End Sexist Citation

Others on this blog have noted, with some shocking numbers, how leadership posts and article slots in top journals exclude women.  It appears they also may be missing “below the line.” This article “Are You Reading Enough Academic Women” asserts that being a woman substantially lowers one’s potential for having one’s work cited.

The article does not just decry the practice but shares concrete suggestions, many of which are sourced from a study by B.F. Walter and others.  My favorite: women are less likely to cite to themselves (hint, hint, sisters!) and we (I include myself here) should send our pieces out just using an initial in lieu of our first name.  It may not entirely shield the reader from the author’s sex but may prevent sex from shaping first reactions to women’s pieces.

The article concludes with an exhortation that we make sure there’s parity in our syllabi and cites, and especially that we try to read more women this year.  Let’s do it!

Speaking of citation, thanks to Imani Perry for sharing.

Posted in Academia | Comments Off

Harvard Law School is on a list of 55 schools under Title IX investigation related to sexual assaults.

Story here.

Facing mounting pressure from lawmakers, sexual assault survivors and activists, the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday released for the first time a comprehensive list of colleges and universities under Title IX investigation.

Fifty-five higher education institutions are currently under review by the department’s Office for Civil Rights for allegedly mishandling sexual assault and harassment on campus in violation of the gender equity law Title IX.

UPDATE: The NYT take is here.

Posted in Academia, Acts of Violence, Sexual Harassment | Comments Off

For the Judith Butler Fans

An interview entitled “A Very Carefully Crafted F**k You” from 2010. Below is an excerpt:

Guernica: The hawkish wing in the “war on terror” has quite effectively claimed the banner of feminism. Is feminism as it has been articulated in part to blame for this?

Judith Butler: No, I think that we have seen quite cynical uses of feminism for the waging of war. The vast majority of feminists oppose these contemporary wars, and object to the false construction of Muslim women “in need of being saved” as a cynical use of feminist concerns with equality. There are some very strong and interesting Muslim feminist movements, and casting Islam as anti-feminist not only disregards those movements, but displaces many of the persisting inequalities in the first world onto an imaginary elsewhere.

Posted in Acts of Violence, Feminism and Culture, Feminism and Politics, Feminists in Academia | Comments Off

Call For Papers: Audre Rapoport Prize For Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights

From Karen Engle, Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law, Co-Director and Founder, Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, University of Texas School of Law

Call for Papers:

Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship

on Gender and Human Rights

Deadline: July 1, 2014

The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at The University of Texas School of Law extends a call for papers for the Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights.  The $1,000 prize will be awarded to the winner of an interdisciplinary writing competition on international human rights and women.  The prize is made possible by a donation from University of Texas linguistics professor Robert King in honor of the work of Audre Rapoport, who has spent many hours dedicated to the advancement of women in the United States and internationally, particularly on issues of reproductive health.  It is also meant to further the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center’s mission to serve as a focal point for critical, interdisciplinary analysis and practice of human rights and social justice.  Previous winning papers can be viewed below.


TOPIC:  The scope of the topic is broad.  We welcome papers, from any discipline, that address gender and human rights from an international, transnational, or comparative perspective.  The selection committee will be multidisciplinary and international, comprising faculty from areas such as law, anthropology, literature, and government.


ELIGIBILITY:  To be eligible, an author must either be an enrolled student or have graduated from a university within the past year.


FORMAT:  Papers should be between 8,000 and 15,000 words and must be in English.  The word limit includes footnotes, endnotes, and appendices.  The submission must consist of original work, and authors must have rights to the content and be willing to publish the paper on the Center’s website. If the paper has not been published elsewhere, the paper may also be considered for publication in the Rapoport Center’s Working Paper Series.  All submissions must be accompanied by an abstract of 100 to 250 words and must be submitted in .doc or .docx format.


JUDGMENT CRITERIA:  A panel of multidisciplinary and international faculty and professionals from fields such as law, government, anthropology, and literature will judge the papers anonymously.  Previous committee members have included Helena Alviar (Associate Professor & Director of the Doctorate and Master’s in Law Programs, Universidad de Los Andes), Hilary Charlesworth (Professor & Director of the Centre for International Governance and Justice, Australian National University), and Cecilia Medina (Professor & Director of the Human Rights Center, Universidad de Chile, and immediate past President, Inter-American Court of Human Rights).  Relevant judgment factors include the strength and logic of the argument, depth of the analysis, originality and importance of intervention in the field, thoroughness and soundness of the research, quality of writing (clarity and organization), and formatting and citations.


PRIZE:  The winner will receive a $1,000 prize.  The winning paper will be published on the Center’s website.  If the winning paper has not been published elsewhere, it will also be published in the Rapoport Center’s Working Paper Series.  The second-place paper may receive a prize and may be considered for publication in the Working Paper Series.


DEADLINE:  Submissions should be sent via email to HumanRights@law.utexas.edu by July 1, 2014.  Please submit paper (without any identifying information), abstract, and full contact details (including university, degree, and anticipated/actual graduation date) in three separate documents, and include “Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights” in the subject line.  The winner(s) will be notified by early September.


QUESTIONS?  Please contact us at HumanRights@law.utexas.edu.



Past Prize Winners


Heidi Matthews (2013): “Redeeming Rape: Berlin 1945 and the Making of Modern International Criminal Law”


Kali Yuan (2012): “Translating Rights into Agency: Advocacy, Aid and the Domestic Workers Convention”


Genevieve Painter (2011): “Thinking Past Rights: Towards Feminist Theories of Reparations”


Maggie Corser (2010): “Enhancing Women’s Rights and Capabilities: An Intersectional Approach to Gender-Based Violence Prevention”


Sherief Gaber (2009): “Verbal Abuse: Anti-Trafficking Rhetoric and Violence against Women”


Alice Edwards (2008): “Violence against Women as Sex Discrimination: Evaluating the Policy and Practice of the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies”


Patricia Palacios Zuloaga (2007): “The Path to Gender Justice in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights”


Susan Harris Rimmer (2006): “Orphans’ or Veterans? Justice for Children Born of War in East Timor”


Fleming Terrell (2005): “Unofficial Accountability: A Proposal for the Permanent Women’s Tribunal on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict”

Posted in Academia, Call for Papers or Participation, Fellowships and Funding Opportunities, Feminism and Law | Comments Off

For Those Who Cringe at the Word “Seminal” When Used in Academic Discourse

Jenny Davis (Sociology, James Madison University) writes what she calls a “public service announcement” over at Cyborgology.  “Dont Say Seminal, It’s Sexist,” Professor Davis explains:

Yes, “seminal” refers simultaneously to groundbreaking intellectual work and male bodily fluids expelled at the peak of sexual excitement.  First, the metaphor doesn’t even entirely make sense. although the work, like the fluid, is a seed, to earn the seminal descriptor, a work has to have grown into something rich and complex.  It cannot, as semen is wont to do, shoot into an unreceptive environment where it is wiped away, left to quickly die, and ultimately forgotten. Moreover, the metaphor is downright vulgar.  It evokes (at least for me) the image of some dude splooging his ideas all over everything. Finally, and most importantly, the metaphor is blatantly sexist.

To refer to something as “seminal” is equivalent to the compulsory use of the masculine pronoun “he” when one really means “person.” The compulsory “he” has long fallen out of favor (though what “he” should be replaced with is a debate in itself, but I digress), and yet “seminal” persists as an integral part of speech and writing.

Read her full post here.

