Wednesday, February 21, 2024

New Book: Inclusive Socratic Teaching

New book from my co-editor on the Gender & Law Blog. 

Inclusive Socratic Teaching by Jamie R. Abrams

Jamie Abrams, Inclusive Socrative Teaching: Why Law Schools Need it and How to Achieve It (U.C. Press June 2024)

For more than fifty years, scholars have documented and critiqued the marginalizing effects of the Socratic teaching techniques that dominate law school classrooms. In spite of this, law school budgets, staffing models, and course requirements still center Socratic classrooms as the curricular core of legal education. In this clear-eyed book, law professor Jamie R. Abrams catalogs both the harms of the Socratic method and the deteriorating well-being of modern law students and lawyers, concluding that there is nothing to lose and so much to gain by reimagining Socratic teaching. Recognizing that these traditional classrooms are still necessary sites to fortify and catalyze other innovations and values in legal education, Inclusive Socratic Teaching provides concrete tips and strategies to dismantle the autocratic power and inequality that so often characterize these classrooms. A galvanizing call to action, this hands-on guide equips educators and administrators with an inclusive teaching model that reframes the Socratic classroom around teaching techniques that are student centered, skills centered, client centered, and community centered


February 21, 2024 in Books, Education, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Book Review, In Pursuit of Collective Liberation in Feminist Constitutionalism

Yvette Butler, In Pursuit of Collective Liberation in Feminist Constitutionalism, 122(6) Mich. Law Rev. ___ (April 2024, Forthcoming).

Julie Suk’s book, After Misogyny responds to the tension between present day misogyny and the overarching gains women have made in American society. She does this by explaining that misogyny is not merely about physical violence toward women or hatred of women. Instead, she reframes misogyny as societal over-entitlement to women’s labor and men’s over-empowerment in the eyes of the law. Over-entitlement stems from the substantial benefits individual men and society reap from women—including their reproductive labor—without just compensation. Over-empowerment is about the explicit legal enforcement of that entitlement. Suk explores over-entitlement through the legal claim of unjust enrichment to describe how men and society have benefitted from women’s labor. She then ends on a recommendation to use the Takings Clause to remedy use of women’s reproductive capacities without compensation.

Throughout the book, Suk uses a variety of stories to illustrate her concepts. As someone who writes about epistemology within the critical race theory tradition, in particular, I found this use of narrative particularly enjoyable. Narrative is a particularly important and powerful way to understand how constitutional theory and law are shaped. The goal of reframing narratives and reinterpreting a constitution is to transform the rights and duties between people and the state. According to Suk, such a transformation is necessary to remedy societal over-empowerment. The result of that transformation: misogyny collapses and becomes democracy. Only through this transformation do women become equal citizens.

While I enjoyed Suk’s book and these transformative goals, portions of it gave me pause. Suk’s suggestions fall short of the radical transformations required to truly advance Collective Liberatory goals. As discussed in Section III.B., Collective Liberation seeks to avoid viewing justice as a zero-sum game. Instead, Collective Liberation acknowledges the interconnectedness of struggles against subordination. In my view, it counsels striving for the best version of justice – one that is truly transformative and does not merely shift scraps of rights between groups through reformist reforms. This issue will be the focus of this Review. Suk’s work is helpful for articulating reforms, but her recommendations could go even further. She seems to fall into the same trap of proposing reformist reforms that have the potential to perpetuate, rather than help address, gender injustice.

Ultimately, I see Suk’s book as an important contribution because her concepts of over-entitlement and over-empowerment can easily be applied to other issues. I have already recommended her book to several people when I have noticed that an entitlement/empowerment framing may be useful to their analysis. While prospective readers should not glean too much hope from the title—misogyny and the patriarchy are still alive and well—Suk’s book provides important guidance as to what misogyny really is and how to address it more effectively.

January 18, 2024 in Books, Constitutional, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Feminist Judgments: Immigration Opinions Rewritten

Kathleen Kim, Kevin Lapp & Jennifer Lee, Feminist Judgments: Immigration Opinions Rewritten (Introduction),  
Feminist Judgments: Immigration Law Opinions Rewritten , pp. 1 - 14, Cambridge University Press, 2023

This volume, part of the Feminist Judgment Series, shows how feminist legal theory along with critical race theory and intersectional modes of critique might transform immigration law. Here, a diverse collection of scholars and lawyers bring critical feminist, race, and intersectional insights to Supreme Court opinions. Feminist reason values the perspectives of outsiders, exposes the deep-rooted bias in the legal opinions of courts, and illuminates the effects of ostensibly neutral policies that create and maintain oppression and hierarchy. One by one, the chapters reimagine the norms that drive immigration policies and practices. In place of discrimination and subordination, the authors demand welcome and equality. Where current law omits the voice and stories of noncitizens, the authors center their lives and experiences. Collectively, they reveal how a feminist vision of immigration law could center a commitment to equality and justice and foster a country where diverse newcomers readily flourish with dignity.

