Thursday, March 6, 2014
As we begin women’s history month, I thought I would share a women’s legal history reading list. I've developed this list over the last decade with what I think are the seminal articles and books on particular topics, used in connection with my own research and for teaching a Women's Legal History seminar. This foundational work is critical to filling in the gendered gaps of the conventional history, and it is also just plain interesting. It's interesting that Florence Kelley was responsible for the Brandeis brief and the use of social science in legal argument; that abortion in the first trimester was legal fro a century until 1865; that some leading women’s rights advocates like Elizabeth Cady Stanton pushed for no-fault divorce in the 1860s and that feminists in the 1970s were largely absent from the no-fault divorce reform; that women lay lawyers invented legal aid lawyering and problem-solving courts; that female advocates and reformers challenged the marital rape exemption 100 years before need for change first “discovered” in the 1970s. The list goes on and on. My hope is that one day these "women's" topics will be mainstreamed into traditional wisdom as embodied everywhere from constitutional law texts to high school history books. But for now, at least, the history is being recovered and analzyed, and the transmission of that discovery has been started.
Women’s Legal History: A Reading List
Tracy A. Thomas
Tracy Thomas & Tracey Jean Boisseau, Eds., Feminist Legal History (NYU Press 2011)
Linda Kerber, No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship (1999)
Joan Hoff, Law, Gender & Injustice: A Legal History of US Women (1994)
Felice Batlan, Engendering Legal History, 30 Law & Soc. Inquiry 823 (2005)
Tracy A. Thomas, The New Face of Women’s Legal History, 41 Akron L. Rev. 695 (2008).
Martha Chammallas, Introduction to Feminist Legal Theory (2d ed. 2003)
Nancy Levit, Robert Verchick, & Martha Minow, Feminist Legal Theory: A Primer (2006)
Joan Williams, Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to do About it (2000)
Nancy Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism (1987)
Louise Michele Newman, White Women’s Rights: The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States 5 (1999)
Tracy Thomas, The Beecher Sisters as Nineteenth-Century Icons of the Sameness-Difference Debate, 11 Cardozo Women's L. J. 107 (2004)
EEOC v. Sears, 628 F. Supp. 1264 (N.D. Ill. 1986), 839 F.2d 302 (7th Cir. 1988)
Haskell & Levison, Historians and the Sears Case, 66 Tex. L. Rev. 1629 (1988)
Mary Beth Norton, Founding Mothers and Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of America Society (1997) (Anne Hutchinson trial, jury of matrons)
Kristin Collins, “Petitions Without Number”: Widows’ Petitions and the Early Nineteenth-Century Origins of Marriage-Based Entitlements, 31 Law & History Rev. 1 (2012)
Mary Beth Norton, In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 (2003)
Jane Campbell Moriarty, Wonders of the Invisible World, 26 Vt. L. Rev. 43 (2001)
Peter Hoff, The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History (1997)
Coverture, Marital Status in the Family, Marital Property
William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Law of England, Of Husband and Wife (1769)
Norma Basch, In the Eyes of the Law: Women, Marriage, and Property in Nineteenth Century New York (1982)
Richard Chused, Married Women’s Property Law:1800-1850, 71 Georgetown L.J.1359 (1983)
Tracy A. Thomas, Elizabeth Cady Stanton on the Marriage Amendment: A Letter to the President, 22 Const. Comment. 137 (2005)
Reva Siegel, Home as Work: The First Woman’s Rights Claims Concerning Wives’ Household Labor, 1850-1880, 103 Yale L J. 1073 (1994)
Ariela R. Dubler, Governing Through Contract: Common Law Marriage in the Nineteenth Century,” 107 Yale Law J.1885 (1998).
