Tag Archives: Vulnerability and the Human Condition

Where i wish i was this weekend: At an uncomfortable conversation in Atlanta

picture of emory law school at night.It isn’t that I don’t have interesting and fun things on here in Toronto, but check out the lineup at An Uncomfortable Conversation: Vulnerabilities and Identities.

The workshop is on Friday and Saturday in Atlanta at Emory and is part of the ongoing good work of Martha Fineman’s Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative, which we’ve posted about a couple of time before (click here for older posts).  This one looks particularly top notch and exciting (osgoode’s Atlanta secret agent, Stu Marvel used the term of art “doozy”).  If you can’t imagine how a conference of legal academics could be so exciting, well…click through the image below for a bigger version, and have a look at the agenda.

The starting point to all the conversations is Fineman’s vulnerability approach, which you can read about in this open source, on SSRN, which provides a good introduction:

or you can take a shortcut by looking at this page on the Initiative’s website, Definitions.  The Initiative also maintains a publications list, here, and they have this great archive of interviews with all their visiting scholars, here. The website really is a treasure trove of stuff with lots of neat corners and great links – and it will spark ideas on how to provide a really useful web resource.    I am going to spend time in there, since I am not going to Atlanta. I know that those two things are not remotely similar but I will take what I can get. poster for the "uncomfortable conversation" listing speakers and topics. click through to the emory website.

 

 

 

 

Just what you wanted: An Uncomfortable Conversation (in Atlanta) CFP

Osgoode’s Stu Marvel is down in Atlanta at Emory on a Post-Doc with the Vulnerability and the Human Condition initiative there.  She send this CFP. Deadline for proposals, May 29.  Something to turn to when your marking is done, perhaps?To catch up, resources on vulnerability and resilience can be found on the VCH Initiative website, here.

An Uncomfortable Conversation: Vulnerabilities and Identities:  September 14-15, 2012

Emory University School of Law, Gambrell Hall, Room 575, 1301 Clifton Road, Atlanta 30322

Critical legal scholars have long focused on identity, both highlighting the extent to which the law either protects or subordinates individuals based on their identity categories and also considering the ways in which identity classifications themselves are constructed and mediated by legal thought and culture. Recent movements in critical legal studies have contemplated the institutional and social conditions structuring inequality, including those that overlap with identity frameworks, such as intersectionality theory, as well as paradigms reaching beyond identity to more universal categories such as human rights, capabilities and, more recently, vulnerability.

This workshop seeks to explore the relationships between identity and vulnerability, as well as those between particularity and universality, with an emphasis on the ability of these concepts to deepen existing critiques of legal liberalism and advance questions of substantive justice.

We will examine the possibilities and problems associated with organizing critical legal theory around specific identity categories such as race, gender, or sexual orientation, on one hand, and more universal categories, such as vulnerability or dependency, on the other. Central to this investigation is how we examine and evaluate the impact of both identity-based and universality-based critical theory on the state and institutions organized to provide education, social welfare, employment and training, healthcare, environmental policy, family structure, and cultural recognition. In considering the recent revitalization of purportedly universal or “post-identity” approaches, we ask how these frameworks approach systemic disparities in access, opportunity and resources differently from identities analyses. Specifisec areas of inquiry might include consideration of these issues and questions in the context of feminisms, critical race theory, intersectionality, queer studies, disability, poststructuralism, transnationalism, political and the “class crits” movement.

Guiding Questions:

What are the relationships between vulnerability and identity/universality and particularity?

In what ways do both vulnerability and identity approaches inform or undermine each other?

Do more universal approaches to critical theory simply replicate existing identity paradigms in different forms?

Does identity enable us to think more complexly about the limits of universality? Is the reverse also true?

What is lost or gained by a “post-identity” approach to social justice issues? By an identity-focused approach? Can they be combined?

How do increasingly hostile majority reactions to identity-informed law and policy, like affirmative action, undermine the effectiveness of identity politics and identity-based critical theory?

How does competitiveness over scarce resources influence the shaping of identity politics and/or appeals to universality?

How are identity-based approaches to critical legal theory outside the US context different than within?

Where and to what extent do identity categories magnify balkanization, thus undermining coalitions?

How can identity categories advance social and legal organizing?

How does the state manufacture and maintain the salience of both identity-based and universality-based critical theory?

What does it mean to label something “post-identity”?