December 12, 2023 in Books, International, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 2, 2023

New Books "Young and Restless," A Legal History of Young Women's Role as Forces of Change

The orange cover shows a pixilated image of faces and raised fists. The text is violet.

Book Review: "Young and Restless" by Mattie Kahn

Girls to the Front!  In “Young and Restless,” Mattie Kahn returns young women and girls to their rightful role in the history books: as forces for change.

And although it is not the aim of a historical survey to be prescriptive, heartening inspiration can be found in “Young and Restless,” Mattie Kahn’s thoroughgoing examination of the role of young women and girls in America’s uprisings.

Her subjects have agitated on behalf of labor and voting rights, racial dignity and equality, sexual and reproductive freedom, freedom of speech and against climate change. The solutions she illustrates include objecting, resisting — and, yes, acting up, rather than sinking into sadness and accepting the unacceptable. By taking direct action in the service of shared values, in alliance with beloved communities for a better future, girls throughout American history have discovered a sense of personal agency, often during eras when their opportunities were sharply circumscribed. Sometimes they even changed history.

Kahn, whose stated aim is to write girls back into the historical record, also considers her subjects’ lives before and after their time in the trenches. Many of the young women who took on activist roles — especially those who lived before the mid-20th century — faced intense blowback, even as they inspired others to their causes. The book also examines the place of childhood itself as a battleground on which America’s culture wars have historically been fought.

The author maintains an admirable ability to complicate her own assertions — girls have been a force for progressive change, for instance, but also a force in reactionary movements

November 2, 2023 in Books, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Book Review, Julie Suk, After Misogyny: Lessons from Comparative Constitutionalism

Linda McClain, Care Work, Gender Equality, and Abortion: Lessons from Comparative Constitutionalism, JOTWELL, reviewing Julie Suk, After Misogyny: How the Law Fails Women and What to Do About It.

Julie Suk’s ambitious book, After Misogyny: How the Law Fails Women and What to Do About It, contributes to a feminist literature on equality and care spanning centuries and national boundaries, yet offers timely diagnoses and prescriptions for the United States at a very particular moment. That “moment” includes being four years into the COVID-19 pandemic and over one year into the post-Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey world wrought by Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. That moment also includes a sense that transformative political and constitutional change are necessary but difficult because (as Suk and Kate Shaw recently noted) Americans have “lost the habit and muscle memory of seeking formal constitutional change” —and because of problems like polarization, gerrymandering, and restrictions on voting. Drawing on her expertise in comparative constitutional law and gender equality, Suk offers “comparative lessons” from feminist lawmaking and constitutionalism elsewhere to help move the U.S. to a democratic constitutionalism that is post-patriarchy and post-misogyny. (Pp. 212-14.) In this review, I explore some of those lessons concerning governmental commitments to supporting care and gender equality and to fostering reproductive justice.

September 19, 2023 in Abortion, Books, Constitutional, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Conference The Jurisprudential Legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Conference Announcement: The Jurisprudential Legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Join us online or in-person on Sept. 22, 2023 for a discussion focusing on The Jurisprudential Legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburga new book examining Justice Ginsburg’s remarkable career, with a focus on the common themes and approaches underscoring her decisions across several subject matters. Contributing authors will discuss areas of the law in which Justice Ginsburg had an outsized interest or impact and which illustrate her long and celebrated judicial career.  More information, including speakers and topics, is available here.  The event is free, but registration is required.  Register here.

