Workshop: October 11 & 12, 2019

Journal of Law and Political Economy: Developing the Field

The marble sculpture, Authority of Law, appears below the inscription, EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW, on the west entrance of the U.S. Supreme Court building. Photograph courtesy of CC BY-SA 3.0, Matt H. Wade.

The marble sculpture, Authority of Law, appears below the inscription, EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW, LAW, on the west entrance of the U.S. Supreme Court building. Photograph courtesy of CC BY-SA 3.0, Matt H. Wade.

Join us, October 11 and 12, 2019, for a workshop to launch The Journal of Law and Political Economy (JLPE), a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary online publication. The JLPE seeks to promote multi- and interdisciplinary analyses of the mutually constitutive interactions among law, society, institutions, and politics. Its central goal is to explore power in all its manifestations (race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, global inequality, etc.) and the relationship of law to power. Sponsored by The Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy, and Law and Political Economy Project, the workshop is free and open to the public with advance registration. Space is limited. Advance registration is required. 


509 O'Brian Hall

Friday, October 11
9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 12
9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

(times as listed are subject to change)


The Journal of Law and Political Economy (JLPE).

Workshop Organizer

Martha McCluskey
Professor, William J. Magavern Faculty Scholar
See faculty profile

Phone: 716-645-2326

Office: 714 O'Brian Hall
School of Law, UB North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100

Faculty Assistant: Anita M. Gesel


Advance Registration (forthcoming)

The conference is free and open to the public with advance registration. (The link for advance registration window is forthcoming.)  

Workshop Schedule


Volume I, Contributing Authors

(as of Spring 2019)

  • Amna Akbar (Law, Ohio State)
  • Mehrsa Baradaran (Law, UC Irvine)
  • Christine Desan (Law, Harvard)
  • Veena Dubal (Law, UC Hastings)
  • Maxine Eichner (Law, UNC)
  • Marion Fourcade (Sociology, Berkeley)
  • Carmen Gonzalez (Law, Seattle)
  • Walter Johnson (History, Harvard)
  • David Grewal (Law, Berkeley)
  • Renee Hatcher (Law, John Marshall)
  • Robert Hockett (Law, Cornell)
  • Ioannis Kampourakis (Law, Oxford)
  • Amy Kapczynski (Law, Yale)
  • Lina Khan (Columbia University)
  • Greta Krippner (Sociology, Michigan)
  • Tim Kuhner (Law, Auckland)
  • Martha McCluskey (Law, Buffalo)
  • Anne Orford (Law, Melbourne)
  • Paul Ortiz (History, University of Florida)
  • Frank Pasquale (Law, University of Maryland)
  • Sabeel Rahman (Demos)
  • Elisabeth Middleton (Native American Studies, UC Davis)
  • Natsu Saito (Law, University of Georgia)
  • Darien Shanske (Law, UC Davis)
  • Margaret Somers (Sociology, Michigan) (with Fred Block, Sociology, UC Davis)
  • Jennifer Taub (Law, Vermont)
  • Chantal Thomas (Law, Cornell)
  • Steven Vogel (Political Science, Berkeley)
  • Kyle Powys Whyte (Native American Studies, Michigan State)
  • Sandeep Vaheesan (Open Markets Institute)
  • Noah Zatz (Law, UCLA)
  • Peer Zumbansen (Law, Osgoode/King’s College London)

Organizing Team

  • Martha McCluskey (UB School of Law)
  • Angela Harris (University of California Davis)
  • James Varellas (University of California Berkeley)
  • Tonya Brito (University of Wisconsin)
  • Lua Kamal Yuille (University of Kansas)
  • Jamee Moudud (Sarah Lawrence College)  
  • Eric George (York University)

JLPE Style Sheet

Workshop Description

The Journal of Law and Political Economy: Developing the Field

This workshop launches a new online, peer-reviewed interdisciplinary publication: The Journal of Law and Political Economy (JLPE).  

