Law 692: Feminist Legal Studies Workshop I (Fall 2017)

1 credit

Course description:

Course Information

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 2015, it is designated as Law 692; in the winter term of 2016 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 typically 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/all year), will prepare advance reading and two advance questions for each speaker in each 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 10-12 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.

Feminist Legal Studies Queen's - Fall Term 2017 Lectures

Monday, September 25, 2017
1-2:30pm, Robert Sutherland Hall, room 202

Rachel Kohut, Faculty of Law, McGill University (Law IV)

Topic: The Importance of Stories in Legal Education and Practice: From Midwifery in the Arctic to LNFB ['Law Needs Feminist Because...']

Kohut Poster.

Link to the video.

Importance of Stories in Legal Education and Practice: From Midwifery in the Arctic to LNFB

Stories have informed Rachel’s research and career trajectory. Beginning with her graduate studies in public health before starting law school, Rachel will speak to how she started researching midwifery in northern communities and how narratives surrounding birth from women, midwifes and obstetricians and gynecologists informed the analysis used in her work.

She will then speak to how discussions with her feminist mentors helped her resist the strong push to work in private practice and pursue opportunities in the human rights space—starting with her very first talk at FLSQ in March 2014. From her position with the HIV, Health and Development Team at the UNDP’s Istanbul Regional Hub, to interning with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network to her most recent role with the Center for Reproductive Rights’ Global Legal Program, she will speak candidly about how she made these opportunities transpire. Rachel will conclude by speaking to how her professional experiences helped her kickstart LNFB, and now narrative continues to play an important role in her advocacy efforts and legal career.

A fourth year law student at McGill University, Rachel is insatiably curious about the intersection of law, health and gender, and spends her time thinking about how to make policies in these realms can be more innovative and effective. This same curiosity fuelled her to pursue a Masters of Public Health in Newfoundland before attending law school. She has presented her research on maternal health care in remote and northern communities at Queen's twice before, as well as in Tromsø, Norway at Arctic Frontiers.

Rachel just completed an internship with the Center for Reproductive Rights' Global Legal Program in New York City where she primarily worked on the human rights implications of Zika virus infection in three South American countries. She has also held positions with the United Nations Development Program, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, International Development Research Centre's Global Health Research Initiative, the Chief Public Health Office of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Environmental Stewardship Department of the Assembly of First Nations and the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation.

#LawNeedsFeminismBecause was also Rachel's brainchild. Spearheaded by feminist law students, this initiative now spans coast to coast to coast, with over thirteen law faculties having organized photo campaigns. Visit Rachel's to learn more about what she gets up to.

Monday, November 13, 2017
1-2:30pm, Macdonald Hall (Law building), room 202

Gillian Balfour, Chair and Associate Professor, Dept. of Sociology, Trent University

Topic: Gender based violence and moral culpability: Exploring colonial trauma in sentencing narratives of Indigenous Women​

Balfour Poster.

Gillian Balfour is an Associate Professor and Chair, Sociology, at Trent University. Her research is in the areas of feminist engagement with all aspects of the criminal justice system, with a particular focus on the victimization, criminalization and incarceration continuum. She has examined sentencing law reforms and practices with regards to Aboriginal women. She is currently examining the discipline of women prisoners and how prisoners resist their conditions of confinement.

Her teaching areas include Sociology of Law, Feminist and Radical Criminology, Introductory Sociology and Prison Based Learning. She obtained her Bachelor of Science and Masters Degrees in Ottawa and her Doctor of Philosophy in Socio-legal Theory and Feminist Criminology at the University of Manitoba.


Balfour, Gillian. "Do law reforms matter? Exploring the victimization− criminalization continuum in the sentencing of Aboriginal women in Canada." International review of victimology 19, no. 1 (2013): 85-102.

Choose one of the following:

Balfour, Gillian, and Janice Du Mont. "Confronting restorative justice in neo-liberal times: Legal and rape narratives in conditional sentencing." Sexual assault in Canada: Law, legal practice and women’s activism (2012): 701-724. *** Please note this is a book chapter; not sure of availability to participants or copyright permissions for providing copies.

Stubbs, Julie, and Julia Tolmie. "Battered women charged with homicide: Advancing the interests of Indigenous women." Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology 41, no. 1 (2008): 138-161.

Monday, November 20, 2017
1-2:30pm, Macdonald Hall 001

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, Supreme Court of Canada

Topic: Q&A with the Chief Justice

Background Reading: McLachlin, Beverley. "The Charter 25 Years Later: The Good, the Bad, and the Challenges." Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 45.2 (2007): 365-377.


Monday, November 27, 2017
1-2:30pm, Macdonald Hall (Law building), room 202

Nancy Coldham, Chief Advocate and Founder, Society for the Advancement of Women’s Voices in Public Policy (EVE Society) and CriticalMass Women Inc.

Topic: The Politics of Voice: Women at the Ballot Box

Coldham Poster.

The Politics of Voice: Women at the Ballot Box

Ontario is celebrating the Suffrage Centenary this year. Women started getting the vote in Ontario on April 12,1917. Women candidates are still a minority and a 50-50 split in Cabinet Ministers happened for the first time in 2015. During the celebration of Canada's 100th anniversary since confederation (1967) there was one woman Cabinet Minister; Judy LaMarsh. This session takes you through the evolution and history of women's political voice in Canada, looks at the dynamics of women voters and compares the Canadian experience to those globally.

Nancy Coldham

Nancy Coldham, MAIIC, Hons. B.J. is a past candidate herself. She is past president of the Judy LaMarsh Fund that raised money for women candidates. Founder of the EVE Society and CriticalMass Women Inc.

Nancy is the 2013 Recipient of the Governor General of Canada's Gold Medal for Academic excellence for her thesis, "The Gendered Enterprise of Nation-Building: Rwandan Women Entrepreneurs". She is a 2014 Recipient of the YWCA Toronto's Women of Distinction Award for Political Action & Advocacy.

Stuart Soroka, Fred Cutler, Dietlind Stolle and Patrick Fournier. “Capturing Change (and Stability) in the 2011 Campaign." Policy Options (2011): 70-77.

Coulter, Kendra. “Women, Poverty Policy, and the Production of Neoliberal Politics in Ontario, Canada.Journal of Women, Politics & Policy. (2009): 23-45.

Elizabeth Gidengil, Andre Blais, Joanna Everitt, Patrick Fournier, Neil Nevitte. “Back to the Future? Making Sense of the 2005 Canadian Election outside Quebec.Canadian Journal of Political Science/ Revue canadienne de science politique. (2006): 1-25.