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'People of Color' Legal Scholarship Conference Comes to UB

Release Date: October 22, 2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Law School will host the annual Northeast People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference (NEPOC) Oct. 23 and 24 in the UB Law School on UB's North (Amherst) Campus.

The annual event will bring scholars from around the country together to discuss legal issues and topics of concern to people of color.

"This year, the theme of the conference is 'America's New Class Warfare,'" says Teresa A. Miller, UB law professor and an organizer of the conference. "The theme was selected to focus attention upon the role of socioeconomic class in creating and perpetuating racial inequality, as well as the new Class Crits (class analysis within a critical legal framework), movement within legal thought, developed by UB Law School professors Athena Mutua and Martha McCluskey."

This year's keynote speaker, Angela P. Harris, is an early contributor to Class Crits scholarship, according to Miller. "She is a leading voice in the fields of critical race theory and feminist legal scholarship," Miller says.

Harris is visiting UB Law as the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy Distinguished Scholar for the 2009-10 academic year, and is a tenured faculty member at the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law.

Panels participating in the conference are expected to look at class and critical race theory, class struggle in 2009, class in the city, class in the marketplace, class in public policy and class in criminal justice.

Elaine M. Chiu, professor of law at St. John's University School of Law and a conference organizer, said one possible topic of discussion for the panel would be the extreme levels of scrutiny for the wealthy and the poor.

"The political right has long rallied against the inappropriate scrutiny of the wealthy," says Chiu. "Indeed, the wealthy and, in particular, the people commanding the heights of corporate America, are under more scrutiny today than usual, thanks to the global financial meltdown. The poor, too, have been under extreme levels of scrutiny over the past several decades.

"Given that our economic system is both racialized and gendered, such that young black men have been the hardest hit by the recession and women continue to earn less money than men, how might the current burdens and policy solutions soften or reinforce these patterns? And what role is law playing in shaping the structures, power, interests, resource uses, individual and group identities and distributions of wealth and recovery?"

The conference is sponsored by the Baldy Center and the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development at St. John's University School of Law. For more information about the conference, visit the Web page at www.law.buffalo.edu/nepoc09 or contact Miller at tmiller@buffalo.edu.

Since its founding in 1887, the University at Buffalo Law School -- the State University of New York system's only law school -- has established an excellent reputation and is widely regarded as a leader in legal education. Its cutting-edge curriculum provides both a strong theoretical foundation and the practical tools graduates need to succeed in a competitive marketplace, wherever they choose to practice. A special emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, public service and opportunities for hands-on clinical education makes UB Law unique among the nation's premier public law schools.

Media Contact Information

Charles Anzalone
Senior Editor, Law, Social Work and Education
Tel: 716-645-4600
anzalon@buffalo.edu