Colonization and Law; and Law and Indigeneity, not to mention independent research streams on Taxation, Regulation, Governance, Social Movements, East Asian Law and Civil Justice.    [a bit more on CRN;s at this IFLS post What’s a CRN?” – ed]

With so much to choose from it was hard to narrow down the options. However it was my pleasure to attend 14 panels over the week, with some real standouts from both experienced and emerging scholars. I warmly present my star roster of academic headliners:

 

Legal Construction of the Elusive Embryo: Jenni Millbank, Isabel Karpin and Sheelagh McGuinness

This panel kicked off the conference for me with a spectacular trio of speakers. Discussion ranged from a philosophical exploration of the complex legal ontologies of the embryo, to an analysis of new empirical research coming out of Australia around assisted human reproduction. The only downside was the absence of Osgoode’s own Roxanne Mykitiuk, who was originally scheduled to present on the panel. Seriously top notch and an exciting start to the week.

Roundtable – Today’s Politics of Settler Colonialism: Renisa Mawani, Brenna Bhandar, Carole Blackburn and Nandita Sharma

This was the most contentious panel I attended, as the speakers disagreed substantially over the role of settlers of colour in indigenous solidarity movements. They wrestled over difficult matters of complicity, responsibility and accountability in contemporary settler colonialism, bringing insight from Australia, Canada, the mainland US, Hawai’i and Palestine. Among an incredibly thoughtful set of panelists, Brenna Bhandar was the standout for me in translating complex postcolonial analytics into a compelling engagement with critical indigenous philosophy.

Gender, Race and Violence: Claris Harbon, Hijin Park, Nan D. Stein, Gena Hong and Stu Marvel

This was my own panel, which was tenderly attended by my stalwart colleagues Amaya Alvez and Nikki Karalekas. Here is also where I learned the importance of getting oneself on a CRN.  Bobbing amidst the sea of applicants, my abstract’s offhand mention of conceptual ‘violence’ had landed me on a panel with four women writing about, well, violence: Interracial heterosexual violence, teen dating violence, and the violence of the aborted fetus. Everyone was very kind to my air quotes abstractions, however, and we had a jolly time under the generous chairship of Cynthia Nance.

Author meets Reader – Law’s Relations by Jennifer Nedelsky

I attended two of these author chats and thought them a useful window into the writing and critical process. Jennifer Nedelsky’s new book was energetically discussed by the panel – John Borrows was the standout for me – and as an emerging scholar it was both terrifying and inspiring to see someone’s work so enthusiastically engaged with. Great stuff.

Comparative Perspectives on Indigeneity and Legal Pluralism: Kinka K. Bluesky, Sarah Hunt, Antonia Rivas and Dale J. Dewhurst

This is part of the pleasure of a conference the size of the LSA – listening to people at different stages of their academic career and intellectual projects. Most compellingly for me this panel showcased three emerging female scholars, all of whom were wrestling with the role of indigenous traditions of law within the colonial legal project. I was deeply impressed by the presentation by PhD student Sarah Hunt, who outlined a critical legal geography of the reserve as a “performative ontological project” from which three agentive possibilities emerged. Dazzling stuff about the activation of indigenous space which I’m excited to see developed further.

Cultural Power of Law in Indigenous Legal Experiences in Hawai’i and Canada: Decolonization or Recolonization? – Danielle Conway, Jennifer Llewellyn, Valerie Napoleon, Ronald Niezen, Leslie Jane McMillan

I must admit to feeling a bit of conference fatigue by this point, and I only caught the end of Danielle Conway’s presentation before she ceded the podium to Jennifer Llewellyn. Fresh on the heels of a panel that had solidly rejected the politics of recognition as offering poor concession to a First Nations legal order, I found Llewellyn’s approving overview of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada a bit jarring. However Val Napoleon was the real barnburner on this panel, with a moving and engaging narrative that wove us through the living oral traditions of law and governance from which indigenous legal pluralities emerge. Her deftly gendered analysis pointed the way forward for restorative justice measures based upon the intellectual resources of indigenous song, story and dance. Amazing stuff.

