Community Blog

  • 2 Sep 2021 22:31 | Amanda Kovalczuk

    by Amanda Kovalczuk (amandakovalczuk@gmail.com) and Izabela Zonato (izabelazonato@gmail.com)

    The ideas for writing this text came up in a conversation between the two of us, Izabela and Amanda – both master’s students at the IISL from classes of 2018 and 2019, respectively – about how to manage the pressures for publishing in academia. Our main concern was, in a time in which budget restriction and job insecurity hassle Brazilian academics and postgraduates, how to find balance between putting ideas out to the public and thoroughly processing data analyses and results. While the first often stands as a requirement for academics, it is no surprise that drastic cuts in funding, as well as the effects of the Covid crisis in the country, are severely affecting academic performance and health of Brazilian students. In face of that, we decided to put together a text, suggesting our guiding question as follows: is there a way to keep up to excellence standards in academia, while still conserving a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment within the difficult conditions that are posed? Can our writing process still be carried out as an enriching experience, other than simply responding to pressures for publication and risking burnout? 

    At the time we had our conversation, Izabela was reading The Burnout Society, by the Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han (2015). Amanda, on the other hand, had just came across a beautiful piece by the black, lesbian feminist Audre Lorde (1991), in which the author addressed uses of the erotic. We gathered the reflections both authors inspired us to elaborate in this short text. We depart from Audre Lorde’s perspective on the erotic as a creative life force that moves towards excellence and self-affirmation, and from the conception of burnout as an exhaustive state of hyperactivity and self-referentiality, as suggested by Byung-Chul Han. Considering the difficulties for the first to thrive in the face of the conditions imposed by the latter, we situate these reflections in the Brazilian academic context.

    According to Lorde (1991), the erotic is a deeply female (though not in an essentialist fashion), commonly unrecognized and unused resource that touches the spiritual, the physical, and the emotional realm. For her, the Western society is rooted in “the suppression of the erotic in our lives” (1991, p. 88), as it naturalizes a system that “robs our work of its erotic value, its erotic power and life appeal and fulfillment” (1991, p. 89).

    The erotic, for Lorde, beyond any sexual meaning, conveys a creative, living force that encourages a self-affirmative posture that can be present each everyday activity. It consists of “an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire” (Lorde, 1991, p. 88). This internal sense of satisfaction and completion can be made conscious in every activity we engage in, as it is not related to the character of the activity itself, rather to one’s implication in it. Likewise, it can also be used to encourage excellence in everything we do, such as work and writing processes, and is most fostered by sharing deeply with others. As the author explains, “within the celebration of the erotic in all our endeavors, my work becomes a conscious decision – a longed-for bed which I enter gratefully and from which I rise up empowered” (Lorde, 1991, p. 88).

    The current Brazilian academic context, however, boosts anything but an erotic working process. In face of funding cuts, and of an increasingly scarce prospect of teaching positions, competition and hyperproductivity are fostered. While some postgraduate students simply decide to refocus and pursue non-academic careers, those who remain are eager to answer questions such as this: how will some of us be able to succeed and fill in such scarce positions in universities? What should one do in order to stand out? A general feeling of burnout is then stimulated: not an individual, psychological condition, but a systemically induced fatigue that relates to a general sense of acceleration and hyperactivity, as if they were the only path for succeeding. 

    In Byung-Chul Han’s interpretation (2015), we live in a performance society that leads to a depressive state in which the late-modern subjects tend to feel like losers. They inhabit a social unconscious that feeds a constant seek for productivity, while paradoxically produces tiredness. Thistiredness, in the terms posed by Byung-Chul Han (2015), has also relational consequences, as it is a lonely, individualist, and isolated state.

    Tiredness and insufficiency are then produced in a never-ending process of escalation of achievement expectations. In it, the feeling of completion in having reached a goal is never present. Feeling that no achievement is enough, and no final goal exists, the late-modern individual is incapable to rest and to appreciate what has already been accomplished, living in constant shame for what has not yet been done (Han, 2015).

