Feminist Legal Studies Queen's

Feminist Legal Studies Queen's

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Law 692: Feminist Legal Studies Workshop I
(Fall term, 2010-2011), 1 credit

Course description:

The Feminist Legal Studies Workshop is designed to enable students to work closely with faculty in analyzing and discussing with leading feminist theorists and scholars visiting Queen's Faculty the topics of the speakers' papers. 

The Feminist Legal Studies Workshop course is offered for one course credit per term. In the fall term of 2010, it is designated as Law 692; in the winter term of 2011, it is designated as Law 693. Students may enroll for one credit in the fall term, or for one credit in the winter term, or for a total of two credits in both terms combined. This course can also be combined with an ISP for students who may wish to carry out in-depth independent supervised work in relation to one or more of the areas discussed in this workshop.

Scheduling details:

The workshop speakers will be scheduled for the regular visitor slots on Mondays and Fridays, which run from 1 to 2:30 pm, and one or two additional meetings per term will be scheduled around everyone's class and other commitments. Speaker dates and locations are listed below.

Nature, mode, and content of evaluation of student participation:
Students will attend all the speakers events (4/term or all 7-8), will prepare advance reading for the first session of each term and two advance questions for the rest of the speakers in that term, plus 1-2 pages of briefing notes after each session (60% of course credit), will participate in the discussion at the speakers visit (10% of course credit), and will prepare a short term paper of approximately 10-15 pages on a topic that relates to any one of the speakers events (30% of course credit). To be taught by Profs. Amani and Lahey.

Fall term speakers (2010-2011):


Sept. 13, 2010:  
Margaret Little
Dept. of Political Studies/Gender Studies, Queen's University:

'Who's Hurting Now? A Race, Class and Gender Analysis of Neo-Liberal Welfare Reforms'

Through an examination of recent welfare reforms in Canada, Dr. Little will demonstrate how social and political science techniques and critical intersectional analysis are used to examine the distributional impact of such policies. With attention to race, class, and gender, the presentation will explore who are the most marginalized through these policy changes.

Please read: A Litmus Test for Democracy: The Impact of Ontario Welfare Changes on Single Mothers in preparation for this lecture.

Instructions to students


Oct. 25, 2010:      
11:30am-12:40pm, Macdonald Hall 100
Teressa Nahanee is a member of the Squamish Indian Band in North Vancouver, lawyer, and professor, Nicola Valley Technical Institute, speaking about litigating and negotiating on behalf of Aboriginal women on matrimonial property issues, the exclusion of Inuit, Indian, and Metis women's organizations from the many devolution programs used by the federal government to perpetuate existing gender hierarchies in Aboriginal communities, and other issues of pressing concern.

1pm-2:30pm, Macdonald Hall Room 201
Sharon McIvor is a member of the Lower Nicola Band in BC, lawyer, and professor at Nicola Valley Technical Institute, speaking about her partially successful challenge to the sex discriminatory impact of the Indian Act status rules in the 2009 BC Court of Appeal decision in McIvor vs Canada (leave den. SCC), the long hard road that has brought Aboriginal women to this partial victory, and what this means for future issues left unresolved.

'Status Under the Indian Act: What Does Sex/Gender Have to do With It?'

Sharon McIvor and Teressa Nahanee, BC First Nations lawyers and faculty at NVIT, BC's Indigenous University, have both been personally involved in litigation and policy development concerning Indian women's long search for equal status under federal law, equal rights to matrimonial property on reserve lands, and the application of the Charter to Aboriginal issues. They will speak to these issues in a special three-hour seminar, relating their discussion to Aboriginal law and culture and to Canadian law.

Please read in preparation:

Native Women's Association of Canada v. Canada [2006]
Native Women's Association of Canada v. Canada [1994]
McIvor v. Canada [2009]
Sharon McIvor Court Case - Background


Nov. 8, 2010:      
Sharryn Aiken
Associate Dean and Associate Professor, Faculty of Law,
Queen's University

'National Security and Canadian Immigration: Deconstructing the Discourse of Trade-Offs'

This seminar offers an analysis of recent Canadian immigration, refugee, and border policy developments. Public responses to the arrival of the M.V. Sun Sea will be used to illustrate the global ascendancy of a national security discourse which has supported a disturbing erosion of human rights for non-citizens.


Nov. 26, 2010:  
Joanna Erdman
Co-Director, International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law
Programme, University of Toronto, Faculty of Law

'Emergency Contraception in Canada: Competing Frames of Access and Authority'

Through discourse analysis based on stakeholder letters and regulatory amendments as well as articles from media and academic journals, this seminar will explore regulatory reform on emergency contraception in Canada as a political struggle mobilized around two key figures -- the woman and her pharmacist -- and enacted through two dominant frames -- access and authority.


Winter term speakers (2010-2011):


Jan. 17, 2011:      
Yola Grant
Grant and Bernhardt, Toronto, and former Tribunal, Ontario Human Rights Commission

'Women, Race, Labour and Employment Law, and Equality'

Based on the speaker's extensive experience as a crown prosecutor in workplace violations, sitting as a Tribunal in human rights violations, private practice, and acting on behalf of LEAF in equality cases, this labour expert will discuss how gender issues are defined in this area of law.


Jan. 24, 2011:      
Nicole LaViolette
Associate Professor, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law

`International Legal Responses to the Trafficking of Women and Children'

This speaker will present current international and regional legal frameworks that regulate trafficking in women and children and critically examine the direction adopted in international law to assess the extent to which the rights of women and children have been protected effectively.


Feb. 7, 2011:      
Pamela Cross is an accomplished feminist lawyer who has dedicated her life's work to improving women's access to justice.  She is widely respected both in legal reform circles and among isolated women experiencing violence. She is particularly known for her expertise on family law policy issues as they relate to violence against women. She is currently consulting with the National Association of Women and the Law and Luke's Place Support and Resource Centre for Abused Women and Children, is the former Director, METRAC and the Women's Justice Network, and was influential in the drafting of Ontario's religious arbitration legislation as it affects women's family law interests.

'Effective Policy Advocacy'

This seminar will be devoted to discussing how non-governmental legal groups play a crucial role in the policy formation process, and in keeping the lines of communication between activist groups and government agencies open and functioning.  This speaker has extensive experience in legislative policy construction, organization building, and legal engagement at all levels.


March 4, 2011, 1pm, Dunning Hall Room 12:      
Elahe Amani
Co-Chair, Women's Intercultural Network (WIN), former chair of the Coalition of Women from Asia and the Middle East, currently Director, Women Studies Program, California State University (Fullerton and Long Beach) Technology Services for Student Affairs

'Women and Democracy in Struggling Polities'

This seminar will focus on issues of social justice, peace activism, feminism, and comparative perspectives of religious and secular governance for human rights with particular reference to the plight of Iranian and Afghan women. She will also discuss the importance of activist passion in advocacy for democratic change in struggling polities.