Penny Venetis Named EVP and Director of Legal Momentum

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Penny M. Venetis (Rutgers) has been named as Executive Vice President and Legal Director of Legal Momentum, effective January, 2015. Here is an excerpt from the organization’s press release:

Professor Venetis will lead Legal Momentum’s litigation, policy and other advocacy efforts to protect women’s rights. As Executive Vice President and Legal Director, she will work closely with Legal Momentum’s programs that address fairness in the courts, violence against women, employment equity, and economic security. She will also work on developing ways to fight human trafficking, and preventing and punishing sexual assaults on campuses. Professor Venetis is taking a leave of absence from Rutgers School of Law–Newark, where she has taught since 1994. At Rutgers, she specializes in civil rights and international human rights impact litigation. She instituted women’s rights projects in the Rutgers Law School clinics, developed human trafficking advocacy projects, and recruited and supervised pro bono attorneys from major law firms to work on the Clinic’s landmark cases.

Prior to joining Rutgers, Professor Venetis clerked for Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. She also practiced law with the firm O’Melveny & Myers. Professor Venetis is the author of numerous articles on the topic of enforcing human rights in the United States. She received her bachelor’s degree from Barnard College, her master’s degrees from Columbia University and her J.D. (cum laude) from Boston College. She is a member of the bar for New Jersey, New York, and other courts including the U.S. Supreme Court. She has a lifelong passion for using the law as a tool for social change. “I’m excited to continue using the law to advance women’s rights and all human rights as a member of the Legal Momentum team,” Ms. Venetis said.

The full press release should appear on the organization’s website later today.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Chutes and Ladders | Comments Off on Penny Venetis Named EVP and Director of Legal Momentum

Gender Bias in Student Evaluations of Professors: Yeah, We Knew That

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From Inside Higher Ed, this report about a new study involving gender bias in student evaluations of their professors:

College students’ assessments of their instructors’ teaching ability is linked to whether they think those instructors are male or female, according to new research from North Carolina State University.

In the study, students in an online course gave better evaluations to the instructors they thought were male, even though the two instructors – one male and one female – had switched their identities. The research is based on a small pilot study of one class.

Read the full article here.

H/T Becky Jacobs.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Law Teaching | Comments Off on Gender Bias in Student Evaluations of Professors: Yeah, We Knew That

Citation Rates For Male and Female Law Profs in Legal Scholarship: Different From What We Thought?

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Highlighted in the National Law Journal:

Christopher Anthony Cotropia, University of Richmond School of Law, and Lee Petherbridge, Loyola Law School (Los Angeles), have published Gender Disparity in Law Review Citation Rates.  Here is the abstract.

Gender disparity in scholarly influence – measured in terms of differential citation to academic work – has been widely documented. The weight of the evidence is that, in many fields of academic inquiry, papers authored by women receive fewer citations than papers authored by men. To investigate whether a similar gender disparity in scholarly influence exists in legal studies we analyze the impact of gender on citation to articles published in top 100 law reviews between 1990 and 2010. We find evidence of gender disparity in citation rates, but in surprising contrast to observations made in other disciplines, we observe that articles authored by women receive significantly more citations than articles authored by men.


Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

Should occasion a certain amount of discussion.

Posted in Academia, Law Schools, The Overrepresentation of Men, The Overrepresentation of Women, The Underrepresentation of Women, Where are the Women? | Comments Off on Citation Rates For Male and Female Law Profs in Legal Scholarship: Different From What We Thought?

Int’l J. of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics Issue on “Transnational Reproductive Travel”

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The International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics has a new issue devoted to “Transnational Reproductive Travel”.   Here is the TOC (links require JSTOR or other log in — check with your University librarian; sorry no known open source):


Françoise Baylis, Jocelyn Downie


National self-sufficiency in reproductive resources: An innovative response to transnational reproductive travel
Dominique Martin, Stefan Kane

At the intersections of emotional and biological labor: Understanding transnational commercial surrogacy as social reproduction
G. K. D. Crozier, Jennifer L. Johnson, Christopher Hajzler

Exploitation in cross-border reproductive care
Angela Ballantyne

Merit and Money: The situated ethics of transnational commercial surrogacy in Thailand
Andrea Whittaker

Feminist issues in domestic and transnational surrogacy: The case of Japan
Jennifer Parks

Eggs and euros: A feminist perspective on reproductive travel from Denmark to Spain
Charlotte Kroløkke

Achieving national altruistic self-sufficiency in human eggs for third-party reproduction in Canada
Françoise Baylis, Jocelyn Downie

Cross-border sex selection: Ethical challenges posed by a globalizing practice
Rajani Bhatia


A Hague convention on contract pregnancy (or “surrogacy”): Avoiding ethical inconsistencies with the Convention on Adoption
Carolyn McLeod, Andrew Botterell

Breaking the ice: Young feminist scholars of reproductive politics reflect on egg freezing
Alana Cattapan, Kathleen Hammond, Jennie Haw, Lesley A. Tarasoff


Breeders: A Subclass of Women? Directed by Jennifer Lahl and Matthew Eppinette (review)
L. Syd M Johnson

Conscientious Objection in Health Care: An Ethical Analysis by Mark Wicclair (review)
Lori Kantymir

Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights by Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka (review)
David Speetzen, Patrick Clipsham

 -Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Science, Reproductive Rights | Comments Off on Int’l J. of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics Issue on “Transnational Reproductive Travel”

Fischer and McAuliffe, “Irish Feminisms, Past Present and Future”

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From the FLP mailbox, this announcement of a new book edited by Clara Fischer (Newton International Fellow, London School of Economics) and Mary McAuliffe (University College Dublin, Women’s Studies):

Irish Feminisms: Past, Present and Future is a collection of multi-disciplinary essays from leading academics and activists that interrogates the various waves of Irish feminist activism over the last one hundred years. Emanating from a conference held in 2012, this collection offers snapshots of the many feminist issues, ideas and campaigns that have invigorated, enlivened and challenged Irish society since the early twentieth century. From the first wave suffrage women who fought for an Ireland in which women were to be full and equal citizens, to the third and even fourth wave feminists who campaign for full reproductive rights, this collection provides insightful analyses, from the centre and the margins, of the various feminist battles and backlashes modern Irish society has experienced. This book is essential reading for all those interested in Irish feminist identities, histories, and activism. It includes contributions by the editors, Clara Fischer and Mary McAuliffe, as well as by Margaret Ward, Grainne Healy, Ivana Bacik, Anthea McTeirnan, Ailbhe Smyth, Salome Mbugua, Susan McKay, Claire McGing, Kellie Turtle, and Leslie Sherlock.

The volume is published by Arlen House/Syracuse University Press.

-Bridget Crawford

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The Next Frontier in Marriage Equality: Religious Exemptions for Magistrates, Justices of the Peace etc Who Don’t Want to Issue Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

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marriage-licenseIn recent months litigation in federal courts has resulted in the lifting of a ban on same-sex couples access to civil marriage in 33 states. (This number is changing almost every day as new jurisdictions are ordered to lift the ban on marriage for same-sex couples.)   In the wake of this wave of successes for the marriage equality movement, some policy-makers have proposed that public officials responsible for officiating over civil marriages and/or issuing marriage licenses be granted an exemption from presiding over the marriages of same-sex couples if doing so would offend their conscience or sincerely held religious beliefs.  Some of these proposals suggest that officials who have religious or conscience-based objections to issuing a marriage license could lawfully delegate responsibility for issuing that license to deputies or assistants who do not have the same objections. These advocates assert that these proposals lawfully balance the constitutional rights of same-sex couples to marry with the religious liberty rights of public officials.  While there are a number of such proposals being put forward in jurisdictions across the country, we will refer to them collectively in this memorandum as “marriage license exemption proposals.”

This legal memorandum analyzes the legality of these “marriage license exemption proposals” under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  (The memorandum does not examine their legality under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, as RFRA does not apply to state or local employees. )  The memorandum concludes that nothing in the Constitution or in Title VII requires such exemptions.  Instead, adopting such exemptions by statute or policy would violate fundamental constitutional rights secured by the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection clause and the First Amendment’s prohibition against the establishment of religion.

The legal memorandum is available here.

(cross-posted from the Gender & Sexuality Law Blog here

Posted in Academia | Comments Off on The Next Frontier in Marriage Equality: Religious Exemptions for Magistrates, Justices of the Peace etc Who Don’t Want to Issue Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

Balkinization Roundtable on Clare Huntington’s “Failure to Flourish: How Family Law Undermines Family Relationships””

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There’s been a symposium over at Balkinization about Clare Huntington’s book, Failure to Flourish: How Family Law Undermines Family Relationships.  A round-up of all the posts is here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Families, Feminist Legal Scholarship | Comments Off on Balkinization Roundtable on Clare Huntington’s “Failure to Flourish: How Family Law Undermines Family Relationships””

Where are the Women? Vanderbilt En Banc Roundtable Edition

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You can’t make this stuff up.

From the Vanderbilt Law Review’s website,

Roundtable: Comptroller v. Wynne

Our current Roundtable considers Maryland State Comptroller of the Treasury v. Wynne, to be argued before the Supreme Court on November 12, 2014. In Wynne, the Court considers whether the Constitution bans a state from taxing its residents’ income, wherever earned, by requiring a credit for taxes paid on income taxed in other states. The Court could answer many questions: How far is the reach of the dormant Commerce Clause in the context of income taxation? What is the extent of a state’s power to enforce personal income taxes on its residents? What kinds of residents are subject to double taxation and why? Professors Edward Zelinsky, Dan Coenen, Brannon Denning, Norman Williams, Michael Greve, and Adam Thimmesch tackle these questions and more in their contributions.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Where are the Women? | Comments Off on Where are the Women? Vanderbilt En Banc Roundtable Edition

In Memory of Jo Ann Harris, 1933-2014

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Jo Ann Harris, the first woman to head the DOJ’s criminal division, died yesterday of lung cancer.  Ms. Harris was a visiting scholar at Pace Law School and the architect of our school’s Federal Judicial Honors Program.  Ms. Harris also was the author of a special counsel report critical of the federal handling of the investigation into Monica Lewinsky’s claims of an affair with President Clinton.