    Byung-Chul Han (2015) suggests that, lacking awareness of the consequences of these processes, the achievement-subjects are unable to say no. They constantly believe themselves to be capable of doing anything, and tend to live in a state of self-comparison. They push themselves to overcome their own capacities until they reach a psychic collapse state - the burnout. The burnout, in that sense, stands as the pathological consequence of self-exploitation.

    By considering both Byung-Chul Han’s and Audre Lorde’s works integratedly, and in the face of achievement-oriented practices in some academic spaces, we suggest that the overworking state in which many postgraduate students find themselves often prevents the time to seek pleasure and emotional connection. In Lorde’s (1991) terms, it may leave us less erotic, and less conscious in our myriad daily activities - even in our own research and writing processes. Likewise, as posed by Han (2015, p. 18), we often may find ourselves in a fleeting state, in which we lack vigor, and in which “merely working and merely living define and condition each other”.

    We started this text by posing some quite ambitious questions. While we surely do not have the answers for that, we were willing to offer our reflections on the issue. We also intended to publicly remark that, perhaps quite ironically, a quite important part of young researchers like ourselves have pursued academic careers because we saw in it a space where we could explore our restless curiosity towards the social world. We shared, in the words of Audre Lord (1991), an eros in our intellectual activity. We may not know exactly how it may keep flourishing in times like these, but we are sure that making our individual creative process collective may be a first successful step towards it.

    We are looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter.


    Han, B. C. (2015). The burnout society. Stanford California Press.

    Lorde, A. (1991). The Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power. In Gray, P. H. The uses of theory. Text and Performance Quarterly, 11(3), 267–277. https://doi.org/10.1080/10462939109366014.

  • 28 Jul 2021 18:44 | Claudia Serna

    Las protestas sociales que empezaron en abril pasado evidencian las grietas del régimen político y económico colombiano, y, al mismo tiempo, dan cuenta de los ajustes que han de realizarse. Se filtran entonces las voces, los reclamos. Las necesidades que se soportan individualmente se hacen colectivas. Y los cambios que requiere el país se expresan de distintas formas. Tiene cabida la rabia, pero también el arte. En la calle se abraza la lucha, la gente se mira a los ojos, grita al unísono. El silencio no tiene más lugar.

    Desde el 28 de abril miles de colombianos salieron a las calles para manifestar su desacuerdo con el Gobierno actual. Y es que, en medio de la pandemia del covid-19, el aumento del desempleo y el empobrecimiento generalizado de la población colombiana, el presidente Iván Duque decidió recaudar impuestos para hacer un ajuste fiscal grabando productos de la canasta básica como los huevos, el arroz y el café. Un acto violento en un país que, en el tiempo del confinamiento, se observaron cientos de casas con trapos rojos con los que los moradores querían llamar la atención pues, ante la prohibición de salir a trabajar, estaban pasando hambre.

    Pero paradójicamente, en plena pandemia, el presidente invertía en armas, y en material de guerra. La compra de balas, gases lacrimógenos, camionetas, tanquetas, e incluso, aeronaves para la Fuerza Aérea, estuvo a la orden del día. Una compra de lujo, en el mismo país donde no existe la prestación de desempleo; ni se aprobaron medidas como los Expedientes de Regulación Temporal de Empleo (ERTE), ni la renta básica, para paliar los efectos económicos producidos por la pandemia.

    Todo ello motivó el estallido social. Este paro nacional ha sido uno de los más significativos en la historia del país, pues no se habían presentado protestas sociales que se prolongaran por tantos días, y que se extendiera así por la geografía nacional. El cual hasta ahora da cuenta de más de 1.100 movilizaciones en todo el territorio. Regiones abandonadas históricamente por el Estado comenzaron a ser visibles, así como los jóvenes de los barrios populares de las ciudades.

    El amplio repertorio de acciones y reivindicaciones, visibilizó nuevos sujetos políticos y diversos asuntos que resolver en un estado social de derecho. Este paro ha tenido la singularidad de no ser exclusivo de un sector social, no es de los sindicatos, ni de las organizaciones estudiantiles, ni de la izquierda progresista exclusivamente, es la suma de mucha gente consciente que reclama mejores condiciones de vida. La minga indígena, las mujeres, las madres, los jóvenes, estudiantes o no, empleados o no, alzan la voz para reclamar mejores oportunidades. Dicen que les han quitado todo, hasta el miedo, aun cuando la represión estatal ha sido brutal.