Professor Davis responds in a subsequent post (here) to what she identifies as four “thematic critiques,” namely:

  • Critique one:  seminal comes from the Latin word “semen” which means “seed” (not sperm) and therefore does not maintain inherent masculine connotations.
  • Critique two: sperm and eggs are both human seeds. Sperm are active and eggs are passive, so it is logical, not sexist, to equate foundational ideas with the active variant.
  • Critique three: “ovulary” as an alternate term is equally sexist.
  • Critique four: I don’t think of sperm when I use the word seminal, therefore my use of the term is not sexist. The author’s interpretation is idiosyncratic and therefore invalid.

Professor Davis effectively each critique, calling out faulty logic, biased premises and incomplete reasoning.  Her full response is worth reading.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Academia, Sociolinguistics | 1 Comment

New Book Announcement: “Gender and Violence in Haiti”

Rutgers University Press has published a new book by Benedetta Faedi Duramy (Golden Gate).  Here is the publisher’s description of Gender and Violence in Haiti: Women’s Path from Victims to Agents:

Women in Haiti are frequent victims of sexual violence and armed assault. Yet an astonishing proportion of these victims also act as perpetrators of violent crime, often as part of armed groups. Award-winning legal scholar Benedetta Faedi Duramy visited Haiti to discover what causes these women to act in such destructive ways and what might be done to stop this tragic cycle of violence.

Gender and Violence in Haiti is the product of more than a year of extensive firsthand observations and interviews with the women who have been caught up in the widespread violence plaguing Haiti. Drawing from the experiences of a diverse group of Haitian women, Faedi Duramy finds that both the victims and perpetrators of violence share a common sense of anger and desperation. Untangling the many factors that cause these women to commit violence, from self-defense to revenge, she identifies concrete measures that can lead them to feel vindicated and protected by their communities.

Faedi Duramy vividly conveys the horrifying conditions pervading Haiti, even before the 2010 earthquake. But Gender and Violence in Haiti also carries a message of hope—and shows what local authorities and international relief agencies can do to help the women of Haiti.

Traditional print and e-book editions are available.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Acts of Violence, Feminist Legal Scholarship, Sisters In Other Nations | Comments Off

I am the girl who ratted.

Girl who ratted

From this article:

What is it like to come out as a survivor of sexual assault? For a student at Vanderbilt University, it’s meant being called a “crazy bitch,” “psycho,” “NASTY AS SHIT,” and a “no-good cunt.”

In February, Jane Doe filed charges against AEPi, a Jewish fraternity at the Nashville school’s campus. As reported by the Hustler, Vanderbilt’s student newspaper, an Internet thread emerged this month to shame, mock, and discredit her.

The above comments were posted to CollegiateACB, a website that allows college students around the country an open forum to discuss issues relevant to their university. …

… In a culture that continues to make survivors feel unsafe, many who experience sexual assault never speak out. According to statistics from the Department of Justice, 95 percent of rapes that occur on a college campus will never be reported to the campus police.

There’s a reason why: a 2011 survey in the Chicago Tribune found that over the past six years, less than 3 percent of those allegations ended in a conviction, meaning that few campus rapists will ever see jail time. …

However, what makes the Vanderbilt Jane Doe case unique is that the campus didn’t leave the case solely to administration to handle. Allies at the university have rallied behind the campus, defending her from the climate of bullying that sets to make an example out of her. To show their support, students have been changing their Facebook profile picture to a graphic that reads “I Am the Girl Who Ratted,” in order to raise awareness and hold the university accountable to action.

Posted in Academia, Coerced Sex, If you're a woman, Sexual Harassment, Women's Health | Comments Off

CFP: Legal Scholarship We Like, and Why It Matters

From the FLP mailbox, this CFP:

Legal Scholarship We Like and Why It Matters

University of Miami School of Law

November 7-8, 2014

JOTWELL, the Journal of Things We Like (Lots), is an online journal dedicated to celebrating and sharing the best scholarship relating to the law. To celebrate Jotwell’s 5th Birthday, we invite you to join us for conversations about what makes legal scholarship great and why it matters.

In the United States, the role of scholarship is under assault in contemporary conversations about law schools; meanwhile in many other countries legal scholars are routinely pressed to value their work according to metrics or with reference to fixed conceptions of the role of legal scholarship. We hope this conference will serve as an answer to those challenges, both in content and by example.

We invite pithy abstracts of proposed contributions, relating to one or more of the conference themes. Each of these themes provides an occasion for the discussion (and, as appropriate, defense) of the scholarly enterprise in the modern law school–not for taking the importance of scholarship for granted, but showing, with specificity, as we hope Jotwell itself does, what good work looks like and why it matters.

I. Improving the Craft: Writing Legal Scholarship

We invite discussion relating to the writing of legal scholarship.

1. What makes great legal scholarship? Contributions on this theme could either address the issue at a general level, or anchor their discussion by an analysis of a single exemplary work of legal scholarship. We are open to discussions of both content and craft.

2. Inevitably, not all books and articles will be “great”. What makes “good” legal scholarship? How do we achieve it?

II. Improving the Reach: Communicating and Sharing

Legal publishing is changing quickly, and the way that people both produce and consume legal scholarship seems likely to continue to evolve.

3. Who is (are) the audience(s) for legal scholarship?

4. How does legal scholarship find its audience(s)? Is there anything we as legal academics can or should do to help disseminate great and good scholarship? To what extent will the shift to online publication change how people edit, consume, and share scholarship, and how should we as authors and editors react?

III. Improving the World: Legal Scholarship and its Influence

Most broadly, we invite discussion of when and how legal scholarship matters.

5. What makes legal scholarship influential? Note that influence is not necessarily the same as “greatness”. Also, influence has many possible meanings, encompassing influence within or outside the academy.

6. Finally, we invite personal essays about influence: what scholarship, legal or otherwise, has been most influential for you as a legal scholar? What if anything can we as future authors learn from this?


Jotwell publishes short reviews of recent scholarship relevant to the law, and we usually require brevity and a very contemporary focus. For this event, however, contributions may range over the past, the present, or the future, and proposed contributions can be as short as five pages, or as long as thirty.

We invite the submission of abstracts for proposed papers fitting one or more of the topics above. Your abstract should lay out your central idea, and state the anticipated length of the finished product.

Abstracts due by: May 20, 2014. Send your paper proposals (abstracts) via the JOTCONF 2014 EasyChair page, https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=jotconf2014.

If you do not have an EasyChair account you will need to register first – just click at the “sign up for an account” link at the login page and fill in the form. The system will send you an e-mail with the instructions how to finish the registration.

Responses by: June 13, 2014

Accepted Papers due: Oct 6, 2014

Conference: Nov. 7-8, 2014
University of Miami School of Law
Coral Gables, FL

Symposium contributions will be published on a special page at Jotwell.com. Authors will retain copyright. In keeping with Jotwell’s relentlessly low-budget methods, this will be a self-funding event. Your contributions are welcome even if you cannot attend in person.

Posted in Call for Papers or Participation, Feminist Legal Scholarship | Comments Off

Call for Abstracts: Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship

2014 Environmental ColloquiumFifth Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship
at Vermont Law School
October 4, 2014

Deadline for submitting abstracts: June 1, 2014

Vermont Law School will host the Fifth Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship on October 4, 2014. This event offers environmental law scholars the opportunity to present their works-in-progress, get feedback from their colleagues, and meet and interact with those who are also teaching and researching in the areas of environmental and natural resources law and related specialty areas.

If you are interested in presenting a paper at the Colloquium, please submit a working title and short abstractusing the online form here, no later than June 1, 2014. For an abstract to be eligible for submission, the author must anticipate that the paper will still be at a revisable stage (neither published nor so close to publication that significant changes are not feasible) by the date of the Colloquium. We will do our best to include all interested presenters, and will notify authors about acceptances no later than July 1, 2014.

All selected participants must submit a draft paper no later than September 20, 2014, and all participants will be asked to provide commentary on another participant’s paper draft at the Colloquium. Final papers will also be eligible for publication in the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law.

