Feminist Legal Theory - L9550clsbann.gif (4946 bytes)

Professor Katherine Franke
Spring 2005
Tuesdays 4:10-7:00
Room WJW 101

All students interested in enrolling in the class should fill out the on-line form here.

This seminar examines feminist jurisprudence as a distinct project, exploring how feminist legal theorists have thought about sex, gender and sexuality in understanding and critiquing our legal system and its norms. It takes up a number of debates within feminist jurisprudence, how feminist scholars attempt to resolve those debates, and how they bring feminist analysis to bear on a number of contemporary issues of law and public policy.

Students are expected to do all the reading in advance of each seminar meeting, attend every seminar meeting, and participate actively in seminar discussion.   Students must write 10 short (1-2 page) critical responses to the weekly readings which must be e-mailed to the class by 5:00 pm on Monday before the seminar meeting (students can choose which 10 they would like to write).  Students must also complete a 20-25 page seminar paper on a topic to be chosen in consultation with Professor Franke. Seminar paper topics must be developed by the students and approved by the Professor no later than March 8th.  Final papers will be due on May 13th.  Law students may use the seminar paper to fulfill the major or minor writing requirements for the J.D. degree.  The paper will determine 75% of the grade, while seminar attendance, weekly papers and class participation will make up 25% of the grade.

Professor Franke's Coordinates:

Office: Room 627
Office Hours: Tuesdays 2:00-3:30
Phone: 854-0061
E-Mail: kfranke@law.columbia.edu
Professor Franke's Assistant: Jinah Paek, 854-2511, jpaek1@law.columbia.edu



Reed v. Reed
Craig v. Boren
Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power v. Manhart
Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins
U.S. v. Virginia
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Some Reflections on the Feminist Legal Thought of the 1970's

California Federal Savings and Loan v. Guerra
Linda Krieger & Patricia Cooney, The Miller-Wohl Controversy: Equal Treatment, Positive Action and the Meaning of Women’s Equality
Wendy Williams, Equality’s Riddle: Pregnancy and the Equal Treatment/Special Treatment Debate
Catharine MacKinnon,
Sex Equality: On Difference and Dominance

Gayle Rubin, The Traffic in Women: Notes on the ‘Political Economy’ of Sex
Gayle Rubin, Thinking Sex
Monique Wittig, The Category of Sex
Monique Wittig, One is Not Born a Woman
Catherine MacKinnon, Feminism, Marxism, Method and the State: An Agenda for Theory

Reading Questions:

How do Rubin, Wittig and MacKinnon conceive of women's identity?  That is, do they, and if so how do they differentiate between sex and gender?

For each author what relationship does their conception of women's identity bear to their conception of sexism or women's oppression?

How does each author understand the relationship between sex/gender and sexuality?

What is each author's prescriptive project?  What should be the goals of feminism?

How would you imagine MacKinnon would critique Rubin's charmed circle?

How can Rubin's call for the deregulation of sex and MacKinnon's call for its greater regulation both be feminist projects?

For each author what should be the role of law in a feminist movement?

Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, Women's Human Rights in the Third World
Amartya Sen, Gender Inequality and Theories of Justice
Jacqui Alexander & Chandra Mohanty, Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures
Martin Chanock, 'Culture' and Human Rights: Orientalising, Occidentalising and Authenticity

Twyman v. Twyman
Gender, Sexuality and Power: Is Feminist Theory Enough?, Brenda Cossman, Dan Danielsen, Janet Halley, Tracy Higgins




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