    Solidaridad, organización, represión

    La movilización social despertó la solidaridad de gran parte del pueblo. Se convocaron artistas, grafiteros, orquestas de música para ofrecer su arte al pueblo. En los barrios se hicieron ollas comunitarias donde se preparaba comida para todos. Los profesionales –abogados, médicos, enfermeros– se organizaron para defender y apoyar la labor de la primera línea, –quienes, con sus cuerpos, sin armas y sin mayores recursos, intentan proteger la movilización social frente a las brigadas del ESMAD–.

    El Gobierno por su parte, en su propósito de retomar el orden y lograr el control de la movilidad en las principales vías del país, hizo un uso desproporcionado de la fuerza, activó mecanismos de violencia soterrados, como las ejecuciones extrajudiciales, y recurrió a acciones coordinadas con civiles, es decir con grupos paramilitares para enfrentar la protesta.

    En medio de este despertar, se han documentado alrededor de 80 muertes de presunta responsabilidad de la Fuerza Pública. Además de un alto número de actos de abuso de autoridad, tortura, tratos crueles inhumanos y degradantes; violencia sexual, lesiones personales, mutilaciones de ojo, detenciones arbitrarias, e incluso casos de desaparición forzada, cometidas en su mayoría a personas entre los 17 y 30 años de edad. Denuncias que fueron documentadas recientemente por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos quien visitó el país para constatar las graves violaciones a los Derechos en manos de la policía, en connivencia con grupos paramilitares.

    A pesar de todo este panorama y la represión sufrida, gran parte de los colombianos está convencido de que es necesario transformar este país. Y para la muestra, las madres de los jóvenes muertos, que las podemos ver alzar la voz y reclamar por los crímenes de Estado. Madres que abrazan las luchas que sus hijos estarían dando. Mujeres que se organizan para encontrar a sus hijos desaparecidos, para reclamar justicia y para quienes la verdad es su única necesidad.

    Las madres, en primera línea

    De ello da cuenta Estella, la madre de Lucas Villa, quien, a pesar de haber sufrido el asesinato de su hijo, el 5 de mayo en medio de las protestas, está convencida de que «para que haya un cambio siempre se requiere de un momento complicado. En este momento estamos sintiendo que Colombia se quitó la venda y quiere ver más, quiere vivir con intensidad este cambio, porque este es un pueblo especial, ya nos estamos dando cuenta. Yo lo sentí hace unos dos o tres meses, (pensaba) Dios mío donde se despierte este pueblo, la pérdida de vidas, todo lo que va a suceder es complicado. Pero es de la única manera que se dará el cambio. Sin sacrificio no se obtiene algo mejor. A veces, hay que apropiarse y decir es duro, hay que poner la vida y la sangre de uno mismo, pero ¿por qué?, porque va a haber algo mejor y ese será un cambio en la humanidad. Cosas que son difíciles en medio el caos, pero el cambio no se da de la noche a la mañana y requiere de pasos, de momentos, de que la gente vaya entendiendo, y adaptándose», subraya.

    Y es que Estella también ha sufrido por la falta de empleo e ingresos económicos en Colombia, por lo que hace un par de años, decidió viajar al Estado español para buscar las oportunidades que en su país le negaron:

    «En Colombia, para la gente de los estratos más bajos cada vez es más difícil la situación, y en el caso de Lucas, de mis hijos, las oportunidades son imposibles ya de alcanzar, a todo nivel, ya no hay salud, ya no hay trabajo, ya no hay estudios, los chicos ni ropa pueden ponerse, ni el ocio, que es muy importante para el ser humano; en Colombia decir que se va de vacaciones a la costa, es un lujo», manifiesta.