Are more universal frameworks necessarily post-identity?

When are some modes of subordination and marginalization more situational and specific and how are these related to identity? To vulnerability?

Workshop Contacts:

Martha Albertson Fineman, Emory University School of Law, mfineman@law.emory.edu

Frank Rudy Cooper, Suffolk University Law School, fcooper@suffolk.edu

Osamudia James, University of Miami School of Law, ojames@law.miami.edu

Katie E. Oliviero, FLT Postdoctoral Fellow, Emory School of Law, koliviero@emory.edu

Submission Procedure:

Please email a paper proposal by Tuesday, May 29th to Emily Hlavaty, FLT Program Coordinator: emily.hlavaty@emory.edu

Decisions will be made by ­­­­mid June and working paper drafts will be due September 4th so they can be distributed prior to the Workshop.

 

Workshop Details:

The Workshop begins Friday at 4PM in room 575 of Emory Law School (1301 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA), followed by dinner in the Hunter Atrium. Panels continue on Saturday from 9:30 AM to 5PM. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

 

 

An Uncomfortable Conversation: Vulnerabilities and Identities 
September 14-15, 2012

Emory University School of Law, Gambrell Hall, Room 575, 1301 Clifton Road, Atlanta 30322

Critical legal scholars have long focused on identity, both highlighting the extent to which the law either protects or subordinates individuals based on their identity categories and also considering the ways in which identity classifications themselves are constructed and mediated by legal thought and culture. Recent movements in critical legal studies have contemplated the institutional and social conditions structuring inequality, including those that overlap with identity frameworks, such as intersectionality theory, as well as paradigms reaching beyond identity to more universal categories such as human rights, capabilities and, more recently, vulnerability. This workshop seeks to explore the relationships between identity and vulnerability, as well as those between particularity and universality, with an emphasis on the ability of these concepts to deepen existing critiques of legal liberalism and advance questions of substantive justice.  

 

We will examine the possibilities and problems associated with organizing critical legal theory around specific identity categories such as race, gender, or sexual orientation, on one hand, and more universal categories, such as vulnerability or dependency, on the other. Central to this investigation is how we examine and evaluate the impact of both identity-based and universality-based critical theory on the state and institutions organized to provide education, social welfare, employment and training, healthcare, environmental policy, family structure, and cultural recognition. In considering the recent revitalization of purportedly universal or “post-identity” approaches, we ask how these frameworks approach systemic disparities in access, opportunity and resources differently from identities analyses. Specific areas of inquiry might include consideration of these issues and questions in the context of feminisms, critical race theory, intersectionality, queer studies, disability, poststructuralism, transnationalism, political and the “class crits” movement.

Workshop Contacts:

Martha Albertson Fineman, Emory University School of Law, mfineman@law.emory.eduFrank Rudy Cooper

, Suffolk University Law School, fcooper@suffolk.eduOsamudia James,

University of Miami School of Law, ojames@law.miami.eduKatie E. Oliviero,

FLT Postdoctoral Fellow, Emory School of Law, koliviero@emory.edu 

Submission Procedure:

Please email a paper proposal by Tuesday, May 29th to Emily Hlavaty, FLT Program Coordinator: emily.hlavaty@emory.eduVarious resources on vulnerability and resilience can be found on the VCH Initiative website: Here 

Decisions will be made by ­­­­mid June and working paper drafts will be due September 4th so they can be distributed prior to the Workshop.

Workshop Details:

The Workshop begins Friday at 4PM in room 575 of Emory Law School (1301 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA), followed by dinner in the Hunter Atrium. Panels continue on Saturday from 9:30 AM to 5PM. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. 
Guiding Questions:

  • What are the relationships between vulnerability and identity/universality and particularity?
  • In what ways do both vulnerability and identity approaches inform or undermine each other?
  • Do more universal approaches to critical theory simply replicate existing identity paradigms in different forms?
  • Does identity enable us to think more complexly about the limits of universality? Is the reverse also true?
  • What is lost or gained by a “post-identity” approach to social justice issues? By an identity-focused approach? Can they be combined?
  • How do increasingly hostile majority reactions to identity-informed law and policy, like affirmative action, undermine the effectiveness of identity politics and identity-based critical theory?
  • How does competitiveness over scarce resources influence the shaping of identity politics and/or appeals to universality?
  • How are identity-based approaches to critical legal theory outside the US context different than within?
  • Where and to what extent do identity categories magnify balkanization, thus undermining coalitions?
  • How can identity categories advance social and legal organizing?
  • How does the state manufacture and maintain the salience of both identity-based and universality-based critical theory?
  • What does it mean to label something “post-identity”?
  • Are more universal frameworks necessarily post-identity?
  • When are some modes of subordination and marginalization more situational and specific and how are these related to identity? To vulnerability?

