This article reviews feminist critiques of same sex marriage and analyzes how marriage as a ocio-legal institution relates to inequality based on factors such as sex, race and class. The article first identifies how the legalization of same sex marriage can be viewed as a positive step in the quest for equality and recognition of lesbians and gay men. It then describes the legal and statistical trends in relation to marriage in Canada, as one of the first countries to legalize same sex marriage. The heart of the article discusses the key feminist critiques of both marriage and same sex marriage, drawing on an international survey of primarily English language literature. It considers why these critiques have been understated in the debates on same sex marriage and reviews empirical studies on the views of lesbians and gay men on marriage. While acknowledging that legal marriage can offer important rights to some couples, the conclusion suggests alternatives to placing marriage at the center of the lesbian and gay movement for equality and recognition.
In To Right Historical Wrongs, Carmela Murdocca brings together the paradigm of reparative justice and the study of incarceration in an examination of this disconnect between political motivations for amending historical injustices and the vastly disproportionate reality of the penal system — a troubling reality that is often ignored.
Drawing on detailed examination of legal cases, parliamentary debates, government reports, media commentary, and community sources, Murdocca presents a new perspective on discussions of culture-based sentencing in an age of both mass incarceration and historical amendment.
Interested in some of Carmela Murdocca’s other work? Some is listed in her faculty bio, of course, for instance: (2010), “There Is Something in That Water”: Race, Nationalism, and Legal Violence. Law & Social Inquiry, 35: 369–402. (not open access requires access to Wiley pubs) and “From Incarceration to Restoration: National Responsibility, Gender and the Production of Difference,” Social and Legal Studies18, 1 (2009): 23-45. (not open access requires access to Sage Publications) and Murdocca, C., “Pursuing National Responsibility in a post-9/11 World: Seeking Asylum in Canada for Gender Persecution” Not Born A Refugee Woman: Contesting Identities, Rethinking Practices, Hajdukowski-Ahmed, Khanlou and Moussa, eds. Berghahn Books and Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, 2008, 254-263. Three papers are on SSRN here (open access). Enjoy!
Name change: the Osgoode Women’s Caucus is now the Osgoode Feminist Collective (link is to their Facebook page). Lest you thought that younger women were avoiding the F word en masse, pending rebranding. Why do people think this?
OFC (love the new acronym almost as much as the new name? i do) announced their name change last week. If you know or are an alumna of this long lived and fierce organization, what do you think? Here are a few snippets from the announcement at last week’s feminist tea, with thanks to the current co chairs.
In our efforts to bring a feminist voice to Osgoode and the wider York Campus, Women’s Caucus attempts to work within an anti-oppressive framework. For the past couple of years, we have been discussing the direction of our group and how this relates to our name. We thought improvements could be made. We would like our name to be more reflective of the anti-oppressive politics and multiple feminisms that the our members embrace, as well as recognizing that feminism is practiced and welcoming to people of all genders.
We narrowed down our choices and recently asked our members to vote. As a result, we are happy to announce that with an overwhelming majority, we have decided to change our name to “Osgoode Feminist Collective.”
The October tradition of the Feminist Tea has celebrated person’s day. Some of you who know me may know that I’ve long had a problem with Person’s Day. See here for some past rants (i know – the money changed). The Osgoode Feminist Collective had a set of slides running in the background at the tea to consider the complicated meanings of Person’s Day. These remind me of my general preference for nuanced critical thought over ranting….
It’s been over 80 years since women in Canada were declared qualified persons, yet as the daughter of immigrant parents, it feels far less distant. The memory of my mother’s pride on her first day as an eligible voter, after 10 years of contributing to her Canadian community, is very close indeed. This memory is one that I reflect on and reminds me why the battle for equality is not yet over.
Persons Day reminds me that we are all complex beings, with complicated relationships to feminism and history. It reminds me of the importance of being able to talk about and through those complicated relationships in order for us to respectfully commemorate the hard work of the five women in Edwards. But also so that we recognize the many other racialized women who had been organizing around their rights as women and racialized persons then, and who continue to organize and advocate for their communities today.
Edwards is an example of how only 5 determined women were able to make such momentous changes, despite the great resistance they faced. Such examples of strength remain an encouragement for current battles.
My gratitude to the women of Women’s Caucus’ past and Osgoode Feminist Collective’s present and future and all the inspiration, knowledge and support they have given.
The Feminism and Legal Theory Project at 30: A Workshop on Geographies of Violence: Place, Space, and Time (Deadline: October 21, 2013)
Location: Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, Georgia. Date: January 24-25, 2014. The summer of 2013 marks the beginning of the 30th year of operation for the Feminism and Legal Theory Project. During the 2013-2014 academic year we will be looking at the history and impact of feminist legal theory in a variety of key areas of concern to those interested in the institutionalization, construction, and maintenance of gender and gender differences, as well as broader issues of social and economic justice. Following in the footsteps of our workshops on sex and reproduction and the family as areas of early feminist legal scholarship, we will consider violence.
