Talks & Events

Upcoming Events:

      • April 18, 2016: Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) 
        Conference Panel:   “The Changing Politics of Central Banking: What is the State of the Art in the Social Sciences “                                             
        Location: Statler Ampitheater, Visit Website 

Past Events:

      • February 5, 2016: International Governance Workshop (Rochester, NY)
        “Feminist Futures after the Comfort Women Settlement”, with Karen Knop                               

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      • July 30, 2015: Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan)
        Global Legal Studies Research Association: “From Comparison to Collaboration”

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      • July 11, 2015: Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan)
        Research Seminar: “Legal Amateurism”

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      • June 6, 2015: Conference of Private Law and Public Order, Yale Law School (New Haven, CT):
        “Is New Governance the Ideal Architecture for Global Financial Regulation? ”

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      • June 2, 2015: Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School (Cambridge, MA)
        “Legal Amateurism ”

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      • May 16, 2015: University of Colorado School of Law Faculty Retreat: 
        Keynote Lecture: “Legal Amateurism ”

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      • February 11, 2015: Global Finance Initiative Seminar, Cornell University (Ithaca, NY):
        “New Approaches to International Financial Regulation ”

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      • May 11, 2013: University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
        Keynote address of the 15th Annual Michicagoan Conference ‘Nice Form: Aesthetics, Poetics, Techniques’
        3:30-5:00pm – East Conference Room, Rackham Graduate School Building, University of Michigan, 915 E Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI

        Conference program available here.

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      • May 9, 2013: University of Victoria (Canada, BC)
        ‘After the Document: Collaboration’
        Canadian Anthropology Society Conference – Keynote Address
        Video of the Keynote available here

        10:30am: MacLaurin Building A 144, University of Victoria, BC

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      • Friday, April 19, 2013: Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
        ‘Retooling: Expertise for an Uncertain World’
        Society for the Humanities Annual Fellows’ Workshop: “Beyond Risk: Temporality, Aesthetics, Politics”
        Full workshop program available here

        9:15-10:45am: A.D. White House.

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      • Thursday, March 14, 2013: New School for Social Research (New York, NY)
        Market Collaboration
        6:00pm: Department of Anthropology, Wolff Conference Room 1103.

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      • Thursday, March 21, 2013: Hangzhou Normal University (Hangzhou, China)
        Collateral Knowledge: Legal Reasoning in the Global Financial Markets
        12:00pm: exact location TBA.

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      • Saturday, March 23, 2013: EALS Conference (Shanghai, China)
        Author Meets Reader–Collateral Knowledge: Legal Reasoning in the Global Financial Markets (Chinese Edition, 2013)
        1:00-2:20pm: Third East Asian Law and Society conference, Panel 34, KoGuan Law School, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai.

Chair:  Yu Xingzhong (Cornell University) — Readers:  Luke Nottage (University of Sydney), Fleur Johns (University of Sydney), Wang Jiaguo (Hangzhou Normal University), Pang Congrong (China Democracy and Law Press), Qiu Zhaoji (Northwest University of Political Science and Law)

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      • Monday, February 25, 2013: Harvard Law School (Cambridge, MA)
        Market Collaboration
        4:00pm-6:00pm: Wasserstein (WCC) 3016, Harvard Law School.

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      • Saturday, February 23, 2013: Cornell Club (New York, NY)
        Symposium ‘The Changing Politics of Central Banks’
        Presentation: ‘Addressing Regulatory Arbitrage: A Conflict of Laws Approach to Central Bank Coordination
        9:20am-10:20am: Cornell Club, 6 East 44th Street, New York, NY
        The symposium ‘The Changing Polics of Central Banks’ (websiteschedule) will take place on February 22-23.  The symposium is open for public registration, which includes two-day admittance and meals during the symposium.

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      • Wednesday, January 30, 2013: Danish Institute for International Studies (Copenhagen, Denmark)
        Conference ‘Central Banking at a Crossroads: Europe and beyond’
        Talk “Collateral management and market totalitarianism
        10:30am-12:00pm: Axelborgsalen, Axelborg, Vesterbrogade 4A, 1620 Copenhagen V.
        Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. Please register online through this link: http://www.diis.dk/sw125496.asp no later than 14 January 20I3 and await confirmation by e-mail. Confirmations will be sent out from the beginning of January. There is a limited number of seats and they will be distributed on a first come first served basis.

