Jeff Lingwall, assistant professor of legal studies in the College of Business and Economics, Ruth Jebe, Hansberger Endowed Chair of Business Ethics and associate professor of legal studies in the College of Business and Economics, and Chad Erpelding, professor of art in the College of Arts and Sciences, published an article “ACorporation, Inc: Corporate Form as Art Project and Advocacy” in the University of Baltimore Law Review.
The article explores the history of corporate personhood, ways that the law is used for expressive purposes, and the activities of ACorporation Inc., a project by Erpelding that straddles the line between a corporation and an art project. ACorporation Inc. advocates on behalf of corporations as persons to ensure that they are treated equally as well as held to the same laws and expectations as other people. This has included requesting lawmakers to require corporations under the age of 18 to have a legal guardian, to require corporations that merge obtain a marriage license, and to require corporations that are acquiring another corporation to follow laws around adoption.
“The journey of corporations in the United States from special-purpose, public-benefit institutions to the crisis-ridden behemoths that govern modern economic life has left significant space for advocacy,” an excerpt from the article reads. “Reforming the corporation has been the mission of numerous ethicists, legal scholars, and business-school seminars over time, yet Enron was followed by Theranos, which was followed by FTX, which will be followed by another synonym for corporate scandal in the future. One unexplored source of activism in this area is the potential for artistic endeavors to shed light on paradoxes inherent in corporate personhood. By combining corporate form with the art of social practice, the ACorporation project represents a meaningful new perspective on the purpose of corporate law.”