Gender Justice - Spring 2018

Gender Justice - Spring 2018

WMST GU4506: Spring 2018

Course Description

This course will provide an introduction to the concrete legal contexts in which issues of gender and justice have been articulated, disputed and hesitatingly, if not provisionally, resolved.  Through these readings we will explore the multiple ways in which the law has contended with sexual difference, gender-based stereotypes, and the meaning of equality in domestic, transnational and international contexts. So too, we will discuss how feminist theorists have thought about sex, gender and sexuality in understanding and critiquing our legal system and its norms.

  • No laptops are permitted in this class.

  • Class attendance is mandatory.  TA sessions will be held once a week to review material covered in the class that week.

  • Students will be evaluated based upon a short paper & class presentation (1/3), a final take-home exam (2/3), and class participation (bump up in grade).
Course readers for this course may be downloaded at the links following:

Course Calendar and Readings

January 22nd: Introduction 

January 29th: Early Framing

  • Jo Freeman, The Revolution For Women In Law And Public Policy, in Women: A Feminist Perspective Jo Freeman ed. 1995) pp. 365-404

  • Kathleen Neal Cleaver, Racism, Civil Rights, and Feminism, in Critical Race Feminism: A Reader (Wing ed. 1997)

  • Gayle Rubin, Gayle Rubin, Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality, in Pleasure and Danger267 (Carole S. Vance ed., 1984)

I. The Body As A Gender Justice Project

February 5th: Paradigms of Gender Equality

  • Katherine Franke, Theorizing Yes: An Essay on Feminism, Law and Desire, 101 Columbia Law Review 181 (2001)

February 12th: Gendering/Sexing the Body

  • In Re Estate of Gardner

  • IOC Regulations on Female Hyperandrogenism

  • Rebecca Jordan-Young and Katrina Karkazis, You Say You’re a Woman? That Should Be Enough, New York Times, June 17, 2012

February 19th: Dress Codes

  • Jesperson v. Harrah’s Operating Co.

  • Li Zhou, The Sexism of School Dress Codes, The Atlantic, October 20, 2015

  • Letter of Complaint Against Mystic Valley Regional Charter School 

February 26th: The Pregnant Body

  • Trubeck v. Ullman, 147 Conn. 633 (1960)

  • Brief of ACLU in Griswold v. Connecticut

  • Litigation: Connecticut, in Before Roe v. Wade: Voices that Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court's Ruling (2d edition, 2012) pp. 163-184

March 5th: Criminalizing Pregnancy

  • Nina Martin, Take A Valium, Lose Your Kid, Go To Jail, Pro Publica, September 2015

  • Lynn Paltrow, Jeanne Flavin, Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973–2005: Implications for Women's Legal Status and Public Health, J. Health Politics, Policy and Law, April 2013


  • "The Shackling Of Incarcerated Pregnant Women: A Human Rights Violation Committed Regularly In The United States," (2013) - optional

  • Dorothy Roberts, Unshackling Black Motherhood, 95 Mich. L. Rev. 938 (1997) - optional

II. Gender, Sex, and Sexual Orientation

March 19th: Is Sexual Orientation Discrimination a Form of Sex Discrimination?

  • Brian D. Prowel v. Wise Business Forms, Inc., 579 F.3d 285 (3rd Cir. 2009)

  • Hively v Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, 853 F.3d 339 (7th Cir. 2017)

March 26th: Is Transgender Discrimination a Form of Sex Discrimination?

  • Ulane v. Eastern Airlines, Inc., 742 F.2d 1081 (7th Cir. 1984)

  • Macy v. Department of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 0120120821 (April 20, 2012)

  • G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, brief of the ACLU (Filed February 23rd)

April 2nd: Sex Work

  • The NYPD Arrests Women for Who They Are and Where They Go — Now They're Fighting Back

  • Interactive Map: See Where the NYPD Arrests Women Who Are Black, Latina, Trans, and/or Wearing Jeans

  • Complaint, D.H. v. City of New York

  • Loitering Case - Defendants' Motion to Dismiss - Natasha Martin et al. v. The City of New York - Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Support of Their Partial Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint. United States District Court - Southern District of New York.

April 9th: Decriminalization of Sex Work

  • Amnesty International Policy on state obligations to respect, protect, and fulfil the human rights of sex workers

  • LGBT Rights Organizations Join Amnesty International in Call to Decriminalize Sex Work, August 20, 2015

  • Rachel Moran, Buying Sex Should Not Be Legal, August 29, 2015

  • Tryon P. Woods, The Antiblackness of 'modern-day slavery' Abolitionism, Open Democracy, October 10, 2014

  • Frankie Mullin, The difference between decriminalisation and legalisation of sex work, Newstatesman 19 October 2015.

April 16th: Marriage 

  • Katherine Franke, Wedlocked: The Perils of Marriage Equality (2015) Chapter 3

III. Gendering Violence and Trauma April 23rd: Rape and Sexual Assault

  • Catharine MacKinnon, Rape: On Coercion and Consent, in Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989)

  • Emily Bazelon, The St. Paul’s Rape Case Shows Why Sexual-Assault Laws Must Change, New York Times, August 26, 2015

  • American Law Institute, Modern Penal Code, Sexual Assault and Related Offenses (2014)

  • Ilene Seidman and Susan Vickers, The Second Wave: An Agenda for the Next Thirty Years of Rape Law Reform, 38 SUFFOLK U. L. REV. 467 (2005)

  • Jeannie Suk, The Trouble with Teaching Rape Law, December 15, 2014

April 30th: Black Lives Matter - A Movement for Racial and Gender Justice

  • Marcia Chatelain and Kaavya Asoka, Women and Black Lives Matter: An Interview with Marcia Chatelain, Dissent Magazine, Summer 2015

  • Vania Leveille, Black Women and Black Lives Matter: Fighting Police Misconduct in Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Cases

  • Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women, African American Policy Forum