The Tel Aviv University Buchmann Faculty of Law is pleased to invite submissions to its sixth junior legal scholar workshop. The workshop provides junior scholars with the opportunity to present and discuss their work, receive meaningful feedback from faculty members and peers, and actively participate in an international community of junior legal scholars.
The upcoming 2021 TAU workshop for junior scholars in law, which will be held in Tel-Aviv University Law School on November 14-16, 2021, will be dedicated to "Legal Change in Revolutionary Times." We are seeking cutting-edge works in progress, in varied legal fields and written from a variety of methodological and theoretical perspectives, that investigate the role of law in revolutionary times, and we welcome works that broadly relate to the core themes of the workshop.
Themes of the Workshop. We live in revolutionary times. The word change fails to capture the radical transformations, revolutions indeed, that our planet and societies are undergoing: climate change, extreme automation and the emergence of artificial intelligence, genetic modification, the rise of new authoritarian regimes and radical political ideologies, and the spread of the Covid-19–just to name a few. Together and separately, these revolutions threaten individuals and communities (but also create and foster the emergence of new ones), reorient industries and work, disrupt ways of life, reinvent what is the human, and reorganize hierarchies of power. Questions regarding the social, moral and political order, which seemed to have been long settled–such as the normative dominance of liberal democracy–are now in accelerating flux, seemingly more open to debate but also more vulnerable to violent conflict than before.
The question of legal change and its interaction with-resistance to, collaboration with, responsibility for, responses to-ecological, economic, technological, cultural, and social changes, perhaps revolutions, is paramount. In the Workshop we will be exploring various related questions, contemporary as well as historical, for example: Is there a difference between the role of law in times of change and gradual evolution as against its function in revolutionary times? And if so - what is the difference? What is the function of law in framing changes as "evolutions" or conversely, as "revolutions"? What is its role in designating political and social struggles as revolutionary? Are current theoretical frameworks, such as transitional justice or theories of democratization, well suited for addressing new forms of change? Is the law a tool that fosters and enables social change or is it a tool for mitigation and preservation of the status quo? Consider, for example, the division of labour between government and civil society - Does the law function as an agent of change, as directing it, or only reacting to it - and how should it function? Why do some changes seem to appear sudden, thus creating a sense of emergency? Is a state of emergency only an excuse to implement radical legal change, such as enforcing strict limitations on civil liberties, and civil society organizations? Or is a state of emergency a necessary legal mechanism implemented momentarily?
Those questions are not new, and the balance between dynamic change and traditional stasis lies at the heart of many legal theories. Yet engaging with them in times of what could, at least in retrospect, be considered as revolutions, can make us reconsider our approach to change, specifically regarding the balance between the law's flexibility and predictability.