As Chair of the Younger Comparativists Committee (“YCC”) in the American Society of Comparative Law (“ASCL”), I am pleased to announce that over 100 younger scholars will gather this weekend at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon for the Third Annual YCC Conference. Our host and Program Chair is Ozan Varol, who for the past 9 months has led a talented and indefatigable Program Committee in planning this conference.
This edition of the annual YCC global conference in comparative law will welcome scholars from far and near: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Japan, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Scotland, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United States.
The conference will begin with a welcome reception and is structured around four sessions of concurrent panels and one plenary luncheon panel on “Modern Challenges to Constitutional Democracy.” The full program is available here.
The annual YCC global conference has become the premiere scholarly gathering in the world for younger scholars of comparative law. As we approach the date of the conference, it is worth reflecting on the work of the YCC and how it is helping to shape the future of comparative law.
The YCC is a committee of the ASLC, one of leading learned societies for the study of comparative law. The YCC serves as a forum for younger comparative law scholars (with ten years or fewer of faculty experience), creates opportunities for younger comparativists to develop and share their research, and facilitates and promotes the scholarly exchange of ideas and research in all areas of comparative law.
When John Reitz (then-President of the ASCL) asked me in February 2011 to serve as Chair of the YCC, I did not hesitate to accept. I joined the YCC Board alongside Trey Childress, Wulf Kaal, Salil Mehra and Elizabeth Trujillo. We set our objectives high: to make the YCC the leading site of scholarly interaction around comparative law for younger scholars.
In an effort to involve more younger scholars in the work of the YCC and in the life of the ASCL, we created three advisory groups relating to scholarship, recruitment, and interdisciplinarity. Each of these groups is chaired by a younger scholar and consists of a total of roughly 5-7 younger scholars.
Today, our advisory groups are more than incubators for ideas for new programming; they are often the source and organizing force behind our new programs. With guidance from Ioanna Tourkochoriti, our Director of Advisory Groups, these three advisory groups have innovated exciting opportunities for younger scholars to improve their scholarship and deepen their interest in comparative law.
For example, our Scholarship Advisory Group publishes a semi-annual New Scholarship Bulletin, which highlights new scholarship by younger scholars in all fields of comparative law. Our Affiliates Advisory Group maintains our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages and invites as-yet uninvolved younger scholars to join our programs. And our Linkages & Engagement Advisory Group has created a growing online database of teaching materials, including syllabi and reading lists.
The core of the mission of the YCC is to develop and promote scholarship in comparative law. To that end, we host a works-in-progress plenary panel featuring the scholarship of junior and recently-tenured faculty at the Annual Meeting of the ASCL, for which papers are blind-reviewed by our Scholarship Advisory Group. We also organize mid-year workshops and roundtables on specific subject-matter areas of comparative law. For example, this Fall, we will co-host a symposium on constitutional conventions and a conference on comparative business and commercial law. We have also created a mentorship program linking senior and junior scholars in the ASCL according to subject-matter interest.
The YCC also awards two annual prizes. We award an annual prize for the best graduate law student paper on comparative law. Starting this year, this annual prize will be named the Colin B. Picker Award, in honor of Colin Picker, the founding chair of the YCC. And insofar as we also seek to cultivate interest in comparative law among undergraduate law students, we also award the Phanor James Eder Award for the best undergraduate law student paper on comparative law; this prize is named after the founding President of the ASCL. We plan to award a third prize for excellence in comparative law teaching.
But our signature program is our annual YCC global conference, which will be held for the third consecutive year. We created the YCC global conference because there was a need for it. There are conferences in which younger scholars can participate, but they are not specific to comparative law. A subject-specific conference like this can be immensely valuable for both scholarly and social purposes; it gives scholars a rigorous environment within which to refine their work, and it also allows them to meet and network with others in the field.
Our first global conference was hosted by Claudia Haupt in April 2012 at George Washington University. Our second was co-hosted by Shawn Boyne and Mohamed Arafa in April 2013 at Indiana University in Indianapolis. Our fourth annual YCC global conference is scheduled for April 2015 at Florida State University; David Landau, a co-editor of I-CONnect, will host the conference.
The YCC Board–which now consists of Virginia Harper Ho, Sudha Setty, Ozan, Wulf and me–looks forward to continuing to provide a forum for younger scholars to develop their scholarship and to deepen their interest in comparative law. We have received strong support from the leadership of the ASCL, namely President Patrick Glenn and the Executive Committee. We invite all younger scholars to join an advisory group, host a YCC event and to send us your suggestions for how we can be of even better service to younger scholars in comparative law.
Suggested Citation: Richard Albert, Third Annual YCC Global Conference and the Future of Comparative Law, Int’l J. Const. L. Blog, Apr. 3, 2014, available at: http://www.iconnectblog.com/2014/04/third-annual-ycc-global-conference-and-the-future-of-comparative-law