IGLP: The Pro-Seminars

The 2014 IGLP Pro-Seminars - Pro-seminars are designed for small groups of scholars engaged in collaboration aimed towards publication.  We again invite our Pro-seminar leaders to consider convening their pro-seminars in June 2014 during the June Colloquium.

About IGLP Pro-Seminars

During the 2011 Workshop,The IGLP inducted a series of Pro-Seminars designed for small groups of scholars engaged in collaboration aimed towards publication. IGLP Pro-Seminars bring together between ten and fifteen active scholars, half selected by invitation, half by application, who are all working on a common topic. Pro-Seminars typically meet each June at Harvard to brainstorm their evolving scholarly writing and advance their work towards publication. Alumni of past Workshops are particularly encouraged to apply to Pro-Seminars.

In 2013 we offered the following Pro-Seminars:

PRO-SEMINAR 5: Re-Theorizing Liquidity

PRO-SEMINAR 7: Global Poverty and Heterodox Development Pathways: Mapping, Method and Critique

PRO-SEMINAR 8: Contemporary Legal Thought (1970-Present)

PRO-SEMINAR 9: Law, Economic (in)equality, and Global Social Movements

PRO-SEMINAR 10: Economies of Desire


The Pro-Seminar Sponsors

The IGLP is particularly grateful to our Leading Sponsors and santander_small_web_versioncollaborator Santander Universities, who continue to show their faith in our efforts to develop innovative ideas and alternative approaches to issues of global law, economic policy, social justice and governance as well as to strengthen the next generation of scholars by placing them in collaboration with their global peers. Santander Universities have generously agreed to be the Leading Sponsor of the June Conference as part of their commitment to higher education. Harvard Law School is proud to join with them in this effort.

Santander Universities, was created by Banco Santander on the conviction that the best way of contributing to growth and economic and social process is by backing the higher education and research system. Banco Santander’s commitment to progress finds its expression in the Santander Universities Global Division, whose activities form the backbone of the bank’s social action and enable it to maintain a stable alliance with the academic world in Latin America, China, United States of America, Spain, Morocco, Portugal, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Singapore, and Russia. Santander Universities Global Division, a team of more than 2,100 professionals distributed across 17 countries, coordinates and manages Banco Santander’s commitment to higher education. Between 1997 and 2012, Banco Santander channeled $1 billion into sponsorship of academic, research and technological projects in support of higher education. There are now over 1,000 academic institutions receiving support from Banco Santander for the development of academics initiatives including Harvard University and the IGLP.

Santander Universities is the Lead Sponsor of our June Conference, Colloquium, and Pro-Seminars at Harvard.

Online: www.santanderuniversities.us

Click here for more information about the IGLP.

2013 Pro-Seminars



Convener: Chris Desan

In its third year, the Pro-Seminar on Re-theorizing Liquidity will focus on “Critical Approaches to Monetary Design.” Both neoclassical economics and modern portfolio theory curtail attention to the design of money and credit. But the financial crisis of 2008 was, in many ways, a monetary event. It is only the most recent indication that the design of money matters enormously; we could point as well to the relationship between asset bubbles and credit, the fragility of systems built on short-term liabilities, the distributive impact of government rescues, the centrality of circulating public bonds as private collateral, the paralysis of policy given the current repertoire of “monetary” and “fiscal” tools, the challenge that central banks as opaque authorities pose for systems with democratic aspirations, and the continuing dearth of critical imagination concerning economic institutional design.

The Pro-Seminar on Critical Approaches to Monetary Design will bring together scholars and students from law, economics, and history who approach the monetary system with critical perspective. The aim is to develop both analytic capacity to understand the current order and constructive thought about its revision. The Pro-Seminar will:

  • Explore the differences and commonalities between the different traditions that are driven by a fiscal understanding of money, and its modern and historical relationship to the banking system;
  • Consider how the insights of modern monetary theory, of stock-flow consistent modeling, of Minsky’s instability principles, and of careful institutional analysis might illuminate issues of economic institutional design;
  • Discuss the blind spots created by the dominant paradigms in contemporary economics and finance;
  • Assess the possibility that inter-disciplinary approaches, including the unique competency of lawyers in institutional design, might open up curricular space for a re-invigorated approach to fundamental issues of money and economic structure.

