Write On! U.S. Feminist Judgments Project

backlit_keyboardThis installment of Write On!, our periodic compilation of calls for papers, includes a call to present within Feminist Judgements: Rewritten Family Law Opinions, as follows:

The U.S. Feminist Judgement Project, seeks contributions for rewritten judicial opinions and commentaries for an edited collection tentatively titled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Family Law Opinions. The list of selected cases, a description of the process of selecting decisions, and the opinions considered but not included, are on the application website (https://goo.gl/forms/9JYv7GtR2gJMDVbY2).

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Call for Papers! Race, Gender and Law: A Tribute to the Scholarship of Sherene Razack

Canadian Journal of Women and the Law/Revue Femmes et Droit is available online at: http://bit.ly/cjwlcfp

 

The Canadian Journal of Women and Law (CJWL) seeks submissions for a special issue 30(2) to be published in December 2018 on Race, Gender and Law: A tribute to the scholarship of Sherene Razack (guest edited by Gada Mahrouse, Carmela Murdocca, and Leslie Thielen-Wilson). The deadline for submitting articles for this special issue is September 1, 2017. 

 Dr. Sherene Razack is one of Canada’s leading critical race feminist theorists. She is especially known for developing an analytic that shows: 1. how racial violence is often legally and socially authorized and is integral to the making of states; and 2. how racial violence is gendered and sexualized. This special issue is in celebration of the 20th anniversary of her ground-breaking book Looking White People in the Eye (now in its fourth edition) and her important and on-going contributions to the interdisciplinary field of critical race feminisms and socio-legal studies. We invite articles in English and French from academics, legal scholars, educators, and activists, working in the areas of gender, race, and law. We are interested in receiving articles that are explicitly informed by Razack’s methodology or any other important aspect of her work.

Submissions should be no more than 35 pages (10,000 words) and should conform to the Style Guide available on our website: http://bit.ly/cjwlsubmit.  Please send articles in word format indicating it is for the special issue on “Race, Gender and the Law.” to: cjwl-rfd@uottawa.ca
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Write On! Call for Submissions / Appel à contributions – Canadian Journal of Women and the Law/ Revue Femmes et droit

The Canadian Journal of Women and the Law/ Revue Femmes et droit is Canada’s oldest and only 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.

Full submissions information is available at http://bit.ly/cjwlsubmit

 If you have comments or questions, please contact:

Natasha Bakht

English Language Co-Editor

Canadian Journal of Women and the Law

cjwl-rfd@uottawa.ca

 

Annie Rochette

French Language Co-Editor – Corédactrice francophone

Revue Femmes et droit

cjwl-rfd@uottawa.ca

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Reflections on ‘The Gendered Imaginaries of Crisis in International Law’ Agora @ the 2016 ESIL Annual Conference, Riga, Latvia

With many thanks to Emily Jones, currently a PhD researcher at SOAS, University of London, who authored this reflection and, along with IntLawgrrls Gina Heathcote, Loveday Hodson, and Bérénice Schramm, as well as Troy Lavers, organized the Gendered Imaginaries of Crisis Agora on behalf of the Feminism and International Law Interest Group of the European Society of International Law.

esil-2016On Friday 9th September, the Feminism and International Law Interest Group of the European Society of International Law (ESIL) held an agora entitled ‘The Gendered Imaginaries of Crisis in International Law.’ The agora session was initially inspired by Hilary Charlesworth’s provocative statement that ‘international lawyers revel in a good crisis. A crisis provides a focus for the development of the discipline and it also allows international lawyers the sense that their work is of immediate, intense relevance.’ In this vein, the agora aimed to disrupt mainstream interpretations and perspectives on crisis as well as remind attendees of the various ways in which gender is implicated in the narratives of crisis. (Agora participants pictured above, from left to right, Bérénice Schramm (chair), Marion Blondel, Dianne Otto, and Jaya Ramji-Nogales; Zeynep Kivilcim is pictured in the Skype screen at the top.)

The agora was bilingual (in both French and English). This bilingualism not only helped to disrupt the increasing dominance of the English language at ESIL but also allowed for a wider array of feminist perspectives to be considered.

The panel began with an intervention by IntLawGrrl Bérénice K. Schramm, the Agora Chair. Bérénice began with a reminder of the many ways in which crisis is utilised globally, not only by international lawyers to revel in but also as a moment for change and resistance, thus disrupting mainstream international legal views of crisis. She also highlighted the many elements of crisis which go unseen, including the sounds and images of crisis, showing pictures of women in Rojava engaging in radical democratic work and drawing on the work of German art collective Maiden Monsters to highlight both the existence of counter images to crises and sounds of crisis and the corollary fact that neoliberalism, from a feminist perspective, is, itself, a crisis.