VLS in autumnThe Colloquium panels will take place on Saturday, October 4.  Vermont Law School’s Environmental Law Center and its faculty will host a cocktail reception the night before in the Hanover area, and a dinner on Saturday evening at Vermont Law School.  Further Colloquium details regarding the schedule, events, lodging, and transportation will be posted here as they become available.  For more information on the Colloquium, or if you need assistance uploading your abstract, please contact Courtney Collins at ccollins@vermontlaw.edu or at (802) 831-1371.

Posted in Academia | Comments Off

Hiring Announcement: VAP Position in Environmental Law

Visiting Assistant Professor (VAP) in Environmental Law at Pace Law School

Pace Law School seeks applicants for a new Visiting Assistant Professor (VAP) in Environmental Law. The VAP in Environmental Law will hold a one-year appointment, renewable for a second one-year term. The appointment is designed to mentor and train future environmental law professors.

The VAP will have a reduced teaching load of one course per semester, the opportunity to focus on scholarly research and writing, and the expectation that s/he will enter the law school teaching market. The VAP will receive the same office and administrative support as other faculty members, is invited to participate fully in faculty activities, and will receive a small travel and research fund. Additionally, the VAP will present a work in progress at Pace Law School’s Future Environmental Law Professors Workshop, receive feedback and mentoring from other scholars, and present a finished manuscript to the faculty at our weekly scholarly colloquium.

The salary for the VAP in Environmental Law is $55,000 per year plus benefits, including health and dental insurance. The VAP will not be eligible for a full-time tenure-track or tenured faculty appointment at Pace Law School until after six years following the completion of his/her term in residence.

Candidates will be selected based on their prior work and educational experience, and teaching and scholarly potential. Pace is committed to achieving equal opportunity in all aspects of University life.  Applications are encouraged from people of color, individuals of varied sexual and affectional orientations, individuals who are differently-abled, veterans of the armed forces or national service, and anyone whose background and experience will contribute to the diversity of the law school.  Pace is committed to achieving completely equal opportunity in all aspects of University life.

Applicants should submit:

  • Curriculum Vitae (that lists three references and law school courses the candidate would be interested in teaching)
  • If possible, one published scholarly article or unpublished paper draft that reflects the candidate’s scholarly interests and potential

The application deadline is May 1, 2014.

If you would like to be considered for a Visiting Assistant Professor in Environmental Law appointment beginning in the Fall of 2014, please send your application materials via email to Professor Jason J. Czarnezki at jczarnezki@law.pace.edu. Only electronic submissions will be accepted.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Law Teaching | Comments Off

What’s Wrong with Men’s Studies

The Chronicle has some convoluted, and perhaps confused, thoughts here (pay site; sorry).

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Academia, Masculinity | Comments Off

Ensuring Access to Justice for Transgender People

In October, 2013, the New York State Judicial Institute sponsored a 3-day training program for judges and court personnel on “Transgender Litigants in the Courtroom: Providing Equal Access and Impartial Justice.” Transcripts of the program are available here, as is a list of program material. Some highlights include:

The organizer of the program was Judge Peter Moulton, a supervising judge of the New York County Civil Court.  In his opening remarks, Judge Moulton said:

We’re here today to discuss how to make the Court system a safe place for transgender people. Court personnel, judicial and nonjudicial, whether straight, gay and
lesbian, transgender, or questioning, need to ensure that transgender people in our courts have the same access to justice as anyone else. That does not mean that we, as court personnel must shed the neutrality that’s the hallmark of any well-ordered court system. It does mean that we need to create a court environment that is respectful of transgender people and cognizant of the special challenges they face in our court system.

Source here. H/T DS.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, LGBT Rights | Comments Off

Off is On!


Posted in Academia | Comments Off

Two Recent Works by Michele Gilman

Michele Gilman (Baltimore) has published two recent pieces that may be of interest to blog readers:

Michele Gilman, Feminism, Democracy, and the “War on Women,” 32 J. of Law & Inequality 1 (2014).

This article analyzes the social conservative attacks on women preceding the 2012 election cycle, known as the War on Women, and the ensuing feminist response. Combat was waged on many fronts, including abortion restrictions, access to contraception, funding for Planned Parenthood, welfare programs, and workplace fairness. The article discusses what this “war” means for the complex relationship between feminism and democracy. American democracy has had both liberating and oppressive effects for women, while feminism has sometimes struggled internally to appropriate the values of democracy and externally to harness its potential. Accordingly, the article explains the major political theories regarding feminism and democracy and reflects on how the War on Women and its after effects impact those theories. The Article concludes that the War on Women reconfigured the relationship between feminism and democracy by reinvigorating the feminist political movement, redefining the scope of women’s issues, realigning women voters across interest groups, and spurring a surge of women into office. Still, the War on Women kept feminism on the defensive, thereby draining the movement of the ability to fashion a feminist offensive. Thus, the feminist movement needs to generate an agenda that will wage a war for women.

Michele Gilman, The Return of the Welfare Queen, 22 J. of Gender, Social Policy, & the Law 247 (2014) (symposium).

After welfare reform was passed in 1996, there was every reason to hope that the welfare queen was dead. The “welfare queen” was shorthand for a lazy woman of color, with numerous children she cannot support, who is cheating taxpayers by abusing the system to collect government assistance. For years, this long-standing racist and gendered stereotype was used to attack the poor and the cash assistance programs that support them. In 1996, TANF capped welfare receipt to five years and required work as a condition of eligibility, thus stripping the welfare queen of her throne of dependency. Nevertheless, during the 2012 presidential campaign, Republican candidate Mitt Romney resurrected the welfare queen. In a barrage of television campaign ads, Romney inaccurately accused President Obama of gutting TANF work requirements, while President Obama responded by touting his own tough-on-welfare credentials. In the subsequent battle over which candidate was toughest on the poor, there was no mention that TANF is largely a failure. While TANF enrollment has plunged since 1996, it has not reduced poverty. Instead, it pushed many poor mothers into the low-wage workforce, where they struggle to survive on meager wages. In addition, many families have slipped out of the safety net altogether, sanctioned by TANF caseworkers or discouraged by TANF’s onerous application requirements, privacy-stripping processes, and stingy grants. As a result, only 4.5 million people receive cash assistance through TANF, amounting to 0.47% of the federal 2012 budget. In other words, the political salience of the welfare queen far outstrips her numbers. The good news is that Romney’s dependency rhetoric did not work and may have backfired. The bad news is that the welfare queen still lurks behind repeated calls to cut government benefits and to criminalize poverty. This article explores the legacy of the welfare queen, her return in the 2012 presidential campaign, and the current inadequacies of TANF. The article concludes with suggestions to reform TANF in the hopes of burying the welfare queen once and for all.

Worth a read!

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Politics, Feminist Legal Scholarship, Women and Economics | Comments Off

CFP: Teaching Through the Digital Divide

From the FLP mailbox:

Professing Feminism: Teaching Through the Digital Divide
Deadline: Dec. 15, 2014
Page limit 15-25 pages
Format: Email articles in MLA style. Double spaced. MSWord attachments only.

Contact: professingfeminism@hotmail.com

Professing Feminism,inspired by our own online teaching experiences in for-profit and not-for-profit higher education, will be a path-breaking anthology exploring feminist pedagogy and feminist content in online courses. Have you had experience teaching feminism online? How can your shared experience help facilitate the inclusion of feminist pedagogy and feminist content in the growth of online teaching thatis rapidly mushrooming?

We are open to essays that both critique and positively evaluate the potential for professing feminism in online work, in a variety of contexts. Submissions can cover any aspect of the experience of feminism, feminist pedagogy, online teaching and online learning.

