Call for Papers: Engaging the Law in Eurasia and Eastern Europe

Call for Papers: Engaging the Law in Eurasia and Eastern Europe
Application Deadline: May 7, 2012

The Kennan Institute, in partnership with the Russian, East European and Eurasian Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, and the University of Wisconsin Law School, is pleased to announce a new workshop series on “Engaging the Law in Eurasia and Eastern Europe.”

Law provides the foundation for both market economies and democracies. In the years following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a wholesale rewriting of statutes and regulations as part of a reshaping of the institutional environment of these formerly Communist countries. The extent to which these reforms have taken root has varied. Each country has its own distinct legal culture, which is in part a product of the societal experience of law during the Communist period. The social demand for law also has colored the effectiveness of the reformed legal institutions in these countries, such as the bar, the courts, and various administrative agencies. On some issues, non-governmental organizations and/or individual activists have played a critical role in pressing the state to live up to its legal obligations.

Given the passage of two decades since the disintegration of the Soviet bloc, the time is ripe for an assessment of the role of law in the region. The workshop series is designed to encourage cross-disciplinary exchanges and will facilitate the creation of a cohesive cohort of young scholars focusing on legal reform in Eurasia and Eastern Europe. Participants in the series further will explore the ways in which policymakers and practitioners can find mutually beneficial dialogue with academics.

Selection for the workshop series will be based on an open national competition. Participation in the series is limited to U.S. citizens only. Applicants should be at the post-doctoral level (pre-tenure) or Ph.D. candidates who have completed field research for their dissertations. For non-academics, an equivalent degree of professional achievement is expected (J.D., MBA, etc.) Applications will be accepted from any area of social science, humanities, business, or law dealing with the region’s legal evolution, past and present.

This workshop will be led by senior scholars Professor Kathryn Hendley (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Professor Peter Maggs (University of Illinois- Urbana Champaign), and William Pomeranz (Kennan Institute) and will bring together young researchers for a series of online and in-person exchanges, culminating in a final meeting in Washington, D.C. If accepted, each participant will present a research paper that, during the course of two meetings, will be examined by senior scholars, fellow workshop participants, and outside experts to produce a final article of publishable quality. All per diem costs and travel support for workshop participants will be covered by the conference organizers.

Interested applicants should submit an abstract (up to 1000 words) of their current research, a one-page bibliography, a current CV, and two letters of recommendation of the scholar to: Engaging the Law in Eurasia and Eastern Europe, 104 International Studies Building, MC-487, 910 S Fifth Street, Champaign IL, 61820-6216. Abstracts and resumes may be sent by email to Alisha Kirchoff ( Recommendation letters must be sent by mail to the above address, or as a pdf copy of a recommendation letter to Alisha Kirchoff. All application materials must be in English and be received by May 7, 2012.

When writing your proposal, please keep in mind that the objective of these workshops is to shed new light on the region’s legal transformation and how the law is actually working in individual countries. Such research theoretically encompasses legal history, the development of judicial institutions, human rights, transnational crime, corruption, commercial law, criminal law, access to courts, the influence of international law on a country or region, and other law-related topics.

The “Engaging the Law in Eurasia and Eastern Europe” Workshop is supported by the Program of Research and Training on Eastern Europe and the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (Title VIII), the Department of Education Title VI National Resource Centers Program, and anonymous donors. For further information, please contact Alisha Kirchoff at 217- 244-4721 (, or Joseph Dresen at 202-691-4245 ( You may also visit the workshop’s website at

Posted in: Calls for Papers and Upcoming Conferences

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