By Leslie Francis
As a scholar working in health law and bioethics, a persistent concern of mine has been the somewhat limited connections between those fields and scholars in the social sciences, particularly political science, economics, and sociology.
Perhaps the best venue for interchange among the social sciences and law may be less well known among folks in health law and bioethics than it should be (at least to judge from inquiries I received when I posted a recent call for papers on the mcw bioethics listserv): the Law and Society Association (LSA).
LSA brings together law faculty and social science scholars, including many scholars interested in social science, legal, ethical, and political philosophical issues about health. LSA was founded in 1964 and meets annually. It publishes the Law and Society Review —a highly respected journal of empirical work about law.
Many of my law professor friends (especially those more on the political left, it’s fair to say) regard LSA as their intellectual home. Meetings are well attended—the meeting last June in Toronto was attended by about 3,000 scholars, primarily law professors, social scientists, and social philosophers.
It is the most global meeting I attend (other than the International Association of Bioethics)—probably at least a third of those who come to LSA are from Europe, Australasia, or other areas of the globe, including significant numbers of scholars from sub-Saharan Africa.
LSA is organized with “CRN”s, or “collaborative research networks”, including a very active law and health CRN. The current co-leaders of the law and health CRN are myself (professor of law and philosophy and director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences, University of Utah, email@example.com), John Francis (professor of political science, University of Utah, firstname.lastname@example.org), and Anne-Maree Farrell (professor and chair of health law and society and director of the Centre for Health Law and Society, LaTrobe University, email@example.com).
In addition to law and health, there are very active CRNs in related areas such as disability legal studies, biotechnology, bioethics and law, economic and social rights, and labor rights.
LSA meets annually in early summer, Next year’s meeting will be in Washington, D.C., May 30-June 2, 2019.
The call for papers is out and the meeting’s theme is “Dignity.” Although the connections of this theme to health are clear, LSA always allows for its theme to be broadly construed, and for submissions that do not come directly within the theme.
Submissions for the meeting can be in the form of panels, individual papers, poster sessions, author meets critics sessions, or roundtables. I would urge anyone with interests in health law and social science to submit to the meeting. LSA is particularly welcoming of junior scholars and even graduate students, too. It is a terrific opportunity for young scholars just starting out. It’s also a great way to get the word out about a new book—author-meets-critics sessions are very well attended.
Submissions should be sent directly to LSA, noting CRN #9 (law and health), and should also be sent directly to the CRN at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submissions to LSA is Nov. 7, and please submit via this link.
Please make sure to follow LSA-specific instructions regarding types of submission, abstract guidelines, submission instructions for individual papers, and so forth. The conference homepage and CFP list all information, including registration and hotel information.
As CRN co-chairs, Anne-Maree, John, and I will organize all accepted submissions to the CRN that are good fits for the CRN into panels or other types of sessions. We may also be receiving submissions from LSA that seem to be a good fit for our CRN, and we will try to fit these into panels.
We will also notify LSA of any submissions we received that are not good fits for the CRN. Notification of acceptance will be sent out no later than December 15. We would also welcome discussion with any of you about possible ideas for submissions.
These are surely difficult times for health across the globe—and the theme of dignity could not be more relevant to LSA or to the law and health CRN. I hope to see both old and new friends at LSA next spring.