Emma Cunliffe (UBC Law) at the IFLS January 8 2016, 1230-2
RSVP at bit.ly/osresearch, use event code Emma (or click through the image below and use event code Emma)
R. v Barton & the Death of Cindy Gladue
In March 2015, Bradley Barton was acquitted of murder in relation to the death of Cindy Gladue. Gladue was a Métis mother who bled to death in the bathroom of an Edmonton hotel, allegedly while Barton slept. Barton testified that her wounds had been caused by consensual ‘rough sex’. The forensic pathologist called by the Crown at Barton’s murder trial invited the jury to inspect Gladue’s preserved body tissue in order to reach their own conclusions about how her injuries were caused. (R v Barton, 2015 ABQB 159.) When the acquittal was reported, Indigenous communities, women’s advocates and others responded with anger and dismay. The trial judge’s decision to allow the pathologist to introduce Gladue’s body tissue became a particular focus of disapprobation (eg Sampert, 2015; Cormier, 2015).
This talk will investigate whether expert evidence and legal conceptions of expertise function as Trojan Horses by which discriminatory stereotypes and implicit bias find purchase within Canadian legal processes regarding gendered violence. In particular, Dr. Cunliffe will consider whether the failure of legal processes to respond adequately to gendered violence is partly produced by legal conventions and expert opinions that undermine Charter commitments to fair and egalitarian fact determination.
Emma Cunliffe is an associate professor at UBC’s Allard School of Law. Her research analyses the fact determination functions of courts, and particularly addresses expert scientific and medical evidence, the role of implicit stereotypes and bias in the criminal justice system, and the principles of open justice. Emma has received the Killam Prize for Teaching Excellence and the George Curtis Memorial Award for Teaching. At UBC, she teaches evidence, criminal law, jurisprudence and interdisciplinary research methodologies. Emma’s last visit to York was for the SLST series in 2014, when she talked Women and Wrongful Convictions.
Angela P. Harris will be known to most readers of this blog. Now at UC Davis School of Law, she’s been at the forefront of critical race and critical legal scholarship for a long time now. She’s one of the editors of Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia (2012, Utah State UP) (there is a transcribed interview, here, where she discusses the book, it’s reception, and the impact of increased corporatization of universities).
In this talk, she explores the connections between mindfulness (she teaches a course called “Mindfulness and Professional Identity: Becoming a Lawyer While Keeping Your Values Intact”) and critical race scholarship, illustrating the ways in which she sees the two as intimately connected. The talk isn’t an easy one – she details violence and challenges our responses to it. Harris also spotlights the work of many Black female artists in the accompanying slides. Take the time to have a look.
If you don’t know what this is about, I urge you to read Professor St. Lewis’ words as guest blogged on Slaw. As noted in the piece, the case is likely to be appealed. This is what racist speech looks like – and the gender angle here is also apparent. For those, like me, not entirely comfortable with the tort of libel, this case may help to clarify anxieties and boundaries in terms of its use. As always, Professor St. Lewis is eloquent as she draws the connections between past and present, individual and community, law and power.
In the end, it was not simply pride that enabled me to persist. I firmly believe that racialized professionals in the academe have a unique role as knowledge producers well beyond the expectation that they be role models and mentors. We must do our work with integrity. This integrity includes bringing rigor to how issues of racism are analyzed and developed within and outside the classroom. If we cannot engage in these discussions within the academe then what hope is there for the broader social engagement that is essential for the realization of an enlarged Black humanity in a constitutional democracy?
[photo above is of the original design – if you’re lucky, you can check your pocket for the new one]
“Some have concerns that the researcher appears to be Asian,” says a 2009 report commissioned by the bank from The Strategic Counsel, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
“Some believe that it presents a stereotype of Asians excelling in technology and/or the sciences. Others feel that an Asian should not be the only ethnicity represented on the banknotes. Other ethnicities should also be shown.”
A few even said the yellow-brown colour of the $100 banknote reinforced the perception the woman was Asian, and “racialized” the note.
The bank immediately ordered the image redrawn, imposing a “neutral” ethnicity for the woman scientist who, now stripped of her “Asian” features, appears on the circulating note. Her light features appear to be Caucasian.
“The original image was not designed or intended to be a person of a particular ethnic origin,” bank spokesman Jeremy Harrison said in an interview, citing policy that eschews depictions of ethnic groups on banknotes.
Sometimes I like to have things laid out clearlym and this story is really helpful. Neutral ethnicity = white. Actual ethnic groups (non whites) not allowed on money. Colour of money should not match colour of skin of those depicted on the money. Thanks! Got it!
As my colleague just said to me, “so did they move her onto the blue note and have her playing hockey?”. I guess the helmet and cold weather clothes would let anyone masquerade as “neutral”.
This story is just too much. Didn’t anyone comment on the unfairness of showing a woman as a scientist?
[henceforth, August 17: the day the balance shifted in my thinking about focus groups]