Speakers and Topics 

Deborah L. Brake, Gender and the Law

Melissa L. Breger, Criminal Procedure 

Elizabeth G. Porter and Heather Elliott, Civil Procedure 

Kirin Goff, Health Law 

Jill I. Gross, Arbitration 

Vinay Harpalani and Jeffrey D. Hoagland, Race and the Law

M. Isabel Medina, Citizenship and Immigration

Maria C. O’Brien, Employee Retirement Income Security Act 

W. Keith Robinson, Patent Law

JoAnne Sweeny, Freedom of Expression

Ryan Vacca, Copyright Law 

Mary Jo Wiggins, Bankruptcy


The Jurisprudential Legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

August 17, 2023 in Books, Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

New Book Equality Unfulfilled: How Title IX's Policy Design Undermines Change to College Sports

New Book by Elizabeth Sharrow About Title IX "Equality Unfulfilled" is Published

Elizabeth Sharrow, associate professor of public policy and history, has published a new book, “Equality Unfulfilled: How Title IX’s Policy Design Undermines Change to College Sport” (Cambridge University Press, July 2023), examining the half-century legacy of the law’s passage.

As Sharrow and co-author James Druckman of Northwestern University explain in the book, the year 1972 is often hailed as an inflection point in the evolution of women’s rights. Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a law that outlawed sex-based discrimination in education. Many Americans celebrate Title IX for having ushered in an era of expanded opportunity for women’s athletics, yet 50 years after its passage sex-based inequalities in college athletics remain the reality. “Equality Unfulfilled” explains why, identifying institutional roadblocks – including sex-based segregation, androcentric organizational cultures and overbearing market incentives – that undermine efforts to achieve systemic change.

Drawing on surveys with student-athletes, athletic administrators, college coaches, members of the public and fans of college sports, it highlights how institutions shape attitudes toward gender equity policy. It offers novel lessons not only for those interested in college sports but for everyone seeking to understand the barriers that any marginalized group faces in their quest for equality.



The cover art for the book Equality Unfulfilled by Elizabeth Sharrow

August 15, 2023 in Books, Education, Legal History, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

New Book, Mother Tongue: The Surprising History of Women's Words

Jenni Nuttall, Mother Tongue: The Surprising History of Women's Words (Viking 2023)

An enlightening linguistic journey through a thousand years of feminist language--and what we can learn from the vivid vocabulary that English once had for women's bodies, experiences, and sexuality

So many of the words that we use to chronicle women's lives feel awkward or alien. Medical terms are scrupulously accurate but antiseptic. Slang and obscenities have shock value, yet they perpetuate taboos. Where are the plain, honest words for women's daily lives?Mother Tongue is a historical investigation of feminist language and thought, from the dawn of Old English to the present day. Dr. Jenni Nuttall guides readers through the evolution of words that we have used to describe female bodies, menstruation, women's sexuality, the consequences of male violence, childbirth, women's paid and unpaid work, and gender. Along the way, she challenges our modern language's ability to insightfully articulate women's shared experiences by examining the long-forgotten words once used in English for female sexual and reproductive organs. Nuttall also tells the story of words like womb and breast, whose meanings have changed over time, as well as how anatomical words such as hysteria and hysterical came to have such loaded legacies. Inspired by today's heated debates about words like womxn and menstruators--and by more personal conversations with her teenage daughter--Nuttall describes the profound transformations of the English language. In the process, she unearths some surprisingly progressive thinking that challenges our assumptions about the past--and, in some cases, puts our twenty-first-century society to shame. Mother Tongue is a rich, provocative book for anyone who loves language--and for feminists who want to look to the past in order to move forward.

Kirkus Book Review here. 

August 2, 2023 in Books, Business, Gender, Pop Culture, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

New Book, The Women of NOW: How Feminists Built an Organization that Transformed America

Katherine Turk, The Women of NOW: How Feminists Built an Organization that Transformed America (2023)

In the summer of 1966, crammed into a D.C. hotel suite, twenty-eight women devised a revolutionary plan. Betty Friedan, the well-known author of The Feminine Mystique, and Pauli Murray, a lawyer at the front lines of the civil rights movement, had called this renegade meeting from attendees at the annual conference of state women’s commissions. Fed up with waiting for government action and trying to work with a broken system, they laid out a vision for an organization to unite all women and fight for their rights. Alternately skeptical and energized, they debated the idea late into the night. In less than twenty-four hours, the National Organization for Women was born.

In The Women of NOW, the historian Katherine Turk chronicles the growth and enduring influence of this foundational group through three lesser-known members who became leaders: Aileen Hernandez, a federal official of Jamaican American heritage; Mary Jean Collins, a working-class union organizer and Chicago Catholic; and Patricia Hill Burnett, a Michigan Republican, artist, and former beauty queen. From its bold inception through the tumultuous training ground of the 1970s, NOW’s feminism flooded the nation, permanently shifted American culture and politics, and clashed with conservative forces, presaging our fractured national landscape. These women built an organization that was radical in its time but flexible and expansive enough to become a mainstream fixture. This is the story of how they built it―and built it to last.