Jill Hasday, Contest and Consent: A Legal History of Marital Rape, 88 Cal. L. Rev. 1373 (2000)
Naomi Cahn, Faithless Wives and Lazy Husbands: Gender Norms in Nineteenth-Century Divorce Law, 2002 U. Ill. L. Rev. 651
Ken Burns, Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony (video)
Declaration of Sentiments, July 1848
History of Woman Suffrage, v.I (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, eds)
Nancy Isenberg, Sex and Citizenship in Antebellum America (1998)
Ellen DuBois, Outgrowing the Compact of our Fathers: Equal Rights, Woman Suffrage, and the US Constitution, 1820-1878, 74 J. Amer. History 836 (1987)
Doug Linder’s Famous Trials Website, The Trial of Susan B. Anthony (including trial documents)
Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1974)
Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920 (1998)
Iron Jawed Angels (2004) (video)
Reva Siegel, She the People: The Nineteenth Amendment, Sex Equality, Federalism, and the Family, 115 Harv. L. Rev. 945 (2002)
Felice Batlan, Notes from the Margins: Florence Kelley and the Making of Sociological Jurisprudence, in Transformations in American Legal History: Law, Ideology, and Methods (Daniel Hamilton & Alfred Brophy 2010)
Nancy Woloch, Muller v. Oregon: A Brief History with Documents (1996)
Muller v. Oregon, 208 US 412 (1908)
Adkins v. Children's Hospital, 261 US 525 (1923)
The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Article, 7 Green Bag 2d. 397 (2004)
Reva Siegel, Reasoning from the Body: A Historical Perspective on Abortion Regulation and Questions of Equal Protection, 44 Stan. L. Rev. 261 (1992)
James Mohr, Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy (1979)
Tracy A. Thomas, Misappropriating Women’s History in the Law and Politics of Abortion, 36 Seattle L. Rev.1 (2013)
Linda Gordon, The Moral Property of Women: A History of Birth Control Politics in America (2000)
Linda Greenhouse & Reva Siegel, Before Roe v. Wade (2010)
Leigh Ann Wheeler, How Sex Became a Civil Liberty (2012)
Sarah Grimke, Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women in The Feminist Papers (Alice Rossi, ed. 1973).
Serena Mayeri, A New ERA or a New Era? Amendment Advocacy and the Reconstitution of Feminism, 103 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1223 (2009)
Serena Mayeri, Reasoning from Race: Feminism, Law, and the Civil Rights Revolution (2011)
Deborah Brake, Revisiting Title IX's Feminist Legacy, 12 Am.U.J. Gender, L.& Soc. Pol.462 (2004)
Deborah Brake, Title IX as Pragmatic Feminism, 55 Clev. State L. Rev. 513 (2008)
Jill Hasday, Fighting Women: The Military, Sex, and Extrajudicial Constitutional Change, 93 Minn. L. Rev. 96 (2008).
Cleveland Board of Ed. v. LaFleur, 414 U.S. 632 (1974)
Deborah Dinner, Recovering the LaFleur Doctrine, 22 Yale J.L. & Fem. 343 (2010)
Tracy Thomas, The Struggle for Gender Equality in the Northern District of Ohio, in Justice on the Shores of Lake Erie: A History of the Northern District of Ohio (Paul Finkelman & Roberta eds. 2012)
Pauli Murray, Jane Crow and the Law: Sex Discrimination and Title VII, 43 G.W. Law Rev. 232 (1965)
Emma Coleman Jordan, Race, Gender and Social Class in the Thomas Sexual Harassment Hearings, 15 Harv. Women's L.J. 1 (1992)
Carrie Baker, The Woman’s Movement Against Sexual Harassment (2007)
Women in the Courts
Marina Angel, Teaching Susan Glaspell's A Jury of Her Peers and Trifles, 53 J. Legal Educ. 548 (2003)
Joanna Grossman, Women's Jury Service: Right of Citizenship or Privilege of Difference?, 46 Stan. L. Rev. 1115 (1994)
Felice Batlan, The Birth of Legal Aid: Gender Ideologies, Women, and the Bar in New York City, 1863-1910, 28 Law & History Rev. 931 (2010).
Viriginia Drachman, Sisters in Law: Women Lawyers in Modern American History (2001)
Bradwell v. State, 83 U.S. 130 (1872)
In re Lockwood, 154 U.S. 116 (1894)
Women’s Legal History Biography Project, at http://wlh.law.stanford.edu
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Mary Triece (Akron-Communication) has published Tell it Like it Is: Women in the National Welfare Rights Movement (SC Press 2013).
In Tell It Like It Is, Mary E. Triece brings to light a lesser known yet influential social movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s—the welfare rights movement, led and run largely by poor black mothers in the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO). Her study combines theory and critical analysis to explore rhetorical strategies and direct actions women employed as they argued for fair welfare legislation in both formal policy debates and in the streets. Triece focuses on how welfare recipients spoke for themselves in forums often marked by widely held stereotypes.
Triece explains the influence of racism on welfare legislation throughout the early 1900s and explores how welfare recipients cultivated agency while challenging stereotypes such as the "welfare cheat" and the "welfare mother." To illuminate her study, Triece uses historical documents including pamphlets, flyers, position statements, and convention materials. She examines the official newspaper of the NWRO, the Welfare Fighter, and draws on the congressional testimonies of welfare recipients, providing the first in-depth look at the ways that these women represented themselves in this formal political forum.
Tell It Like It Is presents an interdisciplinary study touching on communication, rhetoric, politics, feminist theory, and the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality. It also engages in ongoing scholarly debate regarding language, knowledge, reality, and the potential for social change. Triece contributes to each of these disciplines as she explores how a marginalized and beleaguered people managed to mobilize a nationwide movement.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Finally, completing today's thoughts on writing great and relevant legal scholarship, a perfect example.
