In 2012 we convened 2 new Pro-Seminars.  In addition, we hosted follow-up sessions for the IGLP Pro-Seminar on Retheorizing Liquidity.

The 2012 IGLP Pro-Seminars included:

Pro-Seminar 5: Re-Theorizing Liquidity

Pro-Seminar 7: Global Poverty and Heterodox Development Pathways: Mapping, Method, and Critique

Pro-Seminar 8: Globalization of Law and Legal Thought (1970-Present)

Pro-Seminar 9: Law, Economic (In)equality, and Global Social Movements (Not Held in 2012)


Convener: Christine Desan
The financial crisis of 2008 occurred when the money markets essential to global economic activity froze. According to Nobel laureate Gary Becker, many economic theorists did not see the crisis approaching. Those mainstream analysts routinely neglected “the whole financial sector, seeing money as unimportant.” Becker’s observation confirmed a long-standing orthodoxy. “The best models of the economy,” wrote Frank Hahn in 1982, “cannot find room” for money at all. The events of 2008 and their aftermath compel economists and others to re-examine the way money is theorized in order to understand the dynamics of the modern political economy.

The pro-seminar, Re-theorizing Liquidity, brought together scholars from a variety of disciplines, including economics, law, and history, who are engaged in theorizing the way societies create and manage liquidity, including money and credit-based derivatives. The seminar offered those scholars, in dialogue and debate with each other, to develop further their models of liquidity. The group attended, in particular, to global dimensions of modern liquidity, including the spread of monetary forms, the operation of capital markets, and the challenges to state actors in the international arena. Pro-Seminar 5 continues discussions and their work on a volume of essays to be published in 2014. Pro-Seminar 5 is not currently accepting new participants.

PRO-SEMINAR 7: Global Poverty and Heterodox Development Pathways: Mapping, Method and Critique
Conveners: Lucie White and Jeremy Perelman

This Pro-Seminar brought together prominent critical law and development scholars to present, map and critique alternative development pathways that are emerging in the confused phase of the post-Washington Consensus. The invited scholars presented short papers that teased out the methodological features of their respective approaches, as well as the distributional effects of the developmental pathways that they identify. Students participating in the pro-seminar responded to the scholars’ presentations, relating it to their own projects. The pro-seminar participants also met after the 2012 IGLP Workshop to continue their work, which may result in a book or a law review symposium.


PRO-SEMINAR 8: Globalization of Law and Legal Thought (1970-Present)
Converners: Duncan Kennedy, David Trubek, Kerry Rittich, and Justin Desautels-Stein

This pro-seminar set out to explore and develop what has arguably become a critical orthodoxy about the mapping of American Legal Thought—a map that encourages us to see the development of three phases of legal consciousness operating in a core-periphery dynamic. From the European core in the Nineteenth Century a classical mode of legal reasoning travelled to a political periphery that at the time included the United States. As “classical legal thought” matured in the US, legal critiques were developing both at home and abroad, helping give rise to a second, globalized form of legal consciousness. The basic vocabulary of legal concepts that emerged in the wake of the critique of this socially-oriented globalization of law and legal thought constituted a third form—what might now be termed “contemporary legal consciousness.”

The discussion focused on the following issues:

1) defining legal consciousness and showing how it can be studied

2) mapping contemporary legal consciousness in the US

3) assessing the extent to which US consciousness has diffused to other countries, including (a) other advanced nations and (b) ‘the Global South.

4) exploring other sources for the diffusion of legal ideas in the global south and the relative importance of various sources including (a) US legal consciousness; (b) other advanced country sources such as Europe and Japan; (c) international institutions and sources (UN, IBRD, IMF, etc)

5) making a case for the emancipatory value of the critique of the globalization of legal consciousness.

PRO-SEMINAR 9: Law, Economic (in)equality, and Global Social Movements
Conveners: Chantal Thomas and Brishen Rogers

In recent decades, global economic inequality has become a central concern for political theorists, legal activists, and legal scholars. Yet over that same period global inequality has increased dramatically. This proseminar will explore the relationship between law, emergent social movements that oppose neoliberal economic and social policies, and global justice. Examples of such movements might include — but by no means be limited to — mobilizations against the international financial institutions and more recent global mobilizations surrounding the “Occupy Wall St.” movement; movements to obtain equal access to prescription drugs; and various new labor movements emerging outside of “official” unions in both developed and developing nations.

Questions to be explored include: What would a critical legal theory of global justice and equality look like? Within such a theory, how much importance would we attach to resource and opportunity distribution, grassroots democratic mobilization, and anti-subordination norms? What is the role of law — national and international, hard and soft, formal and informal, substantive and procedural — in promoting or hindering the development of democratic egalitarian social movements? What — if anything — is distinctive about modern global social movements, and do they force reconsideration of traditional understandings of the relationship between law, class, nationalism, race, gender, and equality? What do those movements tell us about the strengths and failings of predominant liberal theories of global justice? How might 20th century strategies and concepts such as civil rights, the welfare state and the regulatory state limit or continue to advance visions of equality in the contemporary context?

Pro Seminar 9 has yet to be convened at the IGLP.