Gender Justice - L6506clsbann.gif (4946 bytes)

Professor Katherine Franke
Fall 2012
Mondays & Wednesdays 10:40-12:00
Room WJW103

This course will provide an introduction to the concrete legal contexts in which issues of gender and justice have been articulated, disputed and hesitatingly, if not provisionally, resolved.  Through these readings we will explore the multiple ways in which the law has contended with sexual difference, gender-based stereotypes, and the meaning of equality in domestic, transnational and international contexts. So too, we will discuss how feminist theorists have thought about sex, gender and sexuality in understanding and critiquing our legal system and its norms.

No Laptops are permitted in this class.

Class attendance is mandatory. Each student will be required to write 2 two-page (double-spaced) papers.  These papers should engage the reading for class, addressing ideas and concepts presented in that week's readings. As the papers are very short, the goal of these essays is not to summarize all the main points or interesting ideas arising in the readings, but to pick issues which you believe to be most pertinent, or pressing in the context of gender-based law and policy. Your essays should carefully analyze the readings - you may question or make comments on the perspectives, approaches, frameworks or underlying assumptions contained in the readings. You may ask about how the arguments are made and note what evidence or information is cited and comment on absences. You should engage with more than one article/reading, perhaps by noting the questions raised by the readings in relation to each other, or by situating them in a larger context. Your response essays can note the agreements or disagreements among the authors, either explicit or implicit, and comment on the implications of disparate positions.  Students will be divided into groups with dates assigned when they will write.  Writing Groups here.

Students will be evaluated on class participation, short papers and on a final 24 hour take-home examination.

Professor Franke's Coordinates:

Office: Room 627
Office Hours: Mondays 1:30 - 3:00; Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:00 or by appointment
Phone: 854-0061
Professor Franke's Assistant: Lauren Gutterman, 212.854.0167,

Required texts

Additional Resources


September 5th: Introduction to the Course

September 10th: Where is Gender Equality Today?


Sexed & Gendered Bodies 

September 12th: Gendering/Sexing the Female Body - MJF pp. 1-36

September 17th: Gendering/Sexing the Male Body - Susan Bordo, Gentleman or Beast? The Double-Bind of Masculinity, in The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and Private (1999); R.W. Connell, The Social Organization of Masculinity, in Masculinities (2005)

September 19th: The Pregnant Body - MJF pp. 55-88

September 24th: Maternal Conduct During Pregnancy - MJF pp. 88 - 117

September 26th: Rape - MJF pp. 184-225, 238-247

October 1st: Rape, Power & Heterosexuality - MJF pp. 261-295

October 3rd: Speaker on Sexual Violence, Mary Haviland, Executive Director, New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault


Gender & Work 

October 8th: Paradigms of Workplace Equality - MJF pp. 523-547

October 10th: Limits of Workplace Equality Law - MJF pp. 593-621

October 15th: Sex/Gender Harassment - MJF pp. 661-666, 680-706, Prowel v. Wise Business Forms

October 17th: The Limits of a Female-Based Sex Discrimination Paradigm - Andrew Gilden, Toward a More Transformative Approach: The Limits of Transgender Formal Equality, 23 Berkeley J. Gender L. & Just. 83 (2008); Frank Rudy Cooper, Who's The Man?  Masculinities and Police Stops - optional reading

October 22nd: Sex Work - MJF pp. 353-377, 394-400, Revolving Door: An Analysis of Street-Based Prostitution in New York City, Criminal Complaint in Sex Worker Arrest, HRW Memo on Condoms

October 24th: Sex Work - MJF pp. 417-433, 438-453, Gentleman, Picking Up Trash By Hand

October 29th: Speaker on Sex Work - Sienna Baskin, Co-Director, Sex Workers Project, Urban Justice Center

October 31st: Sienna Baskin rescheduled - if Sandy will allow.

Sexuality: Power, Pleasure & Harm

November 5th: Theorizing Sexuality - MJF pp. 295 - 328

November 7th: Exotic Dancing and Stripping - MJF pp. 453-470

November 12th: Sale/Use of Sex Toys - Williams v. Attorney General of Ala., 378 F.3d 1232 (11th Cir. 2004); Reliable Consultants, Inc. v. Earle, 517 F.3d 738 (5th Cir. 2008)

November 14th: Trafficking - Janie Chuang, Rescuing Trafficking from Ideological Capture: Prostitution Reform and Anti-Trafficking Law and Policy (read Part II); Melissa Ditmore & Juhu Thukral, Accountabililty and the Use of Raids to Combat Trafficking; Melissa Ditmore & Juhu Thukral, To Address Human Trafficking the United States Must Take A New Approach

November 19th: Speaker on Trafficking - Florrie Burke, Anti-Human Trafficking/Human Rights/Collaborations


Domestic Violence

November 21st: MJF pp. 1005-1045

November 26th: Battered Women's Syndrome - MJF pp. 1098-1124


Current Topics in Marriage and the Family

December 28th: What is Marriage? MJF pp. 777-814

December 3rd: What is Marriage For? Sin Takes A Holiday (1930); Pardis Mahdavi, Passionate Uprisings: Young People, Sexuality and Politics in Post-Revolutionary Iran

December 5th: Same-Sex Marriage - MJF pp. 819-833, Hernandez v. Robles