Friday, August 31, 2007

Call for Papers: The Paradoxes of Race, Law and Inequality in the United States

The Paradoxes of Race, Law and Inequality in the United States

Call For Papers: Spring 2008 Conference
Co-Sponsored by Law & Society Review and
The Center for Law, Society and Culture at the University Of California, Irvine

Conference Theme: The Civil Rights Movement reinvigorated socio-legal scholarship and raised new questions about the place of law in social, political, economic and cultural life. Scholars have continued to grapple with issues surrounding race and class. From the beginning, one of the ideals of the Law and Society Association has been that, by making social scientific research available to policymakers, scholars could move toward righting the wrongs of our racialized pasts.

Today, scholars approach the analysis of race, law and inequality in the United Sates in a very different socio-political climate than that of the 1960s. There have been dramatic changes in immigration law in the 1990s, debates over even more restrictive immigration policies in the 2000s; transformative changes in labor markets within the United States and overseas; skyrocketing concerns over security threats from outside and within the United States, increased use of racial profiling, new forms of incarceration, and fears of gang warfare. In the face of these developments, theories and methodologies have diversified.

Despite these changes, the paradoxes of race, law and inequality are at least as profound as they were at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. The broad question before us is: What role can scholars play in understanding the landscape where race, ethnicity, inequality, and law intersect?

In January 2007, Law & Society Review Editor Carroll Seron, and Associate Editors Jeannine Bell, Laura Gómez, Ruth Peterson, and Jonathan Simon convened a workshop to plan a conference and a symposium of the Review on the topic of race, law, and inequality in the United States. Kitty Calavita and David Goldberg served as commentators at this workshop which was held at the University of California Irvine, and which was co-sponsored by the UCI Center in Law, Society and Culture. Students and faculty from across the campus were also in attendance. After a day of brainstorming, a series of cross-cutting themes emerged.

To explore these themes in greater depth, a conference will be held at UCI in spring 2008 and a special symposium of the Review will follow in 2009. The conference will be co-sponsored by Law & Society Review and the Center for Law, Society and Culture at UCI. We invite paper submissions on the conference themes. Following the conference, papers that are presented may also be submitted for inclusion in the symposium. All articles will go through the standard peer review process of Law & Society Review.

Procedures for submission of a paper: To be considered for participation, please submit your paper title with an abstract and a c.v. by October 31, 2007. Participants will be selected by November 30, 2007. We anticipate covering the travel and other expenses of participants at the conference.

Inquiries: You may submit inquiries to either Carroll Seron at or Susan Coutin at The Associate Editors of Law & Society Review and the Advisory Board of the Center for Law, Society and Culture will continue to play an active role in the development of the conference and the selection of participants.

Date: We anticipate that the conference, to be held at the University of California, Irvine, will be May 2-3, 2008.

Proposed topics
What is the most productive way to describe race without reifying it?
How have racialized inequalities in the United States been reinforced or exacerbated in recent decades?
How do discursive shifts in crime policy and the unprecedented expansion of imprisonment since the 1960s affect investments in racialized forms of governance?
How have institutionalized inequalities been sharpened even as few admit to being racist?
What are the global impacts of American racial policies and practices?