Sexual Mutability and Law: Michael D. Boucai, Lisa Diamond, Terry Kogan, Clifford J. Rosky

I was excited about seeing Lisa Diamond present, as I’ve read her work on sexual fluidity with interest (she has been conducting the longest-running empirical study of sexual identity to date). And gee boy was I right! A truly inspiring speaker, Diamond was funny, charming, whip-smart and juggled a great use of hard science (dynamical systems theory) as applied to understand human motivation and relationality (sexual orientation over time). She had to leave the panel early, and people were literally jumping up in their seats, waving their hands in the air and shouting out questions. It’s like we were at a rock concert.

Author meets Reader – Fatal Intervention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-Create Race in the Twenty-First Century by Dorothy Roberts

Whew! This was the last panel I attended, after four solid days of reunions, presentations, questions, heated discussion and late-night karaoke. Dorothy Roberts was generous and thoughtful in her response to a slew of interlocutors, and offered a pointed riposte to questions from the audience about the role of deploying scientific racism in a strategic manner to mitigate the harms of the criminal justice system. She moved easily between comments from a pharmaceutical researcher to critical race scholars like Lisa Ikemoto and Osagie Obasogie, across the swath of population genomics, personalized medicine, genetic genealogy, and DNA databanks busily resuscitating race as a biological category written in our genes. Fascinating, and lots to think about as I was floating in the sea not fifteen minutes later.

 

Basically, it was a dream conference, and I cannot overstate how grateful I am to everyone that I heard speak, listened to me yammer, and – especially – helped me get there. My thanks lie in particular with Professor Martha A. Fineman, who generously supported my trip and allowed me to act as a mouthpiece for the Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative in her stead. (Note: Check out this website and sign up for updates on our mailing list!)

Thanks also to Debra Parkes for organizing a great gab session sponsored by the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, and to Nancy Polikoff for putting together a smashing feminist dinner at the local Thai restaurant. And the deepest of thanks to the Kanaka Maoli `O Hawai`i for our time on the islands. I learned a great deal in this short, blissful, dizzying week, and was honoured to be a part of it all.

Delayed Dispatches from LSA in Hawai'i, Part II

Nikki Karalekas is a PhD candidate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Emory University. During the 2012-2013 academic year, she will be a Mellon Teaching Fellow in the Department of Urban Studies and Public Policy at Dillard University in New Orleans.  She blogs here, and the internet says her dissertation will be entitled: Strip Clubs and the Legal Everyday: Rethinking the Feminist Turn Away from Law.
Nikki got roped into this mini IFLS project through the chain Stu Marvel (Osgoode Phd Candidate) – Shanthi Senthe (Osgoode PhD Candidate) – Brutally persistent IFLS blog captain Sonia Lawrence. Beware, because if you get close to this network, you will become a target for guest post duties too.  And I may ask you for a photo that includes your pets.
Read Part I here.  These “delayed dispatches” from Hawaii are a set of reports and reflections on the substance and the experience of conferencing as a graduate student.  Why read them? Because you want to know what is up with these conferences Because you are a grad student and need some encouragement about conferences, and about what networking can be when it’s being “it’s best self”. Because you are a prof and need the same.  Because you are contemplating grad work. Or because you are a professor and it’s always useful for professors to think about what’s happening for the grad students at these events and how we can improve the experience for everyone.

A Newcomer’s Thoughts on LSA in Hawaii

 

This was my second time attending LSA, but my first time actively participating in multiple events, including the feminist legal theory critical research network. Therefore, I offer these thoughts as a newcomer and as an invitation for interdisciplinary dialogue about what it means to be a feminist theorist working in legal studies today.

 

As someone who works outside of the field of law, but works on feminist legal theory, I learned a lot from attending Law and Society in Hawaii and participating in the feminist legal theory critical research network. I was especially interested in how feminist legal scholars interpret laws in a technical, doctrinal way. The two best papers I saw, in this regard, concerned the composition of juries. The first paper examined what the author considered to be a sloppy importation of the 14th amendment into cases that should simply focus on a 6th amendment claim. (ed: hey, could that be this paper, perhaps?). The second paper critiqued laws and cases preventing people who had at some point in time been through the criminal justice system from serving on juries. Another great panel that I went to was a roundtable on the distinction between governance and governmentality. While governmentality, or what Foucault calls the “conduct of conduct,” was a popular analytic in the late 1990s, this panel suggested that it has been supplanted—uncritically—by the concept of governance. The roundtable concluded that a helpful skepticism emerges around the concept of governance when refracted through the lens of governmentality.  Since my dissertation is in direct conversation with Janet Halley’s critique of “governance feminism,” I found this panel to be incredibly relevant for my work. Indeed, at the end of the panel, someone mentioned Halley’s critique of governance as an example of cutting edge work in feminist legal theory that has broad implications for a variety of fields.

