Tag Archives: relational theory

New in Print: Law's Relations by Jennifer Nedelsky

New out from OUP! Law’s Relations:  by U of T Law’s Jennifer Nedelsky. Some readers may have seen chapters of this book when it was in progress, but now it is available for order.

Autonomy is one of the core concepts of legal and political thought, yet also one of the least understood. The prevailing theory of liberal individualism characterizes autonomy as independence, yet from a social perspective, this conception is glaringly inadequate. In this brilliantly innovative work, Jennifer Nedelsky claims that we must rethink our notion of autonomy, rejecting the usual vocabulary of control, boundaries, and individual rights. If we understand that we are fundamentally in relation to others, she argues, we will recognize that we become autonomous with others–with parents, teachers, employers, and the state. We should not therefore regard autonomy as merely a conceptual tool for assigning rights, but as a capacity that can be fostered or undermined throughout one’s life through the relationships and the societal structures we inhabit.

The political project thus should not only be to protect the individual from the state and keep the state out, but to use law to construct relations with the state that enhance autonomy. 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


New in Print: Lessard Reviews Sheppard (Inclusive Equality) in the OHLJ

U Vic’s Hester Lessard reviews Colleen Sheppard‘s Inclusive Equality(2010), in the OHLJ.

Sheppard both identifi es and clarifi es valuable achievements in this area of Canadian law. In particular, she highlights an emphatically relational, socially-embedded understanding of inequality and a conceptual vocabulary—including the notions of adverse effects and systemic discrimination—to aid us in addressing specifi c inequalities.


cover of Colleen Sheppard's

Feminist Friday Followup

Thanks to lovely Friday afternoon audience and wonderful colleagues who presented at today’s FF.  I ate too much antipasti + cookies + banana bread, so this attempt to fulfill my promise to send out links for those interested in following up the brief samples available may fall slightly short.


Associate Dean Professor Shelley Gavigan presented pieces of her Something Old, Something New: Re-Theorising Patriarchal Relations and Privatisation at the Outskirts of Family Law, a shortened reprise of her presentation at this Conference in Tel Aviv.  The paper is forthcoming in Theoretical Inquiries in Law, but isn’t publicly available at the moment. I will be sure to post/tweet when it becomes available, whether through SSRN or the Journal.   She spoke about a few very interesting cases, including A.A. v. B.B., 2007 ONCA 2.  She also mentioned Angela Campbell’s work collecting the “voices” of women from Bountiful B.C.’s polygamous community.  That work is available on SSRN here.

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Professor Stephanie Ben Ishai showed us some great commercials, including the one below to open her presentation of Debtor Assistance and Debt Advice: The Role of the Canadian Credit Counselling Industry, co authored with Saul Schwartz of the Carleton School of Public Policy and Administration.  The full text is available here.


She also referenced former Osgoode colleague Prof. Iain Ramsay (now at Kent Law School) and his (very fun sounding) paper “Wannabe Wags and Credit Crunch Binges”: The Construction of Over-Indebtedness in the UK. In: Niemi, Johanna and Ramsay, Iain and Whitford, William, eds. Consumer Credit, Debt and Bankruptcy: Comparative and International Perspectives. Hart Publishing, Oxford. Click here for Osgoode Hall of York University Library listing, not available online.

Professor Carys Craig’s paper What’s Feminist About Open Access? A Relational Approach to Copyright in the Academy co authored with Rosemary Coombe and Joseph Turcotte, is available here, from the (open access) journal Feminists@Law – also from Kent Law School.


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She mentioned that people could buy or otherwise read her book, so check out this post from earlier this year, wherein she introduces the book and provides a great set of links for those new to the topic (excerpt below).

Carys suggested these articles to those intrigued by the connections between feminist theory and copyright (or IP more generally).  Carys adores alliteration, so she described these as favourite/fundamental:
Malla Pollack. “Towards a Feminist Theory of the Public Domain, or The Gendered Scope of United States’ Copyrightable and Patentable Subject Matter” William & Mary J. of Women and the Law 12 (2006): 603. Link is to Hein Online (requires account – will likely work if you are accessing from a university IP address):

the public domain is feminine because it provides essential nourishment; it is the birthing and lactating mother. As one seed becomes a plant due to the fecundity of the earth goddess, so one human sprouts poems due to the fecundity of the public domain, the daemon, the muse.”

Says Carys, “A sure way to make upper year law students shift uneasily in their seats.”    Another must-read classic (and Canadian to boot): is Shelley Wright, A Feminist Exploration of the Legal Protection of Art, 7 Can. J. Women & L. 59 (1994).  (Another Hein Online link. Apologies, but (irony?) these articles are not available “openly”.)

Since two is too few, she offered these more recent pieces as well – true to her convictions, both of these links should open for everyone.

Ann Bartow, Fair Use and the Fairer Sex:  Gender, Feminism, and Copyright Law,  Am. UJ Gender Soc. Pol’y & L., 2006,

Greene, K.J. “Intellectual Property at the Intersection of Race and Gender: Lady Sings the Blues.” American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law. 16, no. 3 (2008): 365-385


Final words – thank you to @MelaynaM who “won” the job of livetweeting the event from @osgoodeifls through our contest, and thank you to the students, staff and faculty who came out and listened/participated.  Comments/thoughts/suggestions always welcome.