Workshop and Launch Celebration, 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, LAW, on the west entrance of the U.S. Supreme Court building. Photograph courtesy of CC BY-SA 3.0, Matt H. Wade.

The Baldy Center Workshop, October 11 & 12, 2019, marks the launch of  The Journal of Law and Political Economy  (JLPE).  The peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary online publication 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.

Workshop Contact

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



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.


Organizing Team

Martha McCluskey (University at Buffalo School of Law)

Martha McCluskey.

Martha McCluskey

Martha McCluskey’s scholarship examines the relationship between economics and inequality in law. She is working on a book titled A Field Guide to Law, Economics and Justice. Earlier publications include a major study of workers’ compensation reform laws, several articles analyzing workers’ compensation insurance regulation, and articles on welfare policy and social citizenship. Much of her work explores the connections between economics and feminist legal theory. She is the co-editor of Feminism, Media, and the Law (Oxford University Press, 1997). McCluskey’s work builds on critical legal analysis of gender and race to develop the jurisprudence of disability and of economic class by addressing economic ideology. She is a co-organizer of the ClassCrits project, which brings together scholars in law, economics and other disciplines to develop a critical legal analysis of economic inequality through workshops, conference panels, scholarly publications and a blog. Read more.

Angela Harris (University of California Davis)

Angela Harris (University of California Davis).

Angela Harris

Professor Angela P. Harris joined the UC Davis School of Law (King Hall) faculty in 2011. She began her career at the UC Berkeley School of Law in 1989, and has been a visiting professor at the law schools of Stanford, Yale, and Georgetown. In 2010-11, at the State University of New York - University at Buffalo School of Law, she served as vice dean of research and faculty development. She writes widely in the field of critical legal theory, examining how law sometimes reinforces and sometimes challenges subordination on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, class, and other dimensions of power and identity. Her writings have been widely anthologized and have been translated into many languages, from Portuguese to Korean. Read more.

Jay Varellas (University of California Berkeley)

Jay Varellas.

Jay Varellas 

James J. (“Jay”) Varellas, III, has joined Varellas & Varellas, of counsel, after practicing as an attorney at law firms in New York City and San Francisco. Jay has spent much of his legal career litigating large-scale class actions and other complex litigation disputes around the country. While an attorney practicing in New York, he was part of the trial team that tried a multi-billion-dollar class action to a jury verdict in a four-month trial in federal court. He also has trial experience involving claims of bad-faith denial of insurance claims. Over his career, Jay has litigated numerous class actions and other large-scale complex litigation disputes around the country and he has appellate experience before a number of appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He has also provided advice regarding mergers and acquisitions, advised major law firms on ethics and conflict-of-interest issues and represented non-profits in a variety of contexts. Learn more.

Tonya Brito (University of Wisconsin)

Tonya Brito (University of Wisconsin).

Tonya Brito

Tonya L. Brito is the Jefferson Burrus-Bascom Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School and a Faculty Affiliate with the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin. She served as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development from 2014-2016 and as Director of the Institute for Legal Studies from 2013-2016. As ILS Director, she organized and hosted numerous academic conferences and speaker series, developed and inaugurated the ILS Law and Society Graduate Fellows Program, and launched the Wednesday Workshop series, an internal works-in-progress series for law faculty. An award winning scholar, Brito's work critically examines the intersection of family law and poverty law, focusing on how the welfare state regulates the family relationships of the poor. She has written on welfare law and policy's impact on the development of family law, the experience of poor families in the child support system, and the image of motherhood in poverty discourse.  Read more.

Lua Kamal Yuille (University of Kansas)

Lua Kamal Yuille (University of Kansas).

Lua Kamal Yuille

Lua Kamál Yuille is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work connects property theory, economics, business law, critical pedagogy and group identity. Her recent projects include studies of the economics and pedagogy of street gang identity and control mechanisms, corporate personality and the communicative impact of citizenship law and policy. Yuille’s career as a lawyer and an educator has taken her all over the world, from prisons in the Bahamas to boardrooms in Argentina, homelands in South Africa to immigrant enclaves in Italy, and more. She formed part of the legal teams for some of the most important legal events in the last decade, her scholarship has broken ground across many areas, and she maintains a robust pro bono practice consulting on immigration matters and advocating for survivors of domestic violence. In 2017, she received the Junior Faculty Teaching Award from the Society of American Law Teachers. Read more.

Jamee Moudud (Sarah Lawrence College)

Jamee Moudud (Sarah Lawrence College).

Jamee Moudud

Over the past few years few years I have developed two new passions in my life, one of which is to study legal theory and legal history and their links to political economy, and the other is the electric guitar.  On the law/political economy nexus, my focus is the study of the legal foundations of markets and of money and to understand how conflicts over property and contracts are at the heart of our economic system. This has led me in an intellectual direction that rejects the public/private divide, at the heart of much thinking in economics, and provides the basis for a new way of conceptualizing policy which is quite distinct from both the neoclassical and much of the alternative traditions in economics. Read more. Also see bio on

Eric George (York University)

Eric George.

Eric George

My research focuses on the relationship between political economy and the Rule of Law. I hold a PhD in political science from York University, with a specialization in international political economy and political theory. I also did a MA in Global Political Economy at the University of Sussex. A major feature of our contemporary global political economy has been privatization. Classical state functions including regulation, the provision security, and even lawmaking are now undertaken by private actors. One area of privatization that has been understudied is adjudication. My dissertation, the Political Economy of Commercial Arbitration, examined the remarkable privatization of commercial dispute resolution (domestic and international). Read more.

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 the Law and Society Review are 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:

 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. 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, JLPE  aims 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.