Thirty years ago the discussions revolved around “domestic violence,” this workshop will look at the issues more broadly. One overarching question in all the sessions is: what is the role for and future of feminist legal theory and gender analysis in a “post-egalitarian” and “intersectional” world in which claims and analyses based on gender differences are viewed with suspicion? Guiding Questions: What “counts” as violence? How does the space and place in which violence occurs affect our responses to it? Why is there such resistance to the idea of wide-spread gendered violence in American politics? What are the different perspectives on violence reflected in disciplines such as law, medicine, public health, anthropology, political science, ethics, and religion? How do societal institutions act in conjunction with or opposition to the state in understanding and addressing violence? What is the relationship between interpersonal violence and structural violence? Between violence and art and culture? Can the state be understood as violent? What are the benefits and drawbacks in looking at violence from a societal or cultural, rather than an individual or criminal justice, perspective? What would a society designed to eliminate violence look like? What is the relationship between “public” and “private” violence? What can we learn from looking at gender-based violence (broadly conceived) among cultures with different traditions, economic organizations and legal frameworks for gender equality? Is gendered violence endemic to all societies, and inherent in human nature? Or are there identifiable causes and remedies? What about violence against children? What is the relationship between neglect and violence? Can violence ever be justified, for example in the cause of humanitarian interventions? How do the categories of “victim/perpetuator,” “domestic violence,” “intimate partner violence,” and “gendered violence” shape our approaches to law and policy? What is “rape culture” and what are its implications for individual cases of aggression? How does violence shift across the course of the lifespan? How and why should we think differently about violence directed toward different age groups: children, youth, adults, and seniors? What can and should be done to address emerging forms of online bullying and virtual violence? Workshop Contacts: Martha Albertson Fineman, email@example.com, Stu Marvel, firstname.lastname@example.org. Submission procedure: Email a proposal as a Word or PDF document by October 21, 2013 to Yvana Mol at:email@example.com. Decisions will be made by October 31 and working paper drafts will be due December 20 so they can be duplicated and distributed prior to the Workshop. Workshop details: The Workshop begins Friday at 4PM in room 575 of Emory Law School (1301 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA). A dinner in the Hunter Atrium will follow the panel presentation session on Friday. Panel presentations continue on Saturday from 9:30 AM to 5PM and breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Discourse & Dynamics: Canadian Women as Public Intellectuals : Conference on Women as Public Intellectuals in Canada and Quebec, Mount Allison University, (Deadline: October 31, 2013).
CONFERENCE: 16-18 October 2014, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick. This national conference proposes to appraise women’s contributions to dynamic discourse in Canada and Quebec. Scheduled in conjunction with Persons Day, 18 October 2014, the conference will feature among other notable participants Margaret Atwood, Nicole Brossard, Siila Watt-Cloutier, Jessica Danforth, Charlotte Gray, Pam Palmater, Judy Rebick and Janice Stein.
Canadian women have contributed enormously to public discourse, in important but often under-valued ways. Across different generations and cultural communities, women in English Canada and Quebec address key questions that animate intellectual discussion, from concerns about the environment and the economy to issues of social justice, racism, poverty, health and violence. But are their voices valued and heard, or are they subsumed in the general noise of public debate? Why they are not accorded the attention and approbation they merit? The concept of the public intellectual has come under considerable scrutiny in recent years. Classic studies such as The Treason of the Intellectuals (Benda 1928) or The Opium of the Intellectuals (Aron 1957) have been succeeded by further investigations, among them The Last Intellectuals (Jacoby 1987), Representations of the Intellectual (Said 1993), Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline (Posner 2001), Public Intellectuals: An Endangered Species (ed. Etzioni and Bowditch 2006).
In 2007, Toronto Star columnist Alex Good asked “What has become of the Canadian public intellectual?” (“Woe is Us,” 8 April 2007) while Queen’s Quarterly published essays on the matter by Michael Ignatieff (“The Decline and Fall of the Public Intellectual” Fall 1997) and Mark Kingwell (“What are Intellectuals for?” Spring 2011). Kingwell, reflecting on Canada’s most important thinkers, acknowledges that identification is controversial, but mentions McLuhan, Frye, Innis, Woodcock, Grant, Gould, Jacobs, Atwood, Taylor, and Ignatieff. This list is not untypical–most names are those of men. The National Post’s 2005 search for Canada’s most important public intellectual repeats this bias; of the twenty-two individuals profiled, only four were women, Margaret Atwood, Naomi Klein, Irshad Manji and Margaret McMillan. Yet women in Canada and Quebec have spoken and written on subjects of importance and concern in the public domain, from energy resources to free trade, from economic inequality to policies on immigration, from culture to medicine. Where are their names? Does the “public intellectual” brand effectively exclude women? Does its evolving definition take sufficient account of gender? of race? of class?
Proposals are invited for presentations that explore this topic. We are open to a wide range of participation, from individual papers to panels, performances, poster sessions, or other displays. Points of focus might include but are not limited to: refiguring the public intellectual, public intellectuals, activists, academics, artists, commentators: what are the relationships? conditions for the public intellectual, Canadian/Quebec women as public intellectuals of the past/present/future, the internet/blogosphere and the public intellectual, the impact of Canadian/Quebec women’s voices in the public sphere, substance versus style, whom do we listen to and why owning public space, daring to speak out. Proposals for individual or collaborative presentations should include: 1. title (up to 150 characters) 2. abstract
(100-150 words) 3. description (500 words) & on a separate page: 4. a short biographical note 5. full contact information. Proposals may be submitted electronically by October 31, 2013 to DiscourseDynamics@mta.ca ORGANIZERS: Christl Verduyn, Director, Centre for Canadian Studies, Professor, Department of English, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, E4L 1G9. Aritha van Herk, Professor, Department of English, 2500 University Dr. N.W., University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1N4. A selection of papers will be considered for publication and a follow-up conference is foreseen in 2016 at the University of Calgary.