Conferences and Special Events

The Center for the Study of Law and Society sponsors conferences and workshops for the dissemination and discussion of research, the exploration of new ideas for research, and the promotion of new multidisciplinary and cross-national collaborations. 


Conferences, Workshops & Special Events 2014-15

CSLS Special Event

(co-sponsored with the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues' Center for Research on Social Change)

Rose Cuison Villazor
Professor of Law and Martin Luther King, Jr., Hall Research Scholar
UC Davis School of Law

"Non-Citizen Nationals:  Neither Citizens nor Aliens"

Monday, October 20, 2014     4:00-5:30p
Boalt Hall, Room 240

CSLS Book Event

(co-sponsored with Jurisprudence and Social Policy and the Carceral Geographies Course Thread)

Jonathan Simon
Adrian A. Kragan Professor of Law and
Director, Center for the Study of Law and Society, UC Berkeley

speaking on his recent book from The New Press (2014)

Mass Incarceration on Trial

Wednesday, September 17, 2014     4:30-6:00p
Goldberg Room, Simon Hall, Berkeley Law

Moderated by Calvin Morrill
Associate Dean, Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program
Stefan A. Riesenfeld Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology

With responses by
Rebecca McLennan, Associate Professor of History, UC Berkeley
Tony Platt, Professor Emeritus, CSU-Sacramento

CSLS Speaker Event

Lynette Chua
Assistant Professor of Law
National University of Singapore

"Myanmar's Sexual Minority Rights Movement and
the Cultural Processes of Translating and Mobilizing Human Rights"

Monday, September 22, 2014
4-5:15p.    Reception Follows
Selznick Seminar Room, 2240 Piedmont Ave., Berkeley

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Law and Society, the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, the Center for Southeast Asia Studies, and the Department of Gender and Women's Studies.


Conferences, Workshops & Special Events 2013-14


"Breaking Barriers, Building Community: 35 years of Training Social Change Scholars"

Co-sponsored by Division of Equity and Inclusion; Departments of Sociology, Anthropology,
and Ethnic Studies; College of Environmental Design; School of Social Welfare;
Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program; Center for the Study of Law and Society;
Center for Race and Gender; American Cultures; and The Graduate School of Education

Friday, May 2, 2014     8:30am - 4:30pm

Alumni Hall, 2537 Haste St.
(between Telegraph Ave. and Bowditch St.)

What does it mean to be a social change scholar? What is the relevancy of the academy to achieving social justice? How can the academy be (re)made to reflect the diversity and complexity of society, where students and communities have active voices and roles in shaping the pedagogy, research approaches, and policy production of the research university?

(Register here by April 27 for a free lunch and the program)

Workshop and Reception

University of Vienna

of 'Natural Lawfare' in the American Declaration of Independence (1776)"

Thursday, April 24, 2014  5:30-7:30p
7415 Dwinelle Hall

At the founding of the American republic there is an uncanny co presence of natural rights, slavery, and colony. Are the latter just a matter of historical coincidence or does it reflect a more intricate correlation between the liberal political principles of the Enlightenment and the oppressive state of human enslavement and colonialism than hitherto presumed? In other words, is it possible that the very principle of natural rights is in some ways conducive to the justification of oppression? First, how can the American Declaration of Independence (1776), a paradigmatic document of colonial resistance that successfully underpinned the American colonies’ striving for independence from the motherland Great Britain in turn legitimize colonial conquest in the name of natural rights? Hence what is puzzling is the fact that this result comes about despite the presumption of the equal human nature of Native Americans. Second, how can one explain the shift from Jefferson’s plea for the “most sacred rights of life & liberty” of African slaves in his original rough draft of the DI to his pessimism as to an ‘inevitable’ race-war, and therefore to the supposedly legitimate criminalizing of blacks in the final draft of the DI? This paper intends to show that more than a coincidental co-presence of rights and oppression is at work. By tracing the speech-act- performative maneuvers of naturalization and dehistoricization, it attempts to demonstrate how the conceptual and philosophical tension of the principles of rights (“laws of nature” and “nature’s God”) turns the terrible exceptions of slavery and colony into American specific justifications of “natural lawfare.”

We will circulate the paper to those interested. The paper should be read in advance. The presenter will speak for 10 or 15 minutes, followed by discussion.

Co-sponsored by CSLS, the Department of Rhetoric, and the Townsend Center Working Group on Law and Contemporary Theory.

Workshop and Reception


Professor of American Literature and Culture
University of Osnabruck, Germany

"WHO OWNS UNCLE TOM'S CABIN?  On Religion, Property and Personhood"

Thursday, April 17, 2014   5:30-7:30p
7415 Dwinelle Hall

Peter Schneck received his PhD from the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at the Free University of Berlin, and presently holds the professorship for American Literature and Culture at the University of Osnabruck, where he directs the Osnabruck Summer Institute on the Cultural Study of the Law (OSI).

