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Law, Literature and Feminism, Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago-Kent)

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posted on 2022-07-06, 16:22 authored by Post Discipline AdminPost Discipline Admin
This course will examine the development of feminist legal theory by focusing on several cases, writings of theorists, and novels that provide further illustration of the theories. The early advocates of women's rights argued in court cases for equality; this theme is also developed in Zora Neale Hurston's novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. The Supreme Court case focusing on maternity leave raised the question whether women should be arguing for equality or difference; Toni Morrison's novel The Bluest Eye asks a similar question. Catharine MacKinnon and Carol Gilligan gave the debate a slightly different turn, with MacKinnon focusing on the need to rectify an existing power imbalance and Gilligan emphasizing an appreciation of difference. Both these approaches intersect in Gloria Naylor's The Women of Brewster Place and Cristina Garcia's Dreaming in Cuban. The course will require attendance, participation, four ungraded writing assignments (1–2 pages), and a take-home final exam. Set texts: Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Bluest Eye, The Women of Brewster Place, Dreaming in Cuban (see 'Law, Literature, and Feminism: Broadening the Canon with New Texts' in Teaching Law and Literature, 2011). The instructor has written an essay about their experience of designing and delivering this course; see Nancy S. Marder, 'Law, Literature, and Feminism: Broadening the Canon with New Texts,' in Austin Sarat, Cathrine O. Frank, and Matthew Anderson (eds.) Teaching Law and Literature (MLA, 2011). This information has been collected for the Post-Discipline Online Syllabus Database. The database explores the use of literature by schools of professional education in North America. It forms part of a larger project titled Post-Discipline: Literature, Professionalism, and the Crisis of the Humanities, led by Dr Merve Emre with the assistance of Dr Hayley G. Toth. You can find more information about the project at Data was collected and accurate in 2021/22.


Subject Area


Geographic Region

East North Central

University or College

Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago-Kent)

Funding Status


Annual Tuition and Mandatory Fees 2021-2022 ($) (Resident; Non-resident, where applicable)


Course Title

Law, Literature and Feminism

Terminal Degree of Instructor(s)


Position of Instructor(s)

Professor of Law

Academic Year(s) Active

2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21, 2021/22

Primary Works on Reading List

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye; Gloria Naylor, The Women of Brewster Place; and Cristina García, Dreaming in Cuban.

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