Comments You Are Most Likely to Hear From Feminist Law Professors

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On the Freakonomics blog at the New York Times, Justin Wolfers reminded readers  (here) of  economist  George Stigler‘s  suggestion that during presentations of a scholarly work, audience members would increase academic efficiency by shouting out a number that corresponded to their comment or objection, instead of wasting everyone’s time with the usual professorial puffery and wind-up to audience comments and questions.  In  The Conference Handbook  in the  Journal of Political Economy  (1977), Stigler assigned numbers to the most common objections, i.e., (1)  ”Adam Smith  said that;” (2) “there is an identification problem which is not dealt with adequately in the paper;” (3) “the model is incorrect.”  And so on.

Feminist Law Professors like efficiency, too, so here’s a working list of  Comments You Are Most Likely To Hear From Feminist Law Professors, a  tongue-in-cheek twist on Stigler’s guidance for economists.  The list is a work-in-progress.  Anyone giving a job talk or paper at a school known to have feminist law professors on the faculty (and check the blog roll — we don’t have a secret handshake) might want to consider these:

1.  There are no women in your study/paper/analysis.

2.  There are women in your study/paper/analysis, but women’s authentic voices have been silenced.

3.  Your recommendation, if implemented, would disparately impact women.

4.  Although your  study/paper/analysis takes women into account, you assume that “women” is a monolithic category.

5.  Although your study/paper/analysis takes _________ [insert adjective] women into account, you assume that all  _________ [insert same adjective] are the same.

6.  Your perspective is constrained by your position as a/an __________  [insert adjective]  _________ [insert noun] and therefore your arguments/analyses/theories are incomplete or inaccurate.

7.  You seem to have ignored the feminist theory of  _________ [insert noun], which would change your analysis.

8. You do not cite any female academics in your study.

9.  You cite  __________  [name of female academic] in your study, but you make her into a cartoon-like figure without engaging seriously with her arguments.

10.  You misunderstand  __________  [name of female academic]; she never said that.

11.  Your understanding of feminist theory is mired in a difference vs. dominance paradigm.

12.  Your faith in the state as an agent of justice appears misplaced.

13.  [UPDATE:]  Why aren’t you calling on any of the women in the audience who have their hands raised?

Addenda and modifications to this list are welcome.    

-Bridget Crawford

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0 Responses to Comments You Are Most Likely to Hear From Feminist Law Professors

  1. Ann Bartow says:

    This is awesome. Here’s my contribution:

    Why aren’t you calling on any of the women in the audience who have their hands raised?