Economic Justice Studies Project

The Economic Justice Studies project would provide administrative staffing, faculty time, and expenses to allow SUNY Buffalo Law School to be identified as a leading resource base for scholars around the world interested in foregrounding inequality and critical theory in law and economics. 

This resource base would be established through three components.

SUNY Buffalo Law Seminar in Economic Justice Studies

The primary initiative will be a pilot UB Economic Justice Studies summer seminar for a national and international group of law faculty, with the goal of attracting funding for repeating this as a biannual program. To achieve this goal, the project seeks support for inviting a team of law scholars and economists to UB for a series of working sessions to produce a syllabus and reading materials and to prepare a group of instructors. Planning for the seminar also will include building partnerships to further distinguish the program from the law and economics faculty training programs that have been offered by other law schools, narrowly focused on neoclassical economic theory and method. First, the project would further develop ongoing partnership discussions with heterodox economists, including PERl (University of Massachusetts) and leaders of a national organization of heterodox economists at Buffalo State College. Second, the project aims to partner with grassroots community activists who can enrich the theory with examples of local practices. In particular, the project will explore possible connections with an emerging collaboration between PUSH Buffalo and MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning to produce a series of conferences to explore ideas for economic justice and democracy arising out of grassroots work in Buffalo and other cities undergoing economic transformation. Other possibilities for academic partnership include: Emory University's interdisciplinary project on Vulnerability and the Human Condition, led by Emory Law Professor Martha Fineman, with whom Martha McCluskey has collaborated on a number of scholarly projects involving critical theories of law and economics, Harvard Law School's Institute for Global Law and Policy (mentioned in the background section), where Martha McCluskey has already been involved in planning a proposal for a workshop component; Center for Progressive Reform, a national organization of law scholars (Martha McCluskey is a member scholar) focused on developing new regulatory theories and policies to better protect the well-being of workers, the environment, and consumers. Finally, we will break new ground in law and economics by developing international partnerships that build on the Law School's international and human rights expertise, including that of Dean Makau Mutua, particularly scholars working on the intersections of postcolonialism, gender, and economic development.

Book Publication

Second, related to this seminar initiative. the project will coordinate and lead plans for a book collecting scholarship that would offer an introduction to critical law and economics focused on economic inequality, as a part of the materials for the seminar. Contributions to the book would develop from the seminar planning, from the large annual ClassCrits conferences already underway, and from other collaborations. This initiative would continue ongoing collaboration and work by Law Professor Athena Mutua as well as Martha McCluskey.

Web-based SUNY Buffalo Law Economic Justice Studies Resource Bank

Third, also supporting the seminar initiative, the project will develop and maintain a web-based SUNY Buffalo Law resource clearinghouse for scholars. It will collect recent publications, working papers, and conference materials, enhance networking with a list of faculty and their research and teaching interests, link to other organizations, and announce events.

Participating Unit

Faculty Lead