Laura Beth Nielsen at Yorku Law & Society/ Socio-Legal Studies on October 22
“Rights, Reinscription and Racial Inequality” Monday, October 22nd 2:30-4:00pm S 701 Ross All Welcome
Rights, Reinscription, and Racial Inequality
This presentation examines how law perpetuates inequalities of race, sex, disability, in different ways in different social locations. I hope to engage you in thinking about the relationship between rights, law, hierarchy, and legal consciousness in my research which is primarily in the US context in order to introduce you to the theoretical concept I am currently developing that I am calling “Relational Rights.” All of my research centers on one theoretical question: Under what conditions can law be harnessed for progressive social change. Specifically, how can law be used to remedy inequalities of unearned privilege like race, sex, sexual orientation, ability, and the like? Using a variety of methods in different organizational, institutional, and legal contexts, I use legal consciousness as a theoretical and methodological framework for my questions. The talk will focus on research about street harassment, employment discrimination, and campus sexual assault.
Laura Beth Nielsen is a Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation, Professor of Sociology, & Director of the Center for Legal Studies at Northwestern University. She received a PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from UC Berkeley in 1999 and her law degree also from Berkeley in 1996. She is the author or editor of 5 books, including License to Harass: Law, Hierarchy, and Offensive Public Speech, published by Princeton University Press in 2004 which studies racist and sexist street speech, targets’ reactions and responses to it, and attitudes about using law to deal with such speech. Rights on Trial: How Employment Discrimination Law Perpetuates Inequality (Chicago, 2017) examines the litigation system of employment civil rights in the United States. In addition to her scholarly publications in the UCLA Law Review, Law and Society Review, & Law and Social Inquiry, she has participated in Congressional briefings about federal hate crime legislation and the role of speech in hate crime. Coverage of her scholarship and her own commentary have appeared in the New York Times, Time Magazine, the LA Times, FOX News, Morning Edition (NPR), ABC Radio, Al-Jazeera English, the Huffington Post, USA Today, and the Nation.