The Feminism and Legal Theory Project

More Than 30 Years of Revolutionary Scholarship

The Feminism and Legal Theory Project fosters interdisciplinary examinations of the ways in which the interaction of law and culture shapes expectations, policies, and practices related to gender. More specifically, the project addresses the intersection of gender with issues relating to age, race, class, ability, and sexuality. It has also generated a new theoretical venture in the Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative that moves beyond identities to bring together diverse perspectives and disciplines to advance a social justice framework rooted in the universality of human vulnerability and the need for a responsive state.

Objectives

  • To provide a means to introduce scholarship that applies feminist theory and methodology into legal debate, legislative reform movements, and the broader academic community through the publication of conference papers
  • To support and encourage feminist scholarship on gender and legal equality issues that analyze the differential impact of law on women and men and to consider also in this regard differences that exist or arise between differently situated women
  • To provide a forum within which feminist theorists can present their work and receive feedback from other scholars who share a common theoretical perspective and methodology

Learn More

Vulnerability and the Human Condition: A Different Approach to Equality, featuring Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law and Director of the Feminism and Legal Theory Project, Martha Albertson Fineman: View video »

Feminism, Masculinities, and Multiple Identities, featuring Martha Fineman and Elizabeth F. Emens. View video »

Nothing is off limits! The FLT Project is committed to challenging the status quo.

The Feminism and Legal Theory Project began in 1984 by Martha A. Fineman at the University of Wisconsin Law School. The initial mission of the FLT Project was to provide a forum for interdisciplinary feminist scholarship addressing important issues in law and society. The early years of the project were funded through grants from the Wisconsin Law School’s Institute for Legal Studies. Over the first six years, summer workshops brought scholars together around contested issues where they considered such topics as gender difference, violence against women, and motherhood.

In 1990, the FLT Project moved with Martha to Columbia Law School, where the number of workshop sessions each year increased from one in the summer to three or four during the academic year. In 1999, the project relocated to Cornell Law School where Martha held the first endowed Chair in the United States in Feminist Jurisprudence. The project once again expanded its scope, adding “Uncomfortable Conversations” to the regular workshop schedule.

In 2004, the FLT Project moved to its current home at Emory University School of Law, where Martha holds a Robert W. Woodruff Professorship. Funds from the Woodruff Professorship support the project and its programming. The move to Emory and Atlanta has allowed the FLT Project to reach a greater audience and attract scholars from around the world.

At Emory, the FLT Project initiated a very successful Visiting Scholars Program. Each year between five and eight scholars from around the world come to Emory for periods of time ranging from one week to the entire academic year. In addition, the project added a series of speakers on “Critical Perspectives on the Core Curriculum” to the existing programming in 2005.

Over the past several decades, the FLT Project has grown from holding an annual conference to hosting multiple workshops, conversations, and presentations throughout the year. As a result, each year distinguished visitors and speakers bring a wealth of new ideas and energy to Emory.

The FLT Project has also taken its message “on the road” and partnered with groups of interested feminists from other universities, including the Universities of Wisconsin and SUNY-Buffalo in the United States and Keele and Ulster Universities in the United Kingdom. Holding joint workshops and encouraging others to explore gender issues has allowed the FLT model to expand beyond the project itself.

Even with the tremendous growth in programming over the past several years, the FLT Project’s basic structure and core commitment remain the same: to foster interdisciplinary examinations of specific law and policy topics of particular interest to women. More generally, the project addresses the intersection of gender with issues relating to race, class, ability, and sexuality.

The Feminism and Legal Theory Project has archived its materials in the Hugh F. MacMillan Law Library at Emory University School of Law and digitally in the "Women and the Law" collection on HeinOnline » Access to HeinOnline access is available through most academic libraries. “Women and the Law” can also be purchased as a stand-alone subscription.

The archive bookcases are located on the third floor of the law library, outside of Room M329 (the Feminism and Legal Theory Visitor's Workspace). Archive DVDs can be viewed in either of the law library's two video rooms.

