CFP: Law, Poverty and Economic Inequality

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Valparaiso University School of Law
April 3-4, 2008

The acceleration of economic globalization over the past few decades engendered initial excitement about the possibilities it could generate, but this excitement has been replaced by more cautionary sentiments, as increasingly economic inequalities and poverty have become one of globalization’s defining features.     The ravages of poverty and economic inequality are most pronounced in less affluent countries, particularly those in Africa, but also are present in the Americas, Asia, and Eastern Europe.     Even affluent northern countries like the UnitedStates have not been able to entirely avoid some of the adverse consequences of globalization, including the widespread loss of jobs, diminishing of labor rights, depressed wages, and pervasive privatization of governmental functions, leading to a concentration of economic power in the private sector and greater resulting disparities of resources.

Poverty and persistent economic inequalities have differing consequences but often overlapping impacts on a broad range of constituencies such as children, racial and ethnic minorities, indigenous communities, immigrants, refugees, women, and the elderly.

Valparaiso University School of Law will host a conference on April 3 and 4, 2008 to investigate these issues in a local and global context.     The conference hopes to raise the fundamental question about what the law and legal institutions can do to alleviate poverty and economic inequality.       The conference will explore contemporary constitutional strategies, such as the incorporation of economic, social and cultural rights in constitutions (as evidenced by the South African experience), among other formal legal strategies, in relation to grassroots anti-poverty campaigns, such as the poor people’s economic and human rights campaign in the United States and the homeless and landless people’s federation in Asia and
elsewhere.     This investigation will also examine the limitation of legal strategies in the face of entrenched economic and social structural impediments to equality.

Valparaiso is 40 miles south of Chicago, with easy access to Chicago O’Hare and Midway airports.

The accommodation costs and meals of presenters will be covered, and there is some funds available for travel. Please indicate in your abstract whether your institution will pay your travel costs, or whether you will require funding.

If you are interested in presenting a paper, please send a one-paragraph abstract by November 1, to:

Professor Penelope (Penny) Andrews
Visiting Professor of Law
Valparaiso University School of Law
656 S. Greenwich Street
Valparaiso   IN   46383
Ph: 219-465-7972

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