August 1, 2023 in Books, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Barbie, Law, and Gender Theory

Barbie SCT

On understanding the gender and masculinities theories of the Barbie movie, see:

The Atlantic, Shirley Li, The Surprising Key to Understanding the Barbie Movie

NYT Magazine, Greta Gerwig's Barbie Dream Job

Time, How Barbie Helped Raise a Generation of Feminists

MSNBC, Ken is a bell hooks critique come to life in Barbie

The Hunger Fed by Barbie and Taylor Swift

Greta Gerwig's Lessons From Barbie Land

On one of the big legal cases about the intellectual property of Barbie, see:

Orly Lobel, You Don't Own Me: The Court Battles that Exposed Barbie's Dark Side (Norton 2017)

The battle between Mattel, the makers of the iconic Barbie doll, and MGA, the company that created the Bratz dolls, was not just a war over best-selling toys, but a war over who owns ideas.

When Carter Bryant began designing what would become the billion-dollar line of Bratz dolls, he was taking time off from his job at Mattel, where he designed outfits for Barbie. Later, back at Mattel, he sold his concept for Bratz to rival company MGA. Law professor Orly Lobel reveals the colorful story behind the ensuing decade-long court battle.

You Don't Own Me: The Court Battles That Exposed Barbie's Dark Side by [Orly Lobel]

July 25, 2023 in Books, Gender, Masculinities, Media, Pop Culture, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Book The Oxford Handbook of Feminism and Law in the US

Deborah Brake, Martha Chamallas & Verna Williams, The Oxford Handbook of Feminism and Law in the United States (Oxford 2023)

Combining analyses of feminist legal theory, legal doctrine, and feminist social movements, The Oxford Handbook of Feminism and Law in the United States offers a comprehensive overview of U.S. legal feminism. Contributions by leading feminist thinkers trace the impacts of legal feminism on legal claims and defenses and demonstrate how feminism has altered and transformed understandings of basic legal concepts, from sexual harassment and gender equity in sports to new conceptions of consent and motherhood. Its chapters connect legal feminism to adjacent intellectual discourses, such as masculinities theory and queer theory, and scrutinize criticisms and backlash to feminism from all sides of the political spectrum. Its examination of the prominent brands of feminist legal theory shows the links and divergences among feminist scholars, highlighting the continued relevance of established theories (liberal, dominance, and relational feminism) and the increased importance of new intersectional, sex-positive, and postmodern approaches.

Unique in its triple focus on theory, doctrine, and social movements, the Handbook recounts the history of activist struggles to pass the Equal Right Amendment, the Anti-Rape and Battered Movements of the 1970s, the contemporary movements for reproductive justice and against campus sexual assault, as well as the #MeToo movement. The emphasis on theory and feminist practice animates discussions of feminist legal pedagogy and feminist influences on judges and judicial decision making. Chapters on emerging areas of law ripe for feminist analysis explore foundational subjects such as contracts, tax, and tort law, and imagine feminist and social justice approaches to digital privacy and intellectual property law, environmental law, and immigration law. The Handbook provides a broad picture of the intellectual landscape and allows both new and established scholars to gain an in-depth understanding of the full range of feminist influence on U.S. law.

All star list of contributors include:

Jamie R. Abrams
Kathryn Abrams
Aziza Ahmed
Susan Frelich Appleton
Katharine K. Baker
Ann C. Bartow
Theresa M. Beiner
Stephanie Bornstein
Sarah M. Buel
Erin E. Buzuvis
Nancy Chi Cantalupo
Cinnamon P. Carlarne
Brenda Cossman
Bridget J. Crawford
Rosalind Dixon
Martha M. Ertman
Michele Estrin Gilman
Leigh Goodmark
Tristin K. Green
Brittany K. Hacker
Jennifer S. Hendricks
Tracy Higgins
Emily Houh
Anthony C. Infanti
Kristin Kalsem
Sally J. Kenney
Amelia Loughland
Linda C. McClain
Martha T. McCluskey
Ann C. McGinley
Hilarie Meyers
Melissa Murray
Jennifer Nedelsky
Michelle Oberman
Maria Ontiveros
Camille Gear Rich
Darren Rosenblum
Julie C. Suk
Sarah L. Swan
Tracy A. Thomas
Deborah A. Widiss
Mary Ziegler



July 25, 2023 in Books, Constitutional, Courts, Legal History, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Gender Inequality and Representations of Women in the Contracts Curriculum

Deborah Zalesne, Gender Inequality in Contracts Casebooks: Representations of Women in the Contracts Curriculum, 17 FIU Law Rev. 139 (2023).

