Accueil > Introduction to feminist legal theory

DDRO 25A38 - Introduction to feminist legal theory

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Spring 2020-2021

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

This course is intended for all students interested in discovering feminist theories that challenge the assumptions of gender-neutrality and objectivity of legal reasoning. Feminist legal theory gather a set of heterogeneous approaches and methods that reflect on the role of the law in producing as well as in redressing sex and gender inequalities. The philosophical premises and foundational claims of the different strains of feminism (liberal, radical, cultural, socialist, Marxist, postmodern, postcolonial, intersectional…) will be presented in order to highlight the nuances of the feminist jurisprudence palette. Students will acquire analytical and methodological benchmarks that will enable them to develop their own views on current issues related to sex and gender. They will be invited to engage with case studies related to some key issues in feminist jurisprudence (feminism and environmental destruction; women, labour and family; sexual and gender-based violence; child-marriage and education of girls). At the end of the course, the student is expected to have basic knowledge on feminist engagements with the law; be able to critically reflect on the different feminist legal approaches and to mobilise their knowledge to address key issues related to law and gender.


ANCEAU, Clarisse (PhD student)

Course validation

To validate the course, the student is expected to pass the following assignments: 1°) one-hour exam early/mid-semester with short questions (20%); 2°) one reaction paper to one of the selected readings (40%); 3°) one group research work on one chosen case study related to law and gender issues (40%).

Required reading

  • • Excerpts from: Nicola Lacey, Unspeakable Subjects. Feminist Essays in Legal and Social Theory, Oxford, 1998.
  • • Excerpts from: Janet Halley, Split Decisions: How and Why to Take a Break from Feminism, Princeton University Press, 2006.
  • • Heidi I. Hartmann, “The Family as the Locus of Gender, Class and Political Struggle: The Example of Housework”, in Nancy Tuana and Rosemarie Tong (ed.), Feminism and Philosophy: Essential Readings in Theory, Reinterpretation and Application, Westview, 1995, pp. 104-128.

Additional required reading

  • • Frances Olsen, “What is Feminist Legal Theory and Why Should Gender Studies Care about it”, IGS Bulletin, 1998, pp. 19-34.
  • • Chandra Talpade Mohanty, “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses”, boundary 2, Vol. 12 (3), 1984, pp. 333-358.