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« World Justice Project | Main | new work on Indian courts: civil procedure matters »

November 11, 2007

American Society for Comparative Law in Ithaca

Over the weekend, I attended the American Society of Comparative Law meeting in Ithaca.  Hosted by Annelise Riles and Mitchell Lasser, the program focused on law and culture and was the best of these meetings that I have attended.  The Society seems to be undergoing some generational change, and younger scholars played a prominent role in the program.

One panel focused on “Culturally Inflected ‘Law and Development’” featuring Kevin Davis and Frank Upham of NYU, Ugo Mattei of Hastings, and Gregory Alexander of Cornell.  Other than Ugo Mattei bizarrely denying that a genocide is occuring in Darfur, the panel was quite excellent.  Ugo’s position seems to be that the conflict involves an insurgency/counter-insurgency, the whole framing of Arab vs. black African in Darfur is a social construction, and the fight is really somehow about imperialism and multinational corporations.  While the conflict is complex, denying the civilian victims of the massive ethnic cleansing campaign the use of the word genocide seems, well, odd. For images of his "insurgents" check out the www.savedarfur.org

More cogently, Kevin Davis reiterated his critique of the World Bank’s Doing Business Project, Frank Upham talked about how development thinking continues to marginalize the single most important contemporary case (China) and Prof. Alexander talked about private law in the South African Constitutional context.  An excellent panel at an excellent conference.

     --Tom

November 11, 2007 | Permalink

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