CFP: Symposium on the COVID Care Crisis and its Implications for Legal Academia

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The COVID care crisis and other multiplying effects of related shutdowns, embedded inequalities, and health and safety risks are likely disproportionately impacting people with caregiving responsibilities in academia. The division that separates work from home has collapsed, threatening the very notion of “work-life balance.” Increasingly, employers have begun to reshape what used to be the private domain of family and home through “work at home” or in-person presence requirements that disregard the ways in which care work happens. At the same time, schools and other institutions providing support to families and marginalized groups are temporarily closed, permanently shutting down, or buckling in response to state or local mandates as well as financial and personnel pressures.

In the months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, women’s scholarly output and publications have dropped in various disciplines, while service and care responsibilities that fall disproportionately on junior or marginalized faculty and staff have likely increased. Compounding these pressures, Black faculty and faculty of color more generally have also been coping with the emotional effects of the police killings of George Floyd and others, at the same time that COVID-19’s health effects are concentrating along lines of race and inequality in these communities specifically. All of these factors threaten the output, visibility, status and participation of women and other primary caregiving faculty and staff in legal academia.

Left unaddressed, these disparities also have the potential to alter the landscape of legal academia and further marginalize women and the perspectives they bring to legal scholarship, education, and public dialogue. This symposium seeks to raise awareness of the current COVID care crisis and its impacts on academia, and to begin a dialogue on concrete and innovative responses to this crisis.

Symposium details

There will be no registration fee for presenters or other participants in order to maximize engagement and inclusivity. Panels will be grouped by theme and topic. The organizers are exploring publication opportunities with various law journals, with expected publication in late 2021. 

Abstract deadline

Abstracts must be submitted to Sarika Laljie by October 30, 2020. The authors of the selected papers will be notified by November 10, 2020.

Essay deadline

Essays for participating speakers are due by December 20, 2020.

Conference date

The conference will take place online on Friday, January 15, 2021.


The symposium is organized by Prof. Shruti Rana (IU Bloomington), Prof. Meera Deo (TJSL) and Prof. Cyra Akila Choudhury (FIU) and is co-sponsored by the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, the Law School Survey of Student Experience, and the Critical Legal Academics and Scholars Collective. 

More info is available here.

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