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Comprehensive discussions of theoretical issues regarding law and gender

Feminist Legal Theory

Foundations

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edited by D. Kelly Weisberg

"Every social scientist interested in women's issues needs this invaluable collection."
Barbara Bergmann

This unique text offers a discussion of one of the most important movements in legal scholarship today: feminist legal theory. The first of two volumes, Foundations examines theoretical issues about the interaction between law and gender. The second volume will explore the application of feminist legal theory to specific substantive areas of the law, such as criminal law, family law, employment law, and the legal profession. In this first volume, thirty-eight articles by distinguished legal scholars and feminists address issues of equality, difference, separate spheres, essentialism, legal methodology, and theories of law. The essays, published in widely dispersed legal publications, are thematically arranged, with introductions by the editor, to provide a text for students, a convenient source for scholars and policy makers, and a comprehensive introduction for general readers.

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Excerpt

Read the Introduction (pdf).

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Reviews

"D. Kelly Weisberg's distinguished volume will provide one-stop shopping for newspaper editors, scholars, political activists, and public officials who want to learn how gender analysis applies to legal thought."
Barbara J. Nelson, University of Minnesota

"Feminist jurisprudence is the cauldron in which some of the most creative feminist thoughts are brewing. Their release into our sociopolitical environment will bring us somewhat closer to creating a legal system in which the interests of all persons are indeed regarded with equal respect and consideration. Anglo-American law has been in need of a feminist transformation for some time. Weisberg's anthology suggests that the moment of metamorphosis is upon us."
Rosemarie Tong, Thatcher Professor in Philosophy and Medical Humanities, Davidson College

"Professor Weisberg has successfully undertaken the daunting task of presenting many of the diverse strands of feminist legal theory in a coherent, organized framework. The ideas presented in this stimulating collection of essays are at the cutting-edge of legal theory."
Stephanie M. Wildman, Professor of Law, University of San Francisco

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Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction

Part I: The Elements of Feminist Legal Theory
Introduction
1. Women's Subordination and the Role of Law – Nadine Taub and Elizabeth M. Schneider
2. To Question Everything – Heather Ruth Wishik
3. Where We Stand: Observations on the Situation of Feminist Legal Thought – Clare Dalton
4. The Emergence of Feminist Jurisprudence: An Essay – Anne C. Scales
5. A Lawyer's Primer on Feminist Theory and Tort – Leslie Bender
6. Jurisprudence and Gender – Robin West
7. Conservative Feminism – Richard A Posner

Part II: The Equality Debate: Equal Treatment versus Special Treatment
Introduction
8. Equality's Riddle: Pregnancy and the Equal Treatment/Special Treatment Debate – Wendy W. Williams
9. The Miller-Wohl Controversy: Equal Treatment, Positive Action and the Meaning of Women's Equality – Linda J. Krieger and Patricia N. Cooney
10. Equality and Difference: The Case of Pregnancy – Herma Hill Kay
11. Transcending Equality Theory: A Way Out of the Maternity and the Workplace Debate – Lucinda M. Finley

Part III: New Approaches to Equality and Difference
Introduction
12. Prince Charming: Abstract Equality – Mary E. Becker
13. Feminism and the Limits of Equality – Patricia A. Cain
14. Reconstructing Sexual Equality – Christine A. Littleton
15. Strategizing in Equality – Diana Majury
16. Difference and Dominance: On Sex Discrimination – Catharine A. MacKinnon
17. The Anti-Subordination Principle: Applications – Ruth Colker
18. The Supreme Court 1986 Term, Foreword: Justice Engendered – Martha Minow
19. When Difference Hits Its Home: Group Homes for the Mentally Retarded, Equal Protection and Legal Treatment of Difference – Martha Minow

Part IV: The Debate over Essentialism: Gender and Race
Introduction
20. Feminist Reason: Getting It and Losing It – Martha Minow
21. Race and Essentialism in Feminist Legal Theory – Angela P. Harris
22. Feminist Jurisprudence: Grounding the Theories – Patricia A. Cain
23. Race, Racism, And Feminist Legal Theory – Marlee Kline
24. Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race And Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics – Kimberle Crenshaw

Part V: Theories of Law
Introduction
25. Toward a Theory of Law and Patriarchy – Janet Rifkin
26. Toward a Theory of Law and Patriarchy – Diane Polan
27. Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: Toward Feminist Jurisprudence – Catharine A. MacKinnon
28. Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: An Agenda for Theory – Catharine A. MacKinnon
29. Feminism and Legal Positivism – Margot Stubbs
30. Liberal Jurisprudence and Abstracted Visions of Human Nature: A Feminist Critique of Rawls' Theory of Justice – Mari J. Matsuda
31. Statutory Rape: A Feminist Critique of Rights Analysis – Frances Olsen
32. Alchemical Notes: Reconstructing Ideals from Deconstructed Rights – Patricia J. Williams
33. The Dialectic of Rights and Politics: Perspectives for the Women's Movement – Elizabeth M. Schneider

Part VI: Feminist Legal Methods
Introduction
34. Feminism and Legal Method – Mary Jane Mossman
35. Feminist Legal Methods – Katharine T. Barlett
36. Breaking Women's Silence in Law: The Dilemma of the Gendered Nature of Legal Reasoning – Lucinda M. Finley
37. Zig-zag Stitching and the Seamless Web: Thoughts on "Reproduction" and the Law – Marie Ashe
38. On Being the Object of Property – Patricia J. Williams

Table of Cases
Index
Contributors

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About the Author(s)

D. Kelly Weisberg is Professor of Law at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. She has published several other books, including Child, Family and State: Cases and Materials on Children and the Law (co-authored with Robert Mnookin).

Contributors: Marie Ashe, Katharine T. Bartlett, Mary E. Becker, Leslie Bender, Patricia A. Cain, Ruth Colker, Patricia N. Cooney, Kimberle Crenshaw, Clare Dalton, Lucinda M. Finley, Angela P. Harris, Herma Hill Kay, Marlee Kline, Linda J. Krieger, Christine A. Littleton, Catharine A. MacKinnon, Diana Majury, Mari J. Matsuda, Martha Minow, Mary Jane Mossman, Frances Olsen, Diane Polan, Richard A. Posner, Janet Rifkin, Ann C. Scales, Elizabeth M. Schneider, Margot Stubbs, Nadine Taub, Robin West, Patricia T. Williams, Wedny W. Williams, and Heather Ruth Wishik.

Subject Categories

Law and Criminology
Women's Studies


In the series

Women in the Political Economy, edited by Ronnie J. Steinberg.

No longer active.

Women in the Political Economy, edited by Ronnie J. Steinberg, includes books on women and issues of work, family, social movements, politics, feminism, and empowerment. It emphasizes women's roles in society and the social construction of gender and also explores current policy issues like comparable worth, international development, job training, and parental leave.

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