The Washington Post obituary is here.

Jo Ann Harris was a path-breaking attorney and role model for many young women and men.  She will be missed.

-Bridget Crawford

image credit: Washington Post, here
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Research Grants at the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke University

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From the FLP mailbox:

The Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, part of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University, announces the availability of Mary Lily Research Grants for research travel to our collections.

The Sallie Bingham Center documents the public and private lives of women through a wide variety of published and unpublished sources. Collections of personal papers, family papers, and organizational records complement print sources such as books and periodicals. Particular strengths of the Sallie Bingham Center are feminism in the U.S., women’s prescriptive literature from the 19th & 20th centuries, girls’ literature, zines, artist’s books by women, gender & sexuality, and the history and culture of women in the South. Guides to selected collecting areas:

Mary Lily Research grants are available to any faculty member, graduate or undergraduate student, or independent scholar with a research project requiring the use of women’s history materials held by the Sallie Bingham Center. Grant money may be used for travel and living expenses while pursuing research at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Applicants must live outside of a 100-mile radius from Durham, NC. The maximum award per applicant is $1,000.

The deadline for application is January 30, 2015 by 5:00 PM EST. Recipients will be announced in March 2015. Grants must be used between April 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016.

Please note that the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library will be closed to the public from July 1, 2015 to August 23, 2015 while we move into our newly renovated space. These dates are subject to change.

For more information and to apply for a grant, please visit:

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Kelly Wooten, the Bingham Center’s research services librarian, before submitting their application.

-Bridget Crawford

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“Even Walmart stocks French Maid costumes for dogs.”

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This may make you hate life for a few minutes. It chronicles the popularity of “sexy” Halloween costumes for … dogs. Walmart has apparently sold out of this costume:

But other vendors are making good money selling costumes like this:

I guess it is supposed to be amusing, but it looks a lot like the pornification of pets to me.

Posted in Feminism and Culture | Comments Off on “Even Walmart stocks French Maid costumes for dogs.”

Why Is Kim Kardashian At A Tech Conference? “Because she is co-creator of one of the most popular apps of 2014. Because she is poised to make $200 million in cold hard cash from a mobile app this year. Because at $700K a day in earnings just from the app, she is still more successful than most startup founders, at least from a revenue standpoint.”

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Read more here, including an unsurprising account of the disgusting “portal to hell” comments a reference to Kardashian draws.

Posted in Feminism and Technology, If you're a woman | Comments Off on Why Is Kim Kardashian At A Tech Conference? “Because she is co-creator of one of the most popular apps of 2014. Because she is poised to make $200 million in cold hard cash from a mobile app this year. Because at $700K a day in earnings just from the app, she is still more successful than most startup founders, at least from a revenue standpoint.”

A Swedish Perspective on Surrogacy and Commerce in Women’s Bodies

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The Swedish Women’s Lobby makes its views on surrogacy known in Surrogacy: A Global Trade in Women’s Bodies, over at  Here is an excerpt:

The Swedish Women’s Lobby strongly opposes surrogate motherhood. Our position is that surrogacy is a trade with women’s bodies and children, as well as a threat to women’s basic human rights and bodily integrity.

Surrogacy is presently not legal in Sweden. However there is no legislation that regulates the fact that Swedish citizens use surrogate mothers abroad, and that their children have been brought to Sweden. In the last couple of years the issue has been up for debate and the Swedish government is examining whether surrogacy should be legalised. The results of its investigation will be presented in a few months.

Last year, the Swedish Medical-Ethical Council commented on the proposal. A majority of its members declared that they were positive towards legal altruistic surrogate motherhood in Sweden.

The Swedish Women’s Lobby has reacted to this position. We have expressed concern about an unproblematic understanding of altruistic surrogacy, as well as the fact that the Ministry of Justice is handling the investigation. There is a lack of a women’s human rights perspective. The Swedish Women’s Lobby has been active in the public debate around the issue and has written several letters to the Ministry of Justice as well as the Social Ministry and the Medical-Ethical Council.

Read the full post here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Reproductive Rights, Sisters In Other Nations, Women and Economics | Comments Off on A Swedish Perspective on Surrogacy and Commerce in Women’s Bodies

Nursing Mothers on the Academic Job Market

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The October 22, 2014 edition of the Chronicle ran an “Advice” column, Breastfeeding on the Job Market, by a pseudonymous professor in the humanities.  The professor describes her experiences as a job candidate and bringing her nursing infant with her to an on-campus interview:

I let the chair know I would be bringing my daughter and someone to take care of her, whose ticket I would of course cover. I asked for nursing breaks in the two-day schedule of talks, interviews, lunches, and dinners. The chair obliged in a professional manner. The administrative assistant who drew up my schedule slotted in half-hour blocks of discreetly named “free time” and found me a suitable vacant office in which to feed my daughter. * * *

When I arrived on the campus, no one seemed to know I had brought my daughter. People expressed surprise about the extra breaks padding my interview schedule. At first, I appreciated that my personal circumstances had remained undisclosed, but it soon caused confusion and even resentment. One dean hadn’t been told that dinner would be later than usual and seemed irritated with me about it, as if I had delayed the dinner just to go relax and powder my nose rather than feed my child. * * *

I did not get the job.

I can’t say how much or whether the presence of my daughter, and reactions to the impression of a laid-back interview schedule, contributed to the variety of factors behind that decision.

In one of the comments to the Chron article, a reader suggested that the job-seeker’s mistake was not the bringing of her baby, but rather failure to disclose (or to permit disclosure — I’m unclear on what the applicant asked of the department chair) the reasons for the break in the applicant’s schedule.

At least at my own school, my sense is that faculty would be understanding of the need for breaks in the schedule of a nursing mother.  Any deviation from the standard interviewing format — regardless of the reason — tends to raise questions, though, so from my perspective, there’s nothing to be gained from keeping nursing a “secret.” Plus, nursing should never have to be a secret!

For those who were nursing while doing call-backs at law schools or folks who have experience on the hiring side with candidates who need to breastfeed their infants, are there any words of advice that one can offer?  Every school is different and every candidate is different, so it is difficult to generalize, but are there best practices?

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Academia, Feminism and Families | Comments Off on Nursing Mothers on the Academic Job Market


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Posted in Acts of Violence, Deaths, Feminism and Politics | Comments Off on STAY STRONG

60+ Law Professors Submit Comments On ACA Contraception Accommodation

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Reposted from The Public Rights / Private Conscience Project Blog

Back in August the Obama Administration responded to the Supreme Court’s opinion inHobby Lobby and its order in Wheaton College by issuing two new sets of regulations to govern the accommodation process for employers with religious objections to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement. One was an interim final regulation, promulgated by the Department of Labor, that responded to the Wheaton College order by allowing objecting non-profit organizations that believed notifying their insurance company or third-party administrator (TPA) of their objection was also a violation of their RFRA rights to simply notify the government directly, after which DOL and HHS would work together to notify the insurance company or TPA. (I’ve written elsewhere about why this is, not to put too fine a point on it, a somewhat pointless exercise). The other was a proposed regulation that would define what kinds of for-profit entities could seek an accommodation under RFRA based on the Hobby Lobby ruling.

These regulations were open for public comments, and the Public Rights / Private Conscience Project at Columbia Law School drafted comments on both rules that were signed by more than  60 prominent legal academics. Along with more than 40 corporate law scholars, we argued that “[t]he Supreme Court’s approach to corporate religious rights in Hobby Lobby was associational in nature: for-profit entities have religious rights because they are a collection of individuals with religious rights. In that sense the entity is merely the vehicle through which a group of individuals with religious rights exercises those rights in a collective manner.” Given that, we urged the Department to only allow for-profit entities that (1) were privately-held and limited to a certain size, (2) could produce evidence of their religious operating mission, and (3)produced evidence of a unanimous owner agreement to seek the accommodation annually.

In addition, along with more than 20 important scholars of law and religion, we submitted comments urging both HHS and DOL to create stringent monitoring and enforcement standards in order to avoid Establishment Clause violations. As we explained in ourcomments, “[s]tatutes like RFRA may exempt religious actors beyond what is constitutionally required, but only if they do not offend superior rights found in the Constitution. The Establishment Clause can be violated when . . . accommodations shift the burden of a religious observance from those who practice the religion to those who do not.” Because the accommodation process has the potential to impose burdens on affected employees – like delays or gaps in coverage – it is essential that the accommodation process truly be seamless. Otherwise there will only be more lawsuits ahead.

Kara Loewentheil is the Director of the Public Rights / Private Conscience Project and a Research Fellow at Columbia Law School.


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Carol Rosetti’s “Women” Series

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Brazilian visual artist Carol Rosetti talks about O Projeto Mulheres/The Women Project at her website hereHere‘s an excerpt:

The Women Project began in a very spontaneous and unpretentious way. My initial goal was just to practice my technique with colored pencils while saying something nice to my friends who already followed my work.

When looking for a theme, I opted for intersectionality for being something that I acknowledge as a personal issue. It always bothered me the world’s constant attempts to control women’s bodies, behaviors and identities. This control is such a deep part of our culture that we hardly ever realize how cruel it is and how it restricts our personal choices. However, I don’t believe it’s enough to discuss exclusively the issues that affect a specific group of women. We also need to talk about racism, homophobia, transphobia, classicism, xenophobia and ableism. The fight for equality and respect is very wide and should be inclusive.

You can also see the images on Carol Rosetti’s Tumblr and Facebook page.

The images are thought-provoking, inspirational, and definitely worth a look.  At left is one example.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and the Arts | Comments Off on Carol Rosetti’s “Women” Series

Martha Nussbaum on Aging and Self-Loathing

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Martha Nussbaum writes here in the New Republic, “It’s Time to Take Back Our Aging, Smelly Bodies: Why it’s Important to Resist Shame and Disgust.”  Here is an excerpt:

In the 1970s, we women used to talk about loving our own bodies. Inspired by the generation-defining tome Our Bodies, Ourselves, we trained for childbirth without anesthesia, we looked at our cervixes using a speculum, and in general cultivated in ourselves the thought that our own bodies were not sticky, disgusting, and shameful, but dynamic, marvelous, and, more important, just us ourselves. Today, as we boomers age, male and female, what has happened to that love and excitement? I fear that my generation is letting disgust and shame sweep over us again, as a new set of bodily challenges beckons.

