Tag Archives: Book

Jennifer Nedelsky awarded C.B. Macpherson Prize for “Law’s Relations"

Jennifer Nedelsky wins 2012 C.B. Macpherson Prize for her book entitled “Law’s Relations”

Law’s Relations includes many concrete legal applications of her theory of relational autonomy, offering new insights into the debates over due process, judicial review, violence against women, and private versus public law.” (From OUP Press page)

See more about the book here. Congrats to Jennifer,

New in Print: Pascale Fournier, "Muslim Marriage in Western Courts: Lost in Transplantation"

click through to order from Amazon.ca

Pascale Fournier is an Associate Professor at UOttawa Section de droit civil (see her English CV linked at the bottom of her faculty page).   She’s just returned to work (her second child is six months old) and she is serving as Vice Dean of Research – so she’s got loads of time on her hands.  Her recent book, Muslim Marriage in Western Courts: Lost in Transplantation:

“….describes and analyses the notion of Mahr, the Muslim custom whereby the groom has to give a gift to the bride in consideration of the marriage. It explores how Western courts, specifically in Canada, the United States, France, and Germany, have approached and interpreted Mahr. …..Through the analysis of case law from these four countries, this study suggests that transplanting Mahr from Islamic law into a Western courtroom cannot be undone: it immediately becomes rooted in the countries’ legal, historical, political, and social backgrounds and flourishes (or fails) in diverse and unexpected ways. Rather than being the concept described by classical Islamic jurists, Mahr is interpreted according to wildly varied legal constructs and concepts such as multiculturalism, fairness, public policy, and gender equality. Moreover, Islamic law travels with a multiplicity of voices, and it is this complex hybridity (a fragmented and disjointed Mahr) which will be mediated through Western law. …..the book proposes that distributive consequences rather than recognition occupy central place in the evaluation of the legal options available to Muslim women upon divorce.”   (from the Publisher’s site: https://www.ashgate.com/pdf/tis/9781409404415_ROW.pdf)

Prof. Pascale Fournier

Janet Halley was Pascale’s thesis advisor at Harvard, and (lucky Pascale!) she wrote the engaging forward to this book – excerpted below.

Foreword by Janet Halley Royall Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

This book takes up one of the most perplexing questions of our time: how should Western states receiving an influx of Muslim immigrants deal with the unfamiliar, seemingly alien rules under which their new residents and citizens formed their marriages – the Islamic rules of marriage?  But in getting ready for decisions about that, Pascale Fournier here relentlessly pursues one of the highest injunctions of legal realist analysis: get to “Ought” after you’ve spent a long time on “Is.”  ……

It is virtually unknown to see work on the encounter between Islamic law and Western liberal legal systems lavish so much attention as Fournier does here on the realistic possibilities as manifested by what has actually already happened.  Instead we debate women’s equality versus their choices, the value of recognizing minority cultures versus the value of integrating all citizens into liberal values, the authenticity of experience and the trap of false consciousness ….  Across all these big questions, we see theory load itself with prescription before it even begins to describe.  Fournier has managed to suspend moral judgment, to defer principled determination, to avoid polemical conclusion so that she can describe the field of judicial options and marital outcomes that are actually within the scope of her big question.

…… through the ingenious device of an imagined typology of Muslim wives embroiled in Western divorces from their Muslim husbands – Fournier will be famous for her wonderfully depicted Leila’s and Samir’s — she shows that courts inevitably transform Islamic family law rules when they attempt to recognize them, and transform Western family law rules even when they don’t – in part because that’s the fate of legal transplantation, in part because the Leila’s and Samir’s are constantly busy transforming the law in the books into the scintillating paradoxes of law in action. These Leila’s and Samir’s never get pure equality or pure recognition.   They do, however, produce the startling effect of orderly complexity.

