Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nicholas Rowland on Govind Gopakumar’s Paper: "Acting from a distance: States, scales, spatiality and STS."

My colleague Nicholas Rowland has just returned form the meeting of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) at the Copenhagen Business School in (no surprise) Copenhagen Denmark. Nicholas Rowland, Back from 4S: Insights and Directions, Installing (Social) Order, Oct. 2012).

This post described the session Nicholas and Jan-Hendrik Passoth put together for that conference, and Nicholas’ comments on "Acting from a distance: States, scales, spatiality and STS," the paper presented by Govind Gopakumar, Associate Chair and Assistant Professor at the Centre for Engineering in Society, Concordia University, Canada. 

Corporate Social Responsibility Cultures and the Protection of Sexual Minorities in the United States

One of the most contentious issues for corporate social responsibility is that of the protection of women and sexual minorities. E.g., International Council on Human Rights POlicy, Sexuality and Human Rights – Discussion Paper - The ICHRP (2009) ("On a number of issues, rights activists differ in their views: the disputes between them defy attempts to formulate simple standards or conditions for legitimate sexual activity." Ibid., 32); UNESCO Bangkok, Human rights protections for sexual minorities in insular Southeast Asia (2011). The issues involved serve as a nexus point for the sometimes quite irreconcilable governance frameworks of states, international organizations, organized religions, deeply held ethnic and cultural views and the realities of local practice. At the same time, it is becoming clear that, however defined, there is emerging a movement, if not a consensus, toward the acceptance of some minimal level of protection for the rights of women and sexual minorities in the construction of international soft law frameworks for business and human rights. Yet this movement must be understood against the background of local law and practice, and especially of the public law of states within which many of the most powerful multinational corporate actors are organized. 

Wang Yang

There has been some speculation about the appointment of Wang Yang to the Politburo Standing Committee at the 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress next month, though also equally strong speculation that he will not. See, e.g., Jamil Anderlini, “Mystery Shrouds Leadership Change”, Financial Times October 27, 2012, p. 2 (“The fixation on the final list of names is fed by apparent misinformation campaigns from groups who hope to influence the process).

 (Pix from TIME 100: The List: Wang Yang, Apparatchik, 2012)

Wang Yang is less well known in the West than his more left leaning contemporary and rival Bio Xilai. (But that may be ending, see Austin Ramzy, TIME 100: The List: Wang Yang, Apparatchik, 2012.  But he is still understood in Soviet terms (note the apparatchik reference in the Time 100 listing). Both Wang Yang and Bo Xilai had similar aspirations and for a while followed similar paths. But that, perhaps is where the similarities end. Whether or not Wang Yang is appointed to the Standing Committee, he is unlikely to remain in the shadows and it is important to begin to follow him more closely. My research assistant Keren Wang has put together a brief description of Wang Yang for the purpose of introducing him to non-Chinese readers, and to contrast, at least preliminarily, Wang Yang’s approach to that of the now discredited Bo Xilai.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Presenting Paper "Beyond Colonization—Programs of U.S. Legal Education Abroad by Indigenous Institutions" at Drexel Law Review Symposium, Innovations In International Legal Education

On Friday, October 12, the Drexel Law Review and the Drexel International Law and Human Rights Society hosted a one day symposium on "Building Global Professionalism: Emerging Trends in International and Transnational Legal Education." The symposium was held at the Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law, 3320 Market Street, Philadelphia. 

From the Program:
As the practice of many areas of law — including those conventionally regarded as wholly domestic — has come to have international and transnational dimensions, it has become increasingly important for graduating law students to have greater knowledge and understanding of international, comparative, and transnational legal perspectives as part of their basic legal education. While most U.S. law schools have not traditionally placed these aspects of legal education, legal practice, and the legal profession at the core of their pedagogical missions, a growing number of law schools have sought to more proactively develop the place of these global perspectives in their educational programs. This symposium examines and assesses a series of conceptual and practical themes at the leading edge of these developments, including innovative approaches to integrating international, transnational, and comparative perspectives into the law school curriculum; pioneering methods of bringing these perspectives into experiential and legal methods programs; and critical perspectives on all of these emerging ideas and trends.

This post includes program information; links to the video of the Conference and to my  paper and presentation:  "Beyond Colonization—Programs of U.S. Legal Education Abroad by Indigenous Institutions."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On the U.N. Working Group Report to the U.N. General Assembly on the Issue of Business and Human Rights A/67/285

I have written about the UN Working Group on the issue of business and Human Rights before (e.g., Outcome of the second session of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises; On the New UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights: Building on the UN Guiding Principles.  The Working Group provides an institutional framework for carrying on the work of John Ruggie, who as Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Business and Human Rights was instrumental in developing and the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Working Group released its report to the General Assembly, where it outlines recommendations to States, business enterprises and other stakeholders on implementation of the UN Guiding Principles.  General Assembly 67th Sess, Report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises A/67/285 Aug. 10, 2012 (the "Working Group Report").  The Working Group Report is best read alongside the Report of the SG on the contribution of the United Nations system as a whole to the advancement of the business and human rights agenda and the dissemination and implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights A/HRC/21/21. This post provides a critical summary of the Working Group Report.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Digital Humanities in American Universities: A Report From CIC Universities in the US

Headquartered in the Midwest, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) is a consortium of mid-Western public and private universities including the University of Chicago, University of Illinois, Indiana University, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It understands itself this way: "For more than half a century, these world-class research institutions have advanced their academic missions, generated unique opportunities for students and faculty, and served the common good by sharing expertise, leveraging campus resources, and collaborating on innovative programs. Governed and funded by the Provosts of the member universities, CIC mandates are coordinated by a staff from its Champagne, Illinois headquarters.!" About CIC.

The CIC was pleased recently to announce the report by the CIC Digital Humanities Committee that is the product of the first CIC Digital Humanities Summit, held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in April 2012. The paper is said to reflect the consensus reached by the sixty faculty, librarians, and administrators attending that there are significant shared requirements necessary to foster thriving Digital Humanities communities, and a common belief in the importance of interdisciplinarity, collaboration, and open access and open source models. 
This post includes the executive summary of that report.  It is the intention of CIC to host a meeting of university administrators to discuss this further. Its is to take place in Minneapolis and is to produce a report and recommendations.  No current plans for involving university faculty governance organizations have been made.  Perhaps that is unnecessary to the project, though no one has asked.Still, it is also understood that those involved with the report will also present at an international conference on digital humanities next summer. 
The CIC encourages responses to local administrators (but not faculty governance unit heads; again another puzzlement) or to Amber Elaine Marks, Associate Director, Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), 217-265-8106 OR aemarksATstaff.cic.net.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Marching Toward the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party

My research assistant Keren Wang (SIA MIA 2012 expected) have been doing research in the run up to the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (中国共产党第十八次全国代表大会).  This is an important event--one that will set the course of both state and Party for the next decade. For background, See Malcolm Moore, China's Communist Party Congress: Q & A, The Telegraph (UK), Sept. 28, 2012; Cheng Li, Preparing for the 18th Party Congress:  Procedures and Mechanisms, Hoover Institute 9-2012.

(The Communist Party leadership was out in force on Monday for a ceremony to commemorate National Day in Beijing. Edward Wong and Jonathan Ansfield, With a Transition Near, New Questions in China, New York Times, Oct. 1, 2012)

This brief post suggest some important contours of the upcoming meeting that might be a useful baseline for analysis as the Congress goes forward.  In later posts I will consider some issues of Chinese State Party constitutional organization in more detail.