In conversations, in the ways people I know meet medical challenges (routine and not-so-routine), I’ve noticed not just a discomfort with the unpopular aspects of aging (sagging skin, brown spots, loss of muscle tone), but something more general: a shrinking from the body itself, a desire to deny that this body is who we are. * * *

What has become of that youthful surge of profound self-love? As we age, we are yielding to all the forces we tried, back then, to combat: not only the forces of external medical control, but the more insidious force of self-loathing.

Read the full piece here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Culture, Women's Health | Comments Off on Martha Nussbaum on Aging and Self-Loathing

Margo Kaplan, “Taking Pedophilia Seriously,” Washington & Lee L. Rev. (forthcoming 2015).

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Margo Kaplan recently published this Op-Ed in the NYT entitled “Pedophilia: A Disorder, Not a Crime”, in which she asserts:

A pedophile should be held responsible for his conduct — but not for the underlying attraction. Arguing for the rights of scorned and misunderstood groups is never popular, particularly when they are associated with real harm. But the fact that pedophilia is so despised is precisely why our responses to it, in criminal justice and mental health, have been so inconsistent and counterproductive. Acknowledging that pedophiles have a mental disorder, and removing the obstacles to their coming forward and seeking help, is not only the right thing to do, but it would also advance efforts to protect children from harm.

Today she presented the law review article this is drawn from, “Taking Pedophilia Seriously” (forthcoming in the Washington & Lee Law Review) at Pace Law School. Had she not been a Pace Law colloquium speaker, I probably would not have read either the Op-Ed or the article, based on incorrect assumptions about the arguments she is making. I am very glad I did, though. She has convinced me that society is going to be a lot better off if pedophiles can self identify and seek treatment for what she characterizes as a mental disorder. Right now, because pedophilia is so stigmatized, pedophiles are understandably afraid to disclose their illegal attractions to children, leaving them without support or access to medical and psychiatric treatment that they may want and benefit from. Pedophiles are understandably and appropriately unable to legally have sex with the children they desire. But leaving a group of people in a situation where they can’t legally have sex, ever, or even look at child porn (which is illegal, as it should be) for sexual release and then leaving them in the shadows to deal with this situation themselves, is just wrong. Pedophiles who fight their urges and do not act on them are not hurting anyone, but they may me treated like criminals nonetheless. Maybe some readers can’t actually feel sorry for pedophiles, but surely the benefits for potential victims of sexual predation by pedophiles that treatment might bring make Margo Kaplan’s work worth considering.

I must also applaud her bravery. An interview with Philadelphia Magazine just after publication of the Op-Ed makes it clear that many people are condemning her work without reading and understanding it. Don’t make that mistake! She has undertaken something important in the very best tradition of legal scholarship.

–Ann Bartow

Posted in Activism, Sex and Sexuality | Comments Off on Margo Kaplan, “Taking Pedophilia Seriously,” Washington & Lee L. Rev. (forthcoming 2015).


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This essay, published at The Verge, tells the troubling story of the harassment of Kathy Sierra, the incident that drove her away from particiapting in the tech Internet for years, and how the man who perpetrated this incident is being lionized and help up as a hero by cyber civil liberties organizations like EFF. Below are a couple of excerpts:

… In March of [2007], some visitors to Sierra’s blog called “open season” on the now 57-year-old. Hundreds of commenters on her blog made rape and death threats. “I hope someone slits your throat,” wrote one person. People posted photoshopped images of her with a pair of panties choking her, or a noose near her head. She had enraged scores of men for supporting a call to moderate reader comments, which is of course common practice now. Sierra went public about the threats, writing on her blog, “It’s better to talk about it than to just disappear.”

But disappear is exactly what she did next. Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, a well-known provocateur, hacker, and anti-Semite, circulated her home address and Social Security number online. He also made false statements about her being a battered wife and a former prostitute. Not only did Sierra find herself a target for identity theft, but all the people who had threatened to brutally rape and kill her now knew where she lived. So, she logged off and didn’t return to the web until two months ago. She gave up the book deals, speaking engagements, and even fled her home. An anonymous internet group had chased her off the web and out of tech, and it finally managed to hijack her offline life. ….

…Auernheimer is in jail now. In March, he was sentenced to spend 41 months in prison for releasing the email addresses of 114,000 AT&T customers. He says that all he did was expose a security flaw and that forced the company to secure its systems. According to him, he was doing society a favor. The FBI saw it differently. They called it “identity fraud and conspiracy to access a computer without authorization.”

Immediately, there was a call in the tech sector to rally around Auernheimer. Tech pundits predicted that his prosecution would prevent security analysts from exposing vulnerabilities. Lawyers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the group that advocates for internet users and tech companies, jumped in to help with his defense.

“I have this beef with a lot of organizations, including EFF,” Aurora said. “This is another case where they’re saying, ‘The cases we care about are the ones white men are interested in. We’re less interested in protecting women on the web.’” …

… There were plenty of techies who criticized Auernheimer and said he was getting his due. But the debate over his case was larger than anything that has ever occurred regarding internet harassment. That wasn’t lost on the women who have been threatened with rape and death while online. What it came down to for them was that a man who threatens women can generate more concern within the tech industry than female victims of abuse.

“His rise as a folk hero is a sign of how desensitized to the abuse of women online people have become,” Sierra said. “I get so angry at the tech press, the way they try to spin him as a trickster, a prankster. It’s like they feel they have to at least say he’s a jerk. Openly admitting you enjoy ‘ruining lives for lulz’ is way past being a ‘jerk’. And it wasn’t just my life. He included my kids in his work. I think he does belong in prison for crimes he has committed, but what he’s in for now is not one of those crimes. I hate supporting the Free Weev movement, but I do.” …”

–Ann Bartow

Posted in Activism, Feminism and Technology, If you're a woman, Invasion of Privacy, Sexual Harassment | Comments Off on “THE END OF KINDNESS: WEEV AND THE CULT OF THE ANGRY YOUNG MAN” by Greg Sandoval

A Feminist Reflects on Yom Kippur

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From author Elana Maryles Sztokman over at The Jewish Week:

Yom Kippur asks us to forgive, but this a challenge for me because I think forgiving can be much harder than asking for forgiveness — especially if we are expected to forgive without having our pain acknowledged. Women are often expected to just let it all go, to accept the hurtful and abusive practices of the community without their pain ever properly acknowledged and validated. We are sometimes told that our outcry is too provocative, or that it threatens the “unity” of the congregation, or that women’s assertiveness makes people uncomfortable. So many people prefer a self-effacing woman to a woman who values her own dignity. Women’s outcries are too odd, too destabilizing, too unfamiliar, too confronting. So women are sent back to their silent corners behind their curtains, and silently search within their hearts for the ability to forgive.

And so, I will stand before my Creator, along with all the women of Israel, and try to forgive the sins against women. I will ask God to forgive the abusers even though the abusers have not asked me for forgiveness. And I will continue to pray for a better world, in which women are truly valued as equals.

May the year 5775 be a year in which we all feel and appreciate one another’s pain, and we all open our hearts with empathy and compassion.

Read the full piece here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Religion | Comments Off on A Feminist Reflects on Yom Kippur

UMKC Seeks to Hire Two Faculty Members

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From the FLP mailbox:

The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law anticipates hiring two entry level or early career tenured or tenure-track faculty members with a strong commitment to educating lawyers for the twenty-first century, a lifetime of scholarship, and being part of a collegial, collaborative community. We are particularly interested in candidates with research and teaching interests in the following areas: property, environmental law, real estate, land use, contracts, business and entrepreneurship. Additional areas of interest may include professional responsibility, criminal law, and civil litigation.

UMKC is the urban law school of the University of Missouri System and is located on a beautiful landscaped campus in the Country Club Plaza area of Kansas City, Missouri.  It is the only law school in a diverse and vibrant metropolitan area of more than two million people and offers courses leading to J.D. or LL.M. degrees for approximately 500 students.  It benefits from its metropolitan location, a large and academically talented pool of student applicants, a strong university with opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, a dedicated faculty and staff, and strong community and alumni support.

UMKC is an equal access, equal opportunity, affirmative action employer that is fully committed to achieving a diverse faculty and staff. The university will recruit and employ qualified personnel and will provide equal opportunities during employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, status as a protected veteran or status as a qualified individual with a disability. To request ADA accommodations, please call the Director of Affirmative Action at 816-235-1323.

Application Process: The School of Law will review the Faculty Appointments Registry maintained by the AALS. In addition letters of inquiry and resumes may be sent to:

Nancy Levit, Chair

Faculty Appointments Committee

UMKC School of Law

500 E. 52nd St.

Kansas City, MO 64110

Applications for the position go through the University at

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Soccer Stars Sue FIFA

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A group that includes some of the world’s best female soccer players has sued FIFA alleging gender discrimination on account of FIFA’s stated plans to have the Women’s World Cup played on turf instead of grass fields.  The NYT has coverage here.

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Feminism and Sports | Comments Off on Soccer Stars Sue FIFA

Justice Ginsburg Intervew with Professor Marina Angel

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently spoke with Professor Marina Angel (Temple).  You can watch the full 50+-minute interview here.

-Bridget Crawford


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Men, Do You Consider Yourself a Feminist? An Infographic

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Source: Here, at Maclean’s.

-Bridget Crawford

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Ninth Circuit says “Failure to Warn” Action Against Website that Allegedly Faciliated Rape Not Barred By Section 230 of the CDA

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From the opinion:

“Model Mayhem is a networking website, found at, for people in the modeling industry. Plaintiff Jane Doe, an aspiring model who posted information about herself on the website, alleges that two rapists used the website to lure her to a fake audition, where they drugged her, raped her, and recorded her for a pornographic video. She also alleges that Defendant Internet Brands, the company that owns the website, knew about the rapists but did not warn her or the website’s other users. She filed an action against Internet Brands alleging liability for negligence under California law based on that failure to warn. The district court dismissed the action on the ground that her claim was barred by the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”), 47 U.S.C. § 230(c) (2012). We conclude that the CDA does not bar the claim. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.”

