Larry Catá Backer

Larry Cata Backer
Professor of Law and International Affairs
Phone: 
(814) 863-3640
Office: 
239 Katz Building
Education: 

J.D., Columbia University
M.P.P., Harvard University
B.A., Brandeis University
Curriculum Vitae

Professor Larry Catá Backer immigrated with his family from Cuba when he was young growing up in the Cuban American community in Miami, where he grew up. B.A. Brandeis University; M.P.P. Harvard University Kennedy School of Government; J.D. Columbia University, Professor Backer focuses his research on governance-related issues of globalization and the constitutional theories of public and private governance, with an emphasis on institutional frameworks for public-private law governance systems. Recent work centers on issues of corporate social responsibility, mixed regulatory systems and regulatory governance (especially touching on SOEs and SWFs), the emerging problems of polycentricity where multiple systems might be simultaneously applied to a single issue or event, and problems of translation between Western and Marxist Leninist (especially Chinese and Cuban) constitutional systems. He has an interest in the transformations of university governance and its relation to wider changes in societal ordering in the 21st century with respect to which he has also published.

He currently teaches courses on corporate social responsibility, corporations, multinational enterprises, and the constitutional law of religion. He teaches courses on policy aspects of these areas at the Penn State School of International Affairs, along with the SIA core course, Actors, Institutions, and Legal Frameworks in International Affairs. He has lectured on issues of transnational, corporate and constitutional law in Asia, Latin America, Europe, and Australia, in English and Spanish. He has served on the planning organizations for the 3rd (2009-2010) and 4th (2018-2019) National People of Color Scholarship Conferences, and serves on the board of a number of journals, including among them the Business and Human Rights Journal (Cambridge University Press), Iuris Dictio (Colegio de Jurisprudencia Universidad de San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador), Narxoz Law and Public Policy Review (Narxoz University, Kazakhstan, and Emancipating the Mind in the New Era: Bulletin of the Coalition for Peace & Ethics. Professor Backer is a member of the American Law Institute and the European Corporate Governance Institute. He served as an elected member of the Penn State University Faculty Senate from 2005 to 2018, and as chair of the Penn State University Faculty Senate for 2012-2013. He currently serves on the Senate Committee of Past Chairs.

His books include Cuba’s Caribbean Marxism: Essays on Ideology, Government, Society, and Economy in the Post Fidel Castro Era (Little Sir Press, 2018); Lawyers Making Meaning (Springer, 2013) and Signs in Law, A Source Book (Springer, 2014) (both with Jan Broekman), casebooks, Law and Religion (West, 2015, with Frank Ravitch), Comparative Corporate Law (Carolina Academic Press, 2002), Harmonizing Law in an Era of Globalization (Carolina Academic Press, editor, 2007). Forthcoming books include Elements of Law and the U.S. Legal System (Carolina Academic Press, expected 2020), and Hong Kong Between “One Country” and “Two Systems”: Essays from the Year that Transformed the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (June 2019 – June 2020) (Little Sir Press, expected 2020).  He has published over 100 articles and book chapters that have appeared in journals and books published in Europe, the United States, Brazil, and China. Shorter essays on various aspects of globalization and governance appear on his essay site, “Law at the End of the Day,” http://lcbackerblog.blogspot.com., and his blog Monitoring University Governance: https://lcbpsusenate.blogspot.com/. His publications and other work are available on his personal website, BackerinLaw, or through the Social Science Research Network. A CV may be accessed here.

And an Algorithm to Entangle them All? Social Credit, Data Driven Governance, and Legal Entanglement in Post-Law Legal Orders, in Entangled Legalities Beyond the State (Nico Kirsch, ed., Cambridge forthcoming 2020).

Foreword: Bannermen and Heralds: The Identity of Flags; the Ensigns of Identity, in Flags, Identity, Memory: Critiquing the Public Narrative through Color (Anne Wagner and Sarah Marusek, eds., Dordrecht: Springer forthcoming 2020). 

‘By Dred Things I am Compelled’: China and the Challenge to International Human Rights Law, in Tipping Points in International Law: Critique and Commitment (John Haskell and Jean d’Aspremont, eds., Cambridge University Press).

The Cri de Jessup Sixty Years Later: Transnational Law’s Intangible Objects and Abstracted Frameworks Beyond Nation, Enterprise, and Law, in Jessup’s Bold Proposal: Critical Engagements with Transnational Law 386-418 (Peer Zumbansen (ed.), Cambridge UP, 2020) (ISBN: 9781108490269).