The FLT archive contains a range of materials relating to over 80 workshops and conferences run under the auspices of the FLT Project for over 25 years, held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1984 – 1990), Columbia University (1990 – 1999), Cornell University (1999 – 2003) and Emory University (2004 – ). FLT is of course Martha Fineman’s project, both in its inception and continuity, and the changes in venues across the years reflect Martha’s own career trajectory. Despite Professor Fineman’s centrality to the project, she has deliberately taken on the role of facilitator, rather than presenter, seeking to bring together other feminists to validate established expertise and also encourage newly emerging scholars from around the world.

FLT Archive

The archive contains published FLT anthologies, materials from all FLT workshops and conferences, as well as CD/DVD recordings of one-off presentations by leading scholars. The workshop and conference materials include initial papers written pre-presentation (in workbooks), actual (sometimes revised) presented papers at conferences (on CD/DVD), and, uniquely, Q & A sessions following the presentations (again, on CD/DVD). These are unedited, providing a unique insight into each event.

The materials reflect trends in feminist socio-legal theory across the past 25+ years. Several conferences have had the sub-heading of "Uncomfortable Conversations," tackling head-on tensions between competing theoretical positions. Enduring themes include (competing) feminist theories; concepts of the family, parenthood, and childhood; gendered inequality and its intersection with other disadvantaged minority identities (race, class, sexual identity, disability, and age); the material well-being of women and children; economic theory; vulnerability, dependency, and resilience; women’s subordination in law; and critical perspectives in law.

Some discourse has shifted quite dramatically, e.g. from focus on the public/private divide to viewing feminism through the lens of post-colonialism and global frameworks. Themes about parents and children have, in particular, taken on different perspectives across the quarter century. In the early 1990s interest was focussed on representations of motherhood; in the mid-1990s this had shifted towards the parent-child dyad beyond gendered normativity (alongside Martha’s own work, e.g. The Neutered Mother); and by the later 1990s one of the "Uncomfortable Conversations" was on the tensions which can arise between the legal rights of mothers and their children. Between 2000 and 2010, the focus had widened to include masculinities, father’s rights, and the socio-legal implications of genetic manipulation, reproductive technologies, and the "pregnant man."

The FLT archive is a unique historical record and a wonderful resource for feminist research with so much to offer on the development of feminist socio-legal theory across the last quarter of a century.

Click here for a detailed history of the project »

Accessing Items in the Archives

The following materials can be accessed on Hein Online in the Women and the Law collection:

  • Full-text of Conference Workbooks
  • Calls for Papers
  • Interviews with FLT/VHC Visiting Scholars
  • FLT/VHC Newsletters

The following materials must be accessed using the physical collection located in the Emory Law Library:

  • DVDs and CDs of FLT/VHC Conferences and Workshops
  • DVDs of Scholar Presentations
  • DVDs of Roundtable Discussions   

The following presentations are available on video, either online or in the FLT Archive at MacMillan Law Library. Contact the FLT staff for more information.

2014

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child: Working Methods and Dilemmas
Kirsten Sandberg
18 November 2014
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA)

Abortion in the US
Mark Rankin
13 May 2014
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA)

Contingent Vulnerabilities: Child Soldiers as Human Rights Subjects
Wendy Hesford
23 April 2014
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA)

Unhinging Same-Sex Marriage from the Constitutional Canon
Anthony Michael Kries
18 April 2014
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA)

The Relation of Oneself and to Others: Thinking Cultural Difference
Lakshmi Arya
15 April 2014
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA)

Workshops

A Workshop on Theorizing the State: The Resources of Vulnerability
5-6 December 2014
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA) Schedule »

An Uncomfortable Conversation: The Universal and the Particular-Vulnerability and Identities II
14-15 November 2014
(University of Miami School of Law, Coral Gables, FL) Schedule »

Vulnerability, Resilience, and Public Responsibility for Social and Economic Wellbeing
13-14 June 2014
(SUNY Buffalo School of Law, Buffalo, NY) Schedule »

FLT at 30: A Workshop on Labor and Employment
25-26 April 2014
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA) Schedule »

FLT at 30: A Workshop on Geographies of Violence-Place, Space, and Time
24-25 January 2014
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA) Schedule »

