Category Archives: (New) in Print

New Volume of the CJWL out: White Settler Colonialism and Indigeneity in the Canadian Context: A Tribute to Patricia Monture

Volume 26 now out (here on UTP site)

White Settler Colonialism and Indigeneity in the Canadian Context: A Tribute to Patricia Monture/ Colonialisme de peuplement blanc et indigénéité en contexte canadien : Un Hommage á Patricia Monture 

articles aren’t avail on Hein Online or Project Muse yet. [Update, Audrey Greenwood of UTPress advises these pieces should be available at Project Muse on May 2]  U of T Press will sell you a 1 year online subscription for $27 (here)


Editorial: “Equality Is Not a High Standard” Patricia Monture: 1958–2010  Author Sherene Razack

Race Matters: Sexism, Indigenous Sovereignty, and McIvor  Author Martin J. Cannon

“It Happened More Than Once”: Freezing Deaths in Saskatchewan  Author Sherene Razack

Legal Feminism and the Post-Racism Fantasy  Author Rakhi Ruparelia

Taking “Culture” out of Multiculturalism   Author Vrinda Narain

Book Reviews:

  1. Cheryl Suzack, Shari M. Huhndorf, Jeanne Perreault, and Jean Barman, eds, Indigenous Women and Feminism: Politics, Activism, and Culture, reviewed by Robyn Bourgeois
  2. Jodi A Byrd, The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism, reviewed by Élise Couture-Grondin
  3. Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G González, and Angela P Harris, eds, Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia, reviewed by Sonia Lawrence
  4. Hilal Elver, The Headscarf Controversy: Secularism and Freedom of Religion, reviewed by Vrinda Narain

Joanne Conaghan and Yvette Russell consider progressive legal strategizing through 'rape myths' controversy

Taking on Helen Reece’s mythologizing…..

New in Print: Joanne Conaghan and Yvette Russell Rape Myths, Law, and Feminist Research: ‘Myths About Myths?’. In: Feminist Legal Studies, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2014.  Feminist Legal Studies is available via Springer Link here.

Read the introduction here.

ABSTRACT: In an article recently published in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, the legal scholar Helen Reece argues that the prevalence and effects of rape myths have been overstated and the designation of certain beliefs and attitudes as myths is simply wrong. Feminist researchers, she argues, are engaged ‘in a process of creating myths about myths’ in a way that serves to close down and limit productive debate in this ‘vexed’ area. In this article we argue that Reece’s analysis is methodologically flawed, crudely reductionist and rhetorically unyielding. We locate Reece’s analysis within the wider theoretical field to show how her failure to engage with feminist literature on rape other than in the narrowest, most exclusionary terms, yields an approach which impedes rather than advances public understanding and panders to a kind of simplistic thinking which cannot begin to grapple with the complexity of the phenomenon that is rape. We conclude by emphasizing the continuing commitment of feminist researchers carefully to theorize and (re)map the fraught field of progressive legal strategizing in order to identify and counter the kinds of risks and shortcomings of political activism with which Reece is rightly concerned.

See also

Nov. 28 2013 Davina Cooper “Question Everything? Rape Law & Free Speech”

At one level, the con­flict con­cerns how crim­inal law and pro­cedure treat (and should treat) rape — whether “or­dinary” people have a series of be­liefs about rape that make them less sym­path­etic (than they should be) to women vic­tims. At an­other level, the con­flict is about speech — about what speech is, what it does, and our re­spons­ib­ility for its ef­fects. Helen poses the ques­tion, why is rape dif­ferent? But, in the face of “free speech” calls to de­fend aca­demic freedom and the right to ques­tion everything, I want to ask, why is speech dif­ferent? Is it priv­ileged simply be­cause ex­pres­sion and com­mu­nic­a­tion are priv­ileged, or be­cause it rep­res­ents an ex­cep­tional way of ex­pressing opinion or ques­tioning re­ceived norms?

Nov. 15 2013 Sarah Keenan and Yvette Russell “Rape is Different:  Academic Impact Sinks to New Lows”

The LSE is a pres­ti­gious in­sti­tu­tion of higher learning whose public de­bate series pur­ports ‘to po­s­i­tion LSEat the centre of de­bate in all areas of the so­cial sci­ences… [and] to en­hance the School’s repu­ta­tion for in­tel­lec­tual, chal­len­ging ideas and dis­cus­sion with a broader public audi­ence.’ But far from opening up a cut­ting edge de­bate, the so­cial media pro­mo­tion, public event and media cov­erage sur­rounding Reece’s art­icle in fact closes down and severely limits careful, con­sidered and evidenced-​based dis­cus­sion about rape and rape law, al­most all of which con­tra­dicts Reece’s and Hewson’s claimsThese claimsare not new or in any way path-​breaking.

