Cross-Border Families under Covid-19: Call for Papers


The Minerva Center for Human Rights at Tel Aviv University will host an  international socio-legal (zoom-) workshop on 22-23 June 2021 to explore the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and its regulation on cross-border families:

Cross-border families (also known as transnational and globordered families) are a growing and diverse phenomenon. People around the globe create bi-national spousal relations, are assisted by cross-border reproduction services, or by a migrant care worker who provides care for a dependent family member. Likewise, families become cross-bordered when one of the parents relocates, with or without the child, or when a parent abducts the child. In addition, increasing rates of forced or voluntary migration create more and more cross-border families, with different characteristics and needs. While some kinds of cross-border families have attracted the attention of legal scholarship, other kinds are still neglected, and much is yet to be studied and discussed regarding the challenges embedded in the attempt to secure the right to family life in the age of globalization.

The global Covid-19 crisis provides more, and alarming, evidence of the socio-legal vulnerabilities of cross-border families. For example, bi-national couples are separated for long periods of time; intended parents are unable to collect their baby from the country of the surrogate; and families assisted by a migrant care worker, the workers, and their left behind families, are entangled in new complex relations of power and dependency. Likewise, the right to heath is at risk when a family member is denied treatment because of partial citizenship status, and questions such as the enforcement of child support across borders are even harder to address than in more peaceful times.

Crises, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, are often a methodological opportunity for socio-legal research. In many cases, a major social crisis shakes habitualization, and opens up taken for granted social scripts to individual and collective reflection. Likewise, such a crisis involves risk regulation and, in the current case, also plague governance—involving intense emergency regulative changes made by different nation-states that might both reveal and challenge deeply shared norms regarding familial rights and national interests. Hence, our current era lends itself more readily than stable, routinized periods to the investigation of current regulation, and the imagining of options for new regulation regarding cross-border families.

On 22-23 June 2021, we plan an international socio-legal workshop that will explore the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and its regulation on cross-border families. We hope to explore the ways Covid-19 restrictions affect cross-border families, and the role of the law, in different countries, in shaping this impact and in challenging it.

The questions during the workshop might include, but are not limited to:

  • How does the Covid-19 crisis affect cross-border families?
  • How do legal Covid-19 restrictions affect cross-border families?
  • Did national jurisdictions adapted their substantial and procedural laws to meet the challenges faced by cross-border families during the pandemic?
  • What can be learned from comparing different jurisdictions in their response to cross-border families’ needs during the pandemic?
  • What can be learned about the interrelations between globalization, borders, families, and the law, from this crisis?
  • What are the lessons to be learned from the pandemic on how can national, regional and international law be developed to better protect the rights of cross-border families, and those involved in their creation and everyday familial doing, in times of crisis and in more stable times?

Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Prof. Yuko Nishitani, Kyoto Univiertys Law School

The workshop will be conducted via Zoom, and is sponsored by the Minerva Center for Human Rights at Tel Aviv University. It will be open to the public, and hopefully, will set the foundations for further multinational research and collaboration.

We will give serious consideration to all high-quality relevant research, from any discipline. Work in progress is welcome, as long as the presentation holds new findings or insights and not only declaration of intent. Faculty members as well as independent researchers and advanced research students are welcome to submit.

The screening process for the workshop will include two phases:

Phase I – Abstract: 

Abstracts should include:

  • An overview of the main question and arguments of your contribution (up to 500 words)
  • Key words
  • Contact details [author(s), affiliation (including institute and department), and e-mail address]
  • Short bio of author/s (up to 250 words, each)

Abstracts must be in English and be submitted to this email address:

Deadline for submission: 28 February 2021.

Phase II – Summary:

Those who’s abstract will be accepted, will be notified by 31 March 2021 and will be asked to submit a 3-pages summary of their paper by 20 April 2021. Accepted papers will be presented at the workshop. Presenters are expected to take part in all the workshop’s sessions.

Academic Organizers:

Prof. Daphna Hacker, Law Faculty and Gender Studies Program, Tel Aviv University; Prof. Paul Beaumont, Law Faculty, University of Stirling; Prof. Katharina Boele-Woelki, Bucerius Law School, Hamburg; Prof. Sylvie Fogiel-Bijaoui, The College of Management Academic Studies; Dr. Imen Gallala-Arndt, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology; Dr. Sharon Shakargy, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University; Prof. Zvi Triger, Law School, The College of Management Academic Studies