Bérénice, in her introduction, also read an important statement regarding Turkey. One of the panellists, Zeynep Kivilcim, sadly, was unable to attend the agora in person and was forced to intervene via Skype. This was due to the current political situation in her country and the crack down by the government on academics and academic freedom. As a signatory to the ‘Academics for Peace’ petition‘Academics for Peace’ petition, Zeynep risks being interrogated daily. Bérénice reminded the agora participants of the terrible ongoing situation in Turkey and the need to remember the ways in which crises affect academic work and freedom.

The first paper presented was by Dianne Otto and was entitled ‘Feminist Aspirations and Crisis Law: Navigating Uncomfortable Convergences and New Opportunities.’ Dianne noted the normalisation of crisis in international discourse and the ways in which this spreading atmosphere of crisis has allowed for the expansion of emergency laws and rule by experts and technocrats who often favour neoliberal ends. Her paper went on to highlight the ways in which ‘gender panics’ are also caught up in international discourses on crisis, noting, for example, how the trafficking movement and the panic over preventing sex trafficking has been used, not only to deny women agency and the right to make their own sexual and economic decisions, but also to ignore the wider, structural issues which surround trafficking, including poverty and exploitative labour conditions (noting how the focus on trafficking also works to ignore other migrants). Continue reading

Write On! Call for Papers: Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network (deadline 18 September)

The Law and Society Association (LSA) Planning Committee invites you to participate in panels sponsored by the Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network at the LSA Annual Meeting in 2016. Information about the meeting (including registration and hotel information) is at: www.lawandsociety.org/NewOrleans2016/neworleans2016.html.

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.

A committee of the CRN will assign individual papers to panels based on subject. Our panels will use the LSA format, which requires four papers, but we will continue our custom of assigning a chair for the panel and a commentator for each individual paper. As a condition of participating as a panelist, you must also agree to serve as a chair or commentator for another panel or participant. We will of course take into account your scheduling and topic preferences to the degree possible.

The duties of a chair are to organize the panel logistically, including registering it online with the LSA, and moderating the 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 assigning commentators but may wait to do so until panels have been scheduled later this winter. The duties of a commentator are to read one paper and provide verbal comments as well as brief written (email is fine) comments.

If you would like to present a paper as part of a CRN panel, please email an abstract or summary, along with your name and a title, to Jessica Clarke at jessicaclarke@umn.edu. There is no need to upload the document to the TWEN site this year. Note that LSA is imposing a new requirement that your summary be at least 1,000 words long.  Although a shorter summary will suffice for our purposes, you will be required to upload a 1,000 word summary in advance of LSA’s deadline on October 15. If you are already planning a LSA session with at least four panelists (and papers) that you would like to see included in the Feminist Legal Theory CRN, please let Jessica know.

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On Feminist Legal Scholarship

Let’s just assume that we all know what ‘Feminist Legal Scholarship’ is more or less about. We could simply say that a feminist legal scholar is a legal scholar that is a feminist. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? If we could just simplify everything, and accept that the easiest answer is the truer? Yet, in a Socratic paradigm, one question gives birth to many others, like: ‘what a feminist is?’ ‘what is legal scholarship?’ and so on and so forth, and “en oida oti ouden oida”.

By exercising logic, we can apparently explain what a legal scholar does, and what a feminist is supposed to be and do. It may also be easier to argue that the combination of these terms refer to a type of legal methodology that is feminist-friendly; or better put, that this “mysterious” legal trend has the scope of feminism as the telos to each legal effort – by assuming that the scope of feminism is justice & fairness, since the essence of this idea is equality. Well, one could also argue that by employing the terms “feminist jurisprudence”, we refer to legal experts who produce knowledge that is meant to contribute into the legal science by utilizing feminist theory’s methodological tools, as well as promote the scope of the feminist movement. While, allow me to say that ideally feminist legal scholarship involves all the above to a certain extend, depending on the subject matter of the legal research.

However, this entire hypothesis presupposes existing knowledge, able to guide us in pointing out the particular scope of the specific feminist movement we aim at utilizing. The emerging keyword is “methodology” again, or the lack of it. Since none of the above can satisfy the need for specific guidelines on methodology, a need stressed by the majority of legal scholars out there; whether they consider themselves feminists or not.

