2021 Annual Health Law Conference

Health and the Body Politic: Undermining Democracy, Undermining Health​​​​​​​


Health law scholars have been energetically engaged in identifying and responding to the myriad challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Equity, access, surveillance, privacy, quarantine, vaccine development, rationing and related issues of public health and private rights have come to the fore as matters of critical concern.  In addition, and related to these issues is the critical question of democratic governance. Inextricably interrelated to the current public health crisis, the crisis of governance presents a host of issues to be examined.

As part of its annual health law conference, the Center for Health Policy and Law at Northeastern University School of Law seeks abstracts for papers that address the intertwined challenges to democracy and public health.

>> Download the Call for Papers

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The logistics, legality, and legitimacy of holding popular elections during a time of pandemic, as well as threats to voting rights that have been amplified by the pandemic.
  • The intersections of the pandemic and public protests and the challenge of exercising First Amendment rights or seeking accountability from the police or other government institutions during a pandemic.
  • How failures of democratic governance can complicate or undermine efforts to protect public health and reform the healthcare system, both during the pandemic and more generally. 
  • The intersection between health law and questions of citizenship and belonging, especially as they relate to non-citizens, communities of color, Native Americans, and other vulnerable communities.

The authors of the selected abstracts will present their papers at the virtual conference on Friday, April 16, 2021. Authors will also be invited to contribute their papers to an issue of the Northeastern University Law Review (10,000 words, including footnotes and bibliography). Final papers will be due on May 14, 2021.

Abstracts (maximum 250 words) will be accepted until December 6, 2020. Please send to lawhealth@northeastern.edu with “2021 Call for Papers” in the subject line. Decisions are anticipated in December 2020. 

Early expressions of interest and/or full paper submissions are welcome.

Contact: Jennifer Huer, j.huer@northeastern.edu