We will circulate the paper to those interested. (Please email to request the paper) The paper should be read in advance.  The presenter will speak for 10 to 15 minutes, followed by discussion.

Co-sponsored by CSLS, the Department of Rhetoric, and the Townsend Center Working Group on Law and Contemporary Theory.

GALA/CSLS Speaker Event

(co-sponsored with the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice)


Assistant Professor of Psychology, U.C. Berkeley

"A Conversation about Neuroscience and the Law"

Thursday, April 17     12:30-1:55p
(light lunch served at 12noon)

Selznick Seminar Room, 2240 Piedmont Avenue

CSLS Book Event

(co-sponsored with the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues
and the Carceral Geographies Course Thread)

speaking on

with Responses by

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014   4-5:30p

Wildavsky Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Mass incarceration in the United States is the largest, most luctrative, most racialized, and most destructive social experiment in recent history.  Only the men and women who live behind bars are fully invested in the truth, are willing and able to bear witness to the state of our prisons, and are subjects of sufficient public fascination to be heard by a broad public.

This talk will present Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America, a collection of 71 essays from writers incarcerated in 27 American states. Fourth City is the largest collection to date of first-person witness to how the American prison is experienced by those living inside it. Fourth City presents the prison population as it sees itself: not as regrettable abstraction or liability of the neoliberal state, but as an extant community of 2.26 million living under hostile supervision.

Doran Larson is Professor of English at Hamilton College. He has led The Writing Workshop inside Attica Correctional Facility since 2006, and is the founder of two college-in-prison programs. He publishes essays on prison writing and teaching, and edited a special issue of Studies in Law, Politics, and Society (UK), in which incarcerated writers, prison teachers, and prison critics imagine what the American prison would look like if transformed into a socially constructive institution. 


ISSI's Center for Research on Social Change presents:

Associate Professor of History, UCLS

"Not Imprisonment in the Legal Sense":
The Invention of Immigrant Detention: 1892-1896 

with Leti Volpp as respondent

Thursday, March 20, 2014    3:30-5:00p

Warren Room, Simon Hall (Room295)

Co-sponsored by The Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice,
Center for the Study of Law and Society, Carceral Geographies Course Thread,
Graduate Students de La Raza, Sociology Department, Ethnic Studies Department,
and Department of History

Conversations in Law and Society

ROBERT A. KAGAN interviewed by Calvin Morrill

March 14, 2014   2-3:30pm

140 Boalt Hall



speaking on

"The Witch Hunt Narrative" in Conversation with Catharine McKinnon

March 6, 2014   4:30-5:30pm

100 Boalt Hall

Special Presentation

(co-sponsored with the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice)

Mark Halsey
Professor and ARC Future Fellow
Intergeneratational Incarceration Project

Flinders University Law School, Adelaide, South Australia

Monday, November 25, 2013   3:30-5pm
Warren Room, 295 Simon Hall, Berkeley Law
(Refreshments will be served)

"Intergenerational Incarceration:  Results of a Statewide Survey"

This presentation highlights the key results of a survey aimed at capturing the "depth" of intergenerational incarceration in one Australian state. Results are presented in accordance with respondents' age, gender, Indigenous status, total length of custodial time, and like factors.  A critical analysis of the social, political and economic issues appearing to impact intergenerational incarceration is also engaged.  The presentation concludes with a brief overview of how these results (will) inform the second (interview- based) stage of the research.

Mark Halsey has published widely on such issues as the lived experience of imprisonment and the challenges of post-release life. He is in the final stages of a 10-year study of the desistance process as played out in the lives of young male (ex)prisoners and their nominated significant others.

Special Seminar

David M. Trubek


"Scholars in Self-Estrangement"

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 3:30-5p.m.
in Boalt Room 141

Forty years after the famous critique of law and development "Scholars in Self-Estrangement," Trubek rejoins the field, re-visits Brazil in one new article, reflects on the 1974 critique in another, and invites faculty, scholars and students to engage with his new ideas and reflections. David M. Trubek has played major roles in the fields of law and development, globalization, law and society, and critical legal theory for decades.

Please email to RSVP and receive readings.

November 6-8, Dave and Louise Trubek will be honored guests of the Center for the Study of Law and Society, with several public appearances, culminating in A Conversation in Law and Society - David Trubek & Louise Trubek in conversation with Jonathan Simon, in the afternoon of Friday, November 8 at 2-3:30p in Boalt 140.

David M. Trubek is Voss-Bascom Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Senior Research Fellow at Harvard Law School.  He received the Law & Society Association's Kalven Prize in 2002 and was appointed Chevalier des Palmes Academiques by the French Government in recognition of his work on globalization. He has written extensively on international and comparative law, on the role of law in development, human rights, European integration, the changing role of the legal profession, and the impact of globalization on legal systems and social protection schemes, as well as on critical legal theory, the sociology of law, and civil procedure.  He is co-Director of GLEE, the Project on Globalization, Lawyers, and Emerging Economies.