The Pro-Seminar will be based on an exchange of readings solicited in advance from participants. Sessions will be focused by topic and may include short presentations or commentary meant to open discussion on the subject matter. The aim will be to identify both common territory and divergences among the approaches (theoretical, methodological, etc.) taken by participants.

PRO-SEMINAR 7: Global Poverty and Heterodox Development Pathways: Mapping, Method and Critique
Conveners: Lucie White and Jeremy Perelman

This Pro-Seminar will bring together prominent critical law and development scholars to present, map and critique alternative development pathways that are emerging in the confused phase of the post-Washington Consensus. The invited scholars will present short papers that tease out the methodological features of their respective approaches, as well as the distributional effects of the developmental pathways that they identify. Students participating in the pro-seminar will respond to the scholars’ presentations, relating it to their own projects. The pro-seminar participants will meet subsequent to the IGLP workshop to continue their work, which may result in a book or a law review symposium.

PRO-SEMINAR 8: Contemporary Legal Thought (1970-Present)
Conveners: Duncan Kennedy, Kerry Rittich, and Justin Desautels-Stein

This pro-seminar addresses the broad topic of “Contemporary Legal Thought,” and invites participants to contribute to the elaboration, evaluation, and critique of the idea.  Is there such a thing as a contemporary moment in our legal consciousness?  If so, how do we know it?  And if we can know it, do we like who we are?  Does Contemporary Legal Thought represent a triumphant march through history?  Is it merely a momentary reflection of personal preferences and political projects?  Is it more or less than this?  In bringing together a body of expert work on the topic, among the themes to be addressed shall be:

  • The “relative autonomy question.”  In accordance with critical orthodoxy, there is a tendency to describe legal institutions and ideas as having a dynamic, dialectical or constitutive relationship to economic activity.   Yet despite this description (suggesting mutability and variability) the institutions and ideas of law are often seen as playing a relatively constant formative role in shaping economic relations.   Assuming this is right (is it?) one wonders whether a key aspect of contemporary law might not be the thoroughgoing infusion and colonization of legal ideas and institutions through the medium of economics, economism, commodification, etc.
  • The neoformalist reaction.”   Within contemporary legal thought, one of the more interesting/puzzling questions concerns the neo-formalist side of contemporary legal thought (highly evidenced for instance, in U.S. in constitutional law and human rights law).    The neoformalist tendency clearly has to be recognized.  What are its roles and provenances?   And how does it succeed within the academy given its transparently dogmatic and brutish character—or is that its appeal?  (“Transparent” here being the key distinguishing term).   And how odd it is—given its unavoidably interstitial and randomizing effect while nonetheless claiming to be foundational.  Finally, if there has been a neoformalist reaction to the evolutionary functionalism of the mid-20th century, is there any evidence of a “neo-functionalist” reaction to neoformalism?
  • The Postmodern Betrayal.  Some critics of postmodernism (this would correspond to the residual presence of partisans of the social) often claim that the postmodern tendency by emphasizing this—call it decenteredness—effectively reproduces and intensifies political paralysis and results in “demobilization.”   The postmoderns meanwhile respond with the usual incredulity: “Right, I see and you are mobilized, are you?”   Are we building towards a new aesthetics of politics or simply witnessing its demise?   (Back to Adorno—the administered world?)
  • An Integrating Concept?   Is there something especially distinctive about contemporary law, or what it might mean to “think like a lawyer?”  If there is an integrating concept, is it emancipatory?  How can we know?

