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Equality, Law and Social Justice Residence

19th June – 7th July 2023

Call for scholars to participate in a sustained 3 week interdisciplinary and international conversation on equality, law and social justice to be held in London.

This is the first in an annual series of research-intensive thematic residences.

Background

Applications are invited from academics, in Britain and internationally, who are interested in participating in the 2023 summer research residence, which will be on the theme of Equality, Law and Social Justice, at Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London.

This is the first gathering in what is planned as an annual interdisciplinary event to be held at the Dickson Poon School of Law in London addressing an important and topical legal theme. It will involve a mix of programmed and informal activities with a core group of approx. 25 scholars over 3 weeks, including lectures, reading groups, work in progress seminars, and scoping discussions, leaving plenty of time for participants to undertake other activities, including research and informal networking.

The aim of the event is to share ideas, deepen and develop new understandings, build academic conversations across different intellectual perspectives, and to create new research networks in this area. For our gathering in 2023, we welcome scholars working on issues of law, social justice, and equality (including anti-discrimination and equity) from different perspectives and across different fields. This includes law, sociology, politics, geography, development and global studies, gender, race, disability and sexuality studies, and philosophy. We also welcome scholars from other fields who would like to participate in a three-week residence exploring the questions identified below. The core group will be a mix of junior, mid-career, and senior scholars.

Successful applicants will be invited to contribute to both the programming and the activities taking place. Travel assistance is available for all participants. For participants coming from the Global South, some financial assistance with accommodation and living costs may also be available.

Key questions for discussion

This three-week gathering will explore law’s evolving relationship to equality and social justice agendas. The questions listed below are at the heart of this forward-facing discussion:

  1. What contribution can law make (and not make) to tackling inequality and social injustice? What understandings of both inequality and social injustice are relied upon in the development of legal frameworks? How do epistemic inequalities affect how equality and social justice are understood?

  2. To what extent have social justice agendas been channelled into specific legal frameworks, such as equality, human rights, and anti-discrimination law, and to what extent should they be? What effect does such channelling have on other areas of law and policy that are relevant to tackling inequality and to advancing social justice, including: housing, taxation, health, planning, migration, social security, and the environment?

  3. What relationship exists between the categories developed to critique inequality and the categories used to undo it? What problems and dilemmas can arise in using historically institutionalised understandings of categories of disadvantage and subordination for remedial purposes in law and policy

  4. Do equality law and human rights regimes treat social relations (such as gender, religion, and ethnicity) as “social property” – that is as assets or attributes of individuals and groups - at the expense of more structural understandings? What are the effects of this “property” framing on legal activism and decision-making?

  5. How do municipal policymakers, regulatory agencies, NGOs, and grassroots communities engage with equality agendas? How should we account for the surpassing, reinterpretation, and rejection of equality law when it comes to policy and activist practice?

  6. What relationship do domestic equality regimes have to transnational inequalities? Are transnational inequalities countered, sustained, or ignored by domestic legal equality frameworks?

  7. What ambitions exist for equality law? Can legal research usefully rehearse, imagine, and redesign future equality-promoting legal structures?

To apply

We welcome applications from interested scholars at all career stages. Please submit your application by 30 September 2022. Applications should be sent to lawresearch@kcl.ac.uk. They should include

  • 1–2-page letter describing your work in this area and what you would hope to contribute and gain from participation
  • a short up-to-date CV.

Applicants do not need to already be directly addressing the questions above in their research. Our aim is to select a diverse group of scholars whose work and thinking can together contribute to developing a deeper understanding of these issues.

Applications from PhD students and independent scholars are welcome.

Funded applicants are expected to participate in the full three-week event. We anticipate 2-3 activities being scheduled each week, to leave time for participants to undertake other activities. Please direct academic enquiries and queries to Davina Cooper.

For administrative, travel and financial inquiries, please contact Madeleine Coles.