Colloquium and Reception

Leif Dahlberg
Associate Professor, School of Computer Science and Communications
Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm

"Factoring Out Justice: Imaginaries of Community, Law and the Political
in Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Niccolo Machiavelli"

Wednesday, September 11, 2013  5:10-6:30p
7415 Dwinelle Hall

Conferences, Workshops & Special Events 2012-2013

A Lunchtime Talk

Lia Kent
Research Fellow, State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program,
Australia National University

Friday, May 17, 2013  12-1:00p
2850 Telegraph Avenue, Conference Room #351

"The Dynamics of Transitional Justice:
International Models and Local Realities in East Timor

Transitional justice mechanisms have become firmly entrenched as part of the United Nations "tool-kit" for successful post-conflict recovery, promoted as a means of assisting both individuals and societies to "come to terms" with complex legacies of violence. Focusing on a case study of East Timor, this presentation interrogates these claims. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in 2007 and 2008, I chart the complex interplay between international transitional justice narratives promoted by the United Nations, national narratives of justice and nation-building promoted by East Timor’s political elite, and local narratives of injustice promoted by East Timorese survivors. I argue that the transitional justice process has been unable to fully respond to local expectations of justice, which are culturally and historically situated. Nonetheless, it has contributed to an ongoing, locally grounded, conversation about how best to ‘deal with the past’. The dynamic nature of these developments suggests that transitional justice might best be understood as a continuing and productive interaction between multiple actors with varying degrees of political power.

CSLS Roundtable Discussion

Mark Fathi Massoud
Assistant Professor in the Politics Department
and Legal Studies Program, UC, Santa Cruz
Thursday, April 25, 2013 3:30-4:45p
Selznick Seminar Room, 2240 Piedmont Avenue

Law's Fragile State: Colonial, Authoritarian, and Humanitarian Legacies in Sudan
(forthcoming from Cambridge University Press)

Co-sponsored by Rachel Stern’s class on Judicial Politics in Non-Democracies
and the Institute for East Asian Studies

Berkeley Workshop on Law:  A Socio-Legal Perspective

(with funding from James Wright, editor-in-chief, International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Second Edition, and Elsevier Publishing Company)  

Friday, March 1, 2013, 2-5p

CSLS Executive Director Rosann Greenspan is serving as co-editor, with fellow JSP graduate Professor Kay Levine of Emory Law School, of the Section on Law of the International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences (IESBS), Second Edition.  They have commissioned some 140 chapters by leading US and international scholars; when completed in 2015, the Encyclopedia will incorporate over 5,000 entries.  Lauren Edelman and Marc Galanter, who co-edited the Law Section for the 1st Edition (published 2001), were invited to prepare a major overview chapter for the 2d edition, which they have titled "Law: A Socio-Legal Perspective."  This chapter will replace the chapter "Law: Overview" from the 1st edition.   The authors  proposed convening a group of Bay Area law and society "informants"to react to the original text and discuss new developments in law and society that will inform the new article. Fifteen scholars gathered in the Philip Selznick Seminar Room to participate in the workshop.

Special Lecture by John and Jean Comaroff

Friday, February 22, 2013, 12:15-1:30p
140 Boalt Hall


Imposture of various kinds has become strikingly common in post-apartheid South Africa, which is increasingly afflicted by, among other things, identity theft, plagiarism, fakery, even counterfeit crime. Taking a case – the alleged impersonation of a famous Zulu musician, deceased two years ago – this lecture asks why this has happened, what the resort to imposture tells us about postcolonial self-fashioning, about personhood under contemporary economic, social, and cultural conditions, and about the difficulties faced by the law in dealing with twenty-first century imposture.

Special Seminar and Dinner for JSP Students and BELS Fellows

Thursday, February 21, 2013, 5:30-8p.

Jean Comaroff
Professor of African and African and American Studies and of Anthropology
and Oppenheimer Fellow in African Studies, Harvard University
John Comaroff
Professor of African and African and American Studies and of Anthropology
and Oppenheimer Fellow in African Studies, Harvard University


Walter Benjamin famously insisted that modern police wielded a "ghostly," all-pervasive violence, called upon at points where the state was unable to govern by legal means. Yet many African postcolonies are haunted by a different specter: the waning efficacy of enforcement, the ambiguity of authority, and the apparent abandonment of subjects by the state. This paper, part of a larger work entitled "Policing the Postcolony," examines the problematic relation of law, theology, and sovereignty in contemporary African polities, especially in post-apartheid South Africa. It focuses on the "metaphysics of disorder" that is palpable in popular culture here, and the kinds of forensic fetishes that seem to be conjured in its wake.