Berkeley Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law Study Group

Who We Are

We are a group of scholars from multiple academic disciplines, activists, equality body legal professionals and private lawyers from six continents, joined together by an interest in the study of comparative anti-discrimination law and working together to address the equality issues of the day.

Our Goals

  • To foster creative, innovative solutions to combat discrimination by serving as a multinational virtual think tank to compare different countries’ equality and anti-discrimination laws.
  • To host and to mentor visiting legal scholars at Berkeley Law and other host/participant universities to support their research on comparative equality and anti-discrimination law.
  • To publish papers and books on comparative anti-discrimination law, sharing this information with legislators, equality bodies, litigators, jurists and colleagues.
  • To encourage collaboration with scholars and legal practitioners working in different legal systems.
  • To encourage collaboration between scholars and legal practitioners working in the same and different national and regional “equality bodies,” such as the US Equal Employment
  • Opportunity Commission, the French Defender of Rights, the German Anti-Discrimination Agency, the Hong Kong Equal Employment Commission, the equality rights entity within the European Commission, and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Council.

What We Do

We meet more or less monthly, face-to-face in Berkeley, and by internet-based video conference from our homes and offices around the world, to present our work in progress, and to discuss developments in comparative anti-discrimination law.  Recent presentations have included: the European Court of Human Rights Crucifix in the classroom case, the question of “color-blindness” in the United States and Europe, comparative affirmative action, the development of disability rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, same-sex marriage in the United States and Europe, and the evolving equality jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice.

Participating and Influencing Issues of the Day

The Study Group has issue-focused working groups on important current topics, most recently, rethinking all aspects of sexual harassment law.  The group recently held an international conference on “The Globalization of the #MeToo Movement”.  Participants include law professors and attorneys from Australia, California, Colorado, China, New York, Massachusetts, Minnesota, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, and the UK.  The keynote speakers were Catharine MacKinnon (Michigan/Harvard), Kimberlé Crenshaw (UCLA/Columbia) and Lauren Edelman (Berkeley). A follow-up conference, on Times Up!  The Globalization of Resistance to Sexual Harassment will be held in May 2019.

A second working group, focused on the rights of persons with disabilities, has just been formed. We are discussing forming a third working group, on racism and inequality, later in the year.

Monthly Workshop Presentations

The Study Group sponsors a scholarly workshop approximately once a month, usually hosted at Berkeley Law, with participation from members around the world joining through internet-based video-conferencing.  Each workshop focuses on the presentation of a scholarly work in progress, often by emerging scholars, creating a forum to discuss developments in comparative equality/anti-discrimination law.  

Annual Meetings Around the World

The Study Group holds annual Meetings in locations around the world, giving scholars an opportunity to present papers on a variety of featured topics such as same-sex marriage in Europe and the United States, the development of disability rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, transgender equality, comparative affirmative action, equality/freedom of religion and the Muslim headscarf, and comparative studies of different countries’ anti-discrimination laws.  To date, annual meetings have been held in:

  • Paris, France (Sciences-Po, 2012);
  • Berkeley, California (Berkeley Law, 2013);
  • Brussels, Belgium (Université Libre de Bruxelles, 2014);
  • Shanghai, China (Jiao Tong University, 2016); and
  • Dublin, Ireland (Trinity College, Dublin, 2017).

COPIES OF PROGRAMS

Future meetings are planned for

  • The University of Melbourne (Australia) in June 2018,
  • The University of Stockholm (Sweden) in June 2019,
  • The University of Cape Town (South Africa) in June 2020,
  • The University of Michigan in 2021, and
  • The University of Hong Kong in 2022.

Published papers from these convenings have been used to advance equality on such topics as same sex marriage, transgender equality and the rights of religious minorities.

The 2019 Stockholm meeting will feature discussions on sexual harassment law and disability law, as well as other important topics.

Visiting Scholars

The Study Group hosts visiting scholars at Berkeley Law each semester.  Most are PhD candidates from cooperating universities from around the world. Other visiting invitees include attorneys working for equality bodies and senior scholars passing through Berkeley.  During their stay, the visiting scholars and professionals typically give a presentation in their area of comparative law study to Berkeley Law’s students, faculty and other guests. In 2018-19, a grant from the Miller Institute for Global Challenges and the Law will allow us to host two week-long visits by visiting scholars.

Posting and Distributing Study Group Papers Online

The Berkeley Study Group now provides four venues for scholars to present working papers to share their work and to solicit feedback before publishing their research:  the monthly workshops, presentations of visiting scholars at Berkeley, the annual meetings, and beginning in 2018, a Working Paper Series, hosted through the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) for public perusal and feedback, as well as a peer-reviewed SSRN ejournal. 

Our SSRN page can be found at: Berkeley Study Group ejournal

 

Where We Are

  • Anadolu University, Turkey
  • Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
  • Berkeley Law
  • Brescia University
  • Bucerius Law School, Hamburg
  • Charles University, Czech Republic
  • Colombia Law School
  • Deakin University, Australia
  • European University Institute, Florence
  • Fordham University
  • Hanyang University School of Law, Korea
  • Harvard University
  • Humboldt University, Berlin
  • Indian Institute of Public Administration, India
  • Instituto de Derecho Comparado Franco-Argentino
  • International University College of Turin, Italy
  • Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey
  • Istanbul University, Turkey
  • Kabarak University, Kenya
  • Keio University, Japan
  • King’s College London
  • Kwangshin University, Korea
  • London School of Economics, England
  • Loyola Law School
  • Lund University, Sweden
  • Maastricht University, the Netherlands
  • Masaryk University-Brno, Czech Republic
  • Melbourne Law School, Australia
  • Monash University, Australia
  • National University of Ireland Galway
  • National University of Lviv, Ukraine
  • New York University
  • NOVA Southeastern University
  • Pace Law School
  • Paris Nanterre University, France
  • Sciences-Po Paris, France
  • Seikei University of Tokyo, Japan
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
  • Stanford Law School
  • Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Tel Aviv University, Israel
  • Temple University
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • The Libera Università Maria SS. Assunta (LUMSA), Rome
  • The University of Dublin, Ireland
  • The University of Hong Kong
  • The University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Universidad Nacional de Lomas de Zamora, Argentina
  • Universidad Nebrija, Spain
  • Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain
  • Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
  • Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
  • University College London, England
  • University of Akron
  • University of Alcala, Spain
  • University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • University of Bergamo, Italy
  • University of Bologna, Italy
  • University of Bristol, UK
  • University of Brussels (ULB), Belgium
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of Canterbury
  • University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • University of El Salvador, Argentina
  • University of Florence, Italy
  • University of Florida
  • University of Hasselt, Belgium
  • University of Hawaii
  • University of Iceland
  • University of Illinois Springfield
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Leeds, England
  • University of Leicester, England
  • University of Lund, Sweden
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Milano, Italy
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of New South Whales, Sydney
  • University of Oslo, Norway
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Paris I (Sorbonne-Pantheon)
  • University of Southern California, Gould School of Law
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • University of the Basque Country, Spain
  • University of Toronto, Canada
  • University of Trento, Italy
  • University of Valencia, Spain
  • University of York
  • Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • Virginia Polytech Institute and State University
  • West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, India
  • Willamette University
  • Yale Law School
  • Yeshiva University

Others of us can be found at government organizations, including the French and German anti-discrimination agencies, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Fair Employment and Housing Council, the European Commission, the United Nations and NGO’s, including the Open Society Justice Initiative.