Gender has always explicitly or implicitly played a critical role in contracting and in contracts opinions—from the early nineteenth century, when married women lacked the legal capacity altogether to contract, through the next century, when women gained the right to contract but continued to lack bargaining power and to be disadvantaged in the bargaining process in many cases, to today, when women are present in greater numbers in business and commerce, but face continued, yet less overt, obstacles. Typical casebooks provide ample offerings for discussions of the ways in which parties can be and have been disadvantaged because of their gender and gender identity. At the core, gender inequity often stems from long-held stereotypes about women in contracting, which are often on full display in the cases. The vast majority of cases in the typical Contracts casebook are drawn primarily from the commercial context; sales, franchise, employment, and transfer of property cases predominate most Contracts casebooks, with many fewer cases in the family context. In the commercial cases, women and other people who do not identify as men, rarely seen as the businessperson, seller, or landowner, are sorely underrepresented, and the “non-male” perspective tends to be obscured. Casebook offerings involving non-male parties still tend to be clustered in certain areas—namely contract defenses, promissory estoppel, and family cases. The result is a Contracts curriculum that typically confines women to certain traditional roles and relegates women’s issues to a secondary status, privileging rational, arms-length market promises at the expense of family-based promises. The overall gender allocation in cases may or may not be reflective of the actual presence of women in the universe of American contracts cases. But either way, it raises some issues regarding how the typical casebook presents women in the realm of contracts cases, and overall, the role of women in contracting. There is, of course, a diversity of viewpoints and a multiplicity of voices among women and feminists, who are divided by age, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, and class, among other things. There are divisions among feminists over the nature and source of gender injustice, as well as over solutions.2 Feminists differ, for example, over the roles of men and women (such as biological differences and cultural frameworks that land women as the primary caretakers most of the time), and whether and how the law should account for those differences.3 When it comes to contract law, some feminists embrace contracting as a means of empowerment,4 while others express concern over whether most women have the bargaining power necessary to protect themselves in the bargaining process. 5 The goal of the Article is not to set out in any detail the contours and fine points of feminist legal theory. Rather, the Article will simply highlight gender-based deficiencies in the ways in which women are portrayed in traditional contracts cases and casebooks, often as either victims, overly-aggressive commercial actors, or in other specific gendered roles such as bride, princess, nurturer, mother, spouse, or mistress. In doing so, the Article will highlight feminist themes and conflicts in contract law and the ways in which reliance on gender-based stereotypes can negatively affect legal analysis in Contracts cases.

July 19, 2023 in Books, Business, Education, Gender, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

New Book The Patriarchs: How Men Came to Rule

Angela Saini, The Patriarchs: How Men Came to Rule


In this bold and radical book, award-winning science journalist Angela Saini goes in search of the true roots of gendered oppression, uncovering a complex history of how male domination became embedded in societies and spread across the globe from prehistory into the present.

Travelling to the world’s earliest known human settlements, analysing the latest research findings in science and archaeology, and tracing cultural and political histories from the Americas to Asia, she overturns simplistic universal theories to show that what patriarchy is and how far it goes back really depends on where you are.

Despite the push back against sexism and exploitation in our own time, even revolutionary efforts to bring about equality have often ended in failure and backlash. Saini ends by asking what part we all play – women included – in keeping patriarchal structures alive, and why we need to look beyond the old narratives to understand why it persists in the present.


The Patriarchs: How Men Came to Rule by [Angela Saini]

June 28, 2023 in Books, Gender, Legal History, Masculinities, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 23, 2023

New Book A Queer History of the Woman's Suffrage Movement

Book Talk, The Hidden Queer History of Boston Suffragettes

Author Wendy Rouse unearthed the stories of queer suffragettes in her book, "Public Spaces, Secret Lives: A Queer History of the Suffrage Movement," including some who lived in Massachusetts.

