February 8, 2014
by ar254@cornell.edu

Upcoming Presentation at NYU Law School Feb. 24

I will be presenting my forthcoming paper, Managing Regulatory Arbitrage: A Conflict of Laws Approach, in Grainne de Burca and Benedict Kingsbury’s workshop series on international legal theory at NYU Law School on February 24.  The workshop will be held in 316 Furman Hall. More information is available here.  A copy of the paper is available here.

January 31, 2014
by ar254@cornell.edu

Upcoming Keynote at Tempennton Conference, “Imagining Utopia,” Princeton University, Feb. 21

On February 21, I will present “Is the Law Hopeful?” as the keynote address at an annual conference organized by graduate students in anthropology at U Penn, Princeton and Temple Universities.  More information about the conference is here.

Here’s the abstract of my paper:

What does the law contribute to hope? Is there anything hopeful about law? What can legal studies contribute to the now vigorous debates in economics, sociology, psychology, philosophy, literary studies and anthropology about the nature and sources of hope in personal and social life? Rather than focus on the ends of law (social justice, economic efficiency, etc.), Riles will focus instead on the means (or techniques of the law). Through a critical engagement with the work of Hans Vaihinger, Morris Cohen and Pierre Schlag on legal fictions and legal technicalities, she argues that what is “hopeful” about law is its “As-If” quality.

May 1, 2013
by Annelise Riles

Upcoming Talk: University of Michigan, May 11

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.


The full list of talks and events is available here

April 16, 2013
by Annelise Riles

Upcoming Talk: Cornell University, April 19

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.

The full list of talks and events is available here

March 13, 2013
by Annelise Riles

Three upcoming talks: New School, Hangzhou, Shanghai

I will give three talks over the next two weeks:

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


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


  • 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) 


The full list of talks and events is available here

March 5, 2013
by Annelise Riles

The Changing Politics of Central Banking

Bank of Japan, Tokyo

Last weekend we convened a quite exciting conference on “The Changing Politics of Central Banks” sponsored by the Cornell International Law Journal (symposium website). The focus on central banks as political actors is clearly timely given the growing awareness of the public of the distributive effects of monetary policy and also the debates taking place in many countries around the world about the proper scope of independence for central banks.  Yet we lack a sufficiently rich vocabulary for talking about this politics. Moreover, this is one of those interesting places where traditional right-left divides do not apply: what do we make of Paul Krugman’s embrace of Abenomics, for example?

The perspectives of the conference participants–academics and central bankers, mainly–varied considerably.  Keynote speaker Dan Tarullo pointed out that while independence make sense in the realm of monetary policy there is no reason for independence with respect to the central bank’s regulatory role, since in that space it acts very much like other kinds of administrative agencies which are subject to various forms of oversight (press coverage of Dan Tarullo’s remark: 1, 2, 3, 4).  Peter Lindseth, an administrative law and EU law specialist, spoke of the need for precisely this form of administrative oversight. Anna Gelpern pointed out that given what she called “the big blur” of monetary and fiscal policy, we need to begin to reeducate the public about what political legitimacy for central banks should look like.  Katharina Pistor argued that the focus on central bank legitimacy was not the entirely right question–that we should be asking “what kind of global financial system do we want”–because as long as we have this system, central banks can do nothing other than what they are currently doing.  Bob Hockett argued for an international central bank that would better address the needs of the global financial system than can a network of national central banks.  I took the opposite approach to Bob to the same problem: I suggested that the field of conflict of laws, with its rules for determining “who is in charge” in any particular situation, could better coordinate regulation transnationally than can global institutions.  Doug Holmes presented the findings of his extensive research on how central banks communicate with their various publics and constituencies in order to demonstrate that central banks are in fact more in touch, and more accountable, than the formal institutional structure would suggest.

What was resolved at the conference? I think we clarified a few points:

  1. Central banks are indeed political institutions that can and should be analyzed as such.
  2. Given that the genie is out of the bottle and there is indeed a “big blur” between monetary and fiscal policy, we need new ways of talking about the political accountability of central banks.
  3. There are nevertheless interesting variations in this politics from one state and market to the next, and even in any one context, the processes of accountability are far more complex and multivocal than they appear at first site.
  4. All of this impacts on the ability of central banks to cooperate in order to forestall future financial crises.


Sounds like a mandate for more research.  Stay tuned!

February 21, 2013
by Annelise Riles

Upcoming talk: ‘The Changing Politics of Central Banks’ Symposium, February 23

Saturday, February 23, 2013: Cornell Club (New York, NY)
Symposium ‘The Changing Politics of Central Banks’

Talk: ‘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.

January 27, 2013
by Annelise Riles

Upcoming talk: Copenhagen, January 30, 2013

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.


The full list of talks and events is available here

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