Read the full opinion here.

One press account notes:

…Summarizing that history for a three-judge appellate panel Wednesday, Judge Richard Clifton noted that the law generally “protects websites from liability for material posted on the website by someone else,” In reviving the case of an aspiring model named in the court record only as Jane Doe, however, Clifton noted that her “claim is different.”

Doe sued Internet Brands Inc. dba in Los Angeles for negligent failure to warn.

She said the company knew but failed to warn users that two men, Lavont Flanders and Emerson Callum, would scan the website to lure victims to the Miami area for bogus modeling auditions, then drug them, rape them and film it to make a porno.

The 9th Circuit found Section 230(c)1 inapplicable Wednesday because Doe does not seek to hold Internet Brands liable as the publisher “of content someone posted on the Model Mayhem website, or for internet Brands’ failure to remove content posted on the website.”

“Flanders and Callum are not alleged to have posted on the website,” the decision continues. Doe instead alleges only that her attackers contacted her through the site by using a fake identity. She seeks to hold the company liable for failing to warn her about how the men used the website to lure in rape victims.

“The duty to warn allegedly imposed by California law would not require Internet Brands to remove any user content or otherwise affect how it publishes such content,” Clifton wrote. “Any obligation to work could have been satisfied without changes to the content posted by the website’s users.”

The company “would simply have been required to give a warning to Model Mayhem users, perhaps by posting a notice on the website or by informing users by email what it knew about the activities of Flanders and Callum,” he added.

“Barring Jane Doe’s failure to warn claim would stretch the CDA beyond its narrow language and its purpose,” the 13-page ruling continues. “To be sure, Internet Bands acted as the ‘publisher or speaker’ of user content.”

The judges also emphasized that the company has “specifically denied substantially all of the allegations, including that the assailants contacted plaintiffs through the website.” …

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Congratulations to Sarah Deer, MacArthur Fellow

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Feminist Law Prof Sarah Deer (William Mitchell) has been named as one of this year’s MacArthur Fellows.  Congratulations, Professor Deer!

William Mitchell’s press release is here.  The folks at Feministing have a great profile of Professor Deer here.

-Bridget Crawford

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“Sexism is a Sin. Happy New Year 5764”

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Over at Jewish Women Watching:

In these days of repentance, ask yourself:

Is the leader of my organization a man?

Is the board of my organization more than 50% men?

Is my rabbi a man?


Plus feminist Rosh Hashana e-cards!

-Bridget Crawford

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Law and Film Events At the AALS Annual Meeting, January 2-5, 2015

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If you are planning to attend the AALS Annual Meeting in January 2015 you may be interested in two law and film AALS Film Committee-sponsored events taking place during the conference. The first, on January 2, at 7:30 p.m. (the first night of the conference), will be a screening of the classic Judgment at Nuremberg, directed by Stanley Kramer, written by Abby Mann, and starring a whole host of great actors, including the very strong female characters Mrs. Bertholt, played by Marlene Dietrich, and Irene Hoffman, played by Judy Garland. The two female characters represent different ways of coming to terms with the events discussed in the film. Mrs. Bertholt is loyal both to her husband and to the narrative maintained by many Germans. She assures Judge Haywood, the head of the international tribunal (played by Spencer Tracy),  that she and others like her “did not know” about the atrocities committed by the Nazis. But she also says, “We must forget if we want to go on living.” For her, and others like her, the way forward must include a kind of amnesia. In contrast, Irene Hoffman  cannot forget. As someone who suffered under the regime, she has finally has the chance to tell her story and to tell it to someone who will believe her. More here about the background of the film from Professor Douglas Linder’s excellent law and film website (page created by Sean Bradley).

To introduce our film, we are honored to have Professor Harold Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law at Yale Law School. Professor Koh served as Legal Adviser for the Department of State from 2009 to 2013, service for which he received the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award. Professor Koh is an expert in the area of national security, international human rights, and foreign relations, areas in which he has written extensively. I will be moderating a discussion afterward of the film for those interested.

On Sunday, January 4th, at 8 p.m. the Committee will sponsor a showing of the 2011 film Hot Coffee, directed by Susan Saladoff. The film recounts the famous lawsuit Stella Liebeck brought against McDonald’s when she accidentally spilled some of its excessively hot beverage on herself. Hot Coffee is not just a movie about the torts regime. It’s also a film about public relations and the rhetoric that lawyers use in telling stories. Dennis Greene, Professor of Law, University of Dayton School of Law, will moderate the discussion about this provocative and interesting film.

Finally, on Monday, January 5th at 2 p.m. AALS will present a very special event, a Cross-Cutting program, due in great part to the efforts of members of the Law and Film Committee. Professor Michael Olivas, former President of AALS, and current Chair of the Committee, will moderate a panel on the topic Anita F. Hill,  Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings, and a Screening of the Film Anita. Speakers include Professors Taunya Lovell Banks of the University of Maryland School of Law, Jessica Silbey, Suffolk University Law School, and special guest Anita Hill, Senior Advisor to the Provost and Professor Social Policy, Law, and Women’s Studies, Brandeis University Heller School for Social Policy and Management. This program also includes a special screening of the film Anita: Speaking Truth To Power (2014).

Professor Hill will also be a special guest at the Section on Minority Groups Luncheon, January 5, 2015, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Hope to see you at one or more of these very exciting events!

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CFP: U.S. Feminist Judgments Project

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Bumping to front, because 9/15 deadline rapidly approaching.

The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project seeks contributors of revised opinions and commentary for an edited collection entitled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court. This edited volume is a collaborative project among feminist law professors and others to rewrite, from a feminist perspective, key Supreme Court decisions relevant to gender issues. Editors Kathy Stanchi, Linda Berger and Bridget Crawford seek prospective authors for 20 to 25 rewritten Supreme Court opinions covering a range of topics including reproductive rights, equal protection, the state’s use of criminal power, privacy, the family, women’s political participation, Title IX, employment discrimination and substantive due process. The editors also seek authors for commentaries of 1,500 to 2,500 words to put into context each of the rewritten cases.

The U.S. Feminist Judgments project was inspired by the successful collection and publication in Britain of Feminist Judgments:From Theory to Practice, edited by Rosemary Hunter, Clare McGlynn, and Erika Rackley. This volume, which included feminist versions of twenty-three key British decisions from the Court of Appeal and House of Lords, was published in 2010 and has been very well received. Like the sister project in Britain, the U.S. Feminist Judgments Project endeavors to pioneer “a new form of critical socio-legal scholarship” that illustrates how cases could have been decided differently had a feminist method been employed. We believe that U.S. Supreme Court law is ripe for this kind of scholarly treatment.

Those who are interested in rewriting an opinion or providing the commentary on one of the rewritten opinions should fill out an application here.

Applications are due by September 15, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. eastern. Editors will notify accepted authors and commentators by October 7, 2014. First drafts of rewritten opinions will be due on February 1, 2015. First drafts of comments on the rewritten opinions will be due on March 15, 2015. The editors are in the process of identifying a publisher; publication of the final volume is anticipated for late 2015.

A list of cases tentatively scheduled for rewriting is available here.

Applicants may indicate their preferences among the list of cases. Applicants also may suggest other cases for rewriting. The tentative cases were chosen with the input and advice of an Advisory Panel of distinguished U.S. scholars including Kathryn Abrams, Katharine Bartlett, Devon Carbado, Mary Anne Case, Erwin Chemerinsky, April Cherry, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Martha Fineman, Margaret Johnson, Sonia Katyal, Nancy Leong, Catharine MacKinnon, Rachel Moran, Melissa Murray, Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Nancy Polikoff, Dorothy Roberts, Dan Rodriguez, Susan Ross, Vicki Schultz, Dean Spade, Robin West, and Verna Williams.


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The Federalism In Family Law

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Courtney G. Joslin, University of California, Davis, School of Law, is publishing Windsor, Federalism, and Family Equality in the Indiana Law Journal. It is also available as UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 394. Here is the abstract.

The myth of family law’s inherent localism is sticky. In the past, it was common to hear sweeping claims about the exclusively local nature of all family matters. In response to persuasive critiques, a narrower iteration of family law localism emerged. The new, refined version acknowledges the existence of some federal family law but contends that certain “core” family law matters — specifically, family status determinations — are inherently local. I call this family status localism. Proponents of family status localism rely on history, asserting that the federal government has always deferred to state family status determinations. Family status localism made its most recent appearance (although surely not its last) in the litigation challenging Section 3 of DOMA.

This Article accomplishes two mains goals. The first goal is doctrinal. This Article undermines the resilient myth of family law localism by uncovering a long history of federal family status determinations. Although the federal government often defers to state family status determinations, this Article shows that there are many circumstances in which the federal government instead relies on its own family status definitions.

The second goal of this Article is normative. Having shown that Congress does not categorically lack power over family status determinations, this Article begins a long overdue conversation about whether the federal government should make such determinations. Here, the Article brings family law into the rich, ongoing federalism debate — a debate that, until now, has largely ignored family law matters. In so doing, this Article seeks to break down the deeply-rooted perception that family law is a doctrine unto itself, unaffected by developments in other areas, and unworthy of serious consideration by others.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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Request for Input about Torts Casebook Selection

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From Jessica Litman, John F. Nickoll Professor of Law and Professor of Information
University of Michigan:

I’ve decided to pick up Torts again after ten years away from it.  I took a quick look through the Casebooks that would be obvious choices because they are current editions of Casebooks I used when I taught the course in the past, and came away unhappy, not least because the decade’s progress in gender issues does not seem to be reflected in any of them.  I’m trolling for recommendations of Casebooks I should consider adopting instead.  Any suggestions?

Please contact Professor Litman directly with suggestions: jdlitman (at)

-Bridget Crawford

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Canadian Journal of Women and the Law Welcomes a New English Language Editor

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From the mailbox:

Canadian Journal of Women and the Law/Revue Femmes et Droit welcomes a new English language editor, Natasha Bakht.Co-editorship of the CJWL is currently shared by Associate Professor Natasha Bakht from the Faculty of Law at University of Ottawa and by Professor Annie Rochette from the Département des sciences juridiques, Université du Québec à Montréal.