La debida diligencia en las universidades, in Retos y Desafíos de las Empresas y los Derechos Humanos (Carolina Olarte-Báceres, Catalina Irisarri Boada y Laura Arenas Peralta, eds.; Bogotá: Pontificia Universidad Javeriana y Grupo Editorial Ibañez) (ISBN 978-958-749-000-0).

From the Social to the Human Rights of Labor: Reflections on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Art. 23, the ILO, and Working Rights Principles, in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: A Commentary (Humberto Cantú Rivera (ed.), Brill/Nijhoff, 2019 (forthcoming)).

Human Rights Responsibilities of State-Owned Enterprises, in Research Handbook on Human Rights and Business 221-242 (Surya Deva and David Birchall (eds.), Edward Elgar, 2020) (ISBN: 978 1 78643 639 9; eISBN: 978 1 78643 640 5).

The Problem of the Enterprise and the Enterprise of Law: Multinational Enterprises as Polycentric Transnational Regulatory Spaces, in Oxford Handbook of Transnational Law (Peer Zumbansen, ed., Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2019).

Reintegrating Cuba into the Global Economy: Stasis and the European Alternative, in The Cuba-U.S. Bilateral Relationship: New Pathways & Policy Choices 289-333 (Michael J. Kelly,  Erika Moreno, and  Richard C. Witmer, eds., Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2019).

Unpacking Accountability in Business and Human Rights: The Multinational Enterprise, the State, and the International Community, in Accountability and International Business Organizations: Providing Justice for Corporate Violations of Human Rights, Labor, and Environmental Standards 60-85 (Liesbeth Enneking, et al., eds. Routledge, 2020) (ISBN 978-0-8153-5683-7.   

The Arc of Triumph and Transformation of the OECD Guidelines: Quo Vadis Triumph into An Era of Transformation! Triumphi quo vadis? Temporibus transmutatio parere, in OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises: A Glass Half Full (Liber Amicorum for Dr. Roel Nieuwenkamp, Chair of the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct 2013-2018) pp. 43-50 (Paris: OECD, 2018).

From Guiding Principles to Interpretive Organizations: Developing a Framework for Applying the UNGPs to Disputes that Institutionalizes the Advocacy Role of Civil Society, in Business and Human Rights: Beyond the End of the Beginning 97-110 (César Rodríguez Garavito, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2017) ISBN 978-1-107-17529-7.

Pragmatism Without Principle?: How a Comprehensive Treaty on Business and Human Rights Ought to be Framed, Why It Can’t, and the Dangers of the Pragmatic Turn in Treaty Crafting in Building a Treaty on Business and Human Rights: Context and Contours 105-130 (Surya Deva and David Bilchitz, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2017). ISBN 978-1-107-19911-8 (hrbk).

The Cuban Communist Party at the Cusp of Change in Reforming Communism: Cuba in a Comparative Perspective 157-191  (Scott Morgenstern and Jorge Pérez López, eds. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018).  ISBN 978-0-8229-6549-7.

Considering a Treaty on Corporations and Human Rights: Mostly Failures But With a Glimmer of Success, in The Future of Business and Human Rights: Theoretical and Practical Considerations for a UN Treaty 87-110 (Nicolás Carillo-Santarelli and Jernej Letnar Cernic, eds., Intersentia, 2018) ISBN 978-1780684918 hrdbk).

The Evolving Relationship Between TNCs and Political Actors and Governments, in Research Handbook on Transnational Corporations 82-116 (Alice de Jonge and Roman Tomasic, eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017). ISBN: 978 1 78347 690 9.

Popular Participation in the Constitution of the Illiberal State—An Empirical Study of Popular Engagement  and Constitutional Reform in Cuba and the Contours of Cuban Socialist Democracy 2.0, 34 Emory International Law Review --- (forthcoming 2019) (with Flora Sapio, and James Korman).

Next Generation Law: Data Driven Governance and Accountability Based Regulatory Systems in the West, and Social Credit Regimes in China, 28(1) USC Interdisciplinary Law Journal 123-172 (2018).

Chinese Strategies to Combat Corporate Corruption: From a “Two Thrust Approach” to a “Two Swords One Thrust Strategy” of Compliance, Prosecutorial Discretion, and Sovereign Investor Oversight in China, 52(1) International Lawyer 1-45 (2019).

评强世功教授《哲学与历史 —从党的十九大报告解读“习近平时代”》一文 [A New Analytics for a New Era: Reflections on Jiang Shigong on ‘Philosophy and History: Interpreting the “Xi Jinping Era” through Xi’s Report to the Nineteenth National Congress of the CCP’] 译者:戴苗强 [Miaoqiang Dai translator]; 2018 开放时代 [Open Times] --  广州市社会科学院 [Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences] (forthcoming 2018).