    Estella dedica gran parte de su día a día a visibilizar lo que sucede en Colombia, poniendo especial énfasis en el rol de las madres que, en medio de la precariedad y el abandono de los padres, entregan todo su tiempo para sacar a sus hijos adelante. Está convencida de que es necesario visibilizar todas esas cosas que vivió y que viven muchas mujeres, «pues hay muchos hogares donde somos las mamás las que llevamos la parte económica, porque los papás se van y no importa, no se preocupan de si los hijos comen o no, de si están o no están. No les interesa. Es de admirar que son las mamás las que ponemos el pecho y enfrentamos la vida, una mamá se convierte como en tres personas y de todo hacemos», remarca.

    Y es que, dentro de este paro, las madres han tenido un papel protagónico, tanto que incluso se dieron a la tarea de conformar una primera línea. Tal y como admite, «yo como mamá estaría en primera línea, a mí no me daría miedo, yo no entiendo qué se mueve en uno mismo para que se den ciertas cosas, pero en esta situación no me da miedo. A las mamás que están en primera línea, siempre que me las encuentro en Facebook les escribo: guerreras, ánimo, fuerza, las admiro, adelante, así se hace, esto es admirable, yo las acompañaría, les daría aliento. Ya por lo que estamos viviendo, por lo menos muchas dirán, la mamá de Lucas salió a darnos una voz de aliento, esto vale la pena, ya no voy a dejar a mi hijo solo».

    Lo que hoy se manifiesta es una profunda convicción por la necesidad de un cambio en el país y es que los colombianos están ya en el límite del empobrecimiento. Es el reclamo social porque se atiendan las necesidades humanas y que el Estado funcione para frenar la precariedad de la vida de las personas en territorios y sectores históricamente abandonados.

    A partir de las protestas, el Gobierno ha retirado algunas reformas que ajustará y presentará de nuevo; así como han renunciado algunos funcionarios responsables del desastre; pero para la gente, esto ha sabido a poco. Actualmente ha mermado la intensidad de las protestas, el Gobierno ha sabido jugar en la medida en que no cedió a la mayor parte de las exigencias y supo esperar a que el paso del tiempo desgastara la movilización. Ahora se empeña en perseguir judicialmente a los miembros de las primeras líneas. Mientras tanto, el pueblo se sigue preparando a través de las asambleas y reuniones en las que se ponen en conversación los cambios que se deben adelantar en el país. Estamos como en suspenso, se siguen acumulando inconformidades; pero se siente en el ambiente, que algo está cambiando, el pueblo colombiano, ya no es el mismo.

  • 24 Dec 2020 15:23 | Susana Arrese (Administrator)

    Dear friends and colleagues,

    A lot of things have been written about the year that is concluding, and a lot of things will be written about 2020 in the future. We all assisted in the first row to a glimpse of how the future of humanity looks like; and, we haven't left our seat yet.

    2020 has been a tough year, the COVID 19 provoked a social, economic, and health emergency as no other we have been able to experience in our individual lifetimes. The outcomes and consequences of the disruption of the virus in our world are not completely clear. I think no one can fully understand how the world has changed. However, this is an opportunity and a challenge for our field.

    This year has been particularly cruel to our guild, we lost many colleagues and friends, people that we admire and love. Please, keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Let's remember each one of them with a smile, let's try to keep their legacy alive. That will be our best memorial to honor their lives.

    Next year will not be easier; however, we have, and we will keep developing the tools to overcome the adversities to come. Our community will evolve, and we have a lot of exciting surprises coming. Please keep safe, healthy, and beloved. Enjoy these holidays and wherever you live, whatever is your faith, remember that you have in Oñati your Community, your happy place to join with friends, family, and colleagues. As we say in Basque…

    Zorionak eta Urte Berri On"

    Oñati  Community Team (onaticommunity@gmail.com)

    OC Christmas Letter.edited.pdf

  • 27 Oct 2020 17:22 | Izabela Zonato Villas Boas

    This is an initial analysis of gender at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law (IISL), which will be divided into 3 parts: students; professors; and AJA award winners.

    • Students
      • 2019/2020 – 9 students, 7 women (78%), 2 men (22%);
      • 2018/2019 – 8 students, 5 women (63%), 3 men (37%);
      • 2017/2018 – 13 students, 8 women (62%), 5 men (38%);
      • 2016/2017 – 12 students, 4 women (36%), 7 men (64%);
      • 2015/2016 – 23 students, 8 women (35%), 15 men (65%);
      • All students: 65 students, 32 women (50%), 32 men (50%).