We are especially interested in articles that address the following topics:

  • Enacting a feminist pedagogy in online courses
  • Feminism and for-profit schools
  • Teaching other people’s feminism (teaching from prewritten courses in for-profit or not-for-profit online programs).
  • Providing feminist context in classes that include women’s literature, but provide no feminist context to the works.
  • Men and feminism in online classes.
  • Encouraging feminism in composition classes (or any classes where feminist content is rarely found or emphasized).
  • Academic hierarchy and feminism in online schools.
  • Feminist collaboration:issues of isolation, networking and publishing as an online adjunct
  • Addressing the stigma of teaching online and the divide between online and on ground schools and instructors.
  • Addressing the negative perceptions of online teaching.
  • The role of feminism in the new model of online teaching and for-profit schools
  • Feminism’s role within the job preparation emphasis in online schools

About the Editors:

Melissa Rigney has over 10 years online teaching and course development experience in both for-profit and not-for-profit higher education. In addition to a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska, she also has an M.S in Educational Technology from Texas A&M.

Batya Weinbaum holds a doctorate in English from University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She has been teaching feminism online since 2007, and has been editing the journal Femspec since1997. Her scholarship, including writings on feminist pedagogy, has appeared in numerous venues, including Transformations, a journal of inclusive teaching practices. She has published three scholarly books, including a book with University of Texas Press, and has been included in numerous scholarly anthologies.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Call for Papers or Participation | Comments Off

Patricia Hill Collins, “Lessons from Black Feminism”

Earlier this year, Patricia Hill Collins spoke at Grand Valley State University (Michigan).  Her talk, “We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest: Lessons from Black Feminism,” was sponsored by the University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, Women’s Center and LGBT Resource Center.  Here’s a video of her talk:

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminist Legal History, Feminists in Academia, Race and Racism | Comments Off

Reclaiming “ladylike”?

That’s the topic of this NYT op-ed. Here is an excerpt:

Recently, Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, trained her sights on a single word — “ladylike.” “Ladylike,” Ms. McCaskill told an audience at Iowa State University last month, means, “Speak out, be strong, take charge, change the world” — all traits she thinks female leaders, or even the first female president, should have, and characteristics she believes are “very, very ladylike.” The term had a very different meaning when, during her 2012 re-election campaign, her opponent, Todd Akin, then a representative, described her performance during a debate as not particularly “ladylike,” and “very aggressive.”

And here’s a song this reminded me of:

Posted in Feminism and Politics, Sociolinguistics | Comments Off

“Recently Kim, whose company helps users change and personalize their Android smartphone homescreens, contacted a male developer about whether he’d be interested in joining Locket. He responded, “Hey Yunha, I’m pretty happy with my current job, but if you’re single I’d like to date you. Perhaps there are some unconventional ways to lure me away from my company (besides stock options) if you know what I mean. ;)” “

That’s a paragraph from this discouraging article.

Posted in Feminism and Economics, Feminism and the Workplace, If you're a woman | Comments Off

Death of Karyn Washington

Karyn Washington, founder of the “For Brown Girls” website, has died at age 22.  For those who aren’t familiar with it, the purpose of the website is “to celebrate the beauty of dark skin while combating colorism and promoting self love.”

Reporters at The Root (here) and Madame Noire (here) are describing Ms. Washington’s death as an alleged suicide.

May her memory be a blessing.

-Bridget Crawford

image source here

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Changing Sexual Practices, Media Sensationalism and Attention-Getting Rim Jobs

I admit that reading New York magazine is a guilty pleasure of mine.  I enjoy the mix of fluff pieces; vanilla journalism; and NYC-centered, self-satisfied trend-spotting and cultural prognostications.  This week’s mag brings us yet another intriguing “Sex Lives” column from writer Maureen O’Connor, this one under the title Warning: A Column on Butt Play (in the online edition) or Playtime Beware: We Are About to Talk About Rim Jobs in Exquisite Detail (in the print edition).

She writes specifically about “heterosexual anal play — not treating the anus like the vagina’s pervier cousin, useful merely for penile penetration, but actually pleasuring it.” Her claims appear three-fold: (1) anal play is on the rise; (2) people find it difficult to talk about; and (3) anal play raises interesting (and under-explored) questions of dominance and power relations.

Here is an excerpt:

I had a revelation about butt play and sexual dominance at a house party in Brooklyn, talking to a man who enjoys rimming his girlfriend but doesn’t like receiving because it makes him feel out of control. When she rims him, he can’t see what’s going on, he explained. When he rims her, he controls everything. Thus, he concluded, even when his girlfriend sits on his face, metaphorically he is still the top. Several men expressed similar sentiments. “It’s about making her feel pleasure,” my friend Greg Gchatted. “Playing her like an instrument, demonstrating technical mastery. It’s a force thing, making her feel something.” But the logic still felt off. How could a man poised, literally, to swallow a woman’s shit possibly be in a position of dominance? * * *

The heterosexual-male psyche is so self-entitling, I realized, that men can convince themselves they are in charge during absolutely any interaction with a woman. “Ha-ha, wow,” Greg said when I pointed this out. “I can’t decide if this makes ‘patriarchy’ seem pathetic or impressive. It’s like being so cool that you can do uncool things: ‘I’m so patriarchal, women can shit in my mouth.’ True masculinity is being a power bottom?”

For further detail, read the full piece here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Academia, Sex and Sexuality | Comments Off

Does Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia believe society is eroding because women use the ‘F-word’?

That’s what this article effing claims.

Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Culture, Sociolinguistics | Comments Off

Pubic Hair and Feminism

‘Cause we keep track of certain trends (e.g., here), the “Full-Bush Brazilian” article in the NY Magazine caught our interest:

My bikini-waxer, Jola, recently told me about a pubic-grooming configuration I had not heard of, which patrons of her Williamsburg salon have lately been requesting. The “full-bush Brazilian,” as we agreed to call it, involves removing the hair from the labia and butt crack (in accordance with Brazilian-waxing tradition) while leaving everything on top fully grown. It’s the exact opposite of non-Brazilian bikini waxes, which shape the hair on the pubic mound but leave the undercarriage untouched.

Who gets the full-bush Brazilian? I asked this of Jola Borzdynski as I lay without pants atop a sheet of paper on a tiny bed at her salon, Audrey. “Girls with hippie boyfriends,” she said. “Hippies with porny sex lives, who need to be hairless for licking,” I concluded. As Jola proceeded to tear 90 percent of my pubic hair out by the roots, I winced and contemplated the wisdom of being a hippie in the front of your crotch and a porn star in the back.

Read the full NY Mag article here.

I so called this one a few months ago!

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Cat lady post, Feminism and Culture | Comments Off

BDSM and Feminism

Writer Kathy Kulig asks here, “BDSM and Feminism – Can They Coexist?”

In a recent interview, I was asked whether I thought the BDSM lifestyle and feminism conflicted. I thought it would be an interesting topic for discussion. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about the BDSM, Discipline and Submissive lifestyle that people might jump to a conclusion that those two—BDSM and Feminism—can’t coexist. But I completely disagree.

The BDSM relationship is about CHOICE. When a woman can choose what they want for themselves whether for work, family, life or sexually they are empowered, they take control. So yes, I see BDSM and feminism does work both ways.

Read the full post here (adult-content warning from Blogger, but the post is SFW).

As for me, I have always been bored by policing-the-boundaries-of-feminism analyses.  Assuming we are talking about consensual, legal activities, then if you are a feminist and enjoy ___, then feminism and _____ can and do co-exist.  Other people, some of whom are feminists, may not also enjoy _____, but that doesn’t make you less of a person or less of a feminist.  Feminism is not a club.  It’s a tool; a way of looking at the world; a mode of legal, economic, social analysis.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Culture, Sex and Sexuality | Comments Off

Is Unionization Good for Women’s College Athletics?

