Conference on themes from the work of Professor Les Green

Wednesday 05 May 2021

Professor Leslie Green (Pauline and Max Gordon Fellow and Professorial Fellow) has held the Professorship of the Philosophy of Law at Oxford University since 2006. He is also Professor of Law and Distinguished University Fellow at Queen’s University in Canada. He writes and teaches in the areas of jurisprudence, constitutional theory, and moral and political philosophy.

In March 2021 colleagues from around the world held a conference on his work, as Tom Adams writes: 

On 25 and 26 March 2021 friends, colleagues and hangers-on came together to celebrate the work of Les Green. 

Day one began with heartfelt remarks from Bill Flanagan (University of Alberta), in which he emphasised the joy of reading Les’s prose. The first panel, on Political Authority and Obligation, featured papers from Stephen Perry (University of Pennsylvania), on the conditions of a successful theory of political obligation, and from Ashwini Vasanthakumar (Queen’s University), on the complications that arise for such a theory when considering the special case of dual citizens. Panel two concerned themes of gender and sexuality. Niki Lacey (LSE) responded to Les’s pointed take on Joanne Conaghan’s book, Law and Gender (OUP, 2013). Nick Bamforth (University of Oxford) gave a paper that emphasised both the methodological promiscuousness of Les’s work in this area as well as its humanity.

Day two opened with a panel on Speech and Expression. Rae Langton (University of Cambridge) urged us to accept that pornography was the kind of thing that could have authority over women, thereby not only participating in but actively constituting their subordination. Rob Simpson (UCL) presented his paper ‘The Understanding Censor’, in which he suggested some strategies for ameliorating the dilemma associated with censoring bad forms of speech that come out of valuable ways of life. The final panel of the conference involved Brian Leiter (University of Chicago) and Grégoire Webber (Queen’s University) responding to the newly written introduction to Les’s forthcoming book, The Germ of Justice

At the end of the second day closing remarks were delivered by Wil Waluchow (McMaster University), who spoke about Les’s generosity as a colleague and a friend. Official proceedings were brought to a close with a toast. After the official close of the conference one participant, who shall remain nameless, serenaded those who remained with an impromptu performance. 

The event as a whole was a reminder of the breadth and significance of Les’s work, spanning, as it did, large swathes of legal, political and social philosophy. More importantly, it was a reminder of the importance of Les himself to a very large number of people. 

For more about Professor Green, see: