Feminist Jurisprudence

Feminist Jurisprudence

Feminist Jurisprudence

Feminist Jurisprudence


Feminist legal philosophy has generated a great deal of interest in recent years, and this is the first collection of readings to cover feminist legal philosophy in a comprehensive way. The readings are organized according to the traditional topics in a typical jurisprudence course: the nature and justification of law; judicial reasoning and the process of adjudication; and the connection between law and equality, and freedom and justice. At the same time, they provide balanced coverage of those feminist topics of current interest that are most discussed in legal and philosophical literature today.


I first assembled these materials in response to students' requests for a course on feminist legal theory. I had wanted to offer such a course for several years before I was able to squeeze it into the curriculum, which is apparently a common problem for feminist topics; we are not yet a regular part of the core. Along with the obvious disadvantages, this provides feminists with the distinct advantage of raising natural questions about what the core curriculum ought to be, and even more fundamental questions about how we organize our categories of knowledge. When I finally did manage to find time for the course, I realized that there was no book that assembled major feminist contributions to legal theory in one collection, so I did what all good college professors do: I assembled a photocopy packet. and this volume, with some rather substantial revisions due to student responses in the classroom, further research and experience on my part, and some very helpful and much appreciated advice from others in the field, is the result.

The course is modeled after a mainstream jurisprudence course, mainly because that is what I am used to teaching, and how I am used to thinking. I have tried to provide background on the traditional approach to the topics in this book in the introduction to each part. Perhaps because of this, several reviewers have suggested that this book could be used for a standard jurisprudence course. Especially if combined with a concise complementary text, such as Murphy andColeman philosophy of law, it could provide a fascinating foundation for any jurisprudence course, and one that students will find particularly stimulating and timely.

Two standard topics of jurisprudence are not explicitly (or separately) covered in this collection, namely, rights and punishment. This omission is not due to lack of interesting material; it was simply a judgment call in the face of limited space. I was not willing to leave out any of the topics that are included here, and the book would have become unmanageably long if I had included two more sections. There is excellent feminist work available on these topics, some of which is cited in the suggested readings. Other topics also deserve to be considered that I could not include here. Feminists have contributed to the discussion of contracts, torts, divorce and family law, property, and other traditional legal categories, as well as areas of special interest to women. I urge the reader to seek them out, and I have attempted to provide some helpful sources in the suggested readings. Unfortunately, comprehensive coverage is simply impossible, even for the areas I chose to cover, let alone all possible subjects.

The course I organized was a "special topics" jurisprudence course, and since I had been teaching jurisprudence for ten years, it was natural for me to organize it according to traditional philosophical subjects such as freedom, justice, equality, adjudication, and . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.