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      • Wednesday, January 23, 2013: Kent Law School, University of Kent
        From Comparison to Collaboration: New Directions in Comparative Law and the Anthropology of Law
        2:00pm-4:00pm: EX9 (Kent Law School – Eliot)

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      • Monday, January 21, 2013: London School of Economics
        “Managing Regulatory Arbitrage: A conflict of laws approach”
        6:00pm-7:30pm: London School of Economics, Moot Court Room, NAB  

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      • Thursday, November 15, 2012: American Anthropological Association conference, San Francisco

Financial Crises, Economic Action, and Anthropological Practice: Ethnography and Calculative Reason
8:00am-11:45am: Hilton Hotel, 333 O’Farrell St., San Francisco, CA

Organizers:  Daromir Rudnyckyj (University of Victoria) and Douglas R Holmes (Binghamton University, SUNY) — Introductions:  Daromir Rudnyckyj (University of Victoria) – Chairs:  Janet Roitman (The New School for Social Research) and Caitlin M Zaloom (New York University)

Roundtable Presenters:  Douglas R Holmes (Binghamton University, SUNY), Annelise Riles (Cornell University), Bill Maurer (UC Irvine), Hirokazu Miyazaki (Cornell University), Karin D Knorr Cetina (University of Chicago), Benjamin Lee (New School for Social Research), Jane I Guyer (Johns Hopkins University) and Aihwa Ong (UC Berkeley)

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      • Wednesday, November 14, 2012: American Anthropological Association conference, San Francisco

The Anthropology of Finance Policy: an IGAPP Roundtable
8:00am-9:45am: Hilton Hotel, 333 O’Farrell St., San Francisco, CA

Organizers:  Anette Nyqvist (Score, Stockholm University and Stockholm University) and Janine R Wedel (George Mason University) – Chairs:  Annelise Riles (Cornell University)

Roundtable Presenters:  David A Westbrook (SUNY Buffalo Law School), Alexandra Ouroussoff (Brunel University), Anette Nyqvist (Score, Stockholm University and Stockholm University), Patricia Ensworth (Harborlight Management Services) and Melissa S Fisher (New York University)

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      • Friday, September 21, 2012: London School of Economics
        Conference ‘Exploring the Legal in Social-Legal Studies’
        “Against Market Totalitarianism: Thinking Through Technique”
        9:15am-10:30am: New Academic Building, 2.04, Sardinia Street, London

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      • Friday, September 14, 2012: Max Plank Institute for Social Anthropology (Halle, Germany)
        Workshop on Comparison and Comparability of Legal Cultures
        9:30am-10:00am: Max Plank Institute for Social Anthropology, Advokatenweg 36, Halle, Germany 

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      • Friday, September 7, 2012: Max Plank Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law (Freiburg, Germany)
        Conference ‘Regulation, Law Enforcement and the Financial Crisis’
        “Against Market Totalitarianism: Thinking Through Technique”
        11:30am-12:15pm: Max Plank Institute for Foreign and International Law, 19 Furstenbergstrasse, Freiburg, Germany 

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      • Tuesday, June 5, 2012: Law & Society Association Meeting (Honolulu, HI)
        Author Meets Reader – Collateral Knowledge: Legal Reasoning in the Global Financial Markets, by Annelise Riles
        2:30pm-4:15pm: Hilton Hawaii Village Resort  

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      • Tuesday, June 5, 2012: Law & Society Association Meeting (Honolulu, HI)
        New Approaches to Financial Regulation: An Interdisciplinary Conversation
        8:15am-10:00am: Hilton Hawaii Village Resort 

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      • Tuesday, May 29 – Wednesday May 30, 2012: University of Copenhagen at the Carlsberg Academy
        International Conference – New Frontiers of Legal Realism  

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      • Saturday, March 23, 2012: Harvard Law School
        Global Legal Education Forum
        10:45am-12:00pm: Langdell North  

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      • Monday, February 20, 2012: University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)
        NCBL Downtown Speaker Series
        12:30pm: Four Seasons Hotel, Seasons Room 

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      • Monday, December 5, 2011: Hong Kong University
        Rosdget Young Lecture: 6:30-7:30pm, Council Chamber, 8/F Meng Wah Complex. Registration required, please e-mail tinaxie@hku.hk for inquiries.

