The International Journal of Constitutional Law (I-CON) is pleased to announce a call for abstracts for a workshop on “Public Law and the New Populism” to take place at NYU School of Law on September 15, 2017.  The workshop will be co-hosted by the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law & Justice at NYU.

The focus of the workshop will be on the relationship between the current populist turn in national and international politics, on the one hand, and legal norms and institutions on the other.  The aim is to bring together constitutional, international and public law scholars to investigate some of the distinctively legal dimensions of the populist wave sweeping the world’s democracies.  Each paper will be presented and discussed by an assigned commentator and other participants.  Following the workshop, there may be an opportunity for a subset of the papers to be submitted to the I-CON journal as a proposed symposium issue.

Abstracts of between 250 and 750 words should be submitted on or before March 31, 2017, by email to Daniel Francis at, with “Populism Workshop Submission” in the subject line.  Final papers will be due by August 15, 2017.  We hope to attract a genuinely diverse group of scholars in all respects.  We particularly welcome proposals which address of one or more of the following questions:

  • One phenomenon or several?  What might be the shared or unifying dimensions, if any, of the challenges presented to constitutional and public law and institutions by the recent populist turn across the US, Europe, and parts of Asia?  Are there common problems and questions across jurisdictions or are these different and distinct phenomena?   Are they similar or different to those raised by earlier populist movements in Latin America and elsewhere?
  • Which elements of the constitutional order are under strain?  Populist movements and populist leaders can present new challenges for the norms and institutions of public law: which aspects or elements of the constitutional and legal order will face the greatest strain in this new chapter of political history?
  • Public law as a cause?  Does the rise of populism reflect a backlash against a systematic neglect of non-elite interests in or from constitutional and international law processes?  Have aspects of public law or its application played a role in bringing about this rise?
  • Public law’s response.  Does (or should) the substance or application of public law — including its norms and its institutions — adapt in any ways to accommodate the phenomenon of populist politics?  Can (or should) public law become a point of resistance during periods of populist politics?  What are the implications of the populist turn for courts and the judiciary?
  • What about international and transnational public law?  Can (or have) international or transnational legal norms and institutions responded in adequate ways to the strongly nationalist dimension of the populist turn?  Do international legal norms and institutions have a legitimate role to play in shaping, constraining, or reinforcing domestic political processes at such times?  More generally, what are the implications of the populist turn for law and legal institutions beyond the nation-state?