Category Archives: What we’re thinking/reading/doing (IFLS blog)

What’s interesting these days?

Osgoode's Kate Sutherland @lawandlit on CBC re: Adrienne Rich

hi-adrienne-rich2-620.jpgMy always interesting colleague Kate Sutherland, aka @lawandlit and she blogs sometimes here and sometimes here, writes about many things including torts, defamation and tech (find some of that work here) and is a writer of fiction, was on the Sunday Edition yesterday, talking about Adrienne Rich.

I missed it but luckily, it’s available on the CBC website.  The segment starts at about 29:30 of this link.

Michael Enright in conversation with law professor Kate Sutherland about the poet and essayist, Adrienne Rich, who died at the end of March. 

The New York Times calls Rich a poet of “towering reputation and towering rage who brought the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront.”

Unfinished Revolution: Voices from the Global Fight for Women's Rights


The Unfinished Revolution: Voices From the Global Fight for Women’s Rights


Featuring a conversation about women’s rights in the world today with:
Minky Worden, Editor and Director of Global Initiatives, Human Rights Watch

Erna Paris, Author of the acclaimed Long Shadows: Truth, Lies, and History

Michele Landsberg, Journalist, author and women’s rights activist

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

6:15 PM – Cocktail Reception & Celebration of the Canada

                     Committee’s 10th Anniversary

7:30 PM – Human Rights Watch Book Series
Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto

Unfinished Revolution | Human Rights WatchTo purchase tickets, please call the Harbourfront Centre Box Office at 416.973.4000 or visit The Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday, 1pm to 6pm

Special: $50 (Book Series, Reception, and a signed copy of the book) * $40 patrons,  AUTHORS members, students, youth 25 & under  Regular: $10 (Book Series Only) * FREE for AUTHORS members, students, youth 25 & under

Stu Marvel (Osgoode PhD Candidate) gets postdoc with the Vulnerability and Human Condition Initiative

Osgoode expat Stu Marvel, now resident in the city she calls “Hotlanta,” has accepted a 2 year post-doc through Emory Law’s Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative.

As a grad student, Stu taught here as an adjunct.  Here is her page on (are people using this service?).  She’s going to be working on

queer fertility law and the biokinships of assisted reproduction

I think that is admirably succinct.   I offered her 140 characters, that leaves 76 more!  Here’s more about Stu’s doctoral work, from her page:

Stu’s doctoral research relies upon an empirical study of LGBTQ families across Ontario and their use of assisted reproductive technologies, and seeks to develop new legal frameworks for queer kinship and fertility law.

Asked for a book, movie or music recommendation, Stu said that we should all see Pina (pref in 3d).  I’ve put it first so you don’t miss it.

The Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative under Prof. Martha Fineman is an institutional umbrella at Emory and houses a variety of projects across the university. One of these is the Feminism and Legal Theory Project, a long-standing program founded by Prof. Fineman in the early 1980s to fulfill three main objectives:

  • To provide a means to introduce scholarship that applies feminist theory and methodology into legal debate, legislative reform movements, and the broader academic community through publication of the conference papers
  • To support and encourage feminist scholarship on gender and legal equality issues that analyze the differential impact of law on women and men, and to consider also in this regard differences that exist or arise between differently situated women
  • To provide a forum within which feminist theorists can present their work and receive feedback from other scholars who share a common theoretical perspective and methodology


The FLTP also hosts visitors, and generally is something you should find out about if you are interested in finding a community of Feminist Legal scholars.    The VHC is a more recent initiative that frames Prof. Fineman’s earlier work through the paradigmatic concept of “The Vulnerable Subject” (for instance The Vulnerable Subject and the Responsive State. Emory Law Journal, Vol. 60; Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 10-130):

The concept has evolved from those early articulations, and I now think it has some significant differences as an approach, particularly in that a focus on vulnerability is decidedly focused on exploring the nature of the human part, rather than the rights part, of the human rights trope. Importantly, consideration of vulnerability brings societal institutions, in addition to the state and individual, into the discussion and under scrutiny. Vulnerability is posited as the characteristic that positions us in relation to each other as human beings and also suggests a relationship of responsibility between state and individual. The nature of human vulnerability forms the basis for a claim that the state must be more responsive to that vulnerability and do better at ensuring the “All-American” promise of equality of opportunity.” (from: The Vulnerable Subject and the Responsive State)


Stu heartily recommends reading these pieces and joining the conversation through the VHC symposium series. I hope to have more on these options coming soon as we make use of Stu as an international bridge for feminist/gender related/queer scholars.