Natasha Bakht is an associate professor of law at the University of Ottawa. She served as a law clerk to Justice Louise Arbour at the Supreme Court of Canada and was called to the bar of Ontario in 2003. She teaches Criminal Law and Procedure, Family Law and Multicultural Rights in Liberal Democracies. Professor Bakht’s research interests are generally in the area of law, culture and minority rights and specifically in the intersecting area of religious freedom and women’s equality. She has written extensively in the area of religious arbitration and assisted in Canadian judicial education on issues of religion, culture and diversity.  Prof Bakht was an active member of the Law Program Committee of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) from 2005-2009.  Her most recent writings on the rights of niqab-wearing women were cited by the Supreme Court in the case of R v NS, 2012 SCC 72.  She is the current English Language Editor of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law (CJWL). She is also an Indian contemporary dancer and choreographer.

Canadian Journal of Women and the Law/Revue Femmes et Droit is available online at:

CJWL Online

Project MUSE

Submission Information –

The CJWL/RFD is Canada’s oldest feminist legal periodical. Since it began in 1985, the journal has provided a forum in which feminist writers from diverse backgrounds, speaking from a wide range of experience, can exchange ideas and information about legal issues that affect women. We are looking to build on this tradition and remain committed to reflecting a diversity of political, social, cultural, and economic thinking, unified by a shared interest in law reform.

We invite submissions from people who are engaged in feminist analysis of socio-legal issues that reflect a range of approaches, including multidisciplinary, action-focused, theoretical, and historical, and that reflect linguistic and regional differences in Canada. We particularly encourage submissions authored by women from different backgrounds, disciplines and jurisdictions who are doing new feminist work. The CJWL/RFD is seeking papers for publication in the following sections of the CJWL/RFD: articles, review essays, commentaries, case comments, research notes, book reviews, and notes on Canadian and International events of interest to our readers. Comments on previously published materials are also welcome. The journal is a refereed publication.

Canadian Journal of Women and the


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Huntington, “Help Families from Day 1”

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Clare Huntington (Fordham) has published an op-ed, Help Families from Day 1, in the New York Times, tied to the opening of universal pre-kindergarten in New York City.  Here is an excerpt:

In my research, I have cataloged government policies that undermine parent-child relationships during early childhood. Our legal system, for example, destabilizes low-income, unmarried families, distracting them from parenting. Forty-one percent of children are born to unmarried parents. These parents are usually romantically involved when the child is born, but these relationships often end. Rather than help these ex-partners make the transition into co-parenting relationships, the legal system exacerbates acrimony between them. States impose child support orders that many low-income fathers are unable to pay, creating tremendous resentment for both parents. And courts are not a realistic resource for many unmarried parents, leaving them to work out problems on their own.

Our workplace protection laws likewise do too little to address the needs of families. The dearth of paid parental leave means that many parents have to choose between their job and bonding with their newborn.

Read the full op-ed here.

-Bridget Crawford


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From the FLP mailbox:

Call for Papers

Special Issue of Gender & History:

Marriage’s Global Past


Sara McDougall, John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)

Sarah Pearsall, Cambridge University

This special issue of Gender & History explores marriage’s global past from the medieval to the modern era. We solicit contributions that examine aspects of the history of marriage in societies and cultures throughout the world, with special attention to ideas and practices of monogamy and polygamy. Of particular interest is the role of gender in the construction and reconstruction of marriage. We also solicit papers that interrogate the relationship of marriage to various forms of power, including those of state, religious, and colonial institutions as well as the complicated dynamics of authority within households. We welcome both broad, comparative studies and more narrowly-focused ones.

Many imagine marriage as a timeless institution. In fact, as William Alexander wrote in 1779, in his History of Women, From the Earliest Antiquity, to the Present Time, “Marriage is so far from having been an institution, fixed by permanent and unalterable laws, that it has been continually varying in every period, and in every country.” This historian thus acknowledged both the shifting nature of marriage as an institution in a global context, as well as the ways that marriage profoundly shapes, and is shaped by, the role and status of women and men. This special issue similarly assumes varieties of marriages, in terms of both chronology and geography.

This special issue will also interrogate the profound interconnection of gender and marriage, especially with reference to issues of rank, race, age, nationality, culture, religion, and sexuality. Indeed, what might constitute “traditional” marriage in one context might appear radical in another. Indeed, while many contemporary scholars and advocates have called for a redefinition of what is termed “traditional marriage,” recent scholarship has also emphasized how very little is traditional about what is currently described in the Oxford English Dictionary as: “the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife.”

One of the goals of this special issue is to explore how the idea of so-called “traditional marriage” took root and spread in many cultures. Often, of course, it did so even as local social practices deviated, sometimes notably, from this norm. Christian teachings beginning in the first millennium endorsed a particular model of marriage that became not only a centerpiece of Christian faith but also a potent political and social force across the world. In this model, marriage had to be exclusive and indissoluble, a monogamous and enduring commitment between one man and one woman. At that time and in subsequent centuries, as Christian teachings spread throughout the world, this model of marriage came into contact with cultures that had a variety of different ideas about the best ways to marry, and the purpose of marriage. Clashes between different practices of marriage lay at the heart of many early modern and modern encounters.  This special issue of Gender & History hopes to offer new interpretations of this complex and fascinating history.

The volume will begin with a colloquium to be held 18-20 March 2016 at Cambridge University. Paper proposals (750 words maximum) are to be submitted by 15 January 2015. Invitations to present at the colloquium will be issued in February 2015. All those presenting must submit articles for pre-circulation by 15 January 2016. Participants will also be expected to read all the other articles and to participate fully in the two-day colloquium. This participation will include commenting on the paper of another participant, as well as more general discussions.  After the colloquium, participants will be invited to submit their revised papers for publication. Those accepted by the editors for publication will be expected to submit their manuscripts by 1 September 2016. This timeframe will allow the editors to work with authors to produce the final text of the issue for publication in 2017.

Please send paper proposals to by 15 January 2015, with “Marriage’s Global Past” in the subject heading.

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TED Talk by Karima Bennoune Nearing One Million Views

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Photo credit:

Professor Karima Bennoune’s powerful and inspiring TED Talk® When people of Muslim heritage challenge fundamentalism, posted online this summer, is already nearing one million views.  From the TED site (emphasis added):

Karima Bennoune shares four powerful stories of real people fighting against fundamentalism in their own communities — refusing to allow the faith they love to become a tool for crime, attacks and murder. These personal stories humanize one of the most overlooked human-rights struggles in the world.

 It must have been a daunting task, to distill into a short talk the essence of the 286 interviews of incredibly brave people she conducted for her book, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight against Muslim Fundamentalism (W.W. Norton 2013).  Yet she succeeds brilliantly.  Her talk can be viewed here.

Praise for the book behind the talk includes these ringing words from Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka:YourFatwaDoesNotApplyHere

This work redefines courage in a humbling dimension. Bennoune’s meticulous testament serves as a warning to the complacent and rebukes ‘politically correct’ posturing that makes excuses for the inexcusable and canvasses tolerance for the intolerable.

 Additional features on Karima’s TED Talk page include:

  • Take Action — which links to Women Living Under Muslim Laws, the NGO that grew from an action committee formed in 1984 by women from Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Iran, Mauritius, Tanzania, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  •  Karima recommends – a terrific compilation of resources, with links to interviews and NGOs.

Hold the press!    

As I was preparing to post this blog, I saw in a press release issued today that Karima’s book Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here is a finalist for the prestigious Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Inspired by the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia, this prize is “the first and only annual U.S. literary award recognizing the power of the written word to promote peace.”

Heartfelt congratulations, Karima!

Cross-posted on IntLawGrrls
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Herma Hill Kay Receives AALS Section on Women in Legal Education Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award for 2015

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From the mailbox:

The AALS Section on Women in Legal Education is delighted to announce that Professor Herma Hill Kay, the Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law, is the 2015 recipient of the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award.  Professor Kay is the third recipient of this award; the first award went to Justice Ginsburg in 2013, and the second was given to Professor Catharine MacKinnon in 2014.

Professor Kay’s nominators described her this way:

In her fifty-plus years at Berkeley, Herma has been an award-winning teacher, a productive scholar, a generous colleague, and an inspiring leader.  . . . Appointed dean of the law school in 1992, she was the first woman in the school’s history to serve in this capacity.  She has served on boards and committees for almost every significant legal academic institution in the country, including the AALS, which she served as President in 1989.  . . . Beyond her excellent teaching and support of students, Herma is currently finishing a book on the first fourteen women law professors in the United States.  She also continues as a principal author on two casebooks: Text, Cases and Materials on Sex-Based Discrimination (Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of her original co-authors) and Conflict of Laws: Cases-Comments-Questions.  . . . Herma was an active participant in the women’s rights movement.  As a member of Governor Edmund Brown’s Commission on the Family, she paved the way for California’s adoption of a no-fault divorce statute in 1969, and later served as co-reporter of the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act.  Herma was also active in the passage of California’s therapeutic abortion statute and testified in favor of California’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.   Herma has generated opportunities for generations of Berkeley Law graduates, men as well as women, to engage in legal activism on behalf of women and other underrepresented groups.  Indeed, to honor Herma’s legacy at Berkeley and in the profession, in 1999 the Boalt Hall Women’s Association established the Herma Hill Kay Fellowships.  For over ten years, the fellowships have been used to encourage and support public interest work benefitting women. . . .  Throughout her career, Herma has been a pioneer, blazing a trail for all women in the legal academy.

The Section will present Professor Kay with her award at the Annual Meeting Section Luncheon in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, January 3, 2015, from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. at the Marriott Park Wardman Hotel.   We are happy to note that Justice Ginsburg is also scheduled to be at the luncheon to formally accept the award she received in 2013.  We hope that you will be able to attend.

Thank you to all who nominated individuals for the award.  We had a large number of wonderful nominations; it was a pleasure to read about the many valuable contributions of Section members.

Congratulations again to Professor Kay!

