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The Regional Workshop: Latin America

August 19, 2015 - August 23, 2015


Thank you all who attended the IGLP Latin American Regional 2015!

IGLP Regional Workshop 2015: Latin America | August 19 – 23, 2015 | Universidad de Los Andes Law School, Bogota, Colombia

On August 19-23, 2015, the IGLP held our inaugural Regional Workshop in Bogota, Colombia at the Universidad de Los Andes. This Workshop was the first in a series of regionally focused and concentrated academic programs being launched by the IGLP.

The 2015 IGLP Regional Workshop in Latin America at Universidad de Los Andes, brought together 20-25 doctoral scholars, post-doctoral scholars and junior faculty from institutions in Latin America and the wider world for serious research collaboration and debate alongside 15 senior and mid-career IGLP faculty from universities worldwide.  While in residence in Bogota, participants reviewed current scholarly developments, reconsidered canonical texts and networked with colleagues from across the world. Intensive writing workshops offered participants the opportunity to receive valuable feedback on their own research from their peers and more senior colleagues in small group settings.

Modeled on the IGLP global Workshop, this Latin American Regional Workshop promoted innovative ideas and alternative approaches to issues of global law, economic policy, and social justice with a particular emphasis on how they relate to ongoing legal and policy debates throughout Latin America. Our goal is to strengthen the next generation of aspiring scholars in this region by placing them in collaboration with their global peers.

Regional Workshop Streams

The 2015 IGLP Regional Workshop in Latin America at Universidad de Los Andes focused around a series of substantive Streams. Exploration of each Stream was led by a team of senior scholars and was designed to promote discussion of recently scholarly trends as well as classical texts. Our common goal was to understand the history and structure of our contemporary world political and economic system. We mapped the legal structure of international trade, development, property and governance, and opened them up to contestation and debate.

All participants were given the opportunity to participate in three Streams.  In each Stream, participants reviewed current scholarly developments and reconsider canonical texts across each stream with the aim of strengthening our collective ability to understand and influence the shape and direction of global economic policy and law.

The streams for the 2015 IGLP Regional Workshop in Latin America were:

Law and Economic Development (LED) Property and Redistribution (P&R)
International Economic Law (IEL) Transitional Justice and Human Rights (TJHR)
Latin American International Law (LAIL) Neo-constitutionalism and Human Rights (NCHR)

Law and Economic Development (LED)

This Stream investigates legal reform strategies geared towards inducing economic growth and social welfare in developing countries. We will consider a range of approaches to government and markets and the influence of international legal regimes for trade, investment and human rights. We will explore the role of law in economic and social theories of development, the global and intellectual context that channels the range of development reform, and recent shifts in development theory and state practice.

Stream Convener: Kerry Rittich (University of Toronto)

Stream Co-Convener: Diogo Coutinho (University of São Paulo)

Property and Redistribution (P&R)

This stream will explore the relationship between property structures and economic inequality in the region. The first session examines some of the main ideas in the field. We will read a few of the leading property law theorists.  With those texts in the background, the second session examines contemporary debates over agrarian reform and land titling in Latin America. Our perspective is that the range of proposed new entitlements, in the context of these debates, is unduly limited by classical doctrines of property law. Instead, new thinking and new solutions require more penetrating perspectives on the operation of property as a distributional regime of power and wealth across society.

Stream Convener: Jorge Esquirol (Florida International University College of Law)

Stream Co-Conveners: Helena Alviar (Universidad de Los Andes) and Carlos Gouvea (University of São Paulo)

International Economic Law (IEL)

The contemporary international economy is structured by multilevel governance through diverse regulatory instruments, including domestic public law, international treaties and institutions, private law and private ordering, non-state norms and transnational expertise. This Stream explores theoretical approaches to plural economic governance and examine examples (such as the trade regime or international investment law) that illustrate how transnational economic regulation advances various and sometimes conflicting policy objectives ranging from facilitation of cross-border transactions to local development and social regulation. We will examine these theoretical concerns using case studies and illustrations from the Latin American context.

Stream ConvenerDan Danielsen (Northeastern University School of Law)

Stream Co-Convener:  Grietje Baars (City University London)

Transitional Justice and Human Rights (TJHR)

This stream will examine the transitional justice and human rights fields, with a focus on their relatively recent turn to criminal law and prosecution as the primary and preferable response to violence, atrocity, transition, and conflict. We will pay particular attention to the evolution of debates over the relationships among truth, justice, and peace. We will consider contemporary controversies, such as those in Brazil and Colombia, surrounding the use and legality of amnesty laws to facilitate transition.

