Saturday, May 24, 2014
Next week, a book group from the feminist legal theory collaborative network meeting at Law & Society will discuss Danielle Egan's, Becoming Sexual: A Critical Appraisal of the Sexualization of Girls.
The sexualization of girls has captured the attention of the media, advocacy groups and politicians in recent years. This prolific discourse sets alarm bells ringing: sexualization is said to lead to depression, promiscuity and compassion deficit disorder, and rob young girls of their childhood. However, measuring such claims against a wide range of data sources reveals a far more complicated picture.
Becoming Sexual begins with a simple question: why does this discourse feel so natural? Analyzing potent cultural and historical assumptions, and subjecting them to measured investigation, R. Danielle Egan illuminates the implications of dominant thinking on sexualization. The sexualized girl functions as a metaphor for cultural decay and as a common enemy through which adult rage, discontent and anxiety regarding class, gender, sexuality, race and the future can be expressed. Egan argues that, ultimately, the popular literature on sexualization is more reflective of adult disquiet than it is about the lives and practices of girls
Friday, May 23, 2014
With Memorial Day coming up, I wanted to list some books about manliness that are particularly good.
Karl Marlantes What It Is Like to Go to War bravely expels a lot of tiresome myths about combat, and also does a fine job of illuminating PTSD. Marlantes was a decorated war veteran in Vietnam as well as a Rhodes Scholar, and the book sketches with honesty the madness of hypermasculinity and the sort of manliness that is required to survive as a soldier, and afterwards, come to terms with war in morally acceptable ways.
More recently, there is Sebastian Junger's War. Junger is a reporter and he was embedded with Marines in Afghanistan. Like Marlantes, Junger is a deft writer who captures well the paradoxical nature of manliness in war--its destructive, and self-destructive propensities--along with its capacity for intense friendship and sacrifice.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
....by vocation and partly because I have so little time for leisure reading, I usually stick to academic titles. But this book by Terry Crews, the former NLF player and now comedian-actor, sounds fun and maybe good.
In an interview with NPR, Crews said: "The book should've been called, Terry Crews Is an Idiot and This Is How I Survived. I'm serious! There was so much astounding immaturity in this book." Idiot. That's probably 50 percent of manliness in one word.
And there was also this spot-on comment during the NPR interview:
Manhood used to be the Marlboro Man — my way, the highway, I walk alone! And the Marlboro Man is always by himself. Family, kids? Can't hang with him. They don't understand him. What happens is, that guy in his 60s, he's back there in his shed and he's crying his eyes out. He's alone. No one wants to be with him. And I averted that future.
Monday, May 19, 2014
If there's one thing that Manliness insists upon, it is that you must put up or shut up.
So put up, I shall, or endeavor to do so, anyway. The below blog post had implied that there may exist a better reading list for manliness. There is a book that I think belongs at the top of that shelf--Elmore Leonard's The Complete Western Stories. Readers will be familiar with Leonard's fun reads on low-life criminals in contemporary America but his cowboy stories, written many years prior, are fabulous too.
There's no real attempt by Leonard to proffer advice about how to prop up your manly self-esteem. All he does is what any greater writer should do: sketch in lucid detail what his subject is. And manliness, we find, is diverse: it's noble, brave, generous, heroic, but also sadistic, vindictive, impulsive, and more often than not, kinda stupid, and best of all--sometimes it is all of these things at the same time. So too Leonard shows us how, frankly, women in the prairie can be a lot more manly than men. Great stuff.
The Art of Manliness Blog lists several "must reads" for men. Sadly, the first book on that list is the absurd, cryptic, and melodramatic headcase that is Robert Bly's Iron John, a book about which I've blogged before. For those unfamiliar with Bly's work, it is a male self-help book about emancipating the Wild Man in You so that he can find that perfect Wild Woman out there in society and make crazy (yip, Wild) sex and feel what it means to live (that Wild) life.
Pretty much everything else in the Art of Manliness list is a self-help book, usually about self-esteem and its surrounding issues. And that makes me wonder: Is the list an unintended parody? A reading list for self-help books.......about.....manliness?