The AALS Section on Women in Legal Education Executive Committee

Kirsten Davis, Chair

Wendy Greene, Chair-Elect

Bridget Crawford, Immediate Past-Chair

Rebecca Zietlow, Secretary

Kerri Stone, Treasurer

Cindy Fountaine, Member-At-Large

Posted in Academia, Feminist Legal Scholarship, Feminists in Academia, Law Schools, Law Teaching, Legal Profession | Comments Off on Herma Hill Kay Receives AALS Section on Women in Legal Education Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award for 2015

Save the Date: Family Law Scholars and Teachers Conference, June 22, 2015

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From the FLP mailbox:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We would like to invite you to a working-paper conference that we are planning to hold in the days before the AALS mid-year family law conference in Orlando next summer. Our group, the Family Law Scholars and Teachers Conference, has been known in the past as the Emerging Family Law Scholars and Teachers Conference (EFLS). That group held an annual conference for the past eight years, but until now has been limited to junior scholars. This year we are opening the conference to scholars at all levels of seniority, and are hoping that many of you can join us.

            The conference will take place on Monday, June 22, 2015, in Orlando, Florida—the day of the AALS workshop’s opening reception. Since our conference will be held earlier that day, these two events will not conflict. We will be hosted for the day by Florida A&M University College of Law, which is just a few minutes’ drive from the Doubletree Hotel that hosts the AALS workshop.

            For those of you who are not familiar with the EFLS conference, the main purpose of the meeting is to allow family law scholars to receive detailed, constructive feedback on their work in a supportive, collegial environment. In addition, the meeting is a forum to meet others in the field and talk about teaching, service, developments in the law, and other relevant themes raised by participants. Scholars present their work—either in its very initial form (an incubator session) or in its more developed form (a work-in-progress session)—in intimate groups. We have a very strong norm that participants carefully read drafts of the papers in advance of the sessions, and there are no formal presentations. Many of us feel that this has been a very meaningful conference that significantly contributed to our development as scholars and teachers.

            Although we have decided to open up the conference to scholars at all levels, we are still committed to preserving the conference’s intimate and supportive character. Therefore, we can accommodate only 45 participants, selected on a first-come-first-served basis. Additionally, although we will try to fulfill all requests for an incubator or work-in-progress session, if space is limited, we will give some preference to junior scholars. As always, there is no registration fee, and people only need to pay for their meals and accommodation. The Doubletree Hotel will give the discounted rate for rooms a couple of days prior to the conference.

            We will open up the registration and submission, via TWEN, in February 2015. For now, if you would like to receive announcements about the conference, please sign in on our TWEN page. To do that, go to “Add Courses” and select “Family Law Scholars and Teachers 2015 Conference.” If you have already selected the course in 2014, we will migrate your e-mail automatically and you do not need to register again. You should expect to receive an e-mail with further information about submissions and registration in February 2015.

            If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact co-chairs Erez Aloni ( or Jessica Dixon Weaver (

Best wishes,

FLST Planning Committee,

Erez Aloni

Anibal Rosario Lebron

Dara Purvis

Sarah Swan

Bela Walker

Jessica Dixon Weaver

Posted in Feminism and Families, Upcoming Conferences | Comments Off on Save the Date: Family Law Scholars and Teachers Conference, June 22, 2015

Women of Color In Legal Education

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Carmen G. Gonzalez, Seattle University School of Law, has published Women of Color in Legal Education: Challenging the Presumption of Incompetence in the Federal Lawyer (July 2014). Here is the abstract.

Female law professors of color have become the canaries in the academic mine whose plight is an early warning of the dangers that threaten legal education and the future of the legal profession. As legal education is restructured in response to declining enrollments, tenure itself is coming under fire, and downsizing and hiring freezes are becoming more common. Female law professors of color, who tend to be concentrated at middle- and lower-tier law schools, are particularly vulnerable. But this vulnerability may foreshadow the predicament of all but the most elite law faculty if academic employment becomes increasingly precarious. This article discusses the importance of faculty diversity to the health of the legal profession, and examines the barriers that female law professors of color encounter in the academic workplace. Drawing upon the author’s co-edited book, Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia (Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. González & Angela P. Harris eds., 2012), the article sets forth best practices that can be adopted by academic leaders to remove these barriers, to create an inclusive and equitable campus climate, and to ensure that the upheavals in legal education do not sabotage these efforts. The article includes recommendations for the American Bar Association, the Association of American Law Schools, and US News & World Report.


Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

Posted in Academia, Feminism and Law, Feminist Legal Scholarship, Feminists in Academia, Law Schools, Law Teaching | Comments Off on Women of Color In Legal Education

CFP: Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network at Law & Society 2015

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From the FLP mailbox:

Call for Papers – Friday September 19th Deadline
Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network
at the Law and Society Association Annual Meeting
Seattle, May 28 – 31, 2015

Dear friends and colleagues,

We write to invite you to participate in panels sponsored by the Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network at the Law and Society Annual Meeting in 2015.
Information about the Law and Society meeting (including registration and hotel information) is at:
Within Law & Society, the Feminist Legal Theory CRN seeks to bring together scholars across a range of fields who are interested in feminist legal theory. There is no pre-set theme to which papers must conform. We would be especially happy to see proposals that fit in with the LSA conference theme, which is the role of law and legal institutions in sustaining, creating, interrogating, and ameliorating inequalities. We welcome proposals that would permit us to collaborate with other CRNs, such as the Critical Research on Race and the Law CRN or the Gender, Sexuality and the Law CRN. Also, because the LSA meeting attracts scholars from other disciplines, we welcome multidisciplinary proposals.

Our goal is to stimulate focused discussion of papers on which scholars are currently working. Thus, while proposals may reference work that is well on the way to publication, we are particularly eager to solicit proposals for works-in-progress that are at an earlier stage and will benefit from the discussion that the panels will provide.
Our panels will use the LSA format, which requires four papers, but we will continue our custom of assigning a commentator for each individual paper. A committee of the CRN will assign individual papers to panels based on subject and will ask CRN members to volunteer to serve as chairs of each panel. The chair will develop a 100-250 word description for the session and submit the session proposal to LSA before their upcoming deadline on October 15, so that each panelist can submit his or her proposal, using the panel number assigned. Chairs will also be responsible for recruiting commentators but may wait to do so until panels have been scheduled later this winter.

If you would like to present a paper as part of a CRN panel, please submit a 400-500 word abstract, with your name and a title, on the Feminist Legal Theory CRN TWEN page (details provided below). If you would like to serve as a chair or a commentator for one of our panels, or if you are already planning a LSA session with four panelists (and papers) that you would like to see included in the Feminist Legal Theory CRN, please let Cynthia Godsoe know ( In addition to these panels, we may try to use some of the other formats that the LSA provides: the “author meets readers” format, salon, or the roundtable discussion. If you have an idea that you think would work well in one of these formats, please
let us know.

TWEN is an online resource administered by Westlaw. If you have access to Westlaw but haven’t yet registered for the TWEN page, signing up is easy:

Sign onto Westlaw, hit the tab on the top for “TWEN,” then click “Add Course,” and choose the “FLT CRN 2014” from the drop-down list of National TWEN Courses.
Once you arrive at the Feminist Legal Theory CRN TWEN page, look to the left hand margin and click on “Law & Society 2015 – Abstracts.” If you do not have a Westlaw password, please email Aziza Ahmed at and ask to be enrolled directly.

Please submit all proposals for paper presentations by Friday, September 19. This will permit us to organize panels and submit them prior to the LSA’s deadline on October 15. If we cannot accept all proposals for the CRN, we will notify you by early October so that you can submit an independent proposal to LSA.

We hope you’ll join us in Seattle to discuss the scholarship in which we are all engaged and connect with others doing work on feminism and gender.


LSA Planning Committee

Aziza Ahmed
Cynthia Godsoe
Leslie Harris
Courtney Joslin
Ummni Khan
Dara Purvis
Julie Shapiro

Posted in Call for Papers or Participation, Upcoming Conferences | 2 Comments

The New HHS Regulations Can’t Win A Zero-Sum Game

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Kara Loewentheil is the Director of the Public Rights / Private Conscience Project and a Research Fellow at Columbia Law School. You can find out more about the Project here. This blog was originally posted on the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law Blog.

Yesterday the Obama Administration released the long-awaited updates to the regulations that govern the availability of an accommodation for religious objectors to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement. They came in two parts:

1. A final interim regulation that allows objecting religiously-affiliated organizations who decline to fill out the original form required for an exemption to instead notify the government in writing that they object and to provide the government the contact information for their insurance company or third-party insurer.This, in effect, is the Wheaton College regulation. After such notification is received HHS will then take on the responsibility of contacting  that insurance company or third-party insurer to inform them that they must provide contraceptive coverage to the eligible employees at no cost to the employer in question. This regulation is effective immediately, but comments may be submitted for 60 days, after which a final regulation will be issued (which may or may not end up differing from the interim final regulation).

2. A proposed regulation to govern the process for closely-held corporations or non-corporate-form businesses to seek an accommodation from the contraceptive coverage requirement. This is the Hobby Lobby regulation. Under the regulation, closely-held for-profit businesses that object would have access to the same accommodation as non-profit organizations (i.e., the insurance company or third-party insurer must provide the coverage at no cost to the eligible employees or the company). The regulation is not in effect yet, and the government is actively seeking comments as to a number of elements, including how the regulations should define a closely-held corporation, and how the administering departments should evaluate the existence and scope of a religious objection (if at all). Comments may be submitted for 60 days, after which the government will issue a final regulation.

If you’re interested in the details of how this will all work, logistically, Marty Lederman has written up a nice concise explanation here; no reason to reinvent the wheel on that score. What I want to draw attention to in this post is the fact that none of these accommodations will satisfy the objectors who seem to believe that any type of notification to the government makes them impermissibly complicit in what they believe to be a sin. This may well turn out to be some of the for-profit businesses as well as some of the non-profit organizations. As I explained when the order was issued, this was always a problem with the logic of the Wheaton College order, and nothing in these accommodations will solve that problem. Instead, at least some of the plaintiffs will continue to maintain their suits on the grounds that nothing apart from a full exemption will satisfy their religious obligations, and the courts will likely end up drawing the line somewhere, which makes the entire Wheaton College order and all this rigamarole seem fairly silly. If courts are going to have to end up telling these plaintiffs that they have to notify the government in some way even if they believe that violates their religious beliefs, then it’s hard to understand why the Supreme Court shouldn’t have just required them to fill out the original form and be done with it. The alternative, that courts will eventually grant blanket exemptions to some of these plaintiffs, is an unacceptable outcome given the great harm that such an exemption would impose on the women covered by the insurance plans at issue.