    It is possible to understand that between 2015 and 2017 the number of women was lower than that of men. However, from 2017 to 2020 the number of women is higher than that of men. Therefore, the total number of students in the last 5 years shows a balance where half are women and the other half are men.

    • Professors
      • 2019/2020 – 18 professors, 8 women (44%), 10 men (56%);
      • 2018/2019 – 16 professors, 7 women (39 %), 9 men (61 %);
      • 2017/2018 – 17 professors, 8 women (47%), 9 men (53%);
      • 2016/2017 – 15 professors, 4 women (27 %), 11 men (73 %);
      • 2015/2016 – 15 professors, 3 women (21 %), 12 men (79 %);
      • All professors: 81 professors, 30 women (37 %), 51 men (63 %).

    It is important to inform that the total number of teachers refers to the sum of professors, where, for example, Professor Ulrike Schultz appears 5 times for being present in all years of the analysis.

    Given this metric, it is possible to verify that between the years 2015 and 2017 the number of female professors was less than 30%. Between 2017 and 2020 there was an increase in the number of female teachers, but it is still lower than the number of male professors who always exceed more than 55%.

    • André-Jean Arnaud Prize winners

    It is important to mention that the prize was created to celebrate André-Jean Arnaud (AJA), the first director of the International Institute for Sociology of Law, who passed away in 2015. The prize is actually a symbolic distinction given every year to the student having produced the best Master Thesis of the IISL.

    • 2019/2020 – Mariana Vivian Motta, from Brazil;
    • 2018/2019 Maria de los Angeles Ramallo, from Argentina;
    • 2017/2018 – Pamela Teutli Elizondo, from México;
    • 2016/2017 – Florencia Radeljak, from Argentina;
    • 2015/2016 – Arianna Jacqmin, from Italy.

    Therefore, it is possible to note that, in the last five years, since the creation of the prize, only women have been winners. In addition, all of these women are from Latin languages, and four of them are Latin American.

    PS: The information collected regarding the number of students and prize winners was collected on the IISL website. Information on the number of professors was collected from posters for disseminating the courses (with the help of dear Susana Arese).

  • 10 Jun 2020 15:15 | Susana Arrese (Administrator)

    We have started a series of interviews with Oñati Community members. The first one, to Ihintza Palacin, Master's student 2014-15, took place on May 6. 

    The second one with Prof Johannes Feest, Scientific Director of the IISL, 1995-97, Master's Professor during several years. took place on May 14.

    The third one will be with Camilo Umaña, former master's student and current master's professor on May 27, at 19:00.

    And the fourth one, with Annette Lansink,from South Africa. 10th June, Wednesday, at 19:00.

    "Categories of exclusion and systemic injustice" an important theme for most societies (black, Roma, oriental, indigenous, immigrant, the poor, muslims, non-muslims, jews, non-jews, women). How is the situation in South Africa? 

    What would you like to know about her? Hobbies, current research interests? We will ask her about it.  If you want to send her your own questions, send a message in advance to the email onaticommunity@gmail.com

    Join us at @onati.community (Instagram)

    New youtube channel with interviews:


  • 28 Apr 2020 11:37 | Dota Szymborska

    We started our text by being underling that we are veterans, that's true. According to VO2MAX (calculations from my fancy watch) I am twenty-two years old so I will not write in which year Prof Tomasz Kitlinski and I attended the NS's summer school. TCDS allowed us to meet wonderful professors, I got a book's grant from Ann Snitow, but most of all I made new friends, you know those ones for life…. 

    After this long introduction, here is a link to Tomek's and my text/impression about courage in these hard times. 


