GLS events

Fall 2017


  • September 14, 2017: "Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act’s Evolving Genocide Exception to Immunity," Professor Vivian Curran, University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Hosted by Jason Yackee. Co-sponsored by ILS, GLS, EALSC, and the EU Center. 12:00pm in Lubar Commons.

    Abstract: The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) was passed by Congress as a comprehensive statute to cover all instances when foreign states are to be immune from suit in the courts of the United States, as well as when foreign state immunity is to be abrogated. Judicial interpretation of one of the FSIA's exceptions to immunity has undergone significant evolution over the years with respect to foreign state property expropriations committed in violation of international law. U.S. courts initially construed this FSIA exception to immunity to accept jurisdiction only if the defendant state had expropriated the property of a citizen of a nation other than itself. Later, such suits also were allowed where the plaintiff was deemed by the court to have been a formal citizen but had not been treated as such at the time of the expropriation. More recently, nationality has been discarded entirely as a criterion to abrogate immunity if a court considers the defendant state's expropriation to have been part of a policy of genocide. Most recently the courts have equated the act of expropriation with genocide. While courts initially interpreting the FSIA cases left plaintiffs without recourse in the aftermath of grave suffering at the hands of the defendant states they tried to sue, current interpretation poses other problems, such as a potential trivialization of the concept of genocide. Moreover, the underlying issue of the FSIA's not permitting tort claims for harm occurring outside of the United States has not been solved. Even under the latest interpretations, what otherwise would be suits for personal injury and death must be fashioned into property expropriation claims in order to be justiciable. 

  • September 14, 2017: “Searching for Answers on a Warming Planet: Why We May Need Climate Engineering” by Simon Nicholson, American University, School of International Service & Co-Director, Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment. Public Lecture and Discussion forum, 5:30pm, Mechanical Engineering Hall Auditorium 1106.

    Overview: Artificially whitening clouds. Injecting reflective particles into the stratosphere. Seeding the oceans with iron. These and a range of other climate engineering or "geoengineering" schemes are gaining increasing visibility and credibility as options for tackling climate change. What, though, is to be made of such efforts? Is climate engineering a new form of hucksterism? A dangerous and distracting folly? Or some meaningful part of the toolkit to generate a sustainable future?

    Moderator:   Paul Robbins, Nelson Institute
    Dominique Brossard, UW-Madison
    Elisabeth Graffy, Arizona State University

    More Information

  • September 15, 2017: Workshop on Climate Engineering Governance: Deepening the Dialogue, 8:00am-5:15pm, Wisconsin Energy Institute, Conference room 1115. Space is limited. Contact Emily Reynolds if you are interested in attending. Multiple sponsors
    Full Program
  • September 16, 2017: Workshop on Climate Engineering Governance: Next Steps Brainstorming Session, by invitation only 
  • September 21, 2017: “Beyond the Muslim Ban: Coalition Politics and Feminist Futures” by Professor Nadine Suleiman Naber, University of Illinois Chicago, 7PM, L160 Conrad A. Elvehjem Building (800 University Avenue), sponsored by Comparative US Studies, HRP, Anonymous Fund, Haven Center and Freedom Inc. (GLS/HRP)
  • September 25, 2017: "Settling for Justice? Rana Plaza and After" GLS Speaker Sara Hossain, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, co-sponsored by Center for South Asia.

    Abstract: What 'justice' has meant in the context of workplace deaths and injuries in Bangladesh, in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza building collapse which killed over 1,000 workers. 'Work-related' means a death arising out of work involving a member of the public, for example, when a building containing a factory collapses it may kill members of the public. I will primarily focus on 'workplace,' not 'work-related' deaths. I discuss existing laws in Bangladesh, and their implementation, and explore how demands for justice have been framed and articulated in relation to workers and their families, and how these differ from the more frequently heard demands for justice relating to other serious crimes, and other groups. After examining how these laws are applied to 'routine' cases, I focus on three major workplace disasters- the Spectrum and Rana Plaza building collapses, and the Tazreen Factory fire examining attempts made to secure justice and accountability in each case, whether through civil actions for compensation, criminal prosecution, or constitutional litigation.

