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Research Canons

Books and articles that are essential to a new academic in various areas of legal inquiry as suggested by contributors to PrawfsBlawg.

Feminist Theory Law Articles

  1. Angela Harris, Race and Essentialism in Feminist Legal Theory, 42 Stan. L. Rev. 581 (1990) (suggested by David Schraub).
  2. Kate Bartlett, Feminist Legal Methods, 103 Harv. L. Rev. 829 (1990) (suggested by Kristi Bowman).

 

Feminist Theory Law Books

  1. Feminist Legal Theory: Readings In Law And Gender (Katharine T. Bartlett & Rosanne Kennedy, eds., 1991) (these three books are collections of articles and essays by a wide range of feminist legal scholars on a variety of compelling topics. Most of the constituent works of all three books were written for an audience that already knows something about feminist legal theory, although each book also contains a few relatively introductory offerings. The Bartlett & Kennedy and Weisberg books contain very diverse voices and topics, while the Dowd & Jabobs book is more narrowly focused on works that are expressly anti-essentialist (i.e. discuss the impact on and importance to feminism of differences between women; reposted by Patrick O'Donnell from Ann Bartow's blog, Feminist Law Professors).  
  2.  Katherine T. Bartlett & Deborah L. Rhode, Gender and Law: Theory, Doctrine, and Commentary (2006) (another great book for teaching purposes; suggested by Patrick O'Donnell). 
  3. Martha Clamallas,Introduction to Feminist Legal Theory  (2003) (this book is a kind of treatise, written by one person in a consistent and largely neutral voice, that provides an overview of the basic concepts of feminist legal theory. I think Martha Chamallas did a great job of explaining a lot of complicated concepts in clear, accessible language, and it’s a terrific primer for beginners. If I was going to teach Feminist Legal Theory to students who were not necessarily feminists, or positively inclined towards feminism themselves, this would be the book I’d rely on initially; reposted by Patrick O'Donnell from Ann Bartow's blog, Feminist Law Professors, also suggested by Kristi Bowman). 
  4. Feminist Legal Theory: An Anti-Essentialist Reader (Nancy E. Dowd & Michelle S. Jacobs eds., 2003) (these three books are collections of articles and essays by a wide range of feminist legal scholars on a variety of compelling topics. Most of the constituent works of all three books were written for an audience that already knows something about feminist legal theory, although each book also contains a few relatively introductory offerings. The Bartlett & Kennedy and Weisberg books contain very diverse voices and topics, while the Dowd & Jabobs book is more narrowly focused on works that are expressly anti-essentialist (i.e. discuss the impact on and importance to feminism of differences between women; reposted by Patrick O'Donnell from Ann Bartow's blog, Feminist Law Professors).
  5. Martha Albertson Fineman, The Neutered Mother the Sexual Family and other Twentieth Century Tragedies (1995) (suggested by Femme Law Professor).   
  6. Nancy Levit & Robert R. M. Verchick, Feminist Legal Theory: A Primer (2006) (this book is also excellent. It describes the intersection of feminism and specific social issues in somewhat greater detail than the Chamallas book, with a bit more authorial viewpoint. If someone was teaching Feminist Legal Theory to students who had self-selected into a course because they were specifically interested in feminism, this book would be a great choice; reposted by Patrick O'Donnell from Ann Bartow's blog, Feminist Law Professors). 
  7. Catharine A. MacKinnon, Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law (1988) (I rather wish both were less polemical and more analytic but they are surely both important and required reading; suggested by Matt).
  8. Catharine A. MacKinnon, Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1991) (I rather wish both were less polemical and more analytic but they are surely both important and required reading; suggested by Matt). 
  9. Susan Moller Okin, Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? (1999) (less strictly legal theory but still very important to the area; suggested by Matt). 
  10. Susan Moller Okin, Justice, Gender, and the Family (1991) (less strictly legal theory but still very important to the area, especially good for showing how issues relating to women and the family contribute to inequality, and the ways this is reinforced by law; suggested by Matt). 
  11. Elizabeth V. Spelman, Inessential Woman (1990) (suggested by David Schraub). 
  12. Feminist Legal Theory Foundations (D. Kelly Weisberg eds., 1993) (these three books are collections of articles and essays by a wide range of feminist legal scholars on a variety of compelling topics. Most of the constituent works of all three books were written for an audience that already knows something about feminist legal theory, although each book also contains a few relatively introductory offerings. The Bartlett & Kennedy and Weisberg books contain very diverse voices and topics, while the Dowd & Jabobs book is more narrowly focused on works that are expressly anti-essentialist (i.e. discuss the impact on and importance to feminism of differences between women; reposted by Patrick O'Donnell from Ann Bartow's blog, Feminist Law Professors).