Francisco J. Urbina

My name is Francisco J. Urbina and I am an assistant professor at Pontificia Universidad Católica, Chile. Until now my work has been mostly on the principle of proportionality in constitutional law. In my last book, co-authored with five other colleagues, we offer a theory of the role of legislatures in securing and promoting human rights.


What motivates me to participate in ICON-S are the academic values it embodies. Two stand out:


First, the commitment to scholarship that is not circumscribed to a specific legal department in a concrete jurisdiction, but which crosses legal departments, jurisdictions, and disciplines. Though there is much value in good “black letter” scholarship, the legal academy must also provide a deeper and more detached understanding of law.


Second, a tradition of horizontality. ICON-S conferences, as the journal ICON, attempt to produce a kind of academic dialogue that is open to everybody, and where everyone can engage with everyone else. Seniority plays no role in discussions.


I think these are important values for academia. Yet in my region I find them decidedly un-hegemonic. Law schools usually hold fast to traditional disciplinary divisions, and do little if anything to foster interdisciplinarity. Black letter scholarship is dominant. And there is still a strong tradition of formality and hierarchy that hinders intelligent and open discussion in the legal academy.


I see ICON-S as driven by these values, and as a force for its promotion. I would like to contribute to stablish the presence of ICON-S in Latin America, and provide the perspective from someone working in this region to the deliberations of the Council. In the short term I contribute to the Society as a member of the organizing committee of the ICON-S 2019 Conference in Santiago.