Stream Convener: Karen Engle (University of Texas at Austin)

Stream Co-Conveners: Zina Miller (Tufts University) and Manuel Iturralde (Universidad de Los Andes)

Latin American International Law (LAIL)

International law –as a legal system governing inter-state relations as well as a discourse justifying order and peace between sovereign states– is universal. There is one set of rules and one model of global governance for the world. This Stream investigates a different idea. It understands international law to be both universal and particular. We will examine the trajectory of international law in Latin America and interrogate the regional tradition of international legal thought and practice. What are the particular meanings and dynamics that international law has acquired in the region? Specifically, we will explore the early engagements with the law of nations by pre-Columbian intellectuals during the 16th century. We will then examine the role that international law played in independence and the process of nation building during the 19th century. We will finally look at the emergence of a Latin-American regional identity during the 20th century as part of the creation of a regional discourse of international law. The Stream concludes analyzing the contemporary dynamics of international law in the region in light of past legacies. What is the contemporary relevance of Mercosur, the inter-American human rights regime and the OAS? Does a Latin American perspective of international law offer any answer to the region’s problems, from poverty, to violence, migration or to the war on drugs?

Stream Convener: Amaya Alvez (Universidad de Concepción) 

Stream Co-Conveners: Arnulf Becker (Brown University) and Liliana Obregon (Universidad de Los Andes)

Neo-constitutionalism and Human Rights (NCHR)

The global language of human rights, and of social and economic rights in particular, pervades progressive politics around the world. The demands of displaced communities become judicial claims under the right to housing; groups mobilizing for better schools decry violations of the right to education; the human need for basic social provision is framed as a basic subsistence right, grounded in human dignity; and poverty itself has become a human rights violation. The movement of this international, universalizing language into the domestic arena characterizes what has come to be called neo-constitutionalism. Claiming the mantle of neo-constitutionalism, social movements use the language to press their claims, and in many countries courts have picked up the challenge and sought to enforce these rights-based claims. This appeal to international rights language can be read to express something presumably universal about human needs and the required response to them – an attempt to ground demands in a universal logic of human dignity that transcends and even precedes local politics, local constraints, local aspirations and ideals. Neo-constitutionalism, meanwhile, like any other constitutionalism, presumably seeks to ground these universal principles in a domestic political settlement. These twin developments – the global expansion of human rights into the domestic sphere, and the growth of neo-constitutionalism – raise serious questions about the shortcomings and biases of rights discourses and judicial mechanisms: How will the tension between universal rights and local particularities be resolved? Who benefits when demands for social provision are transformed into rights claims? Will the increasing judicialization of social policy under a rights rubric lead to greater inclusion and universal provision, or to an even greater elite bias? In this stream we give a brief overview of the developments in the area of human rights and neo-constitutionalism, and begin a discussion of these and other crucially important questions.

Stream Convener: Dan Brinks (University of Texas Law School)

Stream Co-Conveners: Conrado Hübner Mendes (University of São Paulo) and Diego Lopez (Universidad de Los Andes)

IGLP Writing Workshops

Intensive writing workshops formed the core of our time together at this IGLP Latin American Regional Workshop. Each day, participants met in small groups to share their own scholarship and discuss their own ongoing research. The IGLP writing workshops are organized to promote learning from others working on similar projects as well as to promote cross training by engaging with projects quite different from one’s own. The smaller group format allows participants to engage on a one-on-one basis with their peers and specialist faculty members, as well as to share ideas and receive feedback on their work. Each of the writing workshop groups were led by a member of the IGLP’s Junior Faculty.

Each Participant at the 2015 IGLP Regional Workshop in Latin America at Universidad de Los Andes was assigned to a group and was paired with a partner. Partners were expected to comment on each other’s papers during one of their group’s sessions. A member of the IGLP’s Senior Faculty was also present during each Writing Workshop session to give feedback on the papers being discussed that day.

IGLP Writing Workshops were designed and convened by IGLP Senior Faculty Members Karen Engle and Dan Brinks from the University of Texas. Learn more about The IGLP Approach to Giving Feedback on the papers of colleagues.

This Harvard Law School and IGLP Program was hosted and co-sponsored by the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota.

Writing Workshop Conveners:

Rose Parfitt, Melbourne Law School

Cyra Choudhury, Florida International University College of Law

Brishen Rogers,  Temple University Beasley School of Law

Rene Uruena, Universidad de Los Andes

Nicolas Perrone,  Universidad Externado de Colombia

Vidya Kumar, University of Birmingham


August 19, 2015
August 23, 2015
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