ClassCrits IX: Call for Papers and Participation

We invite panel proposals, roundtable discussion proposals, and paper presentations that speak to this year’s theme, as well as to general ClassCrits themes.  Proposal due: May 16, 2016. (Download a PDF of this page)

As the U.S. presidential election approaches, our 2016 conference will explore the role of corporate power in a political and economic system challenged by inequality and distrust as well as by new energy for transformative reform.

In January 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. FEC, redesigned the functioning of our constitutional democracy. By giving corporations a fundamental right to bankroll elections, the Court effectively shifted power to a new economic ‘royalty’ that sits atop the most massive capital aggregations in history.  Further, other government officials, influenced by elite lobbying and theory, have diminished longstanding rules and systems of corporate accountability (including criminal liability for financial crimes and basic norms of corporate disclosure) on the premise that some corporations and institutional forces are too big or important to fail or control. The result is that, along with other billionaires, these corporate and financial elites now may hold more influence in our political system than ever before.

The heightened power of monied interests has loomed over the 2016 election, provoking a groundswell of populist anger and resistance.  Even as elites have selected, shaped, and mediated candidates and campaigns, traditionally marginalized groups have also flexed new electoral muscle.  For example, #Blacklivesmatter and Fight for 15 have turned new energy toward visions of power based on values other than quantifiable individualized material gain. Yet this emerging and democratic populism has also confronted new restrictions on voting and newly limited protections for voting rights that strike at the heart of the public’s ability to enact meaningful democratic reform.

If the election has brought new mainstream attention to problems of inequality and insecurity, it has also exposed deep popular skepticism toward existing political and economic systems and whether they will provide adequate answers to these problems.  Out of this sense of human powerlessness, some populist calls seek security and control not only through invigorated social and political engagement, but also through messages of exclusion, fear and hate, as well as violence.  Against this backdrop, many social movements increasingly target corporate power and corporate citizenship rights, particularly the Citizens United ruling, as a source of numerous social, political, economic and environmental ills.

How might a sharper understanding of corporate power shed light on the current context of inequality and distrust?  How have legal changes in corporate rights and regulation reshaped political and social as well as economic activity?  Does the contemporary corporation simply empower individual human interests, as the Supreme Court suggested in the recent Hobby Lobby decision, or do the legal rights of corporations operate to narrow, distribute, and distort human rights and interests and citizenship?  What kind of person is the contemporary corporation and what does this mean for society, government, and law?   What is missing from the prevailing legal theory of the corporation as a nexus of contracts reflecting individualized economic transactions?  How does the contemporary legal understanding of the corporation help enforce and excuse inequality and instability? What structures of race, gender, and class have been advanced or obscured by the corporatocracy?   And finally, what law reforms might best reshape the corporation?  What alternative forms of business organization might offer better opportunities for more inclusive and responsible economic coordination? And, how might insights from other disciplines, including studies on religion and mindfulness, inform and inspire alternative visions and practices of law, democracy and political economy that promote human and (planetary) thriving?

We seek to explore these and other questions by focusing on a range of legal subject areas. Possibilities include:

  • Antitrust and Competition Law
  • Comparative Corporate Law
  • Corporate Constitutional Rights
  • Corporate Governance
  • Corporate Personhood
  • Corporate Power and Labor
  • Corporate Power, Class, and Poverty
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Corporate Taxation
  • Corporations and Campaign Finance
  • Corporations and Civil Justice Systems (civil procedure, class actions, judicial elections, tort reform)
  • Corporations and Diversity
  • Corporations and the Family
  • Corporations and Human Rights
  • Corporations and Immigration
  • Corporations and International Trade Law
  • Corporations and the University
  • Corporations, Pensions, and Social Security
  • Corporatization of Professions such as Health, Education and Law
  • Corporations and Small Business
  • Criminalization of Corporate Wrongdoing
  • Economic Development and Corporate Subsidies
  • Financial Institutions and Financial Regulation
  • Gender, Sex, Sexuality and the Corporation
  • Global Regulation of Corporations
  • Law, Corporations and Political Economy
  • Law, Litigation and the Corporation
  • Legal History of the Corporation
  • Race and the Corporation
  • Religion and the Corporation
  • Social Movements and the Corporation

ClassCrits IX also seeks to engage activists who help organize communities to action. The conference solicits the participation of activists who believe their work should be informed by a deep understanding of the limitations of current legal and institutional structures, as academics and activists alike strive to energize and mobilize our many communities for a more equal and just society.

Finally, we extend a special invitation to junior scholars (i.e., graduate students and non-tenured faculty members) to submit proposals for works in progress. At least one senior scholar, as well as other ClassCrits scholars, will provide feedback and detailed commentary upon each work in progress in a small, supportive working session at this year’s workshop.

Proposal Submission Procedure and Deadline

Please submit your proposal by email to by May 16, 2016. Proposals should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation and contact information, the title of the paper to be presented, and an abstract of the paper to be presented of no more than 750 words.  The Conference also welcomes panel proposals.  Junior scholar submissions for works in progress should be clearly marked as “JUNIOR SCHOLAR WORK IN PROGRESS PROPOSAL.”

The venue for the gathering is Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Chicago IL, October 21-22, 2016. The workshop will begin with continental breakfast on Friday, October 21, and continue through the afternoon of Saturday, October 22. Arrangements are being made for conference hotels. Please check our website,, for further updates. The registration fee is $150.00 for all conference attendees who are full-time faculty members.

Registration is free for students and activists. Participants who do not fit into these categories, and/or who for individual reasons cannot afford the registration fee, should contact us at Workshop attendees are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses.