NIP Muscular Nationalism: Gender, Violence, and Empire in India and Ireland, 1914-2004


Muscular Nationalism: Gender, Violence, and Empire in India and Ireland, 1914-2004: 

Sikata Banerjee, UVic Women’s Studies & Associate Dean of Humanities

Coming April 2012. Available for Preorder.

A particular dark triumph of modern nationalism

has been its ability to persuade citizens to sacrifice their lives for a political vision forged by emotional ties to a common identity. Both men and women can respond to nationalistic calls to fight that portray muscular warriors defending their nation against an easily recognizable enemy. This “us versus them” mentality can be seen in sectarian violence between Hindus and Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalas, Serbs and Kosovars, and Protestants and Catholics. In Muscular Nationalism, Sikata Banerjee takes a comparative look at India and Ireland and the relationship among gender, violence, and nationalism. Exploring key texts and events from 1914-2004, Banerjee explores how women negotiate “muscular nationalisms” as they seek to be recognized as legitimate nationalists and equal stakeholders in their national struggles. Banerjee argues that the gendered manner in which dominant nationalism has been imagined in most states in the world has had important implications for women’s lived experiences. Drawing on a specific intersection of gender and nationalism, she discusses the manner in which women negotiate a political and social terrain infused with a masculinized dream of nation-building. India and Ireland – two states shaped by the legacy of British imperialism and forced to deal with modern political/social conflict centring on competing nationalisms – provide two provocative case studies that illuminate the complex interaction between gender and nation.

Summer Reading Lists? New(ish) in Print: Unpopular Privacy by Anita Allen

This book was published Sept. 2011 by OUP in the series “Studies in Feminist Philosophy” (see other books from this series here).

Author Anita Allen is the  Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  Her faculty page is here.  She is also author of Why privacy isn’t everything: feminist reflections on personal accountability and many, many, many law review articles and other publications.

Click here to find Unpopular Privacy at OUP  (you can also find a speech she gave titled, Unpopular Privacy: The Case for Government Mandates; Allen, Anita L. published in the Okla. City U. L. Rev. in 2007 here [Heinonline link])

The publisher offers these blurbs, and you can find a video of Prof Allen discussing the book on the UPenn website .

It was reviewed harshly by Eric Posner (U Chicago Law) in the New Republic, here and more favourably on the American Association of Law Libraries blog, here.

Danielle Citron from U Maryland Law interviewed Allen about the book for the Dissenting Opinions blog, here:


Question: Your book is published in the Oxford University Press Feminist Philosophy Series, and yet there isn’t much overt discussion of feminism in the book after the initial chapter.  Do you regard this book as a feminist project?

This book subtly reflects insights gleaned from my encounters over the years with feminist scholarship about privacy, equality and freedom.  What I believe one learns from feminist philosophy and jurisprudence is why just societies must avoid imposing subordinating privacies on people simply because of their sex or race.

My book rejects the notion that there is a generic liberal or liberal feminist case for or against all coercive privacy mandates.  I offer contextually specific assessments of a variety of unpopular privacy requirements, informed by liberal feminist conceptions of privacy, freedom, and equality.

Two of the books eight chapters explicitly address women’s issues.  To explore notions of subordinating and liberating privacy, and voluntary and imposed privacy, I devote one full chapter of Unpopular Privacy to US Muslim women’s modesty attire, and another to US and Canadian Supreme Court nude dancing cases.