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Inter-University Graduate Conference

Transnational Interests & the Globalization of (In)equality
"Commerce without morality, science without humanity, knowledge without character and politics without principle (...)"
April 14-15, 2016

Almost two decades ago Jeffrey G. Williamson wrote that "the late 19th and the late 20th century shared more than simply globalization and convergence. Globalization also seems to have had the same impact on income distribution." The nexus that Williamson uncovered, that globalization has fostered economic convergence in some fields while furthering economic divergence in others, seems to be present in almost all areas of law and life nowadays. It mirrors how transnational interests effect the transnationalization of (in-)equality.

While one can argue that some of these interests foster equality, others bring about more draconian outcomes, raising important questions relating to legitimacy, transparency, justice and the rule of law. Do these uneven distributions stem from a legal theory of hegemony and the structural bias of international law? Does globalism represent, as John R. Bolton stated, "a kind of worldwide cartelization of governments and interest groups"?

The 12th Annual Inter-University Graduate Conference, the oldest ongoing conference of its kind, closes a three year cycle on this topic. We started by "looking back and looking forward" to draw out parallels in social changes and the shaping of legal discourse, and how globalization, legal transplants and legal translations effect changes in legal systems. Last year we challenged the academic community to consider how "global flows" of information, data, capital, legal practices, workers and social movements both put pressure on and create opportunities for regulation and new legal orders.

This year we invite you to further lift the veil of International Law and consider: how "transnational interests" permeate outcomes in areas as varied as access to healthcare, technology, environmental law, international trade, international investment, foreign aid, intergenerational justice, international human rights, corporate governance, etc.;how they frame and react to global crises, such as with the war on terror and the refugee crisis, and how they constrain or promote certain national constitutional developments in those areas; how transnational interests might be driving the adoption of new avenues and more restrictive frameworks for trade, such as with the T.P.P., in lieu of the longstanding and quasi universal structures such as the WTO; how they might ultimately influence the adoption of either the Washington Consensus or the Beijing Consensus as models for economic development, amongst many other developments.

We welcome applications from all graduate students (particularly JSDs/SJDs and PhDs) involved in legal scholarship. Papers in all areas of law may be submitted. Selections should be informed by the theme. However, submissions are not bound by the theme and the selections will be based both on the quality of the proposal and its capacity to engage in a dialog with other submissions.

Please send a 250-500 word abstract description of the paper you would like to present. Submissions should be sent to the following email

Submissions must be received by December 31, 2015 for consideration by the conference committee. The papers selected for presentation will be announced no later than January 18. Final papers will be due by no later than March 28 and will be circulated to conference presenters through Dropbox.

Call for Papers