    In assessing the impact of these efforts, I argue that campaigns for workplace safety have been more effective in achieving remediation, precisely because they operate within a transnational context, and are able to catalyze global consumer concern and media and public scrutiny. However, while this has compelled a pragmatic response, and changed practice on the ground, it has not as yet enabled transformation of national laws or systems, leaving in place discrimination and unequal treatment under the law and violations of their fundamental rights as a daily lived reality for Bangladeshi workers. The bottom line-it is better to die in an export-oriented garments factory than any industry (a textile mill, a car workshop) which only serves the Bangladesh market? Why do politicians and activists who engage in high rhetoric on patriotism and nationalism, not denounce this situation as 'hurting the image of the nation'? Why is there no impetus to strengthen the law and the enforcement machinery to ensure accountability for the lass of workers' lives? What is the role of you as a consumer of fast fashion, and also a global citizen, to catalyze transnational legal changes that strengthen the legal protection of rights? 


  • October 2, 2017: South Asia Legal Studies Working Group. At Noon in Room 7205, by invitation.
  • October 12, 2017: Law and De-Globalization Series Speaker Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Professor at the School of Economics at the University of Coimbra, Distinguished Legal Scholar at UW Law School, Hosted by Professor Alexandra Huneeus.

    Overview: This talk will explore whether recent political trends from Brexit and referendum in Catalonia to President Trump’s appeal to restore the idea of national sovereignty and possible denunciation of international treaties signal the emergence of an anti-globalization trend or represent the most recent metamorphosis of globalization.

  • October 12, 2017: “When Victims Aren’t Blameless: Police Killings and Reasonable Doubt,” by Professor Lisa Marie Cacho, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, 7pm, Elvhejem Building (800 University Avenue), with funding from Anonymous Fund and HRP, hosted by Professor Sara McKinnon (GLS/HRP)

  • October 17, 2017: "Upholding America's Promise for All," Mildred Fish Harnack Lecture by Farhana Khera. 4:00pm, 2260 Law Building. Reception to follow
  • October 20, 2017: "Social Justice Advocacy and Innovation: The Wisconsin Center for Public Representation 1974-Present" by Louise Trubek with comments by Marsha Mansfield, CLE credits pending.
  • October 23, 2017: Information Session on Study and Internships Abroad, 12:00pm-1:00pm, 3260 Law, conducted by directors of study abroad programs. Open to all interested law students. Questions? Contact Sumudu Atapattu, Director, Research Centers
  • October 25, 2017: "Opportunities and Traps: Comparing the Death Penalty in India and the United States'," GLS Speaker Anup Surendranath. Hosted by Mitra Sharafi, co-sponsored by ILS.
  • October 26, 2017: Eleventh annual South Asia Legal Studies workshop


  • November 6, 2017: South Asia Legal Studies Working Group. At Noon in Room 7205, by invitation.
  • November 16, 2017: "The 'De-Globalization' of International Criminal Justice: What's the Future of War Crimes Tribunals?" Law and De-Globalization Series Speaker Thierry Cruvellier, hosted by Alexandra Huneeus at 12:00pm, Lubar Commons. This lecture is part of the International Education Week.

    Overview: Twenty-five years into the historic development of international war crimes tribunals, international criminal justice is in crisis. It is questioned because of its own lack of efficiency and credibility, and its legitimacy is growingly challenged or dismissed by states, including among some of its long-standing supporters. How can we understand this crisis? Can it lead to creative initiatives or alternatives?

  • November 16, 2017: Celebrating International Education Week, Screening of movie Uncondemned, followed by comments by Thierry Cruvellier and Jean Geran, 5:15pm Lubar Commons, sponsors: Human Rights Program, International Division, Global Legal Studies Center, 4W Initiative, 4W STREETS program.
  • November 27, 2017: South Asia Legal Studies Working Group. 11am-12pm in Room 7205, by invitation.

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