The NYT chips away at the question in an article published today, “Amid Cheers, Union Bid Stirs Concern for Women.”  Here is an excerpt, quoting Feminist Law Prof Erin Buzuvis and citing her work at the Title IX Blog:

Female athletes graduate at a 10 percent to 15 percent higher rate than male athletes. Of the original 64 women’s teams in this N.C.A.A. tournament, 21 had a 100 percent graduation rate.

And for that, they are mostly ignored by the news media and struggle to gain evenhanded treatment from administrators.

Conversely, an arms race sustains football and men’s basketball. And a misperception continues about the associated revenue and profit. Yes, those two sports generate millions of dollars. But, according to a 2010 N.C.A.A. study, more than 40 percent of the football and men’s basketball teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision of Division I spend more money than they earn.

In other words, at many colleges, football and men’s basketball do not pay for themselves, much less finance other sports.

Given the current state of college athletics, there seems more potential benefit than risk for women in the types of reform that might ripple from the Northwestern case, said Erin Buzuvis, a law professor at Western New England University and a co-founder of the Title IX Blog.

“Division I athletic programs have been bringing in increasingly more money, and it hasn’t been the case that opportunities for women have been getting better,” Buzuvis said. “In fact, we’ve been seeing the reverse, a backslide.”

In her view, the equal treatment requirement of Title IX would compel colleges to provide the same collectively bargained benefits to female athletes as male athletes, from extended health insurance to salaries. “Nothing that happened” so far in the Northwestern case “changed Title IX in any way,” Buzuvis said.

The full article is here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Sports | Comments Off

“The gender wage gap has only closed by 1.7 percentage points over the last decade, compared to 3.1 points the decade before and 9.7 the decade before that. “

That’s the depressing news from this article entitled “We’ve Stopped Making Progress In Closing The Gender Wage Gap.”

Posted in Employment Discrimination, Feminism and Economics | 1 Comment

MUST READ: “In praise of Joanne Rowling’s Hermione Granger series” By Sady Doyle

The most brilliant feminist essay I have read in ages. Simple, yet revolutionary. Not sure how I missed it in 2011 but very glad I got to read it at last.

Posted in Feminism and Culture | Comments Off

Columbia Law School announces launch of Public Rights/Private Conscience Project

Today the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law will launch it’s Public Rights/Private Conscience Project – a new think-tank created to reconceptualize and reset the intractable standoff between religious liberty and equality/sexual liberty.  The Project is funded with substantial grants from the Ford and Arcus Foundations, and we have hired Kara Loewentheil to direct the Project.

Copied below is the press release announcing the new project.


Katherine Franke
Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law
Director, Center for Gender & Sexuality Law
Columbia Law School
435 W. 116th Street
New York, NY 10027
212.854.7946 (fax)
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Columbia Law School Launches New Project on Religious Exemptions and Civil Rights

Katherine Franke, Director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Creates Public Rights/Private Conscience Project, a New Think-Tank Designed to Reset the Conflict Between Sex Equality, Reproductive Rights, and Religious Liberty

Media Contact: Public Affairs, 212-854-2650 or publicaffairs@law.columbia.edu

New York, March 24, 2014—Katherine Franke, director of Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, announced today the launch of the Public Rights/Private Conscience project, a new think-tank created to address the increased use of religion-based exemptions from compliance with federal and state laws securing equality and sexual liberty.

The scope of religious exemptions will feature prominently at the U.S. Supreme Court today, March 25, when owners of the craft store chain Hobby Lobby and furniture manufacturer Conestoga Wood argue that their religious beliefs justify an exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers include contraception coverage in their employee health plans. The cases are Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.

With increasing frequency, opponents of same-sex marriage, reproductive rights, and gender equality have sought a safe harbor in religion to justify otherwise illegal employment and business practices. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer recently vetoed a bill that critics argued would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians if the discrimination were attributed to religious beliefs. Similar bills are making their way through other state legislatures.

“With greater and greater frequency, respecting equality rights is seen as optional while respecting religious liberty is mandatory,” Franke said. “The Public Rights/Private Conscience project will bring the considerable academic resources of Columbia University to bear on rethinking this intractable standoff between religious liberty and other rights.”

Read more about the project in this ProPublica Q&A with Franke.

The Public Rights/Private Conscience project will:

·      map the arguments being made in the religious exemptions context in court cases, academic scholarship, policy papers, and the media;

·      mobilize scholars, lawyers, and advocates in an effort to reframe the debate so that compliance with civil rights norms is seen as compatible with faith-based doctrines;

·      develop model language that can be included in proposed legislation that strikes the constitutionally required balance between religious liberty and other fundamental constitutional rights;

·      develop best practices to address entities or individuals that refuse service on the basis of religion;

The project will be directed by Kara Loewentheil, currently a postdoctoral associate-in-law and fellow in the Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Loewentheil previously served as a Blackmun Legal Fellow at the Center for Reproductive Rights and as a clerk for the Honorable James L. Dennis on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

“The project is uniquely positioned to develop new theoretical frameworks for understanding the role and impact of religious exemptions on liberty and equality rights in a modern multi-cultural society,” said Loewentheil, who will be joining Columbia Law School as a research fellow in addition to her role as director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project. “Our goal is to promote innovative framings of these questions in policy, advocacy, scholarship, and litigation.”

The Public Rights/Private Conscience Project is funded by grants from the the Ford Foundation, which aims to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement, and the Arcus Foundation, a leading global foundation advancing pressing social justice and conservation issues.

Franke is available for interviews about the launch of the Public Rights/Private Conscience project and about the religious exemptions cases in the Supreme Court. She can be reached directly at kfranke@law.columbia.edu or via the Law School’s Public Affairs Office at 212-854-2650, or email publicaffairs@law.columbia.edu

The Law School also has a studio on campus equipped with an ISDN line and IFB capability for radio and television interviews. Please contact the Public Affairs Office for bookings.

# # #

Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School combines traditional strengths in corporate law and financial regulation, international and comparative law, property, contracts, constitutional law, and administrative law with pioneering work in intellectual property, digital technology, tax law and policy, national security, human rights, sexuality and gender, and environmental law.

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Posted in Academia | Comments Off

New blog by two constitutional law professors who want to bring women’s voices and issues to the forefront of constitutional law and law and religion debates!

Authored by Professors Marci Hamilton and Leslie Griffin, you can check it out here!

Posted in Academia, Feminist Blogs Of Interest, Law Teaching | Comments Off

Feminist Academics Unite to Support Carole Vance!

Carole Vance is a pioneering feminist academic.  Her writing and her constant political engagement pressed feminist thinking and action forward in innumerable ways. Her sometimes-controversial insistence on integrating sexuality into sex equality debates, as well as her infinitely sophisticated thinking about transnational equality, have made her one of my role models for a long time.

For those of you who do not know, Carole was recently told by Columbia University’s Mailman School that they would not renew her contract. The school insists that faculty raise the money to pay their salaries in grants, and Carole has not done so.

Tenure is controversial even among those of us who have it, but if there is one kind of work that necessitates the protection of tenure, it is the work of Carole Vance. Scott Long has written most persuasively about how wrong this decision is, and the Nation  jumped in to describe why firing Carole and her colleague Kim Hopper matters immensely.

Please join us to make it clear to Columbia that their actions violate the most basic norms of academic freedom and integrity. There are a few efforts afoot to help Carole, and most of these have been described on this page. Please sign the academic petition here. Our voices will join those of esteemed scholars and civil society leaders in support of Carole.

