Tag Archives: Feminism and Legal Theory Project

CFP x2 Geographies of Violence (Place Space & Time) & Cdn Women as Public Intellectuals

Two really amazing looking CFP’s – one from the Feminism and Legal Theory Project with the conference January in Atlanta, and one from Mount Allison U for 2014.  


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, mlfinem@emory.edu, Stu Marvel, smarvel@emory.edu. Submission procedure: Email a proposal as a Word or PDF document by October 21, 2013 to Yvana Mol at:ymols@emory.edu. 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).


Art by Alison Creba, from current exhibition at Owens Art Gallery at Mount Allison University in NB.   Alison Creba: City Mail Poster Meeting Places 20 September to 10 November  The exhibition Meeting Places at the Owens Art Gallery has been planned in conjunction with an international conference on place and space organized by Mount Allison University in Sackville and St. Mary's University in Halifax. The exhibition brings together artists whose work offers definitions of place and inquires into the way place-based communities form, are transformed, migrate, become dispossessed, and occupy territory. The exhibition will feature Eryn Foster, whose practice is based in relational aesthetics, through community actions such as the building of a community oven and the planning of community walks. Eryn will collaborate with Winnipeg artist Ray Fenwick. Also included are First Nations artist Frank Shebageget and New York/Nova Scotia-based artist Tom Sherman who, in their different ways, merge community and identity; and Toronto artist Alison Creba, the founder and facilitator of CITY MAIL, whose work acts as a catalyst for further explorations of the physical and personal topographies that characterize an area, and Mitchell Wiebe, artist-in-residence at the Diefenbunker in Debert, Nova Scotia, one of several bunkers built during the Cold War. Mitchell will collaborate with Halifax artist Aaron Weldon.
Poster for City Mail by Alison Creba

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.





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 Academia.edu (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 academia.edu 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.

CFP: Privatization and Social Responsibility @ Emory Feminism and Legal Theory Project

Privatization and Social Responsibility

February 17-18, 2012 at Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, Georgia

This workshop explores from a cross-cultural perspective how privatization impacts contemporary feminist and social justice approaches to public responsibility. Feminisms have long problematized divisions between the private and the political, partly in reaction to the unprecedented privatization of state responsibilities and public welfare over the past 30 years. Recent critical legal scholarship on vulnerability, state negligence, and resilience can complicate and deepen our understanding of the problems generated by privatization in the 21st century.We invite papers that explore the effects of diverse forms of privatization from national and cross-national perspectives. Privatization can take the form of outsourcing public activities to private corporations, denationalizing state industries, or deregulating policy. It is evident when social service systems shift from defined benefits programs such as pensions to defined contribution plans such as IRAs. A common denominator is the shifting of social responsibility from public governmental institutions to individual families and privatized entities, such as charities and corporations. There is also a shift in what and who are regarded as the proper objects of state regulation and intervention; subsidizing private property interests or military intervention while withdrawing from broader public obligations such as education and healthcare.

Because vulnerability analysis emphasizes our interdependency within social institutions, it can illuminate how privatization relies upon often-invisible state subsidies to generate its free-market individualistic mythologies. Vulnerability highlights how neoliberalism commodifies social and bodily necessities (e.g. security, healthcare), channeling unprofitable social relationships, such as caretaking, away from state welfare programs and to the individualized realm of the family. In addition to carework, the military, penal system and police are also framed as societally preserving. But they are privatized differently within and across nations, generating distinct national discourses of public and private responsibility.

Disciplinary and interdisciplinary papers exploring the effects of these privatizations on insitutions, individuals, society, welfare, education, healthcare, capitalism, government, military and law are welcomed. State regulation, particularly in the form of socioeconomic welfare, is frequently criticized for policing individual choices and perpetuating social and legal forms of violence. We are particularly interested in how a feminist or progressive analysis of state institutional involvement might mitigate these negative effects and the impact of privatization.

Email a paper proposal by by Thursday, December 8th to Emily Hlavaty, FLT Program Coordinator:

Decisions will be made prior to the holidays and working paper drafts to be duplicated and distributed prior to the Workshop will be due January 30th.

CFP: Feminism and Legal Theory Project at Emory: Structuring Resilience

Click here for full CFP.

Paper Proposals due September 19

Conference December 2-3, 2011

“Resilience” is found in the access we have to the institutional, economic, material and other resources that give us the ability to respond to uncertainty, as well as the misfortunes and opportunities that present themselves in our lives.  If vulnerability is generated and/or exacerbated by the unpredictability and asymmetrical access to resources that structure so much of our lives, then resilience, not invulnerability, is appropriately theorized as the opposite of vulnerability.

Call for Papers: Masking and Manipulating Vulnerability with Emory Law's Feminism and Legal Theory Project (deadline January 17 2011)

March 18th-19th, 2011
Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, Georgia
From the call (pdf click here.)

This workshop is the most recent in a series examining the theoretical possibilities inherent in the concepts ofvulnerability and resilience. The experience or realization of vulnerability can provoke compassion, empathy, and solidarity. It can also evoke fear, violence, and disgust.

In this session we want to examine how our understandings and experiences of human vulnerability can be and have been exploited economically, culturally, and or politically under the guise of protecting perceived at-risk groups or institutions.  Aggressive military policies, social welfare restrictions, and invasive economic restructuring have been justified in the name of mitigating national, gendered, global perils.

The designation of an individual or group as vulnerable is often viewed as stigmatizing and deserving of a marginalized or
diminished social status. Fear of vulnerability, as well as the fear of being labeled “vulnerable,” can render individuals and
institutions susceptible to manipulation and accepting of authoritarian regimes of control or subordination.  Vulnerability when assigned as characteristic of only some groups in society (e.g. children, the elderly, the poor) also can inspire protectionist policies that ignore the voice, desires, and material circumstances of the targeted population.  We invite proposals from scholars in all of disciplines in which the concept of vulnerability may be relevant.

It may be helpful in drafting your proposal to explore the Vulnerability and the Human Condition website: www.emory.edu/vulnerability The section on resources includes several VHC publications and definitions. Decisions will be made by January 28th. Working paper drafts will be due March 1st, so they can be duplicated and distributed.

Possible Questions to Consider

  • What images of vulnerability are found in politics, law, public policy, or culture?
  • What are the relationships between vulnerability and concepts such as weakness and harm?
  • What is the nature and power of the discourse and ideology whereby human vulnerability has been constructed
    as both avoidable and stigmatizing?
  • What are the relationships between vulnerability and liberal political theory?
  • Do feminist formulations of victimization and agency – or their caricatures – contribute to the construction of
    vulnerability as stigma and weakness?
    How is vulnerability articulated differently when it is perceived to be attached the powerful in society?
  • What are examples of the manipulation of vulnerability toward privileged or inappropriate ends?
  • Would unmasking the vulnerability of the rich and powerful provoke empathy or disgust (or both)?
  • Is there a difference between vulnerability perceived as “risk” verses as a threat?
  • How is the experience or perception of human, institutional, or state vulnerabilities appropriated to advance
    dominant ideologies or institutions?
  • In what ways can state or institutional responses to vulnerability aggravate or complicate the same circumstances
    to which they are responding?
  • Who is harmed by dominant and stigmatized conceptions of human vulnerability? How?
  • Who is benefited from such conceptions? How?
  • Can the realization of universal vulnerability be mobilized for progressive purposes? If so, how?
  • What is the danger in using the discourse of vulnerability?
  • What are the positive possibilities in using the discourse of vulnerability?

More information, including where to send your proposal on the full call announcement.  Click here.