CFP: Exploring Key Concepts in Feminist Legal Theory – The Family

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The Centre for Law, Ethics and Society, Keele University and the Feminism and Legal Theory Project, Emory University (headed by FeministLawProf Martha Fineman) have issued this CFP for a workshop to be held September 7-8, 2007 at Emory University in Atlanta:

This is to announce the fifth and final session in a series of five comparative law and culture workshops….This series of cross-legal cultural sessions were designed to focus on issues of interest to feminist and critical scholars from both jurisdictions and addressed four general topics:

  • Changing conceptions of the state, governance, and citizenship relations;
  • The role and importance of race and ethnicity in the two national contexts and their implications for feminist work;
  • Feminism and post-colonialism – their meaning and importance; and
  • The family as a key concept, its different and evolving meaning.

Organized around a particular problem or concept as a focal point, the workshops objectives are to interrogate points of conflict, consistency and contradiction in feminist legal theory and method in the two national contexts. In this last session, the subject under consideration is”the family.” We are interested in papers addressing its different and evolving meanings and the associated implications for law revision and reform. Key questions include:

  • Is the (Western) family a shared institution or are there important differences in how it is understood in the two jurisdictions?
  • To what extent are changes in behavior and attitude about family and intimacy reflected in changes in the laws in each jurisdiction?
  • What economic factors affect the formation, maintenance and/or dissolution of the family under each legal system?
  • What legal and cultural factors and values inform our understanding of the family?
  • What is the role of the state in regard to the family?
  • Can or should we move beyond the family?
  • Can one have personal autonomy within the current structure?
  • Is there transformative potential in alternative family forms?
  • Is the family performative rather than structural?
  • What would a feminist image of family look like?

Proposals should be sent by June 11, 2007 to Martha LA Fineman (mfineman(at) and Nancy Stafford (nstaffo(at) Working papers will be due August 20, 2007.

The website of the Feminism and Legal Theory Project is here.

-Bridget Crawford

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