Today is a big day at the Blog. It’s the first weekday of August, which means it’s the first day of the Blog’s August hiatus. We may post some re-runs to help students and faculty get in the LPE mindset as the semester approaches, but expect much lighter posting until September.
But I’m not breaking the no-new-posts-in-August rule just to announce that that rule is now in effect, in some weak attempt to bring Russell’s Paradox to the blog. That’s not what makes it a big day. No, we have other news.
First of all, I’m stepping down as Managing Editor.
Since I took over from Kate Redburn a little over a year ago, I have tried to maintain their vision of a space “where people from different disciplines, with different methods, concepts, and relationships to legal practice, policy, and social movements can try to hash things out, asking each other hard questions about where to find racial capitalism’s weak points, what to think about the courts, and how domestic labor can confront global capital.” Working with an electric team of Lead Editors, I have tried to balance creating a space that can support both untimely thoughts–about theory, history, method, and forms of governance that seem distant from our present reality–and deep analysis of the accelerating overlapping crises that rock our immediate reality. I have tried to ensure that the Blog continues to welcome in new voices and audiences while deepening conversations among our founders and early contributors.
Although our ambitions have been dampened (not to mention our lives and communities disrupted) by COVID, this past year was a year of undeniable growth in LPE Land. The LPE Project now has a spiffy website (you’re on it now!), full of syllabi, primers, videos, events, calls for papers, and student groups–not to mention a speakers bureau. When COVID forced us to reschedule what was looking to be a conference for the ages, we used our new site to host an online conference full of videos and essays. We hosted two summer institutes on “Anti-Monopoly and Regulated Industries“. ClassCrits launched the peer-reviewed Journal of Law and Political Economy, and the LPE-friendly peer- and student-reviewed Michigan Journal of Law and Society is set to launch this fall. LPE Europe has begun to take concrete form, with a vibrant reading group. Etc. etc. And all of this as LPE ideas and LPE thinkers themselves begin to find a place in the halls of power.
Most of this is the work of others, but the Blog has tried to play a supporting role. It is, after all, not just a space for idea digestion but for network creation, for the facilitation of institution building. The online conference has included symposia edited by the Blog’s editorial team. The Blog has hosted summaries of all of the articles published in JLPE so far. It promoted the first CFP for the Michigan Journal for Law and Society, not to mention many other CFPs and event announcements. It facilitated some of the early essays and announcements to come out of LPE Europe.
Over this time period, Blog readership has doubled.
But all of this is only baby steps. There is much more work to do. James Brandt will take over for me in doing it. James is a professional editor with graduate training in political science who has previously worked with several contributors to the LPE Blog and who has a deep sense of what it’s about.
As I was, James will be guided by the Blog’s Editorial Board.
Over the past year, the Board added Angela Harris and Noah Zatz–first as temporary Guest Editors and now as not-so-temporary Editorial Board Members. This fall, the Board will add two more (temporary?) Guest Editors: Amna Akbar and Sanjukta Paul.
Regular readers of the Blog will immediately recognize why Amna and Sanjukta will make excellent additions to the Editorial Board.
Amna has been at the forefront of putting legal scholarship in closer conversation with social movements and of building out abolitionist theorization of the criminal legal system. She has contributed to, supported, critiqued, and inspired the Blog from its earliest days–pushing us to expand our analysis and invite in scholars we might have overlooked.
Sanjukta has been at the cutting edge of the reconsideration of antitrust, of antimonopolism, and, indeed, of the theorization of how law constructs economic institutions more generally–all coming out of a commitment to empowering workers in the process of coordinating production and distribution. She has also been a contributor to and collaborator with the Blog from early on (and, I must say, a mentor to me).
Both Amna and Sanjukta have been participating in Board discussions for the past few months, but now they begin formally–and now we let the world know! For the full Editorial Board, see the Masthead.
Finally, today is also the first day for two new Lead Editors.
Molly Gordon, a rising 3L at UCLA, will focus primarily on how power is exerted through the credit relation, via consumer financial contracts, via the fines and fees that have become an integral part of our criminal punishment system, and via landlord-tenant relations.
Ann Sarnak, a rising 2L at YLS, will focus primarily on social welfare and housing policy.
I am thrilled to see where the Blog will go–and I will continue to contribute as a member of the Editorial Board and an author–and hope you will join me in welcoming and supporting and challenging the new crew that will guide it there. And don’t just be a passive audience! This is a collective project of building a collective. If you want to see it succeed–or see it do something better–please lend a hand.