If you choose to write SEPARATELY from the petition, please write to the President, Provost and Dean of the Mailman School, and in your communication please stress is that the “letter of non-renewal” should be rescinded, and Carole’s contract should be renewed. If you choose to write separately from the petition, please write to: Lee C. Bollinger, President Columbia University bollinger@columbia.edu; John H. Coatsworth, Provost jhc2125@columbia.edu; Lee Goldman, Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and of Medicine lgoldman@columbia.edu; Linda P Fried, Dean of the Mailman School of Public Health lpfried@columbia.edu; Lisa Metsch, Chair, Department of Sociomedical Sciences, lm2892@columbia.edu Please also send copies of this letter to beckjordanyoung@gmail.com, as the organizers would like to keep a record of everything sent.

Posted in Academia | Comments Off

A Documentary On Anita Hill

Sheryl Day Stolberg of the New York Times discusses the new documentary “Anita” about Anita Hill, who became the reluctant central figure in the Clarence Thomas judicial hearings so many years ago. More here.

Posted in Academia, Feminism and Law, Law Schools, Legal Profession | Comments Off

Massachusetts Legislature Revises Its Statute In Response To “Upskirting” Decision

In response to Massachusetts’ highest court’s ruling that “upskirting” is not illegal according to the state’s statute,  members of the legislature moved quickly to introduce a number of bills to criminalize the practice. One bill made it all the way to Governor Devol Patrick’s desk. He signed it March 7, and it has now amended Chapter 272, section 105, subsection a (et seq.) of the Massachusetts General Laws. “An Act Relative to Unlawful Sexual Surveillance” forbids willful photography, videotaping, or electronic surveillance, “with the intent to secretly conduct or hide such activity, the sexual or other intimate parts of a person under or around the person’s clothing to view or attempt to view the person’s sexual or other intimate parts when a reasonable person would believe that the person’s sexual or other intimate parts would not be visible to the public and without the person’s knowledge and consent…” The crime is punishable by not more than 2 1/2 years in prison or by a fine of not more than $5000, or both.

More here.

Posted in Invasion of Privacy, Sex and Sexuality | Comments Off

Mass. Supreme Court Affirms Right of Men to Look Up Our Skirts

or at least take pictures up women’s skirts.

CNN, e.g., has coverage here.  The AP has coverage here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Justice? | Comments Off

Is Womb-in-a-Box Next? Attempted Pregnancy of Women with Uterine Transplants

Four Swedish women who received uterine transplants have been implanted with embryos in an attempt to carry their own biological child to term.  Read the AP story here.

As my mind attempts to grasp this medical leap, I couldn’t help thing of the Heart-in-a-Box episode of Grey’s Anatomy:

What’s next? Womb-in-a-box?  How unrealistic would that be?

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Medicine, Feminism and Science, Reproductive Rights | Comments Off

French in an Uproar about Judith Butler’s Gender Theories

From the Boston Globe:

On Feb. 2, Paris once again became a vast political stage. One hundred thousand demonstrators had gathered, galvanized by a danger looming over the Republic. The threat was not, as in times past, fascism or Nazism, communism or totalitarianism. It was, instead, an ideology far more insidious and imported from, of all places, the United States.

A new specter was haunting France—the specter of gender theory.

In the United States, gender theory—embodied most notably, perhaps, by the work of Judith Butler at UC Berkeley—argues that gender is less a biological fact than a social fiction. Since the 1980s, gender studies has become a familiar part of the curriculum at liberal arts colleges. For the most part, though, the academy is where these theories have stayed, so much so that it’s impossible to imagine Americans protesting them. The current French scandal over this obscure branch of critical theory is a particularly bemusing example of the way in which certain kinds of intellectual goods get lost in translation: Not since their embrace of Jerry Lewis have the French responded so passionately to an American export we ourselves have never fully appreciated.

Behind the February protest were several political groups, uniting both traditionalist voters and conservative religious ones, that had organized massive demonstrations last summer during a vitriolic debate in France over the legalization of gay marriage. In May 2013, the Socialist government passed the law nevertheless. The battleground then shifted to a new proposed measure: an update to France’s “family law” that, among other things, stood to offer protections for reproductive assistance for gay couples. This year, many of the same protesters turned out again, their brightly colored pink and blue banners emblazoned with a battle cry: “Un papa, une maman: there’s nothing more natural.” * * *

Enough people had become horrified by the new impact of “gender studies” that, in February, they turned out in droves. Nearly overnight, “la théorie du genre” was on everyone’s lips. Gender theory was the “obsession” of the Socialist government, one conservative news magazine declared. Activists contacted public libraries to demand that they pull texts tainted by American gender theory from the shelves.

As a result of all this, Butler suddenly found herself massively famous in France.

Read the full article here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Families, Sex and Sexuality, Sisters In Other Nations | Comments Off

bell hooks on the State of the Feminist Movement

In an interview with Kevin Powell over at BK Nation, author Gloria Watkins talks about the state of the feminist movement today:

I think feminism has gone the way of all our movements for social justice: Stuck on a pause. Same as we have seen for Black radical movements for justice. I was talking about Occupy Wall Street, which kind of gave us elements of activism. But we are not in a 99 percent world. We are in world with serious class complexes. It is one thing to be a college student with loan debts and another thing to be just dirt poor for your entire life. The challenge is to come up with more complex understandings of where we are, more global awareness of what connects Americans with what is happening with suffering and oppressed people all around the world. The future is not looking bright for any of us, be it women or people or color. We have to rethink how we live our lives.

I also think how feminism really pushed for jobs and money but we still have women caught up in patriarchy and sexism. A woman in an oppressive marriage with a job will leave. No. So many complexities keep women with jobs and careers in their terrible marriages. So much of civil rights and feminism have been challenged by reality. I think necessity requires us to rethink so much. That is the challenge of this whole Obama time. That sense of promise of Obama has not come true. Not Obama personally but he is a symbol of what we are talking about: What is success? What is a good life? What is our responsibility and accountability to others?

Read the full interview here.

image source: http://womensplace.osu.edu/assets/images/hooks-bell.jpg

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Culture, Feminism and Politics | 1 Comment

Black Women Activists Throughout History

Via For Harriet, this list of “27 Black Women Activists Everyone Should Know“:

  • Ella Baker
  • Josephine Baker
  • Daisy Bates
  • Mary McLeod Bethune
  • Beverly Bond
  • Elaine Brown
  • Majora Carter
  • Shirley Chisholm
  • Septima Clark
  • Anna Julia Cooper
  • Angela Davis
  • Marian Wright Edelman
  • Amy Ashwood Garvey
  • Fannie Lou Hamer
  • Dorothy Height
  • Claudia Jones
  • Flo Kennedy
  • Pauli Murray
  • Diane Nash
  • Rosa Parks
  • Jo Ann Robinson
  • Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin
  • Maria Stewart
  • Mary Church Terrell
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Ida B. Wells-Barnett
  • Maya Wiley

Read the full post here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Activism, Feminist Legal History | Comments Off

Mini Symposium on Paid Egg “Donation”

For those of you who haven’t seen it, I wanted to point out the mini-symposium organized by Kim Krawiec (Duke) over at the Faculty Lounge on the Perez v. Commissioner case.  The case involves the tax treatment of amounts received by an egg “donor.” A bunch of tax folks (including myself) have weighed in on the taxability of the payments.

Here are links to the posts:

Taxing Eggs: A Mini-Symposium

Taxing Eggs: Introduction to Perez v. Commissioner

Taxing Eggs: Paul Stephan

Taxing Eggs: Lisa Milot

Taxing Eggs: Lawrence A. Zelenak

Taxing Eggs: Bridget Crawford and Crawford, Part II

Taxing Eggs: What Have We Learned?