She joined WBUR's Morning Edition host Rupa Shenoy to talk about the local examples of queer people in the struggle for women's voting rights.***

"People are trying to erase the existence of gay and trans people in our present. But I think it's important that history reminds us that there have always been LGBTQ people and they will always exist."

June 23, 2023 in Books, Constitutional, Legal History, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Book Feminist Judgments Rewriting Decisions of Corporate Law

Anne M. Choike, Usha R. Rodrigues, Kelli Alces Williams, eds., Feminist Judgments: Corporate Law Rewritten (Cambridge U. Press 2023)

Corporate law has traditionally assumed that men organize business, men profit from it, and men bring cases in front of male judges when disputes arise. It overlooks or forgets that women are dealmakers, shareholders, stakeholders, and businesspeople too. This lack of inclusivity in corporate law has profound effects on all of society, not only on women's lives and livelihoods. This volume takes up the challenge to imagine how corporate law might look if we valued not only women and other marginalized groups, but also a feminist perspective emphasizing the importance of power dynamics, equity, community, and diversity in corporate law. Prominent lawyers and legal scholars rewrite foundational corporate law cases, and also provide accompanying commentary that situates each opinion in context, explains the feminist theories applied, and explores the impact the rewritten opinion might have had on the development of corporate law, business, and society.

Feminist Judgments: Corporate Law Rewritten

June 6, 2023 in Books, Business, Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 26, 2023

Book The Cambridge Companion to Gender and the Law Asks To What Extent is the Legal Subject Gendered

Stéphanie Hennette Vauchez & Ruth Rubio-Marín, eds.,  The Cambridge Companion to Gender and the Law  (Cambridge U. Press 2023)

To what extent is the legal subject gendered? Using illustrative examples from a range of jurisdictions and thematically organised chapters, this volume offers a comprehensive consideration of this question. With a systematic, accessible approach, it argues that law and gender work to co-produce the legal subject. Cumulatively, the volume's chapters provide a systematic evaluation of the key facets of the legal subject: the corporeal, the functional and the communal. Exploring aspects of the legal subject from the ways in which it is sexed and sexualised to its national and familial dimensions, this volume develops a complete account of the various processes through which legal orders produce gendered subjects. Across its chapters, each theoretically ambitious in its own right, this volume outlines how the law not only acts on the social world, but genders it.

May 26, 2023 in Books, Family, International, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 25, 2023

School Book Removals May Create Hostile Environment Violating Student Civil Rights

Wash Post, Book Removals May Have Violated Student Civil Rights, Education Dept. Says

In a move that could affect how schools handle book challenges, the federal government has concluded that a Georgia school district’s removal of titles with Black and LGBTQ characters may have created a “hostile environment” for students, potentially violating their civil rights.

The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights released its findings in a letter Friday wrapping up its investigation into Forsyth County Schools’ 2022 decision to pull nearly a dozen books from shelves after parents complained of titles’ sexual and LGBTQ content. To resolve the investigation, the district north of Atlanta agreed to offer “supportive measures” to students affected by the book removals and to administer a school climate survey, per the letter. ***

The Education Department’s investigation into the Forsyth district — which involved the examination of school documents, interviews with top school personnel and a review of public board meeting records — was based on a complaint alleging that the January 2022 removal of books created a “racially and sexually hostile environment for students,” according to the department.

The district ultimately removed eight books indefinitely and two temporarily, according to the letter, and it limited four titles to high schools. Superintendent Jeff Bearden told the school board that the books being yanked “were obviously sexually explicit or pornographic,” according to the letter.

Of the books listed for removal, three center on characters of color and one on an LGBTQ protagonist, according to a Washington Post analysis. The nixed titles include “The Bluest Eye” by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, the Forsyth County News reported and Caracciolo confirmed.

A study by the Washington Post found that the majority of all school book bans are being filed by a small number of people. See Objection to sexual, LGBTQ content propels spike in book challenges

A small number of people were responsible for most of the book challenges, The Post found. Individuals who filed 10 or more complaints were responsible for two-thirds of all challenges. In some cases, these serial filers relied on a network of volunteers gathered together under the aegis of conservative parents’ groups such as Moms for Liberty.

And the types of claims:

The Post analyzed the complaints to determine who was challenging the books, what kinds of books drew objections and why. Nearly half of filings — 43 percent — targeted titles with LGBTQ characters or themes, while 36 percent targeted titles featuring characters of color or dealing with issues of race and racism. The top reason people challenged books was “sexual” content; 61 percent of challenges referenced this concern.