What is notable to me in all this is that these papers and panels were not directly about feminism, feminist legal theory, or so-called “women’s issues.” While I did attend many panels on topics ranging from abortion to motherhood to domestic violence, these papers tended toward an incredibly narrow approach. Surprisingly, a good number of papers adopted Catherine MacKinnon’s dominance theory, which has been tremendously critiqued in my field and many others (women’s studies, feminist theory, queer theory). At the same time, one of the more interesting papers I saw attempted to critique MacKinnon’s approach by theorizing a “neofeminism.” However, this paper failed to acknowledge that criticisms of MacKinnon (a professor at UMich Law) were contemporaneous with her approach. Therefore, critiquing MacKinnon turns out to be not as “neo” as the author might think.

While other papers did not take a dominance approach, many still tended to be overly tethered to pre-defined “women’s issues.” While it is important to analyze such issues, including domestic violence, abortion, and motherhood, limiting all feminist critique to such issues obscures other important issues in women’s lives such as poverty, sexuality, and sickness/health. Moreover, presenting a limited set of issues as universal for all women obscures differences of race, class, nationality, religion, sexuality, and ability that exist between groups of women.

The discussion of MacKinnon and pre-determined women’s issues at the conference however did meet with audience criticism. This leads me to believe that there is a wider understanding of what feminism means among members of the feminist legal theory community at LSA. This diversity may need to be properly plucked from the audience and featured on panels in future years.

 

 

 

Conferences: Pain, or Pleasure? Delayed Dispatches from LSA in Hawai'i

over at the great Australian feminist legal blog Amicae Curiae, they have a nice round up on conferencing (how-to’s and a list of upcoming conferences):  Opportunity knocks more than once

It’s a great lead in to a set of posts that IFLS is pleased to have from grad students Nikki Karalekas, Stu Marvel and Shanthi Senthe.  These “delayed dispatches” from Hawaii are a set of reports and reflections on the substance and the experience of conferencing as a graduate student.  Why read them? Because you want to know what is up with these conferences Because you are a grad student and need some encouragement about conferences, and about what networking can be when it’s being “it’s best self”. Because you are a prof and need the same.  Because you are contemplating grad work. Or because you are a professor and it’s always useful for professors to think about what’s happening for the grad students at these events and how we can improve the experience for everyone.

So without further ado, here’s Delayed Dispatch #1, from Shanthi Senthe, is a second year PhD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School, and a Fellow of the Osgoode Hall Law School Critical Research Laboratory in Law & Society.  As a ‘former’ banking / corporate lawyer in the US and Canada, her doctoral work now examines banking and financial regulation in the context of microfinance.).  Race and gender scholarship are her not so secret passion.  She agreed to send the IFLS dispatches from Hawaii, but was having too much fun (and Wi-Fi issues, apparently).

 

 

picture of Shanthi SentheMahalo to the people of Occupied Hawaii!  My delayed dispatch is supposed to summarize my enlightening moments at the LSA Conference – but there were too many!  The conference panels consisted of a mélange of interdisciplinary scholarship ranging from financial regulation to logics of settler colonialism in the Pacific Rim, thus creating a daily agonizing task of deciding which panels I would attend.

I searched for the scholars that have been influential in my own research, and found panels featuring Professors Annelise Riles, Bill Maurer, and Rashmi Dyal-Chand.

At the New Approaches to Financial Regulation: An Interdisciplinary Conversation panel, Bill Maurer from UC -Irvine presented his paper “Boredom and the Mundane: It’s Where the Action Is (or Should Be) in the Anthropology of Finance” in which he described the regulatory mechanics of “abstractions of credit” and the “new value movement” akin to a new social movement. This panel was chaired by Annelise Riles from Cornell University, who succinctly defined new ways of thinking about regulation and the nature of interdisciplinary engagement within this discourse.  (You can see a review of Prof Riles book, Collateral Knowledge: Legal Reasoning in the Global Financial Markets on Jotwell, here).