2013

Assisted Reproductive Technology Provision and the Vulnerability Thesis: From the UK to the Global Market
Rachel Fenton
10 September 2013
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA)

Outsourcing: Legitimate Method of Exploiting Labor and Resources?
Yue Ang
18 July 2013
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA)

Rethinking Legal Fatherhood through the Lens of Human Rights
Alice Margaria
26 March 2013
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA)

Arrogance, Avarice and Anguish: Addressing the Legal and Ethical Consequences of Posthumous Reproduction
Browne Lewis
7 March 2013
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA)

Health Policies and The Vulnerable Subject: Examining Vulnerability as the Natural State in Public Health Policies
Robert Rivers
4 March 2013
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA)

Rethinking Responsibility in Private Law
Ronit Donyets Kedar
27 February 2013
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA)

Moving Beyond Media and Policy Representations of Troubled and Troublesome Youth
Michelle Stack
6 February 2013
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA)

Prostitution: Law’s Engagement with the Sale of Sex
Angela Campbell
29 January 2013
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA)

Workshops

FLT at 30: A Workshop on the Transformation of the Family and the Recognition and Regulation of Intimate Lives
6-7 December 2013
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA) Schedule »

FLT at 30: A Workshop on Sex and Reproduction-From Privacy and Choice to Resilience and Opportunity?
15-16 November 2013
(Candler Library, Emory University, Atlanta, GA) Schedule »

2012

The Infertility Trap: Reproductive Exceptionalism and the Queer Family
Stu Marvel
13 November 2012
(Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA)

8 November 2012
Presentation: Jessica Dixon Weaver
Child Sexual Victimization: When Abused Children Become Neglectful Mothers
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)
Video »

31 October 2012
Presentation: Martha Albertson Fineman
Vulnerability and the Human Condition:  A Different Approach to Equality
(UBC Green College's Cecil H. and Ida Green Visiting Professor Lecture Series)
Video »

3 March 2012
Presentation: Martha Albertson Fineman
Barnard Vulnerability: The Human and the Humanities
(The Barnard Scholar & Feminist Conference 2012)
Video »

24 January  2012
Presentation: Josephine Ndagire
National Prosecution of ‘Gendered’ International Crimes
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)
Video »

2011

29 July 2011
Presentation: Anna Grear
Mind the Gap: A Reflection on Legal Subjectivity in the Age of Globalization
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)
Video »

9 June 2011
Presentation: Martha Fineman
Law and Vulnerabilities
(Lund University, Lund, Sweden)
Video »


28 April 2011
Presentation: JaeWon Kim
Recent Controversies on Abortion in South Korea
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)
Video »

2010

24 February 2010
Critical Perspectives on the Core Curriculum Series (CPCC)
Critical Perspectives on False Confession and Wrongful Convictions: Understanding the Problem, Analyzing Possible Solutions with Richard Leo
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

2009

26 March 2009
Roundtable Discussion: Michelle Oberman and Kay Levine
The Intersection of Criminal Law and Adolescent Sexuality
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

26 March 2009
Presentation: Gillian Calder and Sharon Cowan
Dancing with Dichotomies: Equality and the Pregnant Man
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

16 February 2009
Panel Discussion: Chief Judge Desiree S. Peagler, Kathryn V. Stanley, Sandra Barnhill, Liz Bounds
A Legal Response to Incarcerated Mothers and Their Children
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

15 January 2009
Schatten Gallery Exhibit: Rickie Solinger
Interrupted Lives: Incarcerated Mothers in the US and
Beggars and Choosers: Motherhood Is Not a Class Privilege in America
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

2008

23 October 2008
Presentation: Rose Corrigan
What's Wrong with Rape? Failures of Law and Feminism
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

17-18 April 2008
Vulnerable Populations Speaker Series
Roundtable Discussion with Bryan S. Turner & Peadar Kirby
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

3 April 2008
Critical Perspectives on the Core Curriculum Series (CPCC)
Critical Perspectives in Constitutional Law: A Discussion with Kate Nace Day
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

