How the Law Underdeveloped Racial Minorities in the United States

Nov 2020

The Columbia Journal of Race and Law's 10th Annual Symposium is entitled How the Law Underdeveloped Racial Minorities in the United States, and it will be held over Zoom on Friday, November 20th, 2020, from 5 pm to 7:20 pm est, and Saturday, November 21st, 2020, from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm est. This symposium will explore the specific ways that the law had been, and continues to be, used in the underdevelopment of racial minorities in the United States.

“Underdevelopment” is a well-theorized area of study in other social sciences and yet very little is written about it or discussed in the legal academy. Generally, “underdevelopment” refers to the economic conditions of a society as measured by the standard of living of its people. While “underdevelopment” as an analytical framework has largely been used in the international context, the late historian and African American scholar, Manning Marable, adapted it in his analysis of the conditions of Black Americans in the United States. By almost every measure—policing, health outcomes, education, wealth—the condition of racial minorities in the United States, and of African Americans in particular, are in a state of underdevelopment as compared to white Americans. The goal of this symposium is to explore and interrogate the intertwined relationship between the law and the underdevelopment of racial minorities in the United States.

To that end, CJRL’s 2020 Symposium will focus specifically on three foundational areas of legal studies: Criminal, Property, and Contract Law. Within each area, scholars will examine how the law was, and is, used as a tool in the underdevelopment of racial minorities in the United States.

The event will be co-introduced by Sheila Adams, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal's Volume 1 and current counsel in Davis Polk’s Litigation Department and Antitrust and Competition Group, and Ariana Bushweller, Editor-in-Chief of Volume 10. The opening Keynote will be a conversation between Professor Kendall Thomas, critical race and constitutional law scholar and Professor Katharina Pistor, law and development scholar and author of Code of Capital. Friday's Property and Contract Law panel will be moderated by Professor Maeve Glass, award-winning legal historian, and will feature: Professor Mehrsa Baradaran, author of The Color of Money: Black Banks and Racial Wealth Gap; Professor Etienne Toussaint, Co-Director of the University of the District of Columbia's Community Development Law Clinic; and Bruce Orenstein, producer of the Shame of Chicago: The Segregation of American City. Saturday's Criminal Law Panel will be moderated by Professor Shaun Ossei-Owusu, criminal law and civil rights scholar, and will feature: Professor Bennett Capers, Director of Fordham University's Center on Race, Law & Justice; Rukia Lumumba, Founder and Executive Director of the People's Advocacy Institute; and Naima Gregory, supervising attorney at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. Closing remarks will then be given by Alexis Hoag, research scholar and Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School.

Please register here. You can  find more information at Registrants will also gain access to Bruce Orenstein's documentary, "The Color Tax: Origins of the Modern Day Racial Wealth Gap."

We hope to see you there!

Event Contact

The Columbia Journal of Race and Law

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