Critical Legal Education

Whose ideas are they anyway?

photo: Rivka Cocker

The academic world is a strange one. Sometimes, it seems like a place of tremendous sharing, generosity and trust. Other times, one of huge paranoia as competitive individuals scramble to protect ideas and work from the scavenging gaze of others. Attending an American humanities workshop some months back, I was struck by the fact that rather than presenting…

Nelson Mandela: The Lawyer’s Ideal

Nelson Mandela at work in the Johannesburg office where he and Oliver Tambo practised law together during the apartheid era. Photograph: Jurgen Schadeberg

Today [Ed: 5 Dec] marks the loss not only of one of the greatest figures of the 20th century, but also one of the greatest lawyers. Most would readily agree that Mandela was a great leader and a great statesman. Indeed, I still remember when as a child I watched on TV with tears of joy as Nelson Mandela danced at…

Michael Gove: Education, Re-​moralistation and Foreign Policy

Gove-in-bin

“Disgrace, you’re a disgrace!” jeered Michael Gove to Tory backbenchers after the British government’s defeat over intervention in Syria. Those who are aware of the Education Secretary’s thoughts on foreign policy would have been unsurprised by this over-​excited response. It is widely acknowledged that Gove is the cabinet’s leading neoconservative and champion of Bush era doctrines of…

Adjunct, Class, Fear

adjunctdefinition

The biggest obstacle to organizing adjunct (part-​time and full-​time non-​tenure-​track) professors, who now comprise 75% of the faculty in higher education, with part-​timers working for $2700 per course on average — is fear. Most people assume that adjuncts fear retribution for boat-​rocking of any kind. That worry is not unfounded, since examples of such retaliation abound. However, many adjuncts feel paralyzed by a deeper, unspoken…

The Political in the Contract Classroom

pruitt_igoe_collapses

When we started ‘The Public Life of Private Law’ one of the conversations we wanted to have with participants, and with others following the series, was about teaching private law from a critical perspective. In particular, we wanted to think about how those of us who fell into teaching private law through a mixture of necessity and serendipity, but…

Decolonizing the Teaching of Human Rights?

Mestizaje - Guayasamin

According to the new Bolivian constitution, education is “one of the most important functions and primary financial responsibilities of the State”; it is “unitary, public, universal, democratic, participatory, communitarian, decolonizing and of quality” (art. 78, I); and, throughout the entire educational system, it is “intra-​cultural, inter-​cultural and multi-​lingual” (art. 78, II), where its “inter-​cultural character…

A Boycott of Academic Ranking Systems?

University 68

Universities and institutions of higher education across the globe are being impacted by structural change, guided by principles of the entrepreneurial university. The imposition of New Public Management principles means that universities are increasingly being managed like private enterprises. Resources are being allocated according to performance records and target agreements. Academic capitalism has entered Germany,…

‘Adjunct’ Faculty in the Neoliberal University

college-grad

Chris from Remaking the University writes to introduce a post by Ivan Evans, professor of sociology at UC San Diego. Tarak Barkawi’s opinion piece, “The Neoliberal Assault on Academia,” produced a long discussion on several lists because of its claim that faculty have played a central role in shifting their universities towards revenue metrics and managerial assessments of intellectual…

Occupy Wall Street and the Left

Occupy Oakland - Rich Black

Occupy Wall Street, for all its talk of horizontality, autonomy, and decentralized process, is recentering the economy, engaging in class warfare without naming the working class as one of two great hostile forces but instead by presenting capitalism as a wrong against the people. It’s putting capitalism back at center of left politics — no wonder, then, that…

Dissensus, the Right to Education & A New Latin American Student Movement

Chile, Police & Protestors Clash

Recently, there have been the rumblings of an emergent pan-​Latin American student movement. Crucially, this potential movement coheres around the demand for a right to education. In Colombia and Chile a new front is being fought against the creation and maintenance of private education and the implicit commodification of learning. However, this emergent trans-​continental rights-​demand is not…

Disrupting Links: Gender, Identity and Security

X-ray art by Nick Veasey

This paper is about, as the title indicates, disrupting certain pervasive and seemingly obvious links.[1] First, the link between gender and identity, wherein gender is assumed to be a stable, reliable determinant of an identity that also assumed to be fixed. Following from the assumed fixity of identity comes a link to security, wherein the more precise…

Use of Private Law to Control Student Occupations

Les Beaux Arts

I have been wondering about teaching one of the secret lives of private law; the use of the law of tort, contract and equity to regulate on-​campus student protest. There is a growing online archive — of blogs, media reports and university press releases — which details how these private tools for the defence of “university property” have been used…

Zizek on Equity & Trusts… well almost…

Zizek toilet training

Equity is something of a problem. Aside from the blatant patriarchy of the Presumption of Advancement or Common Intention Constructive Trusts, it is often a little difficult to smuggle critical (legal) theory into an Equity and Trusts course. A long time ago now, Cotterrell wrote: Legal doctrine is ideologically important not only for what it expresses but also…