Main content

The Feminism and Legal Theory Project

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 Fineman 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.