  • 19 Feb 2020 19:40 | Pável H. Valer Bellota

    La Revista de la Facultad de Derecho de la UNSAAC (Perú) ha abierto la Convocatoria de Artículos para el dossier “Derechos Lingüísticos y Políticas Públicas” , con el objetivo de reunir artículos académicos, productos de investigación, sobre el fenómeno del plurilingüismo moderno/post colonial de los Estados de América Latina y otras realidades. Los artículos escudriñarán la subsistencia del modelo lingüístico colonial orientado a extinguir el uso de los idiomas originarios mediante la castellanización o la imposición de lenguas imperiales en América, así como en otras realidades geográficas.  Mayor información en: CONVOCATORIA DE ARTÍCULOS

    Call for Papers  “Linguistic Rights and Public Policies”

    The JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY OF LAW AND POLITICAL SCIENCES (UNSAAC. Peru) is proposing fir its next issue the topic “Linguistic Rights and Public Policies”  with the aim of gathering academic articles, research products, about the phenomenon of modern / post colonial multilingualism of the Latin American States and other realities. The articles will scrutinize the subsistence of the colonial linguistic model aimed at extinguishing the use of native languages through Spanish, or the imposition of imperial languages in America as well as in other geographical realities. More information at: CALL FOR PAPERS

  • 28 Jan 2020 14:14 | Pável H. Valer Bellota

    Estimadas amigas y amigos, con mucha alegría les comunicamos que el dossier "Mujeres, Derecho y Poder" de nuestra Revista de la Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias Políticas, Nro. 11 (UNSAAC-Perú) , ya está disponible en su edición en papel. Quienes quieran un ejemplar pueden solicitarlo a pavel.valer@unsaac.edu.pe

    También les invitamos a leer la revista en su edición digital en el siguiente link http://revistas.unsaac.edu.pe/index.php/RFDCP/


    Dear friends, with great joy we inform you that the dossier "Women, Law and Power" of our Journal of the Faculty of Law and Political Science, No. 11 (UNSAAC-Peru), is now available in its paper edition. Those who want a copy can request to pavel.valer@unsaac.edu.pe 

    We also invite you to read the magazine in its digital edition in the following link http://revistas.unsaac.edu.pe/index.php/RFDCP/

  • 13 Dec 2019 11:50 | Susana Arrese (Administrator)

    Bill swept into the American Bar Foundation (ABF) as Director in 1986 and things were never the same again. Decisive, forward-looking, gregarious, smart, adventurous, sociable, mischievous - Bill has it all and the ABF got his all in full measure.

    The ABF was at a decisive moment. Jack Heinz, the outgoing director, had commissioned an external review that declared the institution needed a sharp turn if it were to become a world class research center. Yet, at the very moment when resources were critical a Supreme Court case led to a radical drop in funding at the ABF. Undaunted, Bill treated this as an opportunity. This former US navy officer began to clear the decks, an unenviable task that had to be done if the ABF were to survive and thrive.

    Bill had a terrific nose for first-class sociolegal scholarship, being a first-class scholar himself. He loved Oxford and immensely admired Wolfson’s Centre for Sociolegal Studies. He determined the ABF would set its sights on similar glory.

    Bill being Bill of course required that a new vision for the ABF required travel—a fact-finding mission that took his polyglot stellar wife, Gray, and me to London, Oxford and Paris, somehow involved the Orient Express, and took us via Vienna and Bucharest eventually to Sofia, Bulgaria. Maybe this was Bill’s maiden voyage with the Research Committee on the Sociology of Law and the Working Group On the Legal Profession.

    Bill’s enthusiasm was contagious and it spread fast at the ABF. Ever sociable, Bill would walk the hallways at lunchtime, dragging us out of our offices to enjoy community meals together.

    His sense of mischief and great humor seeded ABF events where he shamelessly dressed in outrageous costumes, found any excuse for a party, and cooked up fun schemes with complicit grad students.

    Broken fingers. Yes, we can blame Bill for those too. He decided ABFers should play softball weekly during the summer in a park just across the road from our offices. The softball was surprisingly hard and about the size, it seemed, of a soccer ball. Funnily enough it turned out quite a few of us were competitive. Injuries followed, but the game went on.

    Bill, educated in America’s most elite institutions, has a splendid egalitarian impulse. He decided the ABF needed doctoral students to inject their creative energy into the place. He took grad students seriously as intellectuals. He didn’t play normal status hierarchies. Bright ideas, first-rate research was what mattered from whomever it originated.