Helen Reece


Contraception & Consent: Hutchinson v. The Queen comes out this Friday

The SCC is set to release Hutchinson this Friday, so here’s a brief note + some links.   Hutchinson was committed for trial by Justice Derrick in the NSPC  R. v. Hutchinson, 2008 NSPC 79 (CanLII) The case was heard in 2009 by the NSSC R. v. Hutchinson, 2009 NSSC 51 (CanLII). That  decision was appealed and heard by the NSCA, R. v. Hutchinson, 2010 NSCA 3 (CanLII), which sent it back for a new trial.   Unfortunately I cannot find the report of the second trial (email me please if you have it) but Osgoode graduating 3L Meredith Bacal has a great piece from 2012,  here at,  which describes the decision of Justice Coughlan – from which another appeal resulted.  This second appeal was heard in 2013 by the NSCA, R. v. Hutchinson, 2013 NSCA 1 (CanLII).  The 2013 decision was appealed to the Supreme Court.

here is the SCC summary of the case:

Mr. Hutchinson was charged with aggravated sexual assault for poking holes in the condoms he used with his partner, knowing she did not want to get pregnant. At his first trial, he was acquitted on a directed verdict, but the Court of Appeal reversed that decision and ordered a new trial. At retrial, Mr. Hutchinson was convicted of sexual assault because the trial judge found that while the complainant may have consented to the sexual intercourse, she did not consent to unprotected sexual intercourse. Mr. Hutchinson appealed his conviction, arguing that the complainant freely and voluntarily consented to having sexual intercourse with him and that his deception over the condoms, however reprehensible, was not enough to vitiate that consent. The majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. Farrar J.A. would have allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial on the basis that the trial judge erred in finding that there was no consent under s. 273.1(1) of the Criminal Code, and that the proper approach would have been to determine whether consent was vitiated by fraud under s. 265(3)(c). (source)

The Supreme Court of Canada heard the appeal in November of 2013 (webcast here) with the bench consisting of the Chief Justice and Justices Abella,  Rothstein, Cromwell, Moldaver, Karakatsanis, and Wagner.

…..and it’s coming out on Friday.   The only intervener was Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario, although their Factum does not appear to be online either with the court or at either website (here, here). 

Other sources?  R v Mabior and R v DC: SEX, LIES, AND HIV: MABIOR AND THE CONCEPT OF SEXUAL FRAUD Martha Shaffer (Summer, 2013) 63 Univ. of Toronto L.J. 466 (mentions Hutchinson FN 6, and canvasses the surrounding legal context)

'what it says on the tin': Feminism Then and Now

this+is+what+feminism+looks+likeh/t to Sarah Keenan (former IFLS visitor now on Faculty at SOAS) for the text of Camille Kumar’s talk and Sarah’s brief and pointed introduction.  In the digital “pages” of Feminists@Law.  A short read worth your time.

For feminism to be what it says on the tin, it must be continually evolving, shifting and diversifying; where patriarchy seeks to enforce authority, feminism seeks to declare privilege; where patriarchy seeks to create a single ‘rationalised’ truth and repress all else, feminism seeks to simultaneously hold many truths and be the witness bearer to secrets; and where patriarchy seeks to divide, subjugate and conquer, feminism seeks connection, equality and collective struggle.


via Feminism Then and Now | Kumar | feminists@law.

Sexual Violence – against men & boys in Conflict Situations (Report from UN Workshop)

Catching up on all the things the profs send for posting – my colleague Sean Rehaag sent this UN Workshop Report from  December 2013 via the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict) to me some weeks ago, sorry for the delay.  Looks very interesting. 

Much important academic work has been done both to deconstruct gender stereotypes and biological essentialisms, and to theorize women’s rights. In the fields of international activism, policy and practice on conflict-related sexual violence, however, the discussion about gender has been blurred with and frequently subsumed into a necessary struggle for women’s rights in the face of historical indifference to the widespread  subordination of women. Notwithstanding the importance of this struggle, the resultant discursive and policy  focus on sexual and gender based violence as a women’s rights issue has become, from a policy and  humanitarian perspective, a serious obstacle to prevention of and response to conflict related sexual and  gender-based violence against men and boys, as practitioners lack both awareness of the issues, and the  appropriate experience and skills with which to respond to male survivors.  The predominance of this paradigm is evident in the fact that in most people’s minds, whether in rural villages  in eastern DRC or in the corridors of power in key donor states, the field of ‘gender’, and the sub-field within  that of SGBV, is understood to be about women. SGBV scenarios are populated by male perpetrators and  female victims. pp8-9

Full report here.  Includes Key resources starting at p 22.  Slides from the July 2013 workshop, here.

Exec Summary here.