11th Annual Conference of the Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination

Friday 26 – Sunday 28 July 2024, Bengaluru, India


The eleventh annual conference of the UC Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law (BCCE) will be jointly hosted by the National Law School of India University and the Oxford Human Rights Hub. The Conference will be held at the National Law School of India University Bengaluru (India) from 26 to 28 July 2024. 

Is There Hope for Equality Law? 

After ten successful iterations, as the conference travels to South Asia this year, we ask: is there hope for equality law? Inaugurating the global decolonial moment, the nations of the subcontinent constituted themselves into new republics with a lot of optimism and creative energy expended in reimagining and setting up just and fair societies. Giving shape and form to the principle of equality in political, economic and social lives was foremost in their agenda. But today, in the twenty-first century, there are growing concerns in this region, as there are all over the world, about the rise of inequality. 

In the recent past, we have witnessed the growing awareness of different conceptions of equality, including substantive and transformative equality, systemic and structural inequality, indirect and effects-based discrimination which have made it possible to respond not only to intentional harms but to institutional harms as well. There has also been an expansion in the canon of identity characteristics protected under equality law. Yet, despite these gains and the centrality of equality to the political and legal order of so many countries, stakeholders around the world are questioning whether the legal right to equality is capable of addressing current inequalities. There are concerns that equality law is not up to the challenges of the climate crisis; ever-increasing wealth and income inequality; with the ever-widening disparities in access to rights and justice on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex and disability; tax injustice; growing informal work, the demonization of migration, the decay of democratic institutions, the power of multi-nationals, or the rise of artificial intelligence. This conference asks the bold question: In light of the doubts on the relevance of equality, is there hope for equality law? 

The aim of the conference is to explore whether and how equality law can take the next step forward and offer insights and remedies to contemporary global challenges. Scholars and activists have used equality law to diagnose how laws, policies and programmes have created or enhanced poverty, disadvantage, stereotypes, stigmas, prejudice, oppression, and social exclusion. These laws, policies and programmes have been challenged in domestic, regional, and international courts and decision-making bodies. Although equality law has at best had a mixed record of success and failure, does it still have any untapped promise and potential to ensure that the world is fairer and more just for all peoples? While recognising the severity of current challenges, this conference seeks to explore whether and how equality law can develop to tackle the problems of today and of the future. It aims to bring together leading scholars to consider not only how foundational concepts may be re-thought and reimagined but also how theory and doctrine may evolve in a dynamic and transformative manner to realize the hope of equality law. 

Please send the abstract and any queries relating to the Conference to oxfordhumanrightshub@law.ox.ac.uk. 


Find more information and book your place here: https://ohrh.law.ox.ac.uk/cfp-11th-annual-conference-2024-of-the-berkeley-center-on-comparative-equality-and-anti-discrimination/

This event will be held at National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, India.

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