The LA Times has Annie Shield's review of Estelle Freedman, (Stanford) Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation
The evolution of how rape has been defined in the United States is the subject of the historian Estelle B. Freedman’s Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation. In this book, Freedman tells the story of the many disparate social movements whose efforts brought about changes in the social and legal constructions of rape from the end of the Civil War until the early 20th century. Not unlike the “Rape is Rape” campaign, most efforts to redefine rape throughout the country’s history have relied on both long-term organizing and unpredictable shifts in the political climate. The impact of anti-rape activism, like that of all movements for social change, is influenced by the fickle public attention span. The FBI’s decision to discard the category of “forcible rape” in favor of a more inclusive definition of assault was a big victory, but it went largely unnoticed by the public. Getting people to sign on was easy, but getting the media to cover an esoteric definitional change by a bureaucratic agency was a struggle. ...
Freedman’s thesis is a simple one: throughout the history of the term “rape,” its changing definition has been inextricably bound to changing definitions of citizenship. She traces the evolution of rape as a social and political concept from the end of the Civil War to the mid-20th century. Through historical records, court transcripts, and newspaper archives, Freedman shows how, since the country’s founding, ideas about sexual violence have traditionally been informed — and enforced — by and for a ruling class of white men. She also outlines the history of anti-rape movements that challenged white supremacy and male supremacy. The presentation of these disparate movements, which were often at odds with one another despite having seemingly similar goals, is among the most fascinating aspects of Freedman’s narrative.
I'm thinking a lot today about what we do as law professors as scholarship. Several posts about writing, both it's inspiration and relevance. From the NYT, here's about how to find a perfect writing niche location. The Writer's Room. For me, its a room of one's own and a room with a view.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
From Kevin Stainback (Purdue-sociology) & Donald Tomaskovic-Devey(UMass-Amherst-sociology), Many American Workplaces are Becoming More Segregated in the Washington Post.
The results of our research found in part that there has been a trend toward racial re-segregation among white men and black men since 2000 and increased segregation since 1970 between black women and white women in American workplaces — so much so that it has eliminated progress made in the late 1960s.
Where has there been progress? In general, African Americans tend to do better in workplaces that use formal credentials to make hiring decisions. Minorities and white women have made the most progress in professional jobs. These occupations require specific educational credentials to be considered for employment. African Americans also progress in those relatively rare large, private-sector firms that monitor their managers diversity track record
Thursday, January 30, 2014
This is why I love women's history - there is just always more to the story. The Untold Story of Jewish Feminist Pioneers provides a Q&A with Historian Melissa R. Klapper who recently won a National Jewish Book Award for Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace: American Jewish Women’s Activism, 1890-1940. Klapper's book discusses the birth control battles of the 1870s, the Jewish push for suffrage, and why peace was once considered a women's issue.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
I'm always a big fan of Williams' work. But I'm not thrilled with what she finds here. Frankly, it's a pretty depressing view of the work world. She finds that women still have to play the femininity card in order to be successful in the work place. Her research suggest that women need to soft sell their ideas and leadership in a "feminine" nurturing kind of gentle way rather than be critical or assertive. Or in another post, the suggestion is that women need to strike a power pose like Beyonce or Wonder Woman (seriously ? with or withou bustier?). When can women just be normal? That would be a revolution.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
From Bernie Jones (Suffolk), The-Opt Out Revolution, Ten Years Later.
Ten years ago, the New York Times Magazinepublished Lisa Belkin’s controversial (and now infamous) article, “The Opt-Out Revolution.” In it, Belkin argued that young women were increasingly disinterested in feminist gains in the workplace. These women were interested instead in being married and becoming stay-at-home mothers, taking care of the house and children while their husbands worked. Much hand wringing followed, as it seemed the women’s movement had been stalled in the wake of Generation X’s rejection of their Baby Boomer mothers’ efforts.
Ten years later, the opt-out generation wants back in, as their realities have changed since they left the workforce.
Jones' book is Women Who Opt Out: The Debate over Working Mothers and Work-Family Balance (NYU Press, 2012).
Saturday, January 18, 2014
NPR's Book Review Finding Flight in "The Invention of Wings" says:
In simple terms, the book is the fictionalized history of the Grimké sisters, Sarah and Angelina (Nina), who were at the forefront of the abolitionist and women's rights movements, wound around the intriguing narrative of a young slave, Hetty, who was given to Sarah as an 11th birthday present. Sarah despises slavery, even at that early age, and out of principle attempts to reject the gift....
