In this era of populist revolt around the world, we need a full-throated defense of cosmopolitan pluralism: a scheme of governance that recognizes the importance of inter-locking networks of communication and cooperation, but also respect for local variation. Such models are preferable to either insistence on universalism or insistence on sovereigntist territorialism. Particularly given the pressing cross-border problems facing the world, tribalism is not possible. But universalism smacks of elitism and hegemony and at least sometimes discounts local variation and creativity. Accordingly, we need structures that respect the norms and values of diverse communities, but seek communication and cooperation across difference.
Paul Schiff Berman, Walter S. Cox Professor of Law at The George Washington University Law School, is one of the world’s foremost theorists on the effect of globalization on the interactions among legal systems. He is the author of over sixty scholarly works, including Global Legal Pluralism: A Jurisprudence of Law Beyond Borders(Cambridge University Press, 2012). He was also among the first legal scholars to focus on legal issues regarding online activity, and he is co-author of one of the leading casebooks in the field.
In addition to his scholarly work, Berman has extensive experience in university and law school administration, having served as Vice Provost for Online Education and Academic Innovation at The George Washington University from 2013-16; Dean of The George Washington University Law School from 2011-13; and Dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University from 2008-11. Professor Berman has previously served as the Jesse Root Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he taught from 1998-2008.
For the 2006–07 academic year, Professor Berman was a Visiting Professor and Visiting Research Scholar at Princeton University in the Program in Law and Public Affairs. He also has served on the Organizing Committee of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities and was Chair of the International Law and Technology Interest Group of the American Society of International Law.
Professor Berman graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1988 and earned his law degree from New York University in 1995. During law school, he served as Managing Editor of the NYU Law Review and received the University Graduation Prize for the graduating law student with the highest cumulative grade point average. He later clerked for Chief Judge Harry T. Edwards of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Prior to entering law school, Professor Berman was a Professional Theater Director in New York City and Artistic Director of Spin Theater, a not-for-profit theater company. He was also administrative director of two other not-for-profit theater companies in New York City: The Wooster Group and Richard Foreman’s Ontological-Hysteric Theatre at St. Mark’s Church.
This event is co-sponsored with the ANU College of Law and funded by the Asia Pacific Innovation Program (APIP).