At What Should Be the Agenda for Progressive Property Scholars? This session provided an alternative view from the dominant model of ownership within the property law context. In “Rights and Remedies in the Progressive Property Agenda: The Value of Use” Rashmi Dyal Chand of Northeastern University School of Law focused on the concept of a use-based approach in property law. (you can find some of her other papers here on SSRN)

The next three sessions reaffirmed why I love my “job” as a PhD student! Not only did I discover new and emerging scholarship outside my field of expertise, with various intellectual perspectives, but I also met the individual scholars who were all gracious, kind and inspiring.

Roundtable–What Do Critical Race Theory and Empirical Socio-Legal Studies Have to Teach Each Other? This roundtable consisted of Osagie Obasogie (UC -Hastings),Paul Butler (Georgetown University), Devon Carbado (UCLA), Laura E. Gomez (UCLA)and Laura Beth Nielsen (American Bar Foundation/Northwestern U).  The discussion centered on the challenges and successes in using social science methods in CRT discourse.  I had a chance to chat with Laura Beth Nielsen (a sociologist, author of “License to Harass: Law, Hierarchy, and Offensive Public Speech (Princeton UP, 2006, and other papers you can find here) about my research.  She mentioned a few names, scholars who do interesting research, and who may be helpful in my work.  Her encouraging words inspired to actually complete a section of my mobile banking paper!

Roundtable–Bridge to Empowerment: Exploring Legal Literacy Paradigms with   Rhoda P Cato (FAMU Law) , Jamila Jefferson-Jones (Barry University) , Phebe Poydras (Librarian at FAMU Law), Jalila Jefferson-Bullock (Phoenix School of law) and Deleso Alford This open and informal session emphasized teaching methodologies used to inspire law students and build on critical thinking using a feminist perspective; and “to instill in law students a critical understanding of the symbiotic relationship between the creation of race and law as well as the role of the law and the lawyer in improving the human condition.”  We talked about the generational gaps within the classroom (are today’s students “automatic purgers” of information as a result of the internet?), the competing educational aspirations of students, and how legal pedagogy has truly transformed due to technology.  At the end of the session, the panelists (who teach in Arizona, Florida and Indiana) took a group photo, commemorating the fact that they are all from the great state of Louisiana!

We’re Here to Stay: Minority Law Faculty Narratives of Surviving and Thriving in the Legal Academy. Jacquelyn Bridgeman (Wyoming) presented “Still I Rise” and Angela Onwuachi-Willig (Iowa) presented “Understanding Professional Forbearance”. Both of these moving presentations illustrated the “narratives that speak to the habits of surviving and thriving in the American legal academy” which are “stories narratives of professional forbearance because they speak to the labor, pleasures, pain, and insight that emerge from remaining in one place, one job, and one institution over time.”  Angela Onwuachi-Willig discussed the “various types of burdens and biases that minority professors endure in remaining and succeeding” in law schools. The discussion prompted me to read her paper:   87 Wash. U. L. Rev. 763 2009-2010 COMPLIMENTARY DISCRIMINATION AND COMPLEMENTARY DISCRIMINATION IN FACULTY HIRING (available on SSRN here)

Abstract: …. this Article concentrates on discrimination against the “overqualified” minority faculty candidate, the candidate who is presumed to have too many opportunities and thus gets excluded from faculty interview lists and consideration. In so doing, this Article poses and answers the question: “Can exclusion from interviewing pools and selection based upon the notion that one is just ‘too good’ to recruit to a particular department constitute an actionable form of discrimination?” Part I of this Article begins by briefly reviewing the changes in faculty diversity and inclusion at colleges and universities. Part II lays out a hypothetical of a superstar, bidding-war minority faculty candidate in English and explicates how the exclusion of this candidate, although accompanied by high praise and not racial animus, may constitute actionable discrimination. In so doing, it examines how federal courts have analyzed the concept of “overqualification” when employers have articulated it as the reason for not hiring a job applicant in discrimination lawsuits. It then explains why the myth of the “overqualified” minority faculty candidate as the “highly sought-after” candidate can render that candidate’s exclusion from interviews, and thus hiring, a unique and specific form of racial discrimination. Part III further explicates how this form of “complimentary discrimination” works to create the “complementary discrimination” of keeping other “less qualified,” but certainly qualified minorities locked out of the academic market or out of particular schools. Specifically, it explains how faculties’ dreams of one day recruiting the superstar minority candidate-generally the only type of minority candidate whom they truly find acceptable-can function as an excuse for not “settling” for racial minority candidates who are well qualified, but not as highly credentialed as the superstars, which, in turn, continues the cycle of low representation of minorities on college and university faculties. To illustrate this point, this Part details a hypothetical involving a minority female candidate on the entry level market in law. The Conclusion of this Article then expresses and details the need for and importance of increasing diversity on college and university faculties in today’s society and the importance of carefully evaluating one’s own biases when creating and serving on faculty search committees.

