Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

Southwestern Hosts Two-day Workshop Covering "Debt, Austerity and the Possibilities of the Political" November 07, 2013
Southwestern Hosts Two-day Workshop Covering "Debt, Austerity and the Possibilities of the Political"

The economic crisis of 2008 exposed a fragile global financial system. In the United States, the "American Dream" financed with "easy" credit was exposed as an empty promise. In the European context, the sovereign debt crisis resulted in the imposition of harsh spending cuts and tax increase measures in several nation-states, undermining social safety nets and wage structures, rupturing traditional alliances, and driving down individual standards of living. These meltdowns evoked a strong reaction and brought worldwide attention to socio-economic inequality.

On November 15 and 16, 2013, prominent legal scholars and practitioners will gather at Southwestern for Stuck in Forward? Debt, Austerity and the Possibilities of the Political, a ClassCrits Workshop co-sponsored by The Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy and SUNY Buffalo and UC Davis School of Law. ClassCrits is a network of scholars and activists interested in critical analysis of law and the economy.

More than 50 speakers will participate on panels covering a range of topics related to the causes, consequences and implications of the 2008 economic crisis at this two-day event, which is being presented by the Southwestern Law Review. Participants will critically examine ways in which the law and politics can be used to develop real and utopian solutions in the new post-recession global order.

This workshop will explore the possibilities and alternatives for a genuinely progressive economic project in an age of resurgent neoliberal policies and politics, worldwide shifts in population and demographics, and hegemonic economics. "It's especially timely right now, given that the economic recovery is still far from complete and no discussions, let alone solutions, have emerged amidst the gridlock in Washington D.C. that even begin to scratch the surface of the inequality that exists and even now continues to grow exponentially here and abroad," said Professor Danielle Hart, faculty coordinator for this event.

Participants will review challenges of our age including: globalization; shifting power relationships between the developed world and formerly "third world" countries; massive intergenerational and upward transfers of wealth; abject poverty; staggering debt; wage stagnation; a declining middle class; an increasingly dysfunctional food system; and environmental and climate risks that will require concerted national and international efforts. Professor Akhil Gupta, Director of the Center for India and South Asia at UCLA, will deliver the keynote address during the lunch on November 15.

Southwestern Law Review is a student-edited quarterly journal that publishes articles and comments on the law which are submitted by prominent jurists, practitioners, law professors and student members. It is published four times annually, and focuses on a variety of legal issues in California and federal law. Articles written in coordination with this symposium will be published in the Law Review.

The symposium will take place from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, November 15 and 8:30 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, November 16 in the historic Bullocks Wilshire Building on Southwestern's campus, 3050 Wilshire Boulevard, in Los Angeles. For a map and directions, visit A complete schedule and information on registering for the event can be found at Although a limited number of spaces will be available the weekend of the symposium, advanced registration is requested.