    I loved our walks and talks. The ABF overlooks Lake Michigan and Bill and I discovered we could have a delightful midday walk along the shore to a small lighthouse. I soon learnt that Bill was open to any idea under the sun and if he liked it he would move with blinding speed to make it happen.

    Innovations blossomed under Bill’s leadership. The ABF Research Journal  published by the ABF became Law and Social Inquiry published by the University of Chicago Press. A predoctoral program brought the best and brightest future sociolegal scholars to the ABF. Bill had a vision for minority undergrads and he instituted a diversity program for promising students, a program that endures with great success to this day.

    Bill had a global sensibility before it was fashionable. India, the headwaters of the Euphrates River, the high seas, Bill had lived there or passed by or wanted to pass by. This true cosmopolitan invested the ABF heavily in the first joint international conference of the LSA and RCSL in Amsterdam.

    Bill and travel. I once asked him what was the secret that somehow had him doing good works and fine research in all sorts of appealing foreign places. His superb advice: first, think of places you want to go, then, figure out a project that gets you there! I’ve tried to follow in his footsteps ever since.

    His notion of exotic spots was a bit warped though. For me it would have Involved beaches and exotic food or at least elegant charm, Aix-en-Provence, for example. For Bill no place was more wonderful than Peyresq. I still recall his great triumph at finding this once deserted, now rebuilt village, in about as remote a place as it’s possible to be in the mountains of France.

    And speaking of travel, later in his time at the ABF Bill noticed that I spent a lot of time at an unknown place called Onati. It had it all—hiking, great food, wonderful people, unique language, young scholars. For Bill Onati became his great new adventure. Now the ABF had been propelled into hyper-Bill-speed, the Basque Country awaited. And the rest, as Johannes tells us, is history!

    Congratulations to Bill on his 90th from his many Mid-Western friends, past and present!

    Terry Halliday

  • 13 Dec 2019 11:48 | Susana Arrese (Administrator)

    Bill is not one of your everyday, run-of-the-mill, sociolegal scholars.

    Over the decades, he has practiced law, conducted empirical research, taught law, political science and sociology. He held positions at the Rand Corporation, the American Bar Foundation, at Cardiff University, Northwestern University, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara and Yale. He published in fields as diverse as dispute resolution, divorce lawyering, asbestos litigation and the legal culture of global business transactions. In the words of one of his children, he seemed "unable to hold a job for very long".

    In 1991, he organised the first International conference of the Law&Society Association in Amsterdam, together with Erhard Blankenburg from the RCSL. For the RCSL he ran the influential Working Group of Legal Professions from 1994-2000. With this background, he was the obvious choice for becoming Scienctific Director of the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Onati. He is still the only one, to have held this job jointly, alternating with another colleague (Manolo Calvo), for three years.

    In Onati, he left his mark by initiating rather revolutionary changes, e.g. depriving the teachers of the Masters Program of their stipends, in order to provide scholarships and thereby attracting students from poorer parts of the world tot he Masters Program. He also managed to transform the publications coming out of Onati workshops from a rather amateurish affair into an internationally recognized, duly peer-reviewed, series published in Oxford, England. 

    His extra-curricular activities span boating, fishing, golfing, mountain climbing, voter registration (for Obama), organising shelters for the homeless (after Catrina), the founding and funding of a non-profit NGO (to aid refugees in Africa). In his late eighties, Bill brought together end edited an admirable collection of narratives from his Yale School class of 1958 (What Lawywers Do). Still in the Pipeline is his long-standing work on the highest and lowest places on earth. 

    In Germany you would call a guy like him a Tausendsassa. In Spanish this untranslatable term is rendered as hombre habil para todo, in English as man of all trades (but without catching the artistic and adventurous flamboyance indicated by the suffix "sassa"). Maybe the French dictionaries come close, when they suggest as translation "diable d'homme".

    Bill has survived anti-submarine-warfare during the Korean War and several floods and fires in California.There is no way of predicting what he will come up with and survive next. We can only wait in awe and admiration and wish him the best of luck.

    For more details cf. the Wikipedia articles in English, Euskera, French, German and Spanish.

    Johannes Feest

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