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      • Friday, November 18, 2011: AAA Meeting (Montreal, QC)

 “Becoming Corporate” Session (Session 4-1090),  Palais des Congrès de Montréal (Montreal Convention Center)
Organizers: Suzana M Sawyer (University of California, Davis) and Hannah C Appel (Columbia University)
Chairs:  Suzana M Sawyer (University of California, Davis)
Discussants:  Bill Maurer (University of California, Irvine)

Schedule:

16:00-16:15    Rethinking “Risk” and “Return” In Investments, Corporate America, and Mainstream Financial Culture. Karen Z Ho (University of Minnesota)
16:15-16:30    Becoming a Petro-State: How Natural Gas Extraction Is Dividing the United States. Sara Wylie (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
16:30-16:45    Of Littoral Offshores: Contracting Risk In the Equatoguinean Oil Industry. Hannah C Appel (Columbia University)
16:45-17:00    The Corporate Multiple. Suzana M Sawyer (University of California, Davis)
17:00-17:15    Collateral Knowledge: Legal Reasoning In the Global Financial Markets. Annelise Riles (Cornell University)
17:15-17:30    The Situation of the Corporation. Andrew Barry (Oxford University)
17:30-17:45    Discussant: Bill Maurer (University of California, Irvine)

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      • Monday, October 10, 2011: IT University of Copenhagen
        13:15- 14.45: ITU Aud. 1.
        Followed by a lecture (15.00 – 16.30) entitled “The gift of finance” by professor Hirokazu Miyazaki, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University

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      • Friday, October 7, 2011: Copenhagen Business School
        2:30-4:30: Copenhagen Business School, Room SP113.
        IOA Public Lecture Series, ‘Organizing Uncertainty.’ To register, e-mail registration.ioa@cbs.dk before Sep. 30

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      • Thursday, September 15, 2011: Harvard University
        5:15-6:45: Harvard Law School, Pound Hall, Room 200.
        Sponsored by the Tobin Project and the Institute for Global Law and Policy

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      • Monday, September 5, 2011: Duke University
        12:00pm: Duke Law School

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      • Tuesday, May 3, 2011: Brown University
        6:00pm: Pembroke Center

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      • Monday, May 2, 2011: Wesleyan University
        4:30pm: Center for the Humanities

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      • Monday, May 2, 2011: Yale University
        12:00pm: Yale Law School

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      • Wednesday, April 27, 2011: Cornell University
        12:15pm: Cornell Law School
        4:30pm: Cornell Store

University

4:00-6:00pm – Room 920, Level 9, Melbourne Law School (185 Pelham Street Carlton)

0 Comments

  1. Two weeks ago I attended the talk at Yale Law School; extremely interesting in its own right, but it also got me thinking more about law and development.

    In the talk Professor Riles detailed her use of the lens of anthropology to study how collateral functions in and constitutes global financial markets and governance. Collateral for Professor Riles seems to be both the financial instrument as well as a “motif”, a “technical little sideline item”, “something on the margins.” Take the case of AIG’s sudden collapse, a collapse precipitated by a collateral call by Goldman Sachs. No party, not Goldman Sachs or other investors who later also called up their collateral for repayment, questioned the legal validity of these collateral calls. That is, AIG’s lawyers never challenged legally the idea that they should repay their collateral. This is surprising because these collateral calls are governed only by contract, contracts which elite lawyers would likely have no problem attacking as valid.

    Instead, bankers and financiers focused their debates around the value of the collateral itself. Professor Riles then paraphrased Larry Summers, that this is the result of “the rule of law, not the rule of men”, and gestured at the idea that collateral could be not only a financial technique but also a site of legal and political legitimacy for a financial system. The phrase “rule of law” made me realize her presentation also had interesting implications for structurally deep theories of law and development. I think Professor Riles implicitly challenged two dominant narratives in law and development work, and suggested to me another way to look at the mediation of market norms by law.

    The first dominant narrative her presentation challenged is the narrative of property rights and development. Her book invokes Hernando de Soto, and seems to rest easily alongside the idea that property and titling, of which collateral is a part, are the key to unlocking development outcomes. However, Professor Riles’ ideas focused more on collateral not as a legal reform tool and a fix-all but rather as a political tool and a site of evolving transnational legal technologies. That is, the power of the language of collateral gives people the ability to use a shared understanding of what makes a transnational “sense of a good argument.” Collateral, because it operates on the margins of visibility in markets, might give a wider variety of players a chance to make engage in this “good argument.” Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo gesture towards this idea in the context of interfamily dynamics in their new book, Poor Economics:

    “[T]here are important policy consequences from ignoring the complicated dynamics within the family . . . . giving women access to a formal property title is important for fertility choices, not because it changes her view on how many children she wants but because it makes her views count more.”