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CFP: Applied Feminism and Work

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From the FLP mailbox, this CFP:


The University of Baltimore School of Law’s Center on Applied Feminism seeks submissions for its Eighth Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference.  This year’s theme is “Applied Feminism and Work.”  The conference will be held on March 5 and 6, 2015.  For more information about the conference, please visit

As the nation emerges from the recession, work and economic security are front and center in our national policy debates.  Women earn less than men, and the new economic landscape impacts men and women differently.  At the same time, women are questioning whether to Lean In or Lean Out, and what it means to “have it all.”  The conference will build on these discussions. As always, the Center’s conference will serve as a forum for scholars, practitioners and activists to share ideas about applied feminism, focusing on the intersection of theory and practice to effectuate social change.  The conference seeks papers that discuss this year’s theme through the lens of an intersectional approach to feminist legal theory, addressing not only the premise of seeking justice for all people on behalf of their gender but also the interlinked systems of oppression based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity, class, immigration status, disability, and geographical and historical context.

Papers might explore the following questions:  What impact has feminist legal theory had on the workplace? How does work impact gender and vice versa?  How might feminist legal theory respond to issues such as stalled immigration reform, economic inequality, pregnancy accommodation, the low-wage workforce, women’s access to economic opportunities, family-friendly work environments, paid sick and family leave, decline in unionization, and low minimum wage rates?  What sort of support should society and law provide to ensure equal employment opportunities that provide for security for all?  How do law and feminist legal theory conceptualize the role of the state and the private sector in relation to work?  Are there rights to employment and what are their foundations?  How will the recent Supreme Court Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn decisions impact economic opportunities for women?  How will the new EEOC guidance on pregnancy accommodation and the Young v. UPS upcoming Supreme Court decision affect rights of female workers?

The conference will provide an opportunity for participants and audience members to exchange ideas about the current state of feminist legal theories.  We hope to deepen our understandings of how feminist legal theory relates to work and to move new insights into practice.  In addition, the conference is designed to provide presenters with the opportunity to gain feedback on their papers.

The conference will begin the afternoon of Thursday, March 5, 2015, with a workshop.   This workshop will continue the annual tradition of involving all attendees as participants in an interactive discussion and reflection.   On Friday, March 6, 2015, the conference will continue with a day of presentations regarding current scholarship and/or legal work that explores the application of feminist legal theory to issues involving health.   The conference will be open to the public and will feature a keynote speaker. Past keynote speakers have included Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, Dr. Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn, Senators Barbara Mikulski and Amy Klobuchar, and NOW President Terry O’Neill.

To submit a paper proposal, please submit an abstract by Friday, 5 p.m. on October 31, 2014, to  It is essential that your abstract contain your full contact information, including an email, phone number, and mailing address where you can be reached.  In the “Re” line, please state:  CAF Conference 2015.  Abstracts should be no longer than one page.  We will notify presenters of selected papers in mid-November.  We anticipate being able to have twelve paper presenters during the conference on Friday, March 6, 2015. About half the presenter slots will be reserved for authors who commit to publishing in the symposium volume of the University of Baltimore Law Review.  Thus, please indicate at the bottom of your abstract whether you are submitting (1) solely to present or (2) to present and publish in the symposium volume.  Authors who are interested in publishing in the Law Review will be strongly considered for publication.  Regardless of whether or not you are publishing in the symposium volume, all working drafts of symposium-length or article-length papers will be due no later than February 13, 2015.   Abstracts will be posted on the Center on Applied Feminism’s conference website to be shared with other participants and attendees.   Presenters are responsible for their own travel costs; the conference will provide a discounted hotel rate, as well as meals.

We look forward to your submissions.  If you have further questions, please contact Prof. Margaret Johnson at

I’ve been to the Feminist Legal Theory Conference at Baltimore and find that it hosts high-quality programming, so definitely check this out!

-Bridget Crawford

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A New Tampon to Prevent Against HIV

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From NPR:

When it comes to protecting themselves from HIV, women need more options.

About of 84 percent of all women diagnosed with HIV contract the virus through heterosexual sex. And right now, the female condom is the only contraception available that stops HIV — and is controlled by the woman. These devices can be hard to find and tough to use.

Now engineers at the University of Washington in Seattle have come up with an experimental technology that may one day make HIV protection for women as easy as using a tampon.

For years, scientists have been developing gels or creams that contain anti-HIV drugs known as microbicides. But these topical ointments can be problematic. They’re messy to apply. They can leak. And the medication absorbs slowly, so women have to use the gels or creams at least 20 minutes before sex.

A new delivery method could solve all these problems, say bioengineers Cameron Ball and Kim Woodrow. The secret? An electrically spun fabric.

Read the full story here.

-Bridget Crawford

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New OUP Book: Evans and Riley, “Technologies of Sexiness”

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Later this month, Oxford University Press will publish Technologies of Sexiness, a new book by Adrienne Evans  (Media, Coventry University, UK) and  Sarah Riley (Psychology, University College Wales, Aberystwyth).  Here is the publisher’s description:

Key cultural shifts have enabled a “new sexualization” of women. Neoliberal, consumerist, and postfeminist media culture have shaped ways of understanding female sexuality, embodied by the figure of the choosing, empowered, entrepreneurial consumer citizen-woman, whose economic capital determines feminine success (and failure). Informed by older constructs of privilege such as class, sexuality, race and (dis)ability, this version of sexiness also constrains by folding contemporary femininity back into previous panics about youth, excess, “bad” consumption, and appropriate feminine behavior

In Technologies of Sexiness, Adrienne Evans and Sarah Riley identify how current understandings of sexiness in public life and academic discourse have produced a “doubled stagnation,” cycling around old debates without forward momentum. Developing a theoretical and methodological framework, they expand on the notion of a “technology of sexiness.” They ask what happens and what is lost when people make sense of themselves within the complexities and contradictions of consumer-oriented constructs of sexiness. How do these discourses come to “transform the self”?

This book provides a framework for understanding how women make sense of their sexual identities in the context of a feminization of sexual consumerism. The authors analyze material collected with two groups of women: the “pleasure pursuers” and “functioning feminists,” who broadly occupy positions across the pre- and post-Thatcher eras, and the changes brought about by the feminist movement. As one of the first book-length empirical studies to explore age-related femininities in the context of what “sexiness” means today, the authors develop a series of insights into various “technologies of the self” through analyses of space, nostalgia, and claims to authentic sexiness.

More details here.

-Bridget Crawford

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Contraception: A Prescription for Women’s Equality

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By Kara Loewentheil, Director of the Public Rights / Private Conscience Project in the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School. This blog was originally posted as part of a set of pieces about contraception and the Hobby Lobby decision over at Cornerstone.
One of the few mercies of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Inc. last month was its acceptance of the Government’s argument that access to contraception is indeed a compelling governmental interest (see pages 39-40 of the majority opinion). Justice Kennedy’s concurrence (see pages 2-3), in particular, stressed that this vote for the majority’s holding hinged on his belief that the government could achieve its compelling interest in a different manner without burdening the rights of the women whose contraceptive access would be affected. But we should not be too sanguine about this aspect of the holding, because it too is under attack.
The evidence is clear even in the postings gathered together for this online forum about Hobby Lobby and contraception. It is hard to believe that in 2014 we are still arguing about whether access to contraception is crucial for women’s health and equality, or whether contraceptive access is a real problem. I could spend this entire post going over the overwhelming number of studies by doctors, sociologists, psychologists, demographers, and public health experts demonstrating that contraception works and explaining the importance of access to safe and affordable contraceptives and the centrality of family planning to women’s educational, economic, social, and political equality. Contraception literally saves lives—hundreds of thousands of them a year, all over the world. Don’t take my word for it—take the word of credible mainstream health authorities, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, just to name a few. Access to contraception improves women’s educational and economic prospects, allowing them to attend school, participate in the workforce, and support themselves and their families. (See also “The Power of the Pill”.) It also allows them to have sexual lives but not have children they do not want to have, which should be a good enough reason to promote access to contraception in and of itself.Furthermore, access is by no means easy for many women in this country—it is particularly challenging for women who want access to long-acting reversible contraceptives, like the IUD, which women vastly prefer when they can afford them, but which can cost $800-$1000 up front (about 80% of a full month’s wages on the federal minimum wage, in other words). Contrary to skeptics’ claims, many women are not eligible for subsidized contraception under any other existing program. (For a more thorough explanation of the barriers to access, see Kara Loewentheil, When Free Exercise is a Burden: Protecting “Third Parties” in Religious Accommodation Law.)Contraception is crucial for women’s equality, in all senses of the world. It is possible for women to have the kind of “full life” that a particular traditional conservative religious morality would allow without having access to contraception, because that life entails serving as a wife and mother, or being celibate. But it is impossible for women to have full and equal lives in the modern sense of the word without it.

So why we are still arguing about contraception? It is not because contraception doesn’t work. Obviously contraception is more effective the more correctly it is used, but to say that contraception as a general matter is ineffective or unimportant—much less dangerous—is simply ludicrous. We’re having this conversation because control of reproduction and fertility and sex implicate fundamental questions of individual autonomy: the autonomy to decide when to have sex, with whom, and when and how and whether to become a parent. And we’re having this particular conversation about contraception and how and whether it works because the anti-abortion movement wants us to have it. Hobby Lobby and its companion cases are part of a conservative social movement dedicated to the idea that contraception and abortion are the same thingboth that they have the same mechanism of action, and that their moral status is the same. (See also Pro-Life Wisconsin.) The former is simply untrue (see also Planned ParenthoodJen Gunter’s New Repulic article, andAmerican Society for Emergency Contraception); the latter is a matter of personal opinion.