The truth of the matter is that if you ask five different feminist legal scholars what is it that this style of law is all about, you are very likely to receive five different answers. The internalized reflex of being politically correct is a syndrome well spread among legal scholars, while we may not even be conscious of that need of ours. Thankfully, though, we have philosophy to show us the way and lead us into the light once more. The moment we start to critically question norms, and dispute epistemological patterns, this is the instance that philosophy comes into play.

So, the problem as I see it, derives principally from the fact that legal scholarship can be constructed only in respect to specific rules – while the term “feminist” refers to an abstract political idea that has been adopted and thus interpreted by contradictory groups to suit their needs. So, we can observe the legal and the political, struggling to co-exist in a formation where the practical implications are deeply rooted in the contradiction of the specific subject of law and the abstract idea of the political. Therefore, we are witnessing once more the ancient clash of these fraternal twin ideas.

Through the prism of feminist jurisprudence, law is viewed as being an essential actor in the historical subordination of women. So, in simple terms, a feminist legal scholar’s ultimate objective, would be to expose the ways in which law contributed in the previous subordinate status of women. Under this logic, the scope of feminist jurisprudence is devoted to shifting women’s position through a modification of the legal contact to gender.

This line of reasoning, views law in many instances, as the product of centuries of masculine legal thought. What that means is that law reflects in a variety of ways the patriarchal morals that by definition are diminishing the value of women to means for the dominant male’s ends. I am talking about sexist laws, like the rule of thumb for wife-beating, that allowed a man to beat his wife with a stick, as long as it was not thicker than his thumb. Does that sound as radical feminism to you? Wait I have better arguments to put on the table. Take for example the famous “reasonable man test”, and notice the sexist language used in law. Observe the legal literature, and realize that in every hypothetical case, the legal scholars when referring to a human being, are always using “he”, as if “he” is the only subject of law. Take for example the crime of rape, which just like heterosexuality, centers its definition on penetration.

As philosophy teaches, truth is often hidden in language, (See: Heidegger, 1962, p. 261) and the language we use today, is indicative of the criterion used for determining the status of women. I am referring to the simple exercise of comparing it with the status of men. What I mean to argue, is that feminists constantly use the term equality, but what do they mean can only be known by comparing the status of women with the status of men. It is unfortunately impossible to escape from this binary, when dealing with the feminist idea. It makes sense to add in this train of thought the words of Derrida, who famously argued that all we are able to understand is differences.

The need to engage with ‘feminist legal scholarship’ is today more evident and justifiable than ever. As I came to understand it, ultimately refers to: Consciousness raising; Asking the “woman question”; Challenging patriarchy and the legal norms deriving from it; Deconstructing the subject of the legal claim and the traditional binaries as well as hierarchies in law; Addressing gender-based violence; Restoring history through the collection of facts that uncover the cases of female victims; and last but not least addressing that traditionally law has been a male construct, and that the subject of law is male. “For women to be included as subjects of law, their voices have to be listened to and, more importantly, to be heard and acted upon. For too long the law, legal theory and jurisprudence has presented itself as a rational objective ordering of gender-neutral persons, while at the same time subconsciously addressing only the essential male.” (See: H. Barnett, 2013, p. 4).

It is lady-justice-statueinteresting to observe that Lady Justice holds a weighing scale in struggling to bring justice into this world. Justice as well as equality, is portrayed as the balance between different claims. From this standpoint, feminist legal scholars would argue that traditionally the value of women is weighed against to that of men, and justice has yet to be achieved. It seems impossible to escape this comparison, however it seems to me that this way of evaluating and assessing the value of people creates more problems than it actually solves. Comparing human beings is by definition contrary to the synonymous ideas of Justice, Fairness and Human Rights. Nonetheless, we cannot stay in denial, and refuse to acknowledge the persistent inequalities imposed on women simply because of their gender, even today. Because if we take a good look around us, from the place we work and micro-narratives, to overall society and macro-narratives, we do not need to be statisticians to realize that women do not enjoy real equality to men, neither are free from gender-based discrimination.

There is still work to be done!

Write On! Call for Papers from Law & Society Feminist Legal Theory CRN (deadline Sept. 19)

The Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network (CRN) invites participation in its panels at the Law and Society Association Annual Meeting to be held in 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: http://www.lawandsociety.org/Seattle2015/seattle2015.html

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 (cynthia.godsoe@brooklaw.edu). 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 Az.Ahmed@neu.edu 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.

Best,

LSA Planning Committee