Chinese Constitutionalism in the ‘New Era’: The Emerging Idea and Practice of Constitution in the Wake of Xi Jinping’s Report to the 19th Chinese Communist Party, Connecticut Journal of International Law 33(2):163-213 (2018).   

测度、评估和奖励:中国和西方建立社会信用体系的挑战?(Cutting-edge measures, assessments, and rewards: The challenge of establishing a social credit system in China and the West?), “互联网金融法律评论(jiflsjtu)”微信公众平台。前沿栏目·第三季第21篇(总第182篇).  (Shanghai Jiaotong University “Internet Financial Law Review (jiflsjtu).

Theorizing Regulatory Governance Within its Ecology: The Structure of Management in an Age of Globalization, 24(5) Contemporary Politics 607-630 (Special Issue 2018).

西方反腐领域新举措,从“各自为政“到“一股合力“  58(2):17-30 吉林大学社会科学学报 --- [Sword One Thrust Strategy” to Combat Criminal Corruption: Corporate Compliance, Prosecutorial Discretion, and Sovereign Investor Oversight,  Jilin University Journal of Social Science] 58(2):17-30 (2018) (ISSN 0257-2834; DOI 10.15939/j.jujsse.2018.02.fx2).

Between the Judge and the Law—Judicial Independence and Authority with Chinese Characteristics, 33(1) Connecticut Journal of International Law 1-41 (2017); Chinese language version to be published 17 Beijing Politics and Law Review -- (forthcoming).

Sovereign Wealth Funds, Capacity Building, Development, and Governance, 52(4) Wake Forest Law Review 735-780 (2017). 

The Human Rights Obligations of State-Owned Enterprises: Emerging Conceptual Structures and Principles in National and International Law and Policy, 50(4) Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 827-888 (2017).

The Corporate Social Responsibilities of Financial Institutions for the Conduct of their Borrowers: The View from International Law and Standards, 21 Lewis & Clark Law Review 881-920 (2017).

通过集体组织的社会主义现代化评《中华人民共和国慈善法》《中国非营利评论》,第19卷,社会科学文献出版社2017年版,第35—59页" [Commentary on the New Charity Undertakings Law: Socialist Modernization Through Collective Organizations, 19 China Nonprofit Review", 35-59 (Beijing, China: Social Science Literature Publishing House 2017)]. English language version published as Commentary on the New Charity Undertakings Law: Socialist Modernization Through Collective Organizations, 9(2) The China Nonprofit Review 273-309 (2017).

“Inter-Systemic Harmonization and Its Challenges for the Legal-State,” in FICHL Publication Series No. 11 (2011): The Law of the Future and the Future of the Law 427-437 (Sam Muller et al. eds., Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher, Oslo, 2011) 

Symposium Issue: A Constitutional Court for China Within the Chinese Communist Party?: Scientific Development and a Reconsideration of the Institutional Role of the CCP,” 43(3) Suffolk L. Rev. 593-624 (2010) 

“Sovereign Wealth Funds as Regulatory Chameleons: The Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Funds and Public Global Governance Through Private Global Investment,” 41(2) Geo. J. Int'l L. 425-500 (2010) 

Sovereign Investing in Times of Crisis: Global Regulation of Sovereign Wealth Funds, State Owned Enterprises and the Chinese Experience,” 19 Transnat'l L. & Contemp. Probs. 3-144 (2010). 

Rights And Accountability In Development (Raid) V Das Air (21 July 2008) And Global Witness V Afrimex (28 August 2008); Small Steps Toward an Autonomous Transnational Legal System for the Regulation of Multinational Corporations,10 Melbourne J. of Int'l L. 258 (2009) 

Theocratic Constitutionalism: Religion as Basis for Constitutional Legitimacy in a Global Age,” 16 Ind. J. Global Legal Stud. 85 (2009)

Internationalizing the American Law School Curriculum (in Light of the Carnegie Foundation's Report), in The Internalization of Law and Legal Education 49-112 (Jan Klabbers and Mortimer Sellers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer Science + Business Media B.V., 2008) (2 Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice (Mortimer Sellers series ed.)

The Private Law of Public Law: Public Authorities as Shareholders, Golden Shares, Sovereign Wealth Funds, and the Public Law Element in Private Choice of Law,82 Tul. L. Rev. 1801 (2008) 

From Moral Obligation to International Law: Disclosure Systems, Markets and the Regulation of Multinational Corporations,” 39 Geo. J. Int'l L. 591 (2008) 

Multinational Corporations as Objects and Sources of Transnational Regulation,” 14 ILSA J. Int'l & Comp. L. 499 (2008).