Conference Organizing Committee

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Save the Date! ClassCrits 9 Conference Oct. 21-22, 2016

The New Corporatocracy and Election 2016 (preliminary title)

Loyola University Chicago School of Law

We are very excited to announce that the Loyola University Chicago School of Law will host next year’s ClassCrits conference in Chicago Illinois on Oct. 21-22, 2016! Thank you to the leadership of Professor Steven Ramirez of Loyola Law. A call for papers will be issued in the next several weeks. Please stay tuned for more details and save the date for ClassCrits IX!


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Police bias against victims of domestic & sexual violence

Re-posting this important survey from Move to End Violence . 

This is relevant to the ClassCrits VIII conference this past October at University of Tennessee, Knoxville College of Law, where thought-provoking discussion and presentations emphasized the multidimensional nature of the problems of both domestic violence and police violence.

By Sandra Park, Donna Coker, and Julie Goldscheid

The shooting deaths by police of unarmed African-American men and the violent treatment of Sandra Bland have focused national attention and outrage on the problem of police racial bias and brutality. A new national survey finds that the same kind of police bias often affects police responses to sexual assault and domestic violence.

Over 900 advocates, service providers, and attorneys who work with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence responded to a national survey regarding policing and domestic and sexual violence.  Responses from the Field: Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, and Policing describes what they shared with us.

Advocates identified police inaction, hostility, and bias against survivors as a key barrier to seeking criminal justice intervention.  Eighty-eight percent (88%) said that police sometimes or often do not believe victims or blame victims for the violence. Over 80% of respondents believed that police relations with marginalized communities influenced survivors’ willingness to call the police.  Respondents told us that many police are biased against women of color, immigrant women, and poor women. They are biased against lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender survivors. They are biased against young survivors of sexual assault, believing that rape is really just “regret sex.” They are biased against sex workers and those who suffer drug addiction. Continue reading

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Join us at Classcrits 8, Univ. of Tenn. Knoxville Law!

We welcome you to join us at Classcrits VIII: Emerging Coalitions: Challenging the Structures of Inequality, October 23–24, 2015, at University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Law. Here is the registration and program. 

This year’s conference takes its inspiration from new alliances that have emerged on the progressive left, sparked in part by the shooting deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and other young black men by police officers across the country. In one example of these emerging coalitions, retail and fast food workers recently engaged in the “Fight for $15/Lucha Por $15” march wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts, chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” The conference will focus on the efforts of various community groups, students, academics, workers, and churches to combat injustice and inequality by forging connections across shared interests and forging robust coalitional praxes.

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ClassCrits VIII Call for Papers, Emerging Coalitions: Challenging the Structures of Inequality

Call for Papers

ClassCrits VIII Emerging Coalitions: Challenging the Structures of Inequality

Sponsored by the University of Tennessee College of Law
Knoxville, TN * October 23-24, 2015

Proposals due via email to by May 22, 2015.

Call For Papers and Participation (Download PDF)

In the past few months, new alliances have emerged on the progressive left, sparked in part by the shooting deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and other young black men by police officers across the country. After grand jury decisions refused to issue indictments in the Brown and Garner cases, protests erupted across the country, in big cities and small towns alike. While New York City police turned their backs on Mayor Bill DeBlasio after he remarked that he trains his biracial son on how to interact with the police, labor leader Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, noted that both Brown’s mother and the police officer who killed her son are union members. He commented, “Our brother killed our sister’s son and we do not have to wait for the judgment of prosecutors or courts to tell us how terrible this is.”

Retail and fast food workers engaged in the “Fight for $15/Lucha Por $15” march wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts, chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Across shared interests, community groups, students, and churches are increasingly supporting labor strikes and immigrant rights, among others. Reverend Dr. William Barber II of the N.A.A.C.P., a leader of North Carolina’s “Moral Mondays” movement, explains, “We recognize that the intersectionality of all these movements is our opportunity to fundamentally redirect America.”

These new alliances have emerged in an era of heightened economic vulnerability and precarity for the 99 percent. Continue reading

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Inequality and Gender Violence: Reflections on VAWA’s 20th Anniversary

The year 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  That milestone presented an opportunity to critically reflect on current gender-violence policy, and to build on shared critiques to flesh out an alternative agenda.  In that spirit, two new resources offer inspiration for mobilization and advocacy.  First, the City University of New York (CUNY) Law Review’s Footnote Forum has published an online collection of 15 short essays “re-imagining” VAWA in service of progressive reform.  The essays are based in an intersectional understanding of the ways in which various forms of inequality create and sustain violence.  They draw on critiques grounded in the movement against mass criminalization and intrusive state intervention in the lives of poor people, as well as in work for immigrant rights, economic rights, LGBTQ equality, disability rights, racial justice, and human rights.  The multi-disciplinary essays can be found here:

Similarly, the conversation held at CUNY Law School on November 13, 2014, “VAWA@20:  Reflecting, Re-imagining & Looking Forward,” with Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, Sharon Stapel and Sujata Warrier, and moderated by Professor Julie Goldscheid, is now available on line for those who missed the event:

Announcement thanks to Donna Coker!

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Save the Date: 2015 ClassCrits Conference

We are very excited to announce that the University of Tennessee College of Law will host next year’s ClassCrits conference in Knoxville on Oct. 23-24, 2015, thanks to the leadership of UT Law Professors Lucy Jewel and Wendy Bach.   A call for papers will be issued later this winter, so stay tuned for more details and save the date for ClassCrits VIII.

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