Skip to main content


ISHTIP 2024: Intellectual Property and the Anthropocene – CfP

Posted on    by Elena Cooper

ISHTIP 2024: Intellectual Property and the Anthropocene – CfP

By 30 November 2023No Comments

ISTHIP logo depicting a tree and its roots.

Following on from our previous blog, about the experience of two CREATe PhD students – Aline Iramina and Nika Abkowicz-Bieńko at ISHTIP 2023 – we are delighted to see that the Call for Papers for ISHTIP 2024 has now been published by Boston University School of Law with a deadline of 8 January 2024.

Call for Papers: ‘Intellectual Property and the Anthropocene, Annual Workshop of the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property, 26-27 June 2024

The 15th Annual Workshop of the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP) will be hosted by Boston University School of Law at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

We will explore themes connected to problems related to global environmental changes related to human-centered domination of the planet. The concept is not without controversy – when it began, its obfuscation of differences among humans with diverging claims and impacts, its embedded human-nature dualism. These questions, and the roles of technological changes, industrialization and capitalism, as well as contested views on “progress” anchor debates about our planet in climate crisis. We are especially interested in papers that explore historical and contemporary manifestations of these themes, as well as others concerning:

  • Decentering human creativity and innovation (who is the beneficiary of IP? What do these terms mean if not describing human behaviour? Is law a human-only system or does/can it serve: Other animals? Machines? Flora/Fauna?)
  • Resource scarcity and allocation; open research and competition levers; tensions between production and distribution functions (how are various IP regimes and concomitant institutions devoted to or agnostic about distributive justice claims and diffusion goals?)
  • Geographical disparities regarding global crisis (e.g., equatorial and global south; Indigenous impacts); is there or should there be a refocus on the IP systems of the places or peoples most affected by climate change?
  • Green-washing, ESG (Environmental and Social Governance) and IP (how has branding and speech about climate shaped corporate behaviour, and creative and innovative practices? How is that behaviour regulated by IP or IP-adjacent regimes?)
  • Critical Infrastructure Innovation (e.g., national security, telecom, surveillance, energy, nutrition; tensions between national and international systems amidst increasing nationalism on a planet in need of global solidarity)
  • Anachronism of state-based jurisdiction (what roles do borders play today when concerning the development, diffusion, and effect of creative and innovative work?)
  • Is democracy and its goal of furthering human flourishing – by supporting individual rights (speech, freedom of religion, privacy, human equality and dignity) and political representation – the appropriate governing system to address the planet’s climate crisis? What about IP is particularly “democratic” (or not) and may be (ill)suited to address the climate crisis? Are some IP regimes more critical than others to address the democratic deficit? Might IP play a role developing neighbouring or critical new rights for the 21st century to ameliorate harms from the climate crisis: rights to health, environment, rights of nature, animal rights?
  • Does IP’s history and practice of alternative institutions of governance inform our thinking about solving complex, transnational problems such as planetary climate crisis (e.g., patent pools, cultural commons, agencies/specialized adjudicative institutions)?

Guidelines for contributors

We welcome papers from all academic disciplines. Papers that address this call from an historical, artistic or theoretical perspective are particularly welcome, as are contributions from scholars working across disciplines or using speculative and alternative methods. As always, we are happy to consider any other paper or project which is within ISHTIP’s scope. Established and junior scholars are encouraged to submit papers.

Proposers should be aware that authors do not present their own papers at ISHTIP workshops. Rather, a discussant, normally from a discipline other than the home discipline of the author, presents a brief summary and critique of papers to facilitate a more interdisciplinary discussion and build scholarly discourse across disciplines. (This format may be altered for Ph.D. students.)

To allow this, complete papers must be submitted by May 17, 2024. The papers should not have been previously published.

To be considered for the workshop, please submit a 300-word abstract of your proposed paper as well as a one-paragraph bio and 2-page CV by  January 8, 2024 by email to:

There is no registration fee for this conference. Meals will be provided. Participants and attendees are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses. Hotel blocks will be posted closer to the date.

Speakers (authors and commentators) are expected to attend in person. This is a single-stream conference with the aim of building community. Because we understand emergencies arise and in-person attendance may present challenges for some, we anticipate making paper sessions accessible to a remote audience via Zoom.

Important dates

Date for Submission of proposals:  January 8, 2024

Expected Date for notification of acceptance:  March 31, 2024

Date for submission of full papers:  May 17, 2024

Workshop Organising Committee:

Jessica Silbey, Boston University (Host 2024)

Gabriel Galvez-Behar, University of Lille (Dir.)

Hyo Yoon Kang, Warwick University (Dir.)

Kathy Bowrey, University of New South Wales

Jose Bellido, University of Kent

David Pretel, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Michael Birnhack, Tel Aviv University

Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, Linköping University