 

This email was sent to emily.hlavaty@emory.edu by emily.hlavaty@emory.edu |

 

Emory University School of Law | 1301 Clifton Road | Atlanta | GA | 30322

Stu Marvel (Osgoode PhD Candidate) gets postdoc with the Vulnerability and Human Condition Initiative

Osgoode expat Stu Marvel, now resident in the city she calls “Hotlanta,” has accepted a 2 year post-doc through Emory Law’s Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative.

As a grad student, Stu taught here as an adjunct.  Here is her page on Academia.edu (are people using this service?).  She’s going to be working on

queer fertility law and the biokinships of assisted reproduction

I think that is admirably succinct.   I offered her 140 characters, that leaves 76 more!  Here’s more about Stu’s doctoral work, from her academia.edu page:

Stu’s doctoral research relies upon an empirical study of LGBTQ families across Ontario and their use of assisted reproductive technologies, and seeks to develop new legal frameworks for queer kinship and fertility law.

Asked for a book, movie or music recommendation, Stu said that we should all see Pina (pref in 3d).  I’ve put it first so you don’t miss it.

The Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative under Prof. Martha Fineman is an institutional umbrella at Emory and houses a variety of projects across the university. One of these is the Feminism and Legal Theory Project, a long-standing program founded by Prof. Fineman in the early 1980s to fulfill three main objectives:

  • To provide a means to introduce scholarship that applies feminist theory and methodology into legal debate, legislative reform movements, and the broader academic community through publication of the conference papers
  • To support and encourage feminist scholarship on gender and legal equality issues that analyze the differential impact of law on women and men, and to consider also in this regard differences that exist or arise between differently situated women
  • To provide a forum within which feminist theorists can present their work and receive feedback from other scholars who share a common theoretical perspective and methodology

 

The FLTP also hosts visitors, and generally is something you should find out about if you are interested in finding a community of Feminist Legal scholars.    The VHC is a more recent initiative that frames Prof. Fineman’s earlier work through the paradigmatic concept of “The Vulnerable Subject” (for instance The Vulnerable Subject and the Responsive State. Emory Law Journal, Vol. 60; Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 10-130):


The concept has evolved from those early articulations, and I now think it has some significant differences as an approach, particularly in that a focus on vulnerability is decidedly focused on exploring the nature of the human part, rather than the rights part, of the human rights trope. Importantly, consideration of vulnerability brings societal institutions, in addition to the state and individual, into the discussion and under scrutiny. Vulnerability is posited as the characteristic that positions us in relation to each other as human beings and also suggests a relationship of responsibility between state and individual. The nature of human vulnerability forms the basis for a claim that the state must be more responsive to that vulnerability and do better at ensuring the “All-American” promise of equality of opportunity.” (from: The Vulnerable Subject and the Responsive State)

 

Stu heartily recommends reading these pieces and joining the conversation through the VHC symposium series. I hope to have more on these options coming soon as we make use of Stu as an international bridge for feminist/gender related/queer scholars.

CFP: Privatization and Social Responsibility (Feminist Legal Theory Project: Vulnerability)

Atlanta.  In February.  Short turn around time on proposals, but there is flexibility.

This one came via Osgood Grad student and excellent much missed person Stu Marvel, now visiting at Atlanta.  The topic is an important one and ripe for cross-border conversations.  The Conference is Feb 17-18, and the due date for proposals  is December 8, with some flexibility. I’m sure there is a paper to be written here on the attempt to “gender” Ontario’s most recent Social Assistance Review (likewise I am intrigued by the statistics around the digital divide in the US and note the increasing delivery of state services through this non state medium).  Finally, it does seem that the Attawapiskat “crisis” (in quotes because of the variety of different interpretations of what the crisis actually consists of, not because I doubt one exists) and the discussion around “solutions” could be located within the scope of this call.