PRO-SEMINAR 9: Law, Economic (in)equality, and Global Social Movements
Conveners: Chantal Thomas and Brishen Rogers.

This Pro-Seminar is not accepting application for 2013.  

In recent decades, global economic inequality has become a central concern for political theorists, legal activists, and legal scholars. Yet over that same period global inequality has increased dramatically. This proseminar will explore the relationship between law, emergent social movements that oppose neoliberal economic and social policies, and global justice. Examples of such movements might include — but by no means be limited to — mobilizations against the international financial institutions and more recent global mobilizations surrounding the “Occupy Wall St.” movement; movements to obtain equal access to prescription drugs; and various new labor movements emerging outside of “official” unions in both developed and developing nations.

Questions to be explored include: What would a critical legal theory of global justice and equality look like? Within such a theory, how much importance would we attach to resource and opportunity distribution, grassroots democratic mobilization, and anti-subordination norms? What is the role of law — national and international, hard and soft, formal and informal, substantive and procedural — in promoting or hindering the development of democratic egalitarian social movements? What — if anything — is distinctive about modern global social movements, and do they force reconsideration of traditional understandings of the relationship between law, class, nationalism, race, gender, and equality? What do those movements tell us about the strengths and failings of predominant liberal theories of global justice? How might 20th century strategies and concepts such as civil rights, the welfare state and the regulatory state limit or continue to advance visions of equality in the contemporary context?

PRO-SEMINAR 10: Economies of Desire
Conveners: Janet Halley and Duncan Kennedy

This Pro-Seminar continues the work of the 2011 Pro-Seminar Global Governance, Queered (aka the Pro-Seminar on Gender in Post-Colonial Legal Orders). It will provide the opportunity for engaging with canonical critical scholarship on desire, sex, gender, affect, intimacy, sexuality, and family. We currently anticipate three concentrations: Economies of Desire; Colonial/Postcolonial Dynamics; and The Irrationalist Theme in Critical Legal Thought. Each session will involve discussion of classics in the critical legal tradition and of works in progress by members of the Pro-Seminar. The Pro-Seminar will support members’ proposals for panels on our concentrations at the IGLP June 3-4 Conference and will hopefully eventually lead to a publication modeled on Kennedy and Fisher, A Canon of American Legal Thought.

Past Pro-Seminars 


Click HERE to learn more about the 2012 Pro-Seminars

  • Pro-Seminar 5: Re-Theorizing Liquidity
  • Pro-Seminar 7: Global Poverty and Heterodox Development Pathways: Mapping, Method, and Critique
  • Pro-Seminar 8: Globalization of Law and Legal Thought (1970-Present)
  • Pro-Seminar 9: Law, Economic (In)equality, and Global Social Movements


Click HERE to learn more about the 2011 Pro-Seminars

  • Pro-Seminar 1: Transnational Social Policy and Labor Regulation: Crisis and Change
  • Pro-Seminar 2: Gender, Social Movements, Peace and Conflict
  • Pro-Seminar 3: The Center and Periphery in Global Law and Political Economy: Colonialism to Development
  • Pro-Seminar 4: Gender in Postcolonial Legal Orders
  • Pro-Seminar 5: Re-Theorizing Liquidity
  • Pro-Seminar 6: Renewing Latin American Legal Studies


About the IGLP

The Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) at Harvard Law School is a collaborative faculty effort to nurture innovative approaches to global policy in the face of a legal and institutional architecture manifestly ill-equipped to address our most urgent global challenges. We aim to provide a platform at Harvard for new thinking about international legal and institutional arrangements, with particular emphasis on ideas and issues of importance to the global South. We are particularly grateful to the Qatar Foundation, and to our other Sponsors the Real Colegio ComplutenseVisa Inc., and J&A Garrigues, S.L.P., who continue to show their faith in our efforts to provide a focal point for European, international and comparative law, and economic development study at Harvard Law School.