Gender Justice - Spring 2019

Gender Justice - Spring 2019

WMST GU4506: Gender Justice

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. 
  • Students will be evaluated based upon class participation, a short paper, class presentation, and a final paper.

Required materials:

  • Course readers

Download the course readers for this class at the following links

  • Gender Justice - Spring 2019: Reader 1
  • Gender Justice - Spring 2019: Reader 2
  • Gender Justice - Spring 2019: Reader 3
  • Gender Justice - Spring 2019: Reader 4

Course Syllabus:


Monday, January 28th: Introduction

  • Chloe Malle, Imperial Pink? The Wing Gears Up to Go Global, Vogue Magazine, August 8, 2018.

Monday, February 4th: 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, 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

Monday, February 11th: Paradigms of Gender Equality

  • Nancy Levit and Robert R.M. Verchick, Feminist Legal Theories, in Feminist Legal Theory, 11 (New York University Press, 2016).

Monday, February 18th: Gendering/Sexing the Body

  • In Re Estate of Gardiner

  • International Association of Athletics Federations, Eligibility Regulations For The Female Classification (Athletes With Differences Of Sex Development), November 1, 2018
  • IAAF Rules To Limit Testosterone Levels For Female Runners, CBC, April 26, 2018
  • Caster Semenya Files Legal Challenge Against 'Discriminatory' IAAF Rule, CBC, June 18, 2018
  • Katrina Karkazis and Rebecca Jordan-Young, The Powers of Testosterone:  Obscuring Race and Regional Bias in the Regulation of Women Athletes, Feminist Formations, Volume 30, Issue 2, Summer 2018, pp. 1-39

Monday, February 25th: Dress Codes

  • Jesperson v. Harrah’s Operating Co., 392 F.3d 1096 (9th Cir. 2004) (edited)

  • National Women’s Law Center, Dress Coded: Black Girls, Bodies, and Bias in D.C. Schools (2018)
  • Letter of Complaint Against Mystic Valley Regional Charter School, May 2017
  • Pavlakis, A. & Roegman, R., How Dress Codes Criminalize Males And Sexualize Females Of ColorPhi Delta Kappan, 100 (2), 54-58 (2018).

Monday, March 4th: 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 11th: Criminalizing Pregnancy

  • “When Prosecutors Jail a Mother for a Miscarriage,” New York Times, December 28, 2018

  •  “Federal Court of Appeals Decision Prevents Pregnant Woman’s Challenge to Wisconsin’s ‘Unborn Child Protection Act’.” National Advocates for Pregnant Women. June 18, 2018
  • “Arkansas Court of Appeals Overturns Criminal Conviction for Concealing a Birth.” National Advocates for Pregnant Women. March 14, 2018
  • Anne O’Hara Bynum v. State of Arkansas. Arkansas Court of Appeals. Opinion Delivered, March 14, 2018
  • Concurrence in Anne O’Hara Bynum v. State of Arkansas. Arkansas Court of Appeals. Opinion Delivered, March 14, 2018
II. Gender, Sex, and Sexual Orientation

March 25th: 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)

April 1st: 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 8th: 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. Martin et al. v. The City of New York (SKIM this reading)

April 15th: 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.
  • Law, Victoria. “Advocates Gather in New York City to Demand Decriminalization of Sex Work” Rewire.News. February 26, 2019.
  • Decrim NY. “Legislative Priorities: New York State Bills for the 2019-2020 Legislative Session.”

April 22nd: Marriage

  • Obergefell v. Hodges

  • Opinion of Justice Anthony Kennedy
  • Opinion of Justice Katherine Franke
  • Opinion of Justice Sherif Girgis and Robert George
III. Gendering Violence and Trauma

April 29th: 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)

May 6th: 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
  • Dorothy Roberts, Reproductive Justice, Not Just Rights, Dissent Magazine, Fall 2015
  • Leslie Watson Malachi, Police Violence Is a Reproductive Justice Issue, Cosmopolitan, July 18, 2016