CfP: The Forgotten Foundations of Feminist Legal Scholarship, Part I: 1970-1985

by | 25 Mar 2022

Contemporary feminist legal scholarship appears to have no history and almost no canonical texts. Unlike other fields in the humanities and social sciences, there has been an absence of interest in questions of feminist inheritance in law; a certain unwillingness to grapple with feminism’s intellectual and/or textual traditions. Individual studies, however radical or sophisticated in their orientation, appear to be situated in the ‘feminist present’ only, such that the past of legal feminism is void of any heritage worthy of being handed down.

Yet despite this disregard or disavowal, contemporary feminist legal scholarship rests on the foundations of a corpus of post-war feminist texts. Those texts’ vital power shaped new, creative, and critical modes of thinking, new routes for understanding and reflection that challenged dominant thought inside and outside the academy. They animated multiple ways of revalorising lived experience and the subject’s embodied nature and in so doing raised radical questions about women’s social being. It is the forgetfulness of these earlier texts that these workshops wish to interrogate. The first workshop, to be held in Summer 2022, will focus on feminist theoretical texts produced (mainly) in the years between 1970-1985. The second workshop, to be held in Autumn 2022, will focus on the body of new feminist and feminist legal scholarship that emerged from the mid-1980s to early 1990s.

In these two one-day workshops we wish to pose as a problem the present of feminist legal scholarship that has not only lost sight of these earlier texts, but has left this disconnection from its past to go entirely unnoticed. It is as if what credits feminist legal scholarship with contemporaneity is precisely the erasure of these earlier texts from its horizon. The questions to be addressed include: what is the position of these texts with regards to the present? How should we think of the feminist texts of the 1970s and ’80s today? How should we place our contemporary thought in relation to those texts? How are we to receive these texts today? Why is it that feminist legal scholarship has developed no feminist canon or classical literature while continuing to reference/reverence the work of white male philosophers? In short, are we to reconnect and reconcile with the rich inheritance that feminist thought and practice of the ’70s and ’80s has bequeathed us? Or should we continue to acknowledge as a sign of our contemporaneity the disjunction with our heritage?

Workshop Organisers: Maria Drakopoulou and Rosemary Hunter.
Place: London in person + online for international participants unable to travel Date: 17 June 2022

Please send expressions of interest for the first workshop to Maria Drakopoulou (m.drakopoulou@kent.ac.uk) and/or Rosemary Hunter (r.c.hunter@kent.ac.uk) by 1 April 2022. Paper proposals, including title and abstract of 150-300 words, will be due by 29 April 2022.
An indicative list of texts is attached although texts outside this list with justifications for inclusion are welcome.

Limited funding for travel costs may be available for research students and early career researchers. If you would need funding in order to attend, please include this information, with approximate cost, with your expression of interest.page1image15107392page1image15107584

Indicative texts: Workshop I

  • Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (1949)
  • Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (1957)
  • Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (1970)
  • Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch (1970)
  • Kate Millett, Sexual Politics (1970)
  • Juliet Mitchell, Woman’s Estate (1971)
  • Sheila Rowbotham, Hidden From History (1973)
  • Sheila Rowbotham, Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World (1973)
  • Luce Irigaray, Speculum of the Other Woman (1974)
  • Juliet Mitchell, Psychoanalysis and Feminism (1974)
  • Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will (1975)
  • Silvia Federici, Wages Against Housework (1975)
  • Linda Gordon, Woman’s Body Woman’s Right (1976)
  • Combahee River Collective, The Combahee River Collective Statement (1977)
  • Luce Irigaray, This Sex Which is Not One (1977)
  • Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism (1978)
  • Susan Griffin, Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her (1978)
  • Heidi Hartmann, ‘The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism’, Capital and Class (1979) bell hooks, Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism (1980)
  • Carolyn Merchant, The Death ofNature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution (1980)
  • Monique Wittig, The Straight Mind and Other Essays (1980)
  • Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa (eds), This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Colour (1981)
  • Andrea Dworkin, Pornography: Men Possessing Women (1981)
  • Lepooldina Fortunati, The Arcane of Reproduction: Housework, Prostitution, Labour and Capital (1981) Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice (1982)
  • Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (1982)
  • Catharine MacKinnon, ‘Feminism, Marxism, Method and the State: An Agenda for Theory’, Signs (1982)
  • Sandra Harding, Discovering Reality: Feminist Perspectives on Epistemology, Metaphysics, Methodology and Philosophy of Science (1983)
  • Nancy Hartsock, Money, Sex and Power: Towards a Feminist Historical Materialism (1983)
  • Genevieve Lloyd, The Man of Reason, ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ in Western Philosophy (1984)
  • Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (1984)
  • Donna Haraway, ‘Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology and Socialist Feminism in the 1980s’, Socialist Review (1985)

2 Comments

  1. Dear Drakopoulou, good afternoon!
    Greetings!
    My name is Ailene de Oliveira Figueiredo and I am a PhD student in Law at the University of Marília/SP.
    My theme of my thesis addresses feminist theories and I would very much like to participate as a listener in the Workshop.

    Reply
  2. Dear Drakopoulou, good afternoon!

    Greetings!
    My name is Ailene de Oliveira Figueiredo and I am a PhD student in Law at the University of Marília/SP.
    My theme of my thesis addresses feminist theories and I would very much like to participate as a listener in the Workshop.

    Best regards!

    Reply

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