In nearly 20 percent of the challenges, petitioners wrote that they wanted texts pulled from shelves because the titles depict lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, homosexual, transgender or nonbinary lives. Many challengers wrote that reading books about LGBTQ people could cause children to alter their sexuality or gender.


May 25, 2023 in Books, Education, Gender, LGBT, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Introduction to Frontiers of Gender Equality--Transnational Legal Perspectives

Rebecca J. Cook, Introduction, "Many Paths to Gender Equality," in Frontiers of Gender Equality: Transnational Legal Perspectives (Rebecca J. Cook, ed. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2023)

In this Introduction to the book Frontiers of Gender Equality: Transnational Legal Perspectives (2023), editor Rebecca Cook shows how a chorus of voices introduces new and different discourses about the wrongs of gender discrimination and explains the multiple dimensions of gender equality. This volume demonstrates that the wrongs of discrimination can best be understood from the perspective of the discriminated, and that gender discrimination persists and grows in new and different contexts, widening the gap between the principle of gender equality and its realization, particularly for subgroups of women and LGBTQ+ peoples.

Frontiers of Gender Equality provides retrospective views of the struggles to eliminate gender discrimination in national courts and international human rights treaties. Focusing on gender equality enables comparisons and contrasts among these regimes to better understand how they reinforce gender equality norms. Different regional and international treaties are examined, those in the forefront of advancing gender equality, those that are promising but little known, and those whose focus includes economic, social, and cultural rights, to explore why some struggles were successful and others less so. The book illustrates how gender discrimination continues to be normalized and camouflaged, and how it intersects with other axes of subordination, such as indigeneity, religion, and poverty, to create new forms of intersectional discrimination.

With the benefit of hindsight, the book’s contributors reconstruct gender equalities in concrete situations. Given the increasingly porous exchanges between domestic and international law, various national, regional, and international decisions and texts are examined to determine how better to breathe life into equality from the perspectives, for instance, of Indigenous and Muslim women, those who were violated sexually and physically, and those needing access to necessary health care, including abortion. The conclusion suggests areas of future research, including how to translate the concept of intersectionality into normative and institutional settings, which will assist in promoting the goals of gender equality.

May 9, 2023 in Books, International, LGBT, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Book Indigenous Justice and Gender

Marianne O. Nielsen & Karen Jarratt-Snider, eds., Indigenous Justice and Gender (U Arizona Press 2023)

This new volume offers a broad overview of topics pertaining to gender-related health, violence, and healing. Employing a strength-based approach (as opposed to a deficit model), the chapters address the resiliency of Indigenous women and two-spirit people in the face of colonial violence and structural racism.

The book centers the concept of "rematriation"--the concerted effort to place power, peace, and decision making back into the female space, land, body, and sovereignty--as a decolonial practice to combat injustice. Chapters include such topics as reproductive health, diabetes, missing and murdered Indigenous women, Indigenous women in the academy, and Indigenous women and food sovereignty.

May 9, 2023 in Books, Healthcare, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 28, 2023

New Book, Gender Dynamics and Feminist Perspectives on Transboundary Water Conflict and Cooperation

Jenniver Sehring, Rozemarijn ter Horst, Margreet Zwarteveen    eds., Gender Dynamics in Transboundary Water Governance: Feminist Perspectives on Water Conflict and Cooperation (Routledge 2023)

This volume assesses the nexus of gender and transboundary water governance, containing empirical case studies, discourse analyses, practitioners’ accounts, and theoretical reflections.

Transboundary water governance exists at the intersection of two highly masculinised fields: diplomacy and water resources management. In both fields, positions are mainly held by men, and core ideas, norms, and guiding principles that are presented as neutral, are both shaped by men and based on male experiences. This book sheds light on the often hidden gender dynamics of water conflict and cooperation at the transboundary level and on the implicit assumptions that guide research and policies. The individual chapters of the book, based on case studies from around the world, reveal the gendered nature of water diplomacy, take stock of the number of women involved in organisations that govern shared waters, and analyse programmes that have been set up to promote women in water diplomacy and the obstacles that they face. They explore and contest leading narratives and knowledge that have been shaped mainly by privileged men, and assess how the participation of women concretely impacts the practices, routines, and processes of water negotiations.

April 28, 2023 in Books, Gender, International | Permalink | Comments (0)