Feminist Legal Theory

Readings in Law and Gender


Edited by Katherine Bartlett; Rosanne Kennedy

First Edition • December 4, 1991 • 446 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813312484 • $60.00 USD$62.50 CAN

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Our understanding of the law and its potential for reforming social and political norms was dramatically reshaped in the 1980s by the intellectual movement known as feminist legal theory. What makes this new theory so important is the far-reaching challenge it poses to the assumptions embedded in traditional legal doctrine and method as well as the light it sheds on how these assumptions so consistently undercut efforts toward fundamental gender change. Feminist legal theory also suggests how feminist practice might move toward strategies capable of fostering more effective reform.

In a carefully balanced and thoughtfully edited collection of classic and new, cutting-edge papers, Katharine Bartlett and Rosanne Kennedy present some of the most provocative and diverse work in this exciting field. The selections reveal the influences of feminist work in philosophy, psychoanalysis, political theory, and literary criticism, among other fields. These disciplines have enriched legal theory and provided feminist scholars with more and sharper tools, and the results, as evidenced in this volume, are impressive and encouraging. They are also sobering, in that they force the realization that there is much theoretical and practical work yet to be done, under constraints we are only beginning to fully comprehend.

For students of the law, for anyone interested in women’s issues, for experienced scholars, and for newcomers, Feminist Legal Theory is not just essential reading but an enduring reference work.


Katharine T. Bartlett is professor of law at Duke University School of Law and the author of many articles on family law and feminist legal theory.

Rosanne Kennedy is a lecturer in women’s studies and English at Australian National University.

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