    Professor Riles focused in a similar way on collateral’s implications for the “back office”, making the mid and lower-level bureaucratic work force. These views are just as important for development. And making these views count more might produce a kind of stabilization in the institutions where development is normally theorized to take place, be those institutions family farms or financial instruments. I see the causal link between regulation and market mediated by social norms, both informal and formal, law on the books and law in action, and now I’m wondering what law does to shape these mediating social norms.

    The second dominant narrative that Professor Riles’ presentation complicated for me is the picture of law and development as judicial reform. She gestured at the fact that financial regulators and financiers strive to avoid courts specifically, and national laws more generally. This strikes at the idea that a legal system’s court characteristics matter much, and perhaps shows that a focus on court reform or judicial systems misunderstands laws true power in an emerging, or rapidly changing, society.

    These two implicit challenges point to an approach to law and development that is infinitely more complex and rich. This view seems to open up, at least for me, new ways of thinking about how law matters for development. An approach that takes legal language, transnational networks, and the “back office” into account has deep implications for how we think about market norms. In this sense the phrase “collateral knowledge” actually implies a pathway through which law could really matter for the formation of these norms. But importantly, this formation is not as direct as we may think it is. Therefore development outcomes themselves operate collaterally, through the actions of quotidian legal implementers rather than either a state regulator or the unconstrained and informal spirit of a market community. To the extent that these everyday implementers use the language of collateral, it would be an interesting question to know, descriptively, just how transnational various local markets are.

    Professor Riles writes in her book that collateral is “paradigmatic of a class of low-profile, mundane, but indispensable activities and practices that are too often ignored as we think about how markets should work and how they should be governed.” I think that’s right not only for studying financial markets but for studying how law and development merge more generally. For example, an interesting study would be whether rural, agricultural market regulators use the language of collateral to shape the norms of market exchange in the selling of produce and agricultural goods. Or how joint liability schemes to mitigate risks of disaster, disease, or crop failure are mediated and shaped through what dialectic of collateral those in the market are using.

    Between the optimists and the skeptics is a “hollow core” and in that core perhaps lies the work ahead for law and development. Rather than gesturing at grand theories of contract or property, we should be investigating, quantifying, and experimenting with the “back office”, and that includes the way they experience and talk about collateral.

  2. Daniel,
    Thank you for this really brilliant intervention. Your question at the talk and your comment here has prompted me to think about the relationship between the findings of this research and those of my previous research which are literally and figuratively a thousand miles away. My first book, The Network Inside Out (2000), focused on law and development issues–both property rights issues and women’s rights issues–and was based primarily on fieldwork in Fiji. Although I don’t want to exaggerate the similarities, as you say, it is useful to focus on the role legal techniques play not just in elite financial markets but in the lives of, say, rural landowners in Fiji as well.
    One of my many quibbles with De Soto is that he assumes that norms are stable–you add property rights and nothing much changes, except that people now have a new tool to better do what they always were trying to do before. This ignores how, as you say, the introduction of a legal language changes the pathways for peoples’ interactions. There are now new terms, new battlegrounds (is that contract for sale real or a forgery? what was the meaning of a certain clause in the contract? etc), new institutions, from land registries to scriveners and lawyers to courts.
    Now I agree with you that the courts may be the least important aspect of all of this and that one implication of the approach I take here for law and development may be that rather than focus on courts alone we might want to begin to focus on other sites of legal professionalization, from foreign LLM programs to the training of local police, victim advocates, or legal scriveners whose job it is in many countries to draft contracts or prepare land titles. And contra De Soto again I would insist that the effects of the introduction of legal techniques as a modality of sociality are not predictable in advance. They may stabilize things and bring prosperity as he insists or they may not. More interestingly, they may have all kinds of other effects. For example, in one chapter in my previous book I describe how a community of mixed race people who lacked cultural authenticity from their own point of view and the point of view of indigenous people in Fiji used land titles–and particular the process of dividing land among kin at each generation–as a kind of substitute for culture, norms, and identity.
    In any case, thank you so much for getting me thinking about these connections. I hope we can continue the conversation.

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