Taxing Eggs: Bridget Crawford III

Taxing Eggs: Lisa Milot Responds

Taxing Eggs: About that Other Case

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Economics, Feminism and Medicine, Reproductive Rights | Comments Off

Gender Disparity In Book Reviewing and Related Occupations

The New York Times’ Julie Bosman reports on VIDA’s annual survey of book reviews appearing in leading publications. VIDA: Women in Literary Arts reports that these reviews are overwhelmingly written by men. Ms. Bosman reports that Ruth Franklin at  the New Republic did her own survey after the first VIDA report (2010) to discover that most publications reviewed are written by men. Ms. Franklin noted that one interesting question that we could ask is why women’s writing is published at a significantly lower rate. Is it because women submit their work less often? Or is something else going on? It’s a provocative issue.

Consider the underrepresentation of women in other fields. At the conclusion of a three-year study, the New York State Council on the Arts Report (2002) found significant underrepresentation of females as playwrights and directors, even though all of the individuals (men and women) studied began with the same qualifications. In 2001/2002, American Theatre magazine, a leading industry publication, listed women as 17 percent of the playwrights and 16 percent of the directors (about equal to the listings in 1994/1995). Are women closer to equality today? It doesn’t seem so. In 2008, they represented 12.8 percent of the playwrights represented on Broadway, according to this Guardian article. Some more information about on and off Broadway playwright/director gender inequality here.


Posted in Academia, Feminism and Culture, Feminism and the Arts, Feminism and the Workplace, The Underrepresentation of Women | Comments Off

On Presidents’ Day: Is Voting for the Female Candidate Bad for Women?

Amy Schiller wrote in May, 2013 in The Nation (here) “The Feminist Case Against a Woman President.” Here is an excerpt”

A woman in the Oval Office would not result in greater motivation for feminist action—it may actually dampen it. Obama’s presidency has demonstrated that pioneering holders of that office are cautious about protecting their political capital. Their identity constituency is left with heartening optics, but no special advocacy when it comes to policy.

Read the full article here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Politics | Comments Off

Announcing New Book Project: Feminist Judgments – US Supreme Court Edition

Four feminist law profs – Jamie Abrams (Louisville), Bridget Crawford (Pace), Kathy Stanchi (Temple) and Linda Berger (UNLV) – have embarked on a United States Supreme Court version of the British Feminist Judgments book. Feminist Judgments was a collaborative project among feminist law professors in the U.K. to rewrite, from a feminist perspective, key decisions on issues relevant to gender. The book compiles 23 rewritten opinions of English law ranging from topics about parenting to the definition of bodily harm to rape and issues of equality. The book is a terrific bridge between feminist academic thinking/writing and the practical world.

Kathy Stanchi saw Professor Erika Rackley (Durham University) , one of the editors of the U.K. Feminist Judgments book, speak over the summer and spoke to her about starting a U.S. version. Erika is well known in the U.K. for her successful effort to convince the government to outlaw “rape porn.”

The editors of the U.S. Supreme Court edition plan to consult U.S. feminist law profs, via a survey, to gather a list of key U.S. Supreme Court decisions that are ripe for rewriting from a feminist perspective. After putting together the list, they will seek feminist law professors who wish to participate in the rewriting. In addition to the rewritten decisions, the U.S. volume, like the U.K. version, will have commentary for each rewritten decision, ideally written by an expert in legal writing or rhetoric.

For more information, please contact Professor Kathy Stanchi (Temple).

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Courts and the Judiciary, Feminist Legal Scholarship | Comments Off

Request for Transgender Reading Suggestions

I am looking for law review articles that are a good primer for students to understand transgender rights and its connected issues. If you have suggestions please email me at johnmkang@gmail.com
Thank you!

Posted in Academia | Comments Off

Judgment Assignment and Gender On the Canadian Supreme Court

Peter James McCormick (Independent) is publishing Who Writes? Gender and Judgment Assignment on the Supreme Court of Canada in volume 51 of the Osgoode Hall Law School Law Review (2014). Here is the abstract.

This article poses the question: now that women are receiving an increasing share of the seats on the Supreme Court of Canada, can we conclude with confidence that they have been admitted to full participation, with a mix of judgments — including the more significant decisions — that is fully comparable to their male colleague? The author looks at the assignment of reasons for judgment on the Court over the last three chief justiceships, with specific reference to the relative rate of assignments to men and women judges. Finally, he finds that the male/female gap is more robust than ever, although he also identifies other considerations which suggest that there may be factors other than gender alone that are at play. This article will be published in the next issue of the Osgoode Hall Law Journal (51:2).

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Posted in Feminism and Law, Legal Profession, The Underrepresentation of Women | Comments Off

Call for Nominations: 2015 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award

The AALS Section on Women in Legal Education is pleased to open nominations for its 2015 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2013, the inaugural award honored Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and in 2014 the award honored Catharine A. MacKinnon.  Both of these remarkable women were recognized for their outstanding impact and contributions to the Section on Women in Legal Education, the legal academy, and the legal profession.

The purpose of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award is to honor an individual who has had a distinguished career of teaching, service, and scholarship for at least 20 years.  The recipient should be someone who has impacted women, the legal community, the academy, and the issues that affect women through mentoring, writing, speaking, activism, and by providing opportunities to others.

The Section is now seeking nominations for this most prestigious award. The nominations from 2014 will be automatically included for consideration for the 2015 award. Only individuals who are eligible for Section membership may make a nomination, and only individuals—not institutions, organizations, or law schools—are eligible for the award.  As established by the Section’s Bylaws, the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education Executive Committee will select the award recipient, and the award will be presented at the 2015 AALS Annual Meeting.

Please submit your nomination by filling out this electronic form by March 3, 2014Please note that only nominations submitted via the electronic form by the deadline will be accepted.

Questions may be directed to Dean Cynthia Fountaine at Southern Illinois University School of Law.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Academia, Chutes and Ladders | Comments Off

Bach on “The Hyperregulatory State”

Wendy Bach (Tennessee) has posted to SSRN her article The Hyperregulatory State: Women, Race, Poverty and Support (Yale J. of L. & Feminism, forthcoming 2014).  Here is the abstract:

Vulnerability and dependency theory offers a rich and promising vision for those who seek to conceptualize and build a more responsive state. In theorizing a road to a supportive state, however, what would it mean to take up the challenge of intersectionality? What would it mean to center the analysis around key aspects of the relationship between legal institutions and the poor, disproportionately women and families of color who have no choice but to avail themselves of what remains of a shredded social safety net? The Hyperregulatory State argues that, for women who have no choice but to avail themselves of the safety net (think welfare or public housing) and who by their sheer geographic exposure to the mechanisms of government systems (think over-policing of poor communities of color, public hospitals and inner city public schools) find themselves subject to government intrusion (think child welfare agencies and the criminalization of poverty) the state does not merely fail to respond to their needs. In fact, crucial interactions between poor women and the state are characterized by a phenomena here termed regulatory intersectionality, defined as the means by which state systems (in the examples herein, social welfare, child welfare and criminal justice systems) interlock to share information and heighten the adverse consequences of unlawful, deviant, or noncompliant conduct. At every juncture these punitive mechanisms are, in effect, targeted by race, class, gender and place to subordinate poor African American women, families and communities. The state is, in this sense, hyperregulatory. This article describes in detail the specific phenomena of regulatory intersectionality and contextualizes it within a larger schema of hyperregulation. Paying careful attention to regulatory intersectionality and hyperregulation would revise the theories of vulnerability and the responsive state in two crucial and related ways. First, it serves as a practical warning. If the current social safety net is so profoundly characterized by mechanisms that interlock to impose escalating punishment, the road to a supportive state that does not function in this way is likely to be long and complicated. Second, in attempting to realize the vision of the supportive or responsive state, a crucial first step is restructuring and building support systems to enhance rather than undermine the autonomy of poor women, poor families and poor communities. If we fail to center and prioritize those realities and those tasks, then this particular and crucial part of political and legal theory is again in danger of leaving behind those who are, by virtue of race, gender, class, and place, among the most vulnerable.

