Interdisciplinary perspectives shared at graduate student conference

Grad conference

The Western Law Interdisciplinary Graduate Student conference "Law: Stagnation, Evolution or Revolution?" held May 18-19, discussed the role the law plays in differing areas of society.

The conference, which was organized by Western Law PhD candidates Jenny Poon and Kirsten Stefanik, hosted graduate students from across Canada, the U.S. and the Philippines who presented papers and engaged in lively debate and discussion.

“I found the research conference inspirational and re-energizing, there were so many great ideas and interesting research projects,” says Stefanik. I can’t wait to dive back into my own research.”

The students explored a wide variety of topics including how the law is reflecting the changing nature of policing, armed conflict, the Charter and privacy in a digital age.

Some examples of the breadth of presentations include:

Basil Alexander, a PhD Candidate from Queens Law, spoke on freedom of peaceful assembly in Canada and discussed how demonstrations interact with Canadian law and how this Charter right should protect demonstrations.

Sarit Mizrahi, a PhD Candidate at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, explored the topic of using tort law to sue companies that infringe on privacy by gathering personal information online.

Kenan Omercajic, a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Education at Western University, discussed accountability in the implementation of policies to protect transgender and gender non-conforming people in schools.

Professor Asad Kiyani delivered a keynote address on Indigenous law and legal pluralism. His talk presented lessons from international criminal law relevant to Canada and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “To pluralize the Canadian legal system, we must open up to different conceptions of power and control,” he said.

A selection of papers from the conference will be published in a dedicated conference issue of the Western Journal of Legal Studies this fall.

The two-day conference was capped off by closing remarks from Professor Sam Trosow who encouraged the students to be confident in their research and continue to engage in interdisciplinary dialogue.

"We congratulate our graduate students for taking the initative to organize this conference, which created an important forum for graduate students to share on a variety of law-related topics,” says Valerie Oosterveld, Associate Dean of Research. “This wide-ranging approach to the impact and application of law benefits academics and practitioners alike."