Professor Susan Bisom-Rapp spent the third week of March in Modena, Italy, where every year since 2003, the Marco Biagi Foundation (MBF) at the University of Modena has hosted an international conference devoted to international and comparative employment and labor relations. Professor Bisom-Rapp has attended the event annually since 2007, making this her ninth consecutive year as a conference participant. While in Modena, Professor Bisom-Rapp chaired a conference panel, participated as a commentator at the Young Scholars’ Workshop, had discussions about furthering cooperation between the MBF and Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and attended two committee meetings.
This year’s conference, “Employment Relations and Transformation of the Enterprise in the Global Economy,” brought together scholars from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, who analyzed the challenges involved in regulating employment at a time when more and more people work outside of traditional employment relationships. Particular attention was given to the mismatch between employment laws, which were designed for mid-twentieth century conceptions of work, and the way people work in the sharing economy of the twenty-first century.
Professor Bisom-Rapp served as chair for a panel titled “Enterprise and Structure of the Value Chain in the Transnational Dimension,” which covered four papers written by professors from three countries: Russia, Poland, and Italy. The paper topics were diverse, including hard and soft law strategies for regulating multinational corporations, how to protect European workers temporarily posted by their employers to different countries, and the implications for employees of cross-border mergers and acquisitions. The panel session was covered by the local newspaper in Modena and featured a photo of Professor Bisom-Rapp chairing the panel.
Professor Bisom-Rapp also helped organize and was a commentator at the MBF’s annual Young Scholars’ Workshop. This is Professor Bisom-Rapp’s fourth year of involvement with this portion of the annual conference events. “This year we heard and commented on papers from Ph.D. students from the U.K., the U.S., Italy, Hungary, and Nigeria,” she said. There were seven papers presented in all. Additionally, five other PhD. Candidates from Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia, Italy, and Belgium participated in a poster session, where they had an opportunity to informally present their work to interested conference participants. “Creating ties with the new generation of comparative scholars is one of the most exciting parts of the conference,” said Professor Bisom-Rapp. “The quality of the scholarly work they are doing is inspiring,” she added.
Professor Bisom-Rapp also attended three meetings during the conference. One was a meeting of the MBF’s Scientific Committee, to which Professor Bisom-Rapp was appointed last year. The Scientific Committee, which is the Foundation’s academic advisory board, discussed and adopted the theme for the 2016 annual conference. The second was a meeting of the Foundation’s International Council, which handles curricular issues associated with the Ph.D. program. The final meeting was a discussion between Professor Bisom-Rapp and administrators from the MBF and concerned increasing cooperation between the Foundation and Thomas Jefferson School of Law.