I'm not trying to suggest that manliness is obvious and it's definitely not straightforward. But perhaps the best that can be said about manliness is that it's paradoxical, vexed, strange, and always will be, no matter what a bookshelf of self-help books will say to the contrary.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Ken Kersch and Linda McClain have published the Annual Book Review Issue in the Tulsa Law Review. Here's the menu:
Permeable Sovereignty and Religious Liberty, Paul Horwitz
The Political Virtue, Russell Muirhead
The (Dys)Functions of American Federalism, Lisa L. Miller
From the Courthouse to the Chalkboard, Thomas F. Burke
The Empirical Study of Law and Courts, Artemus Ward
Marriage in America, Mark E. Brandon
Family Drama: Dangling Inheritances and Promised Lands, Patricia A. Cain
Sanford Levinson and the Prospects for Constitutional Reform, Sotirios A. Barber
Liberal Responsibilities, Robin West
Lost Rights and the Importance of Audience, Emily Zackin
The Fourth Problem, I. Bennett Capers
The Declaration of Independence as Canon Fodder, Mark A. Graber
Economics and Social Rights: A Case of Disciplinary Disconnect, Eileen McDonagh
Citizen Ruff: Do Humans Have Political Obligations to Animals?, Helena Silverstein
War Crimes Trials: Between Justice and Politics, Devin O. Pendas
"Anything Can Happen:" Interpreting the 'End' of War, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
A new book from Jeffrey McCune titled Sexual Discretion: Black Masculinity and the Politics of Passing from the U of Chicago Press. The description from the Press:
African American men who have sex with men while maintaining a heterosexual lifestyle in public are attracting increasing interest from both the general media and scholars. Commonly referred to as “down-low” or “DL” men, many continue to have relationships with girlfriends and wives who remain unaware of their same-sex desires, and in much of the media, DL men have been portrayed as carriers of HIV who spread the virus to black women. Sexual Discretion explores the DL phenomenon, offering refreshingly innovative analysis of the significance of media, space, and ideals of black masculinity in understanding down low.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Nichola Gutgold, The Rhetoric of Supreme Court Women (2012). From the jacket:
The Supreme Court is one of the most traditional institutions in America that has been an exclusively male domain for almost two hundred years. From 1981 to 2010, four women were appointed to the Supreme Court for the first time in U.S. history. The Rhetoric of Supreme Court Women: From Obstacles to Options, by Nichola D. Gutgold, analyzes the rhetoric of the first four women elected to the Supreme Court: Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. Gutgold’s thorough exploration of these pioneering women’s rhetorical strategies includes confirmation hearings, primary scripts of their written opinions, invited public lectures, speeches, and personal interviews with Justices O’Connor, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor. These illuminating documents and interviews form rhetorical biographies of the first four women of the Supreme Court, shedding new light on the rise of political women in the American judiciary and the efficacy of their rhetoric in a historically male-dominated political system. Gutgold’s The Rhetoric of Supreme Court Women provides valuable insight into political communication and the changing gender zeitgeist in American politics.
Monday, May 5, 2014
From the Advocate:
A new book, five years in the making, hopes to provide one of the most comprehensive and up-to-date resource on the complex and often misunderstood issues affecting trans individuals.
Due out later this year from Oxford University Press, Trans Bodies, Trans Selves looks to be the most comprehensive trans resource ever published. The book features more than 200 contributors, and covers topics like the gender spectrum, trans history, health, cultural and social topics, and gender theory.
Weighing in at 672-pages, the Associated Press describes the book as, "Encyclopedic in scope, conversational in tone, and candid about complex sexual issues." After nearly five years in the making, the text hopes to impact a much-maligned and misunderstood community at a critical point in its history.
Friday, May 2, 2014
I am only about half through with Evan Wright's fantastic book. (Alas, I am six years late in reading it, and having never known that there was an HBO series based on it.) Wright was a reporter for Rolling Stone and he was embedded with a Marine Recon unit (the Marine version of the Navy SEALS). The somewhat poorly titled Generation Kill (the book contains poignant episodes of humanity and moving affect) is Wright's account of that time.