….Fournier gives us a new focus for work on legal pluralism within the family law of Western states.  Yes, the Islamic rules and the American, Canadian, French and German rules are different if we put them on a chart and compare them, as if they operated alone.  But set into the matrix of the background rules, and then contextualized into the rhetorical and material strategies available to the judges and the parties in particular divorces, a myriad outcomes offer themselves for analysis and assessment.  Is it fair for a poor woman to get her mahr and not her half-share in the marital property?  Is it fair to order a poor husband to pay them both?  This question is not about recognition; it is about distribution.  In Fournier’s capable hands, what is plural is not only normative orders or sources of law but also pathways to decision, strategies, and outcomes. The hard normative work can begin afresh.

Camille A. Nelson named Dean of Suffolk Law School in the U.S.

Well, this is good news on a number of fronts!  Committed, dynamic, brilliant, and a woman of colour who identifies as Canadian, among other things (click for a link to one of her articles which contains a very thoughtful discussion of multiple identities), Camille has a degree from the University of Toronto and a law degree from Ottawa U.  She clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada, and, after getting an LLM from Columbia, she’s done interesting and important work on race, gender and beyond.  Have a look at her 2010 publication in the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law on disability (mental health), policing and race.  Her contributions go way beyond her scholarship, though, as her many awards and honours suggest (see link below or click on picture to learn more about her).

She’s the first woman and first person of colour to be Dean at Suffolk.  I met Camille when i was just out of law school and she was at Columbia doing her LLM.  She was so impressive then. It seems she’s gotten only more so in the interim.  Have you read Racism Eh? It came out in 2004.  Maybe it’s new to you, though! Check it out. Click through to the publisher’s site for ordering.

And of course, Camille joins Dalhousie’s new Schulich School of Law Dean, Kim Brooks, creating an east coast mini hotspot in the reinvention of Dean-ing.   More on Camille’s appointment here: Suffolk Law News.

– sonia

New in Print: Constructing Crime (Mosher and Brockman, eds)

Constructing Crime is the last publication of the Law Commission of Canada, defunded in 2006.  The five papers come out of the What is a Crime series, and were commissioned in order to investigate how society reacts to unwanted behaviours and consider the consequences of choosing particular methods to control behaviours.   Most of the articles don’t use gender as an organizing idea, although it does feature in a few of them.

The authors in this book look at a variety of areas of social life, including gambling, fraud by health professionals, social assistance, regulation of public housing in Montreal, and the criminalization of a variety of Aboriginal harvesting practices.

It might be particularly interesting to provide parts of Mosher and Brockman’s opening essay to a first year criminal law class, before or while they are being buried in the language and rationale of criminal regulation.

Click here to order the book from UBC Press.

New in Print: Women, Law, and Equality: A Discussion Guide

The editors are well known Canadian scholars (former LEAF litigator Prof. Carissima Mathen and new Dalhousie Dean Kim Brooks).  The other contributors are the soon to be at Ottawa U Suzanne Bouclin and Carleton U’s Doris Buss.

Equally interesting is the intended audience for the book: “ideal for a survey or introductory-level gender studies, women in the law, or women-focused political science course. It could also be used for a series of book club-style discussions,” according to Irwin Law’s promotional blurb.  Book club, anyone?

Women, Law, and Equality: A Discussion Guide (clickable link takes you to the Irwin Law site to order).

Kim Brooks and Carissima Mathen, eds.

[from the Irwin law site]

  • …designed to stimulate and facilitate discussions around the complicated issues of feminism, equality, and social justice among broad spectrum of readers, with varied perspectives and knowledge.
  • Each chapter provides excerpted and compiled texts and discussion questions intended to stimulate discussion.
  • The range of topics covered in the guide make it ideal for a survey or introductory-level gender studies, women in the law, or women-focused political science course. It could also be used for a series of book club-style discussions.

Summary Table of Contents


Let’s Talk Women, Law, and Equality


Chapter 1: Polygamy

Kim Brooks

Chapter 2: Caring for Young Children

Kim Brooks

Chapter 3: Feminism, Law, Cinema

Suzanne Bouclin

Chapter 4: Women and Power (or, Powerful Women)

Carissima Mathen

Chapter 5: Women and Migration

Doris Buss

Chapter 6:  Final Thoughts