This course is organized around the subjects that feminist theory has needed -- and continues to need -- to address, given ongoing inequalities; constraints on autonomy; and issues of basic respect and safety that play unjust roles in girls' and women's lives. Inherently, then, feminism is based in concerns about justice and freedom. That makes law and policy its natural domains. Feminist theory moves instrumentally within these domains, engaged in the search to improve women's lives.
What is especially compelling about feminism today is that which the course looks to demonstrate: While some of the issues we need to confront are enduring, others are new. And while some of feminism's answers to contemporary problems are obvious, others represent a diversity of approaches, methods, and views. That is why our title refers to "feminisms". And it is why the subjects and materials we will present offer challenges and opportunities to reason and to deliberate individually as well as collectively about what and how feminism should proceed to do what it currently needs to do.
Subjects we will take up this semester include, amongst others, structural inequality and the anti-discrimination and anti-subordination principles; sex- role stereotyping; equal treatment versus special treatment; campus sexual assault; stalking and cyber-abuse; and hindrances to women's advancement in business management and within the legal profession.
This will be a reading, writing, and discussion-based course. Students will write discussion questions for every other class and they will write a short analytic paper on which comments will be given, in lieu of an exam. If students want to write on a topic other than the suggested ones, they may be able to do so with the instructors' permission. These papers can evolve into the research paper that may later satisfy the writing requirement, and they can become the basis of law review Notes and writing samples. Students may, with the instructors' permission, write jointly, on a common theme, if each member of the group writes an independent portion that satisfies the course's requirement.
This course will meet together with the upper-level seminar of the same name, but students in each class will be graded independently of one another.