The writing, plain and unpretentious, reminds me of Tim O'Brien's fine work, but it seems, in places, even more prescient and subtlely interesting than O'Brien's much lauded books. Wright captures well the paradoxes, contradictions and deeply tender moments of male bonding and manliness, as forged in the harshest of circumstances.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Maria Lopez (Loyola, New Orleans) and Kevin Johnson (Davis) have posted Presumed Incompetent: Important Lessons for University Leaders on the Professional Lives of Women Faculty of Color, Berkeley J. Gender, Law & Justice (forthcoming).
Academics have long known that the experiences of women faculty members of color differ in important respects from those of any other faculty members. Adding significantly to that body of knowledge, Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia edited by Professors Angela P. Harris and Carmen Gonzalez in a collection of essays of different voices offers important lessons for scholars, university administrators and leaders, faculty members, and, for that matter, students interested in the experiences of women of color in academia. People of good faith who want to “do the right thing” may find it difficult to read the unsettling stories and pleas for empathy, internalize the lessons as based on common occurrences rather than outlier experiences, and consider how to address and redress the issues. Still, we as a collective have the obligation and responsibility to think about what might be done to improve the day-to-day lives of the next generation of women faculty of color.
To that end, this review essay directs attention at one chapter of the volume, which offers invaluable commentary and perspective on the other chapters and provides many lessons for university leaders hoping to make a positive difference. This is terrain where one might expect two minority law school deans (and faculty members) to feel most comfortable. In addition, as people of color with real life experience with these issues, we hope to provide insights that help university leaders to better appreciate, grapple with, and attempt to effectively address the concerns of women faculty of color
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Here's a terrific article (anyone who is dubious of its claims is welcome to visit their nearest Barnes and Noble this weekend and to peruse the children's section). It begins:
The Let Toys Be Toys campaign, which last year persuaded 13 retailers to remove “Boys” and “Girls” signs from stores, is working with Letterbox Library, Inclusive Minds and For Books’ Sake to persuade the publishing industry to drop these labels from books. The Let Books Be Books petition launched for World Book Day, 6 March, asks children’s publishers Usborne, Buster Books, Igloo Books and others to stop labelling children’s activity, story and colouring books as for boys or for girls.
Typical themes for boys include robots, dinosaurs, astronauts, vehicles, football and pirates; while girls are allowed princesses, fairies, make-up, flowers, butterflies, fashion and cute animals. There’s nothing wrong with these things, but it is wrong when they are repeatedly presented as only for one gender. Girls can like pirates and adventure, boys can like magic and dressing up. Why tell them otherwise? Why tell them that boys and girls should like different things, that their interests never overlap, that there are greater differences between genders than between individuals?
The story in the NYT, now a tad old in blogsphere terms, starts:
Reading a book review in a well-known periodical? Chances are, the byline belongs to a man.
In its annual count of male and female bylines in book reviews, magazines and literary journals, VIDA, a women’s literary organization, revealed that in 2013, the publications still largely favored men over women.
At The New York Review of Books, there were 212 male book reviewers and 52 female; at The Atlantic, there were 14 male book reviewers and three female; at Harper’s, there were 24 male book reviewers and 10 female.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
From the Boston Globe, Authors Work to Reveal Hidden Gender Bias
Judging from the media buzz, women appear to be racing to the top of the corporate ladder. Books trumpet the “end of men” and wives taking over as breadwinners, articles tout the success of female executives at General Motors and Yahoo, charts show women earning the majority of advanced degrees.
But authors Caryl Rivers and Rosalind Barnett were certain the picture wasn’t as rosy as it seemed. So they pored over mountains of research done on working women and turned their not-so-rosy findings into a book, “The New Soft War on Women: How the Myth of Female Ascendance Is Hurting Women, Men — and our Economy.”
Women are still discriminated against in the workplace, they say, but the discrimination has become harder to detect, hidden in subtle biases such as mothers being seen as less dedicated to their work and less deserving of raises or promotions.
“It’s not people firing bullets dead at your chest,” said Rivers. “The landmines are buried.”
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Yes, this is my idea of fun for spring break. Better on a beach, but the couch works too.
Brigid Shulte, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time (2014). How did life get so crazy? And why are women still doing all the housework?
Got anymore recommendations?
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.