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Spring 2024 Reading Group

The Company Town: Corporate Power and Local Government Law

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam

This course is about the consequences of spatially-concentrated corporate activity on local governance in the United States. We will explore the concept of the “company town” across time and place: from plantation fiefdoms of the Antebellum South, to the employer-owned communities that characterized extractive industries in the late 19th century, to Amazon’s recent HQ2 competition and the contemporary prison town. Our primary goals will be to (1) understand the consequences of concentrated power for local democracy, and then (2) explore how local government law might be deployed to guard against corporate capture.

Note: This reading group will meet on the following dates: January 23, February 6, February 20, March 5, March 26, April 9.