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LSR Writing Workshop in South Africa

Writing Workshop in Africa

Law & Society Review is co-sponsoring the inaugural Sociolegal Studies Early Career Workshop, held at the University of Cape Town (South Africa), 17-19 August 2017. Financial support is provided by the University of Cape Town and a 2017 Law and Society Association Small Grant award. 

Why hold a writing workshop in sociolegal studies in Africa? 
Responding to a call among members of the Law and Society Association for more research in law and society by scholars living and working in the global South, this workshop is designed for advanced doctoral students and early career faculty in Africa. The workshop is purposefully small, to promote focused discussion, mentoring, and peer networking. The goal is to give a promising group of manuscripts the close attention they deserve from senior scholars and mentors, to help ready those papers for submission and publication.

Six participants and their papers have now been selected for inclusion into the inaugural workshop programme. Each paper will have its own mentor assigned to it. The hope is that participants will maintain connections with one another and with their mentors beyond the three-day workshop.

Workshop sessions focus on providing peer feedback and improving 1) theorization in sociolegal scholarship, 2) innovations in methods, 3) writing and presentation skills, and 4) mentorship toward publishing in international journals in sociolegal studies. The workshop will also feature a writing retreat where participants and mentors will strive to make progress on their own writing projects. Long term, our hope is that an annual workshop series would enhance the delivery, diversity, and quality of law and society scholarship. 

Susan Sterett, co-editor of Law & Society Review, will participate in the inaugural workshop as a mentor, in addition to holding a series of pre-workshop events at the University of Cape Town through the support of the U.S. State Department’s Fulbright Specialist Program.  

Why now?
This early career workshop builds on the success of the first-ever LSA co-sponsored meeting in Africa, LSA in Africa (December 2016), where more than 100 scholars from across the continent presented work to one another, received feedback, and built transnational and interdisciplinary cooperative networks. The LSA in Africa conference also identified an opportunity for intensive work among and mentorship with early career scholars whose research has the potential to produce new innovations in law and society scholarship and methods on race, gender, human rights, courts, trade, social justice, crime, the legal profession, and other topics. 

We look forward to welcoming all workshop participants and mentors to Cape Town. 

Mark Fathi Massoud, University of California, Santa Cruz (USA)
Editorial Board, Law & Society Review
Co-convener (with Kelley Moult and Dee Smythe, Univ. of Cape Town), Sociolegal Studies Early Career Writing Workshop

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Part of researching and writing well in the field of socio-legal studies is reading well. Reading well involves annotating everything that you read. Each article, book or book section that you read must be “imPECCable” –

P is for Purpose: Ask yourself, what is the author’s purpose in writing this piece? Who is the audience? This objective is usually stated almost immediately in a piece of writing, usually in a preface or abstract or introduction.

E is for Evidence: What evidence does the author marshal in support of his/her purpose?

C is for Conclusion: What does the author conclude in light of the evidence gathered?

C is for Critique: Ask yourself — given the author’s stated purpose, did the author achieve what the author set out to achieve? Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the author’s work. In what ways did the reading app…