Harvard Law School Political Economy Association

Critical Legal Scholarship and Activism at Harvard Law School

LPE Writing Prize Winners

The Harvard Law School Political Economy Association is delighted to announce the winners of the first Law and Political Economy Writing Prize. We were honored to receive so many exceptional papers, and look forward to many more valuable contributions to the field of law and political economy from all of the entrants. 

First Place:

Hayley Hahn, University of Virginia (JD)

Stripping the Gears of White Supremacy: A Call to Abate Reliance on Court Fines & Fees and Revitalize State and Local Taxation

“A creative and moving argument that demonstrates linkages between the two different fiscal fields of court fines and local taxation. The paper sets out a compelling narrative about the aggregate drama driving distributive inequality, as well as positioning itself in dialogue with the broader project of law and political economy scholarship.”

Second Place:

Daniel Epstein, University of Chicago (PhD)

Commodified Justice and American Penal Form

“This paper shows remarkable sophistication, complexity and clarity of thought. The author draws elegantly on both theories of the commodity form and contemporary scholarship on incarceration to illustrate the transformation of liberal thinking on justice under the conditions of American capitalism.”

Third Place:

Paniz Khosroshahy, University of Toronto (JD)

Feminist Governance in the Neoliberal University: On the Non-Performativity of Sexual Violence Policies

“This paper draws on feminist thought and scholarship to make a powerful structural critique of campus policies on sexual violence. By highlighting how law and policy operate to displace different forms of institutional politics and solidarity, it demonstrates the power of following law and political economy critiques into new sites and terrains.”

Honorable Mention (alphabetical order):

  • Juan Auz, Hertie School (PhD) – ‘So This is Permanence’: The Inter-American Human Rights System as a Liminal Space for Climate Justice
  • Barbora Cernusakova, University of Manchester (PhD) – Roma workers in Czech racial capitalism: A post-socialist case study
  • Elliot Mamet, Duke University (PhD) – “This Unfortunate Development”: Incarceration and Democracy in W.E.B. Du Bois
  • Kellen McCoy, Penn Law (JD) – COVID-19, Cost-Shifting, and Independent Contractors: The Worrying Implications of Company COVID-19 Policies
  • Maayan Niezna, University of Kent (PhD) – Entry Fees: Non-citizen Workers, Debt and Gate-Keepers
  • Gali Racabi, Harvard Law School (SJD) – Abolish The Employer Prerogative, Unleash Work Law
  • Chris Yarrell, UVA (JD) – The Emperor Still Has No Clothes: Revisiting Rodriguez And The  Federal Role In Education

Call for Submissions — Law and Political Economy Writing Prize

The Harvard Law School Political Economy Association is delighted to announce a Law and Political Economy Writing Prize for law students and graduate researchers, with submissions due by April 30, 2021. The aims of the prize are twofold. First, in a time of ecological, financial, political and social upheaval, it provides material recognition of work by law students and graduate researchers seeking to address the role of law in contemporary capitalism. Second, it aims to encourage original research and writing in this field by providing entrants with an opportunity to receive feedback from senior scholars.

The prize will be awarded by a panel of distinguished scholars, practitioners, and state or federal judges working with law and political economy approaches. The panel includes Professor K-Sue Park (Georgetown), Dr. Ntina Tzouvala (Australian National University), Professor Christine A. Desan (Harvard), Premal Dharia (Defender Impact Initiative, Harvard) and Judge Lynn Adelman (US District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin). The winning entry will receive a prize of $2,000 and priority consideration for publication in the Journal of Law and Political Economy. Second place will receive a prize of $1,000 and third place a prize of $500. The three winning entries, as well as selected finalists, will be invited to present their papers and receive feedback from senior scholars and practitioners at a workshop to be held in late May/early June 2021.

Possible topics for entries include, but are not limited to:
● Law, ecological crisis, and extractive frameworks
● The legal construction of labor, class, social reproduction, and the gig economy
● Law, financialisation, and market institutions
● Law, racial capitalism, and settler colonialism
● Algorithmic capitalism and technological futures
● Post-growth projects and alternative horizons
● Law, democracy, resistance, and social movements
● Legal pedagogy and the contemporary legal academy

Entries should be sent to HarvardLPE@gmail.com by April 30, 2021. Please forward all entries in both Word and PDF format, without your name or affiliation, along with a separate biographical note of no more than 200 words. Entrants should be currently enrolled in (or have completed in the 2020-21 academic year) a first law degree or masters degree in law, or be a current PhD or SJD candidate in any discipline. We encourage entry from those based inside or outside the United States, although due to the language constraints of our judging panel all entries should be submitted in English.

Entries will be judged on their originality, depth of analysis, and engagement with the intellectual, social and political questions underpinning the law and political economy movement. Entries should be between 8,000 and 12,000 words including footnotes and may be formatted in any standard citation style. The work should not (in whole or in substantial part) have been previously published in a journal or other publication.

Inquiries about the writing prize can be addressed to HarvardLPE@gmail.com.

Alternative 1L Curriculum

Many of us came to law school interested in how the law can advance justice, only to find ourselves disoriented by a curriculum seemingly uninterested in these questions. This syllabus is a suggestion of readings.

Nonetheless, the law has significant implications for social justice, inequality, and democracy, and we can build that community together.

Interested in learning more,  visit https://www.alternativelegaleducation.com/