2007

26 November 2007
Presentation: Laura Kessler
Community Parenting
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

15 November 2007
Critical Perspectives on the Core Curriculum Series (CPCC)
Critical Perspectives in Civil Procedure: A Discussion with Kevin Johnson
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

29 October 2007
Critical Perspectives on the Core Curriculum Series (CPCC)
Critical Perspectives in Tort Law: A Discussion with Michele Goodwin
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

15 October 2007
Presentation: Richard Collier
"I'm Not Mad, I'm Not Unreasonable, I'm Angry": The Fathers Rights Movement and Law Reform -
Reflections on the UK Experience

(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

10 September 2007
Presentation: Anna Kirkland
Feminism and Fat Rights: Gendering the "Obesity Epidemic"?
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

5 April 2007
Critical Perspectives on the Core Curriculum Series (CPCC)
Critical Perspectives in Criminal Law: A Discussion with Angela Davis
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

5 April 2007
Presentation: Irwin Stotzky
Constitutionalism and Democracy: Moving from Misery to Poverty with Dignity
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

28 March 2007
Presentation: Kate Nace Day
One Art: Being Feminist in Legal Education
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

26 March 2007
Critical Perspectives on the Core Curriculum Series (CPCC)
Critical Perspectives in Tort Law: A Discussion with Leslie Bender
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

8 March 2007
Critical Perspectives on the Core Curriculum Series (CPCC)
Critical Perspectives in Contract Law: A Discussion with Dorothy Brown
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

20 February 2007
Presentation: Liping Wang
Family Law in China
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

7 February 2007
Presentation: Justice Albie Sachs
A Discussion of Volks NO v. Robinson and Others
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

17 January 2007
Presentation: Patricia Williams
Civil Rights Emergency
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

2006

20 November 2006
Presentation: Courtney Cahill
The Genuine Article: A Subversive Economic Perspective on the Law's Procreationist Vision of Marriage
Courtney Cahill
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

26 October 2006
Special Event
Feminism and Legal Theory Project Archives Dedication
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

26 October 2006
Presentation: Fiona deLondras
Habeas Corpus in the Shadow of Hamdan: 'The Most Terribly Difficult and Important Constitutional Question'
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

9 August 2006
Presentation: Emil Bertocchi
Contingent Workers Overseas: Comparing Legal Frameworks, Reasons and Efforts to (Re)Build a Collective Interest
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

2 March 2006
Presentation: Kenji Yoshino
The Hidden Assault On Our Civil Rights
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

10 February 2006
Critical Perspectives on the Core Curriculum Series (CPCC)
Critical Perspectives in Property Law: A Discussion with Adrienne Davis
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

2005

18 November 2005
Critical Perspectives on the Core Curriculum Series (CPCC)
Critical Perpectives in Contract Law: A Discussion with Dorothy Brown
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

24 October 2005
Presentation: Michael Thomson
Six/Sex: Masculinity, Reproductivity and Law
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

14 October 2005
Critical Perspectives on the Core Curriculum Series (CPCC)
Tort Law and Gender: A Discussion with Lucinda Finley
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

2004

18 February 2004
Discussion with Eric Fassin
"Gender, Sexuality and Family Project (GSF)"
(Emory University, Atlanta, GA)

2003

November 5, 2003
Gender, Sexuality and Family Project (GSF)
“Is Law’s Normativity Gender Specific?”
A Discussion with Dr. George Pavlakos
(Cornell University, Ithaca, NY)

November 4, 2003
Gender, Sexuality and Family Project (GSF)
A Discussion with Estelle Zinsstag
(Cornell University, Ithaca, NY)

October 4, 2003
Gender, Sexuality and Family Project (GSF)
“Human Rights & Gender-Based Crime in Armed Conflict”
A Discussion with Estelle Zinsstag
(Queen’s University, Belfast, N. Ireland, UK)

2000

May 1, 2000
Gender, Sexuality and Family Project (GSF)
A Discussion with Richard Collier
(Cornell University, Ithaca, NY)

1999

November 11, 1999
Meeting
Columbia Law School
(Columbia University, New York, NY)