Engaging the Law in Eurasia and Eastern Europe

Russian Constitutional Court

Russian Constitutional Court

On January 10-11, 2013 nine scholars from institutions across the United States convened at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington, DC for the first of a series of workshops on “Engaging the Law in Eurasia and Eastern Europe.” The workshop series is a collaboration between REEEC, the University of Illinois College of Law and the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars,  the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, and the University of Wisconsin Law School.  The workshops are designed to bring together junior scholars in the field of East European and Eurasian study who study topics of law and society to discuss their work currently in progress and receive feedback from fellow participants as well as a panel of expert moderators. These nine participants were selected through a national competition held in spring 2012.

Participants are:

Sergei Antonov, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harriman Institute Columbia University

Brad Tyler Epperly, Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina

Lorita L. Ivanova, Juris Doctor Candidate, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Jordan Gans-Morse, Assistant Professor, Northwestern University

Lauren McCarthy, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Daniel Asher Newman, PhD Candidate, University of California Los Angeles

Alisa Oblezova, Senior Lecturer, Perm State University & Wilson Center

William Partlett, Non-Resident Fellow, Brookings Institution Washington D.C.

Karen E. Weber, PhD Candidate, New York University

Sophie Wilson, Lecturer, University of Washington

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 (the former states of the Soviet Union) and Eastern Europe.

The faculty moderators for the workshop include Dr. Kathryn Hendley (University of Wisconsin), Dr. William Pomeranz (Kennan Institute), and REEEC Faculty affiliate, Dr. Peter Maggs (Illinois College of Law). In addition to providing feedback for participant papers, moderators also facilitated peer-to-peer exchanges among all of the workshop contributors. Included in the event was a networking opportunity with colleagues from USAID and the Brookings Institute for workshop attendees that allowed for a discussion on non-traditional academic careers and how research is used in the policy community.

Further information about the workshop series, a public event (scheduled for May 2013) related to the program, and abstracts of participant papers can be found on the REEEC website.

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