This seminar 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 research paper, on which topic approval is required, in lieu of an exam. The research paper may satisfy the writing requirement. And it can become the basis of a law review Note, as has happened in prior years, or a writing sample. If a student has already satisfied the writing requirement through another 397S course, she or he may, with the instructors' approval, write two shorter papers instead of the research paper that is otherwise required. Students may also, 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 writing requirement.
This seminar will meet together with the first-year course of the same name, but students in each class will be graded independently of one another.