Enough of me.  Go and draft your ticket to the land of coca cola (among many other things):

SUBMISSIONS PROCEDURE Email a paper proposal by by Thursday, December 8th to Emily Hlavaty, FLT Program Coordinator: emily.hlavaty@emory.edu Decisions will be made prior to the holidays and working paper drafts to be duplicated and distributed prior to the Workshop will be due January 30th.

 

PRIVATIZATION AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY February 17th and 18th, 2012
Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, Georgia [PDF of the call here]

This workshop explores from a cross-cultural perspective how privatization impacts contemporary feminist and social justice approaches to public responsibility. Feminisms have long problematized divisions between the private and the political, partly in reaction to the unprecedented privatization of state responsibilities and public welfare over the past 30 years. Recent critical legal scholarship on vulnerability, state negligence, and resilience can complicate and deepen our understanding of the problems generated by privatization in the 21st century.
We invite papers that explore the effects of diverse forms of privatization from national and cross-national perspectives. Disciplinary and interdisciplinary papers exploring the effects of these privatizations on institutions, individuals, society, welfare, education, healthcare, capitalism, government, military and law are welcomed. State regulation, particularly in the form of socioeconomic welfare, is frequently criticized for policing individual choices and perpetuating social and legal forms of violence. We are particularly interested in how a feminist or progressive analysis of state institutional involvement might mitigate these negative effects and the impact of privatization.

This workshop is the most recent in a series examining the political and theoretical possibilities inherent in thinking about justice and state responsibility in terms of human “vulnerability.”  It builds upon earlier sessions expanding our understandings of vulnerability as a constant part of the human condition that is universal, even as it may be experienced in particular and uneven ways.

These discussions are grounded in the work of the Vulnerability and Human Condition Initiative, founded by Professor Martha Albertson Fineman, and aim to carve out academic space within which scholars can imagine models of state support and legal protection that focus on the commonalities of the human condition – most centrally the universal vulnerability of human beings and the imperfection of the societal institutions created to address that vulnerability.  For more information on the Vulnerability and Human Condition Initiative please visit: http://web.gs.emory.edu/vulnerability/about/index.html

CFP: Privatization and Social Responsibility @ Emory Feminism and Legal Theory Project


Privatization and Social Responsibility

February 17-18, 2012 at Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, Georgia

This workshop explores from a cross-cultural perspective how privatization impacts contemporary feminist and social justice approaches to public responsibility. Feminisms have long problematized divisions between the private and the political, partly in reaction to the unprecedented privatization of state responsibilities and public welfare over the past 30 years. Recent critical legal scholarship on vulnerability, state negligence, and resilience can complicate and deepen our understanding of the problems generated by privatization in the 21st century.We invite papers that explore the effects of diverse forms of privatization from national and cross-national perspectives. Privatization can take the form of outsourcing public activities to private corporations, denationalizing state industries, or deregulating policy. It is evident when social service systems shift from defined benefits programs such as pensions to defined contribution plans such as IRAs. A common denominator is the shifting of social responsibility from public governmental institutions to individual families and privatized entities, such as charities and corporations. There is also a shift in what and who are regarded as the proper objects of state regulation and intervention; subsidizing private property interests or military intervention while withdrawing from broader public obligations such as education and healthcare.

Because vulnerability analysis emphasizes our interdependency within social institutions, it can illuminate how privatization relies upon often-invisible state subsidies to generate its free-market individualistic mythologies. Vulnerability highlights how neoliberalism commodifies social and bodily necessities (e.g. security, healthcare), channeling unprofitable social relationships, such as caretaking, away from state welfare programs and to the individualized realm of the family. In addition to carework, the military, penal system and police are also framed as societally preserving. But they are privatized differently within and across nations, generating distinct national discourses of public and private responsibility.

Disciplinary and interdisciplinary papers exploring the effects of these privatizations on insitutions, individuals, society, welfare, education, healthcare, capitalism, government, military and law are welcomed. State regulation, particularly in the form of socioeconomic welfare, is frequently criticized for policing individual choices and perpetuating social and legal forms of violence. We are particularly interested in how a feminist or progressive analysis of state institutional involvement might mitigate these negative effects and the impact of privatization.

Email a paper proposal by by Thursday, December 8th to Emily Hlavaty, FLT Program Coordinator:

Decisions will be made prior to the holidays and working paper drafts to be duplicated and distributed prior to the Workshop will be due January 30th.