AALS Women in Legal Education: Calls for Participation, Papers, Posters – Deadline Extended

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From the Planning Committee for 2011 Workshop on Women Rethinking Equality, these further details on the program, with some new deadlines for responses to the calls:

In response to the Call for Presentations, Papers and Posters that we circulated in early June, 2010, we have had a number of inquiries regarding how the Call relates to the “Women Rethinking Equality” Workshop as a whole. We aim, in this Final Reminder, to set the Call in the context of the larger event. Because this broader description may encourage new submissions, we have extended the deadline for Presentation and Paper proposals by one week, to August 6, 2010.

The Workshop will be held in June, 2011 in Washington, DC, and it will appeal to a full range of teachers and scholars in all subject areas. We welcome participation by all AALS members-and particularly all women-regardless of whether their scholarship focuses on gender. We hope to have a conference of panelists and attendees that is filled with diversity on many fronts-race, sexuality, able-bodiedness, viewpoint, politics, field, and childhood class background-to name just a few.

Women seeking equality in America today face uneven prospects. Women are represented in record numbers in all branches of government, yet also struggle in unprecedented numbers below the poverty line, and they remain notably absent from many corporate boardrooms. Two more women have been appointed to the Supreme Court, including the first Latina justice; yet the popular debate and confirmation hearings were marred by race and gender stereotypes and by homophobia. Advocates of same sex marriage and new reproductive technologies have challenged the traditional family, yet they have been met by efforts to re-naturalize marriage, childbirth, and the place of women in the private sphere. These same contradictions mark women’s role in legal education. Women comprise a majority of students in many law schools, yet women are not equally represented in the professoriate. A recent AALS Report revealed a “tenure gap” affecting all women, which was particularly wide and increasing for women of color. The predominance of women in lower-paid, lower status positions without job security in the legal academy mirrors their relative absence from top positions in law firms, law faculties, and other highly-paid legal positions.

As we address the unfinished business of equality, women confront complex challenges. Some impediments stem from a public perception that the central problems of women’s equality were solved a generation ago. Other obstacles-which women are often reluctant to confront-arise from the heterogeneity of the group itself. We are heterogeneous first in the ways we experience our lives as women: women share commonalities based on sex, while also differing along lines of race, ethnicity, class, immigration status, religion, sexual orientation, and disability. Women also vary in our conceptualizations of the challenges we face: while some theorists and activists emphasize the varied forms of exclusion and hierarchy that constitute “subordination,” others emphasize pressures to conform to bifurcated gender norms, to expectations of cross-sex sexual desires and the fulfillment of these desires within marital, nuclear, reproductive families. Finally we are heterogeneous in our personal and professional aspirations: while some women seek to analyze sex or gender in explicitly politicized ways, others may be reluctant to use formalized constructs to discuss them, and may prefer to emphasize practice strategies for addressing the effects of gender in our daily lives or individual workplaces. Such heterogeneity is hardly surprising in a group that includes more than half of the human race. Yet if women fail to understand and negotiate this heterogeneity in a self-aware, reflective way, we may end up chasing an elusive unity, or diffusing our efforts with unnecessary friction.

The 2011 Mid-Year Meeting, “Women Rethinking Equality,” will address these challenges, in the broader society and in the specific context of legal education. In analyzing the remaining barriers, we will think specifically about how to understand and to bridge the heterogeneity our group reflects-by glimpsing our shared stake in struggles of particular subgroups, and by focusing on the immediate institutional environment that we all share. We will also ask how we might use many kinds of connections among women-networking, mentoring, sharing of information-to secure greater opportunity, and transform the institutional settings in which we live and work. We will examine these themes in a series of plenary panels, addressed to such issues as “The Unfinished Business of Sex Equality in Legal Education,” “Meanings and Contexts of Equality,” “Women as Scholars” and “Women as Teachers.” But we also seek to diversify our discussions by organizing some of our conference sessions through Calls for Presentations, Papers, and Posters.

Specifically, we plan to include posters and two types of concurrent sessions. The first type of concurrent session will feature presentations related to one of nine equality-related themes, and the second will provide an opportunity for scholars to receive detailed feedback on works-in-progress.

Call for Presentations on Specific Workshop Themes

The first type of concurrent session will feature presentations on each of the following equality-related themes:


· Gender and International Human Rights

· From Reproductive Rights to Reproductive Justice

· Gender and Economic Inequality

· Gender and Criminal Law

· Gender and Corporate, Securities, Tax, Bankruptcy and Commercial Law

· Gender and the Justice System

· Theorizing Gender

· Gender and Family Law 

· Gender and Employment

We expect to select three or four presentations for each of these topical sessions. Each presentation will be about 15 minutes, followed by questions from the moderator and the audience.

Interested faculty should submit a brief written description (no more than 1000 words) of the proposed presentation, along with her or his résumé. The proposal should indicate clearly in which of the nine categories the author believes the presentation belongs. Please email these materials to 11wwcfp@aals.org by August 6, 2010. We will notify selected speakers by October 1, 2010.

Call for Papers

Women write in all fields of law, yet women at all stages of their careers who write in male-dominated fields may have fewer opportunities to present and receive feedback on their work. The same is true of junior women scholars across all academic specialties. Additionally, female and male scholars in gender and feminist jurisprudence often find their work marginalized within traditional academic disciplines and institutions. This call for papers invites scholars from these categories to present their works-in-progress and to receive comments in small group sessions with assigned commentators. Because the goal is to give these scholars more exposure, no subject matter preferences govern this call. Full drafts or nearly completed drafts are encouraged, although these drafts may be rough.

Interested faculty should submit a précis of the paper she or he would like to present, along with her or his résumé. The précis should be no more than 2500 words. Please e-mail these materials to 11wwcfp@aals.org by August 6, 2010. We will notify selected authors by October 1, 2010.

Call for Posters

Finally, the Planning Committee seeks poster presentations. Posters are intended to provide authors an opportunity to present in clear and succinct fashion the thesis and conclusion of their research or to describe teaching innovations. We invite submissions in the following veins: (a) submissions by women scholars regarding current projects on any topic or recently completed projects (including, for example, book projects published within the past two years) and (b) submissions by all scholars, regardless of gender, focusing on current or very recent projects regarding issues of gender or sex. Fliers or other advertising may not be displayed with posters. Also, posters that primarily promote a particular school’s project or program are not eligible for display. Scholars whose posters are selected for presentation must attend the poster presentation session at this 2011 Mid-Year Meeting.

Interested faculty should submit an abstract for the proposed poster, along with her or his résumé, to 11wwcfp@aals.org by December 15, 2010. We will notify those selected to present posters by January 31, 2011.


Faculty members and professional staff of AALS member and fee-paid law schools are eligible to submit proposals for either of the presentation opportunities or for posters. Foreign, visiting and adjunct faculty members, graduate students, and fellows are not eligible.

Those selected for paper, presentation, or poster opportunity must register for the Workshop and pay the registration fee. Each is also responsible for his or her own travel and other expenses. Please direct questions to Professor Kathryn Abrams, University of California, Berkeley Law at krabrams@law.berkeley.edu; Professor Serena Mayeri, University of Pennsylvania Law School at smayeri@law.upenn.edu; Professor Elizabeth Nowicki, Tulane University Law School at enowicki@tulane.edu; Professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig, University of Iowa College of Law at angela-onwuachi@uiowa.edu; Professor Lisa R. Pruitt, University of California, Davis, School of Law at lrpruitt@ucdavis.edu; or Professor Stephanie M. Wildman, Santa Clara University School of Law at swildman@scu.edu.

-Bridget Crawford

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