But the presentations were only part of the conference experience.  In talking to other graduate students, I discovered that all of us mainly remembered the “in between moments” during the conference (a phrase suggested by Toby Goldbach, a JSD student at Cornell).  This is the time when we had the opportunity to meet informally at the coffee shop, in the elevator or nearby sites. I’ve had many positive experiences attending conferences this year. I was initially surprised by this, because my pre-academic experiences at conferences as a lawyer in the US and Canada have been quite formal, pseudo-professional interactions.

Is it them or me? Am I more relaxed as I do not have billable targets to meet (or am I less unintentionally rude as I am not constantly checking my blackberry? Or am I more interested in people’s research than files and cases? Or are academic conferences much more fun as I get to go attend with my friends??  I am not sure….

In closing, this conference was really beyond academic scholarship, it created networks and friendships that are going to last post-conference! I want to give a shout out to Maneesha Dekha (Victoria Law, see her on video here), Suhraiya Jivraj (Oxford Brookes) and Deb Parkes (Manitoba Law)– whom I met  while attending the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law reception  with my friends Stu Marvel and Nikki Karalekas.

More from Nikki and Stu tomorrow and the next day as the Delayed Dispatches series continues.

CFP: Gender and the legal profession's pipeline to power (Deadline November 15; Conference April 12, 13 2012)

The glass ceiling may be shattered but the legal profession’s pipeline to power remains elusive for most women. What can be done?

 

Click here for Confer ence Website

This conference hosted by Michigan State College of Law looks interesting and timely. They are inviting proposals from:

individuals across disciplines who are interested in contributing to this conversation by speaking on a panel at the symposium. We especially encourage proposals from junior scholars and new voices who are focusing their work on the issues that will be explored through this event. Submissions must include a title and abstract of no more than 1,000 words, due by November 15, 2011. Please include your full contact information, including an email, phone number, and mailing address. Participants will be notified about their acceptance in December 2011. Some participants may have the opportunity to publish their paper as part of a special symposium issue of the MSU Law Review (please indicate if you are interested in having your paper considered for this purpose in your submission).

http://www.law.msu.edu/pipeline/

cfp? between the lines

An academic is sitting at her desk.  It’s 5pm, and dark outside (daylight savings in NE North America). Rain pelts her office window.  She’s hungry, but all she can find is an old stick of minty gum.  She doesn’t know what she’s going to make for dinner and can’t remember what’s in the fridge.  An email arrives – ping! Hey, a CFP for a conference, in the Bahamas (see below for what she sees). In March! And, oh, she has something perfect to present on conference subtheme (k) Registered partnerships and same sex marriages.  Should she send a proposal?

I got the CFP  from the International Society of Family Law Caribbean regional conference below and thought, ok, maybe I’ll post this to the IFLS blog. Usually I don’t do too much research into these things. But as I was reading through it, I saw:

This conference is being supported by funds from the Marriage & Family Law Research Project at the Brigham Young University Law School, through Professor Lynn Wardle, the Bruce C. Hafen Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School of Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Other avenues of support are being explored.

The West Indian Law Journal and the Ave Maria Law Review have expressed interest in publishing a selection of the papers presented at the conference.

Well.  I wonder what “other avenues of support are being explored” means.  Professor Lynn Wardle is as I understand it, a well known opponent of both same sex marriage and same sex adoption.  He’s on the Board of Advisors of the Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society.  They are pretty open about their views (see their position on “the natural family“).

I’m not raising this to have a discussion about Prof. Wardle’s views, or precisely how offensive they are.  Instead, I’m wondering whether the conference has the same views, or whether the International Society of Family Law does.  What kind of conference is this?    I mean, the conference CFP (which is pasted in below) includes the line:

Exciting social activities are being planned for accompanying persons during the conference.