One of the particularly peculiar elements of this contraception-is-abortion narrative is the way it conflicts with the argument that contraception doesn’t actually work. Were this actually the case, contraception would be a less pressing issue. Anti-abortion advocates occasionally reconcile these conflicting premises by arguing that use of contraception increases the incidence of abortion because it encourages people to have sex, and that since contraception doesn’t work, there end up being more pregnancies that are then terminated. (See alsoPriests for Life.) So contraception and abortion are linked in this discourse in two ways: (1) they have the same physiological mechanism (which is scientifically false), and/or (2) the former causes the latter.

This attempt to erase the distinction between contraception and abortion, or to suggest that they necessarily increase each other, results in tainting the former with the stigma and social rancor that surrounds conversations about the latter in this country. It also normalizes objections to not just the use or provision of contraception but even the association with contraception. The result will be to make the use or provision of contraception a Scarlet C, to match the Scarlet A that provision or association with abortion already entails. And then what would we have? A world without access to contraception (and abortion) is a world in which women cannot control their own destinies. The Supreme Court recognized this once*; let’s hope it still does.

*In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 856 (1992) the Court explained that “the ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.”

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Race, Gender and Psychiatric Disabilities

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Katie Rose Guest Pryal (UNC) writes here for Chronicle Vitae on “Shattering the Madness Monolith: On the Intersections of Race, Gender, and Psychiatric Disability. She also wrote another powerful column on mental health and the academy, “She’s So Schizophrenic!”: How Not to Alienate Your Colleagues with Psychiatric Disabilities.

My guess is that most of us have colleagues who suffer from mental illness, but they may not be “out.”  How can we extend a helping hand without causing discomfort?  What do we need to do to make it more acceptable to get help? To be help?

-Bridget Crawford

Posted in Academia, Women's Health | 1 Comment

Feminist Aesthetics and IP

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Carys J. Craig, Osgoode Hall Law School, is publishing Feminist Aesthetics and Copyright Law: Genius, Value, and Gendered Visions of the Creative Self in Protecting and Promoting Diversity with Intellectual Property Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). Here is the abstract.

Copyright law is fundamentally concerned with the value of cultural works — both the recognition and the creation of this value. Yet it is seldom acknowledged that copyright law makes or requires any value judgment in the sense of an aesthetic evaluation of copyright’s subject matter. Indeed, it is often emphasized that copyright protects original works of authorship regardless of their quality or merit. That copyright protection demands the satisfaction of only the most minimal of qualitative standards does not, however, dispose of the larger claim that forms the basis of this chapter: our copyright system is dominated by a particular aesthetic theory or idea. Any attempt to justify the rights established by the copyright system over artistic works must presuppose an aesthetic theory of sorts in order to explain what is protected and why (as well as what is not protected or permitted, and why not). While not based on the quality of copyright’s subject matter, these explanatory efforts will point to its nature as original literary or artistic expression, which thus deserves or requires some form of legally recognized reward. We simply cannot justify the copyright system without ascribing some value to the particular expressive works in which it vests, and the creative acts and actors that it privileges. Seen in this light, it can hardly be claimed that copyright law is aesthetically agnostic. In this chapter, my goal is to uncover, in copyright’s most basic patterns, the hidden aesthetics of copyright law as viewed from a critical feminist perspective. My suggestion is that conceptions of aesthetic value and its production are stitched into the very fabric of copyright law, defining its contours and determining the purposes it serves — and what is more, these conceptions of aesthetic value are fundamentally gendered.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

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CFP: AALS Workshop on “Next Generation Issues on Sex, Gender and the Law”

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From the FLP mailbox, this CFP:

Association of American Law Schools

Call for Presentations and Papers

AALS Workshop on Next Generation Issues on Sex, Gender and the Law

June 24-26, 2015

Doubletree by Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Studios

Orlando, Florida

We are seeking proposals for presentations and papers for the 2015 Workshop: Next Generation Issues of Sex, Gender and the Law, scheduled to take place June 24 – 26, 2015 at the Doubletree by Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

After more than forty years of formal sex equality under the law, this 2015 workshop will ask legal academics to look ahead to the future and identify, name, and analyze the next generation of legal issues, challenges, and questions that advocates for substantive gender equality must be prepared to consider. To this end, we seek paper and presentation proposals that not only pinpoint and examine future law-related concerns about gender equality but that also provide innovative new approaches to achieving equality for women and those who challenge gender norms in our society, with a particular attention to employment, violence against women, reproductive rights, women’s poverty, and women in legal education.

Our hope is to build on the insights of the participants in the 2011 AALS Workshop on Women Rethinking Equality by exploring new and forward-looking ideas for scholarship, law reform, and advocacy that can bring about women’s equality. An additional expectation is that each session will address the ways in which characteristics other than gender, including race, sexual orientation, immigration status, socioeconomic class, and disability, impact women’s lives. We also anticipate that each session will analyze the institutional strengths and weaknesses of courts, legislatures, and administrative bodies for bringing about change and offer suggestions for legal reforms that can better meet women’s needs. Our final goal is to provide a rich and supportive atmosphere to foster mentoring and networking among teachers and scholars who are interested in women’s equality and the law.

The format of the workshop will involve plenary sessions, concurrent sessions drawn from this Call for Presentations and Papers, and a closing panel. The closing panel, also drawn from this Call, will consist of a brainstorming session to consider projects and proposals for proactive measures to bring about gender equality.

Concurrent Sessions

The concurrent sessions will feature presentations related to gender equality issues, with preference given to presentations by junior scholars and those proposals related to the topics of employment, violence against women, reproductive rights, women’s poverty, and women in legal education. We will organize the presentations into panels based on the subject matter of the proposals. Each presentation will last for 15 minutes, followed by questions from the moderator and audience.

Interested faculty should submit a brief written description (no more than 1000 words) of the proposed presentation, along with his or her resume. Please e-mail these materials to by September 15, 2014. We will notify selected speakers by November 1, 2014.

Brainstorming Proposals

The final plenary session of the conference will consist of 10-12 five-minute presentations of ideas for future projects that will advance gender equality in the law. Each selected participant will be limited to five minutes to present his or her idea or project. The presentations will be followed by audience feedback and comments. Although we will grant preference to presentations by junior scholars and those proposals related to the topics of employment, violence against women, reproductive rights, women’s poverty, and women in legal education for the concurrent sessions, we welcome proposals for this brainstorming session on any topic related to gender equality.

Interested faculty should submit a written description of the proposed presentation (no more than 1000 words), along with his or her resume. Please e-mail these materials to by September 15, 2014. We will notify selected speakers by November 1, 2014.


Faculty members at AALS member schools are eligible to submit proposals.

Fellows at AALS member schools are eligible to submit proposals along with current curriculum vitae.

Visitors without faculty status at an AALS member law school and adjunct faculty members at AALS member schools are not eligible to submit proposals. Faculty at U.S. non-member law schools are not eligible to submit proposals. We do welcome your attendance at the workshop.

Proposers and panelists pay the registration fee and expenses.

Please direct questions regarding this Call for Papers and Presentations to

Planning Committee for the 2015 Workshop on Next Generation Issues of Sex, Gender and the Law:

Angela Onwuachi-Willig, University of Iowa College of Law, Chair

William Eskridge, Yale Law School

Aya Gruber, University of Colorado School of Law

Kimberly Yuracko, Northwestern University School of Law

Rebecca Zietlow, University of Toledo College of Law

FWIW, I’m thrilled to see that this AALS program is using a broad call for participation.  Too many AALS programs are insider-driven and characterized by a kind of “clubbiness” that can be off-putting to newcomers.  Great to see that this Planning Committee is doing things differently!

I admit I find the program’s title a bit awkward…not sure what “Issues on Sex, Gender and the Law” (emphasis mine) are, but it looks like the organizers struggled a bit with the wording, too, because the call later refers to the “Planning Committee for the 2015 Workshop on Next Generation Issues of Sex, Gender and the Law” (emphasis mine).  “On” or “of”…whatever.  Equality matters, regardless of prepositions.  Looks like a great program.

-Bridget Crawford

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Cheryl Hanna Memorial Page Hosted at Vermont Law School Website

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Cheryl Hanna, 2005Vermont Law School’s website is hosting a memorial page/on-line “Remembrance Journal” here for Cheryl Hanna:

Professor Cheryl Hanna was a beloved teacher and role model to many within and beyond the Vermont Law School community. Her untimely death is a profound loss to our faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Our hearts are with her family.

This online forum is a space for sharing your thoughts, condolences and memories of Professor Hanna, to be shared with her family and with the Vermont Law School community.

Funeral services will be held this Friday.  Details here.

She is very, very missed.  May her memory be a blessing.

-Bridget Crawford

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In Memory of Cheryl Hanna

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Professor Cheryl Hanna (Vermont) has died.

Vermont Dean Marc Mihaly sent an email to the Vermont Law School community earlier today.  It stated in part:

It is with the most profound sorrow that we announce the untimely death of our dear colleague Professor Cheryl Hanna.  

Professor Hanna was a beloved teacher, a role model to many within and beyond the Vermont Law School community, and a powerful force for innovation. We are heartbroken. She will be deeply missed.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Professor Hanna was an expert in constitutional law, the United States Supreme Court, and women and the law. Her scholarship has been published in leading journals, including the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and Michigan Journal of Gender and the Law. Professor Hanna was also a frequent media commentator, including on Vermont Public Radio and WCAX-TV 3.

She consulted on constitutional cases and represented public interest organizations through the filing of amicus briefs in cases before state and federal courts. This included the amicus brief she and Vermont Law School students wrote on behalf of the Vermont Commission on Women in Dreves v. Hudson, the first case implicating Vermont’s Equal Pay Act. The book she co-authored, Domestic Violence and the Law: Theory and Practice, was the leading casebook on violence against women.

Professor Hanna is survived by her husband and two children.

The Burlington Free Press has coverage here.

I will pass along more information as I receive it.

May her memory be a blessing.

-Bridget Crawford

UPDATE 7/29/14: A funeral for Professor Hanna will be held on Friday, August 1, 2014, at 3:00 p.m. in the Ira Allen Chapel at the University of Vermont in Burlington.  Details here.  Vermont Law School has a memorial web page here.

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