The last decade has seen an extraordinary upheaval in social, political, and cultural perspectives on market and state governance and the relationship between the two. The rise of “neoliberalism” – an ideology according to which market tools for the allocation of goods and services is considered invariably superior to government tools for that allocation – has been challenged from at least four different directions. First, the Great Recession of 2008 touched off a wave of soul-searching among mainstream economists about the effects of deregulation of financial markets, and more broadly about the political effects of concentrated economic power (for example, as in Joseph Stiglitz’s work). Second, the Occupy movement brought to the fore a new public concern about wealth and income inequality – a concern also reflected in academia, as illustrated by the success of Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-first Century. Third, the astonishing recent rise of right-wing populists to power around the globe has been interpreted by some as a backlash to decades of neoliberal policies combining the free movement of goods, services, and labor for the benefit of owners of capital with austerity and border restrictions for workers. Fourth, the impending crisis of climate change is beginning to alter political and economic calculations around migration and energy as well as environmental regulation, and to potentially destabilize political arrangements in unpredictable ways through catastrophic “natural” disasters, drought, food shortages, and new waves of refugees.

In light of these developments, it is urgent that scholars abandon the intellectual stagnation of “There Is No Alternative,” and encourage new thinking about economic relations and state governance. Central to any forward movement is a re-engagement of economics with the question of power. For far too long, mainstream economists have declined to engage with concepts such as subordination and exploitation. Recently, however, and across a number of traditional disciplines, intellectuals have begun to integrate economics into their work on power and privilege. Central to rethinking economics is a return to the conundrum of the relationship between race and class. Also crucial is an understanding of economic power as intertwined with political power, and the key role of the state in creating, facilitating, and changing markets (in contrast to the neoclassical notion, embraced by neoliberalism, that markets are not political).

In the legal world, student-edited law reviews remain the main venue for publishing work that examines the relationship among economic activities, political and social power, and the state. ClassCrits, Inc. – a group that began as a loose association of law professors, and is now an independent nonprofit organization -- has been able to secure a handful of law reviews willing to publish symposium issues out of its conferences. However, because law reviews are run by students with constantly changing editorial boards, this outlet for alternative economic scholarship is less than ideal.

Peer-reviewed journals such as theLaw and Society Revieware also potential outlets for publishing scholarship that takes seriously the relationships among market institutions and governance institutions. However, a review of existing journals revealed that most fail to cross the great divide between scholars who know and understand the law deeply and those who do not. Conventional economic journals, for example, tend to ignore legal processes. Even existing journals with “political economy” in their titles, such as The Review of International Political Economy and New Political Economy, tend to leave law underdeveloped in most of what they publish. 

JLPE was founded with the mission of filling this gap. Its mission statement reads:

 JLPEseeks to promote multi- and interdisciplinary analyses of the mutually constitutive interactions among law, society, institutions, and politics. Its central goal is to explore power in all its manifestations (race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, global inequality, etc.) and the relationship of law to power. The intellectual foundations of the journal are informed broadly by the critical traditions in both law and political economy, which have challenged the assumptions, methods, omissions, and commitments of legal and economic thinking to emphasize the role of institutions, morality, politics, and social or historical context in shaping power relations. The mutually constitutive roles of law and power and their effects in shaping the historical and institutional trajectories of capitalist societies are at the heart of JLPE’s intellectual mission. Accordingly,JLPEaims to provide an academic and practical resource for, and to foster discussion among, scholars, activists, and educators from countries around the world to build bridges among the diverse groups whose work engages and resists the legal foundations of structural subordination and inequality. As with the broader LPE intellectual and political movement, the main purpose of the journal is to provide a critique and alternative to the orthodox Law and Economics scholarship.  

With a diverse and distinguished Advisory Board, and a dedicated editorial team committed to rigorous peer review, the inaugural volume of JLPE will introduce a reinvigorated “law and political economy” framework. 

What the Workshop Will Do  

This convening will bring together authors who will be submitting papers for the inaugural volume.  These short essays (no more than 10,000 to 12,000 words) will explore the broader question of what “law and political economy” signifies in two ways. First, most essays will take on specific topics which correspond to the authors’ areas of expertise.  Second, a few invited essays will analyze the “law and political economy” by reflecting on the organizations the authors have been engaged with. The workshop will ask contributors to engage with Journal editors and organizers (1) to develop their work; (2) to foster exchange and outreach to expand interest in the Journal; and (3) to encourage contributions and ongoing conversations.

Some of the specific topics addressed in the inaugural volume of JLPE will include money, finance, banking, and globalization; race (including “racial capitalism”), gender, and other forms of caste oppression; the corporate form; property (including intellectual property and technology); labor markets; the relationship between democracy and capitalism; the carceral state; economic inequality and precarity; the “triple crisis” of environment, economics, and development; international trade relations; and more.