The novel is a textured masterpiece, quietly yet powerfully poking our consciences and our consciousness. What does it mean to be a sister, a friend, a woman, an outcast, a slave? How do we use our talents to better ourselves and our world? How do we give voice to our power, or learn to empower our voice?
The reviewer notes that she was "appalled that I had never heard of the Grimkés before, and thank the author sincerely for allowing me to make their acquaintance."
The Grimke Sisters were among the first female public abolitionist speakers. Their testimony was particularly powerful as they recounted first-hand witnessing of slavery as daughters of a slaveholding family in South Carolina. Sarah Grimke was arguably the first advocate for women's rights in her Letters on the Equality of the Sexes (1837).
Saturday, December 28, 2013
It's Winter Break, and what that means to me is ... it's time to READ. For Fun.
Top of the stack from Santa is Lisa Scottoline's, Accused, reviving the all-female law firm as they battle crime and the law. Though my all-time Scottoline favorite is Daddy's Girl (terrible title) which beautifully captures the experience of a first-year female law professor. Next in line is law professor Alafair Burke's (Hofstra), Never Tell though her If You Were Here is a Amazon top mystery book of the year.
For some other ideas, see Feminist Reads for the Holidays and Beyond
Monday, December 23, 2013
The year 2014 will mark the twentieth anniversary of Anthony Rotundo's terrific book American Manhood: Transformations In Masculinity From The Revolution To The Modern Era. Unless I'm mistaken its explicit meditation on manhood as subject of history was, I believe, the first of its kind. The book's abstract reads:
In the first comprehensive history of American manhood, E. Anthony Rotundo sweeps away the groundless assumptions and myths that inform the current fascination with men’s lives. Opposing the views of men’s movement leaders and best-selling authors who maintain that manliness is eternal and unchanging, Rotundo stresses that our concept of manhood is man-made and that, like any human invention, it has a history. American Manhood is a fascinating account of how our understanding of what it means to be a man has changed over time.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Saturday, November 16, 2013
From Ms. JD: Rebels at the Bar: The Fascinating Forgotten Stories of America's First Women Lawyers, by Jill Norgren.
In Rebels at the Bar, prize-winning legal historian Jill Norgren recounts the life stories of a small group of nineteenth century women who were among the first female attorneys in the United States. Beginning in the late 1860s, these determined rebels pursued the radical ambition of entering the then all-male profession of law. They were motivated by a love of learning. They believed in fair play and equal opportunity. They desired recognition as professionals and the ability to earn a good living.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Akron Law's Miller-Becker Institute for Professional Responsibility welcomes tomorrow Supreme Court reporter Joan Biskupic. Her talk is From Thurgood Marshall to Sonia Sotomayor: The Voices of Groundbreaking Supreme Court Justices. Biskupic "will reflect on the careers of Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, the country’s first Hispanic justice, and the impact their service has made on the high court." She is the author of biographies on Justices O'Connor and Scalia.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
I previously posted about the Lutheran Church's efforts to explore gender issues of theology and patriarchy and social justice efforts for sex trafficking and domestic violence. One of the books the scholars behind the curriculum recommend is The Gender Knot.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
The non-fiction finalists for the National Book Award include:
Wendy Lower, Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields, discussed in the NYT Arts Blog "Ordinary Women"
presents the harrowing evidence of crimes committed by German women during the Holocaust and “Ms. Lower’s revisionist insight is to track more mundane lives, and to argue for a vastly wider complicity.”
Jill Lepore, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (Ben's sister), reviewed in the The New York Times.
That, in the end, is the message of the book: Lepore shows how the lives of the siblings were irrevocably shaped by gender. The brother, a man able to rise from poverty and to become a successful politician, is universally acknowledged to have been a genius. Was his sister one too? We cannot know, because her life was as much determined by her gender identity as was his: a woman who married young and badly, she spent most of her life mired in poverty
Saturday, October 5, 2013
I just published my annual edition of Women and the Law (2013). I think of the book as an annual collection of the greatest hits in scholarship on women's rights likely to be of interest to lawyers and legislators on the frontlines. The subjects covered include reproductive rights, family law, domestic violence, employment, education, and theory. Today's post features the section on feminist legal theory.
Joan Williams, Jumpstarting the Stalled Gender Revolution:Justice Ginsburg and Reconstructive Feminism,63 Hast. L.J. 1267 (2012)
Cary Franklin, Inventing the "Traditional Concept" of Sex Discrimination, 125 Harv. L. Rev. 1307 (2012)
Rosemary Salomone, Rights and Wrongs in the Debate Over Single-Sex Schooling, 93 Boston U.L. Rev. 971 (2013)