Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Call for Papers

The Private Law Junior Scholars Conference is a collaboration between the law faculties of the University of Toronto and Tel Aviv University. It aims to create a forum for junior researchers from around the world to exchange about private law and different aspects of private law scholarship. The conference provides a select number of doctoral candidates, post-doctoral researchers and junior faculty (pre-tenure) with a unique opportunity to present their work and receive meaningful feedback from senior faculty members and peers. Last year’s conference, themed ‘Public Aspects of Private Law’, received 70 submissions. A total of seven presentations were selected by the organizers and leading private law scholars from the universities of Tel Aviv, Toronto and Yale, which included Hanoch Dagan, Avihay Dorfman, Larissa Katz, Daniel Markovits, Ariel Porat, and Arthur Ripstein.

This Year’s Topic: Autonomy in Private Law: Past, Present, Future

Autonomy has long stood as the central pillar of conventional scholarship in private law. Much of private law, as depicted in these accounts, is built around the ideal-typical vision of autonomous agents as the relevant legal subjects, and frequently, private law is also claimed to realize and enhance autonomy. The assumption of the existence and desirability of autonomous agents and agency appears to be shared by widely diverging approaches to private law.

Private law’s autonomy-paradigm is, however, increasingly challenged by alternative theoretical accounts of the field that identify freedom as private law’s central pillar, and/or stress the relational dimension of private law. Additional challenges emanate from societal and technological developments that create new areas of power imbalances. At the same time, precisely because of its perceived emphasis on autonomy, private law might seem to offer a promising normative framework for addressing some pressing societal problems.

These challenges and promises invite further reflection about the place of autonomy in private law’s past, present and future. The 2019 Private Law Junior Scholars’ Conference aims to explore these issues, shed light on resulting tensions, and develop possible future perspectives. We invite papers that explore the overall conference topic from different theoretical and methodological vantage points, including historical, comparative, empirical, and critical perspectives.

Papers could address, but are not limited to, the following questions: (1) How have autonomous agents and autonomous agency been conceptualized in private law from the 19th century to date, and how might they be viewed in the future? (2) Are equality, autonomy, and independence in private law an ideal or delusion? (3) How might private law provide tools to address contemporary economic, technological and other potential threats to individual autonomy? (4) Are current societal and technological developments foreshadowing the end of the autonomy-paradigm, or does it stand unchallenged, after all? (5) How are we to conceive of the interrelations between autonomy and restrictions of autonomous agency and decision-making in different areas of private law? (6) What is the relationship among party autonomy, regulation, and standardization in different areas of private law?

More information could be found at: https://pljsc.wordpress.com/