The full paper is available here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminist Legal Scholarship | Comments Off

Amicus Brief of Guttmacher Institute in Hobby Lobby

The Guttmacher Institute and Professor Sara Rosenbaum (GWU), as amici curiae in support of the government, have filed a brief in the Hobby Lobby case.  Lead attorneys for the amici are Walter Dellinger and colleagues at O’Melveny & Meyers LLP, with co-counsel Professor Dawn Johnsen (Indiana).

The specific issue in the case is whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 allows a for-profit corporation to deny its employees the health coverage of contraceptives to which the employees are otherwise entitled by federal law, based on the religious objections of the corporation’s owners.

The amici argue that “effective family planning yields enormous societal benefits for American women, children, and families, and that the contraceptive-coverage provision at issue in this case is crucial to achieving those benefits.”

The brief is an extraordinary, stunningly researched and comprehensive Brandeis-type brief that deserves widespread attention.  A copy is available here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Reproductive Rights, Women's Health | Comments Off

Invitation to Participate in the Feminist International Judgments Project

Over on IntLawGrrlsCecilia Marcela Bailliet has posted an invitation to participate in what looks to be a terrific project:

Women´s Voices in International Law

Initial Meeting to be held on 8th May 2014, SOAS (London)

Participants are sought to take an active role in the Feminist International Judgments Project.  The basic idea behind the project is that participants will collaboratively re-write key judgments in their field of international law from a feminist perspective.

. . . International Law is an area notoriously dominated by male perspectives, and an increasing number of feminist scholars are expressing concern about the silencing of women’s voices in international law. . . .

The aim of the project is to re-write 12-15 key judgments in the field of international law.  This project centres shared experiences in its methodology, bringing it close to the actual working practices of international courts and tribunals.  We anticipate that a number of Chambers, comprised of 3-5 academics, will each work collaboratively on one judgment.  Judgments will be rewritten in a variety of substantive areas of international law, such as, Reproductive Rights, International Criminal Law, Environmental Law, the Law of International Organisations, as well as others that address normative issues.  These are just representative examples, and at this stage we very much welcome your suggestions about suitable judgments.

The deadline for this call is 28th February 2014

Detailed invitation here.

Posted in Academia, Call for Papers or Participation, Courts and the Judiciary, Feminism and Law | Tagged | Comments Off

Catharine MacKinnon Receives AALS Section on Women in Legal Education Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor Catharine MacKinnon received the 2014 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award from the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education on January 3, 2014 at the AALS Annual Meeting in New York City.  (Here is the press release.)

After brief remarks by Cynthia Fountaine (Dean and Professor of Law at Southern Illinois University School of Law), Professor MacKinnon was introduced by Gloria Steinem and Ann Bartow (Pace Law School).  All of the speakers, especially Professor MacKinnon, were inspiring, and the energy in the room was incredible.

Here are some photos from the event:CAM at podium 2GS  Comments

Ann Bartow Podium From top:

Catharine MacKinnon, Gloria Steinem, Ann Bartow.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Chutes and Ladders | Comments Off

Corbin on “Abortion Distortions”

Caroline Mala Corbin (Miami) has posted to SSRN her article Abortion Distortions (Washington & Lee Law Rev., forthcoming).  Here is the abstract:

Two types of distortions often arise in abortion jurisprudence. The first is distortion of scientific fact. Too often abortion opponents distort medical facts and courts accept those distortions as true. Take, for example, the claim that abortion makes women depressed and suicidal. In fact, no reputable study supports any such causal link. Equally without scientific foundation is the claim that morning after pills like Plan B act as abortifacients. They do not.

The second kind of distortion that occurs in abortion jurisprudence is that the normal doctrine does not apply. Thus, despite the fact that compelling someone to articulate the government’s ideology is anathema in free speech jurisprudence, courts have upheld mandatory abortion counseling laws that force doctors to serve as mouthpieces for the state’s viewpoint. Similarly, despite the fact that for-profit corporations have never been held to have religious rights, several courts have stayed application of the new contraception mandate on the grounds that it might violate the corporation’s “conscience.” This abortion exceptionalism is problematic for women and for First Amendment jurisprudence.

The full article is available here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminist Legal Scholarship, Reproductive Rights | Comments Off

CFP: Special Issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies//Pat Parker and Judy Grahn: Where Would I Be Without You?

From the FLP mailbox:

2016 will mark the fortieth anniversary of the only spoken word album produced by Olivia Records,  Where Would I Be Without You? Featuring the poems of Judy Grahn and Pat Parker, Where Would I Be Without You? introduced Grahn and Parker to a wide array of women making the two beloved poet/troubadours during the 1970s. While both enjoyed enormous popularity, scholarly treatments of their work and its lasting significance have been sparse. This special issue of *The Journal of Lesbian Studies* will continue to redress the lack of critical engagement with these two important and iconic lesbian-feminist poets.

*The Journal of Lesbian Studies* is an interdisciplinary journal, thus, multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches are encouraged. What is the importance of the work of Pat Parker and Judy Grahn? What is the significance of the San Francisco/Bay Area in their work–and how does their work speak to the work of east coast poets? How can we read their work in relationship to political and social formations of feminism and lesbianism during the 1970s and 1980s? How can their work speak to contemporary audiences? While we welcome articles about single poems or comparisons of Parker and Grahn’s work with one another or with other poets, we also welcome proposals that explore Parker and Grahn and the intersections of lesbian literary history, the lesbian feminist movement, feminist presses, lesbian feminist publishing. Delight and surprise us with exciting engagements in the challenging, provocative, and beautiful work of Pat Parker and Judy Grahn.

Cheryl Clarke, Julie R. Enszer, and Lisa M. Hogeland are the guest editors for this special issue. Please direct inquiries or submit a proposal of 500 words with a brief CV to the guest editors in care of Julie R. Enszer (JulieREnszer@gmail.com) by April 1, 2014 (no joke!). Please put JLS Special Issue: YOUR NAME in the subject line.

The guest editors will respond to proposals by May 1st. Complete manuscripts of approximately 5,000-7,500 words will be due September 15, 2014.

More information about the iconic album is available here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Call for Papers or Participation, Feminism and Culture, LGBT Rights | Comments Off

Law Student Scholarship: M. Katherine Baird Darmer Equality Scholarship

From the FLP mailbox:

The M. Katherine Baird Darmer Equality Scholarship Fund was named in memory of the late M. Katherine Baird Darmer, an activist, law professor, and champion of change for the LGBT community in Orange County and beyond. The Fund, which is sponsored by the Orange County Lavender Bar Association (OCLBA) and the Orange County Equality Coalition (OCEC), will award one or more scholarships each year to academically qualified law students who have demonstrated commitment to advancing equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in Orange County. Determinations regarding the amount and number of awards are at the sole discretion of the scholarship committee jointly appointed by OCLBA and OCEC and the Liberty Hill Foundation.


To be considered for the Darmer Equality Scholarship, an applicant must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a current or incoming law student.
  • Demonstrate commitment to advancing equality for the LGBT community in Orange County.
  •  Be available, if requested, to participate in an interview with the scholarship committee between May 15 and June 15, 2014.
  • Be available, if selected, to attend the OCLBA Anniversary Party on July 16, 2014 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. in Irvine.

More information and applications are available here.

H/T Francine Lipman

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Fellowships and Funding Opportunities | Comments Off