Professor Brinig Agrees to Organize International Conference on Families and the Law

Author: Susan Good

Peg Brinig 2010

The University of Notre Dame has been selected as the U.S. partner in a British Leverhulme Trust initiative to take part in an international network considering the intersection of families and the state from interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives.

Professor Margaret Brinig, the Fritz Duda Family Chair in Law, has been asked by the British participants to direct and organize the third of the project’s four workshops. In making the appointment, the Trust noted that Professor Brinig is well known for her interdisciplinary and empirical focus and for her experience in international family law organizations. The workshop will take place at Notre Dame and involve principals from the U.K. and Australia as well as a number of scholars from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters and family law experts from around the U.S. to be selected by Professor Brinig.

The workshop’s theme will be the meaning of “family solidarity” and its implications for regulation. For example, one specific question to be addressed involves how shifting notions of family solidarity (the moral, cultural and legal obligations between family members) affect the state’s ability to regulate by transmitting cultural, social and legal messages about family life. Another is whether the state has (or should have) a role in promoting messages regarding good parenting or desirable family forms, either through the media or through more tangible support.

The size of the total Leverhulme grant is approximately $500,000 to be spread over three years to cover meeting expenses, travel, board, lodging, and publication.

Other institutions involved are the Universities of Exeter (the initiating institution and site of the first of four workshops), Bristol, Cardiff and York in the U.K., the University of Melbourne in Australia (site of the second workshop), and V.U. University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands (providing a European civil law perspective).

The concluding meeting of the group will take place in London. Each meeting will generate journal publications as well as, when appropriate, white papers including public policy proposals.