Oh, of course. “Accompanying persons”.

So I don’t really understand what’s going on here.  And I guess that is what this post is about.  It’s not about a conference having “an agenda”.  Of course they do and I won’t have a problem with that. An agenda doesn’t necessarily prevent an open exchange of views, although it certainly narrows the range of views likely to be proposed and accepted.  Anyway, even within an “agenda” there are critical debates to be had, right feminists?

No, what’s stranger here is that the agenda seems unclear.  And what does “other avenues of support are being explored” mean?  Is that code for something?  Something like, “don’t worry”?

Any clarity on either the International Association of Family Law, or this conference would be appreciated and posted.  Maybe people in certain areas of law are more used to being cautious, or perhaps this one just surprised me (for instance, I know very well what to expect at a conference headed by the Fraser Institute or the Canadian Constitutional Foundation).  So: Canadians, don’t drop your critical faculties because of the weather.

Here’s the CFP, which I present as “supporting documentation” for this post, rather than as a CFP that I’m circulating.

The Legal and Social Consequences of the Disintegration and Reconstitution of Families.

Council of Legal Education The Eugene Dupuch Law School Nassau, The Bahamas

International Society of Family Law Caribbean Regional Conference

British Colonial Hilton Hotel Nassau, The Bahamas

March 17-19, 2011

CALL FOR PAPERS

Families, family life and family law are dynamic. The scope, as well as the pace of changes in form, formation, structure, stability, break -up, continuity and impermanency in family relations in this period of history in the western world is unprecedented. The meaning and significance of these changes merit the attention of the best scholarship. This conference invites family law and related academics to contribute to the discussion of these trends and phenomena and to put them into conceptual, historic, theoretical, doctrinal and practical perspectives.

Format of the Conference

The conference will comprise keynote speakers in plenary sessions, panel discussions, luncheon speakers and break-out sessions. There will be an opening cocktail reception and a banquet. Exciting social activities are being planned for accompanying persons during the conference, as well as post -conference tours for participants, such as a visit to Atlantis on Paradise Island to view the largest aquarium in the world, fun at the casino, swimming with the dolphins and sharks, and a number of other treats.

Target Group:

Academics, judges, practitioners, family therapists and students from the fields of law, social work, social policy, education and related disciplines are being invited to attend.

Sub -themes of the conference for paper proposals:

These include, but are not limited to:

(a)  Divorce and separation

(b) Property disputes

(c)  Custody and access

(d) Adoption and foster care

(e)  Step- families and blended families

(f)   Cohabitation

(g)  Right to family life and immigration laws

(h) Paternity and inheritance laws

(i)    Citizenship laws

(j)    Emigration and parental alienation

(k)  Registered partnerships and same sex marriages.

Submission of Abstracts:

Abstracts of around 250 words should reach the Scientific Committee by   December 3, 2010. They should be sent to the convenor of the conference, Hazel Thompson-Ahye at HThompsonAhye@edls.edu.bs.

Prospective presenters should also provide the following information: Full name of presenter, title or position, university or institution (if applicable), postal address, telephone, fax, email address and a one paragraph mini-resume’.

Publication of Papers

The West Indian Law Journal and the Ave Maria Law Review have expressed interest in publishing a selection of the papers presented at the conference.

Conference support

This conference is being supported by funds from the Marriage & Family Law Research Project at the Brigham Young University Law School, through Professor Lynn Wardle, the Bruce C. Hafen Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School of Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Other avenues of support are being explored.

For further details, please contact :

Hazel Thompson- Ahye at HThompsonAhye@edls.edu.bs

Or Janet Adderley at JAdderley@edls.edu.bs

Telephone: 242-326-8507/8

Fax: 242-326-8504

Venue: British Colonial Hilton Hotel, Nassau, The Bahamas. Room prices have been negotiated at an exceptional rate of $198.32 per night, single or double occupancy, inclusive of all taxes and fees.

*Conference Registration Fee: $350.00 up to January 31, 2011;

Late registration fee of $400.00 will become payable from February 1, 2011.

Conference Presenters- $300.00

Registration fee includes conference materials, lunch, tea or coffee breaks.