Feminist Legal Theory - L9550
Professor Katherine Franke
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
Professor Franke's Assistant: Jinah Paek, 854-2511, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Belkin, The Opt Out Revolution, NYT
Magazine - available outside the Secretariat on the 7th Floor
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
Linda Krieger & Patricia Cooney, The Miller-Wohl Controversy: Equal Treatment, Positive Action and the Meaning of Women’s Equality
California Federal Savings and Loan v. Guerra
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
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?
Angela Harris, Race and Essentialism in Legal Theory
Dianna Fuss, Essentially Speaking: Feminism, Nature and Difference Chapters 1,2,3,6,& 7 - available at Labyrinth Books
Susan Moler Okin, Is Multiculturalism Bad For Women?
Uma Narayan, Essence of Culture and a Sense of History: A Feminist Critique of Essentialism
Leti Volpp, Feminism vs. Multiculturalism
Katherine Franke, Theorizing Yes
Mary Becker, Caring for Children and Caretakers
Mary Anne Case, How High the Apple Pie? A Few Troubling Questions about Where, Why, and How the Burden of Care for Children Should Be Shifted
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
Saba Mahmood, Politics of Piety - available at Labyrinth
Please read pages pp. 1-57, 79-117, 153-199.
- What is her analysis of "resistance" and agency in feminist scholarship of Islam?
- Why does she insist that it is crucial to detach the notion of agency from the goals of progressive politics?
- What is the relationship between norms and subjects? Why is this distinction important to her project?
- What is the distinction she makes between agency-as-resistance, and agency-as-ethical formation?
- What does it mean to be a desiring subject on her account?
Abdullahi An-Na’im, Toward a Cross-Cultural Approach to Defining International Standards of Human Rights: The Meaning of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment
Rhonda Copelon, Surfacing Gender: Reconceptualizing Crimes Against Women in Times of War
Sherrie L. Russell-Brown, Rape as an Act of Genocide
Fiona Ross, Bearing Witness: Women and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa
Amnesty Int'l Report, No One Listens To Us And No One Treats Us As Human Beings
Charles Hirschkind; Saba Mahmood, Feminism, the Taliban, and Politics of Counter-Insurgency
ILF, The Customary Laws of Afghanistan
Mark A. Drumbl, Rights, Culture, and Crime: The Role Of Rule Of Law For The Women Of Afghanistan
Twyman v. Twyman
Gender, Sexuality and Power: Is Feminist Theory Enough?, Brenda Cossman, Dan Danielsen, Janet Halley, Tracy Higgins