Law 692: Feminist Legal Studies Workshop I (Fall 2019)

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 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 2019 Lectures

Monday, September 16, 2019
1-2:30pm, Macdonald Hall, room 202

Dr. Elizabeth Brulé (ABD) (Professor, Gender Studies Queen’s University) and
Dr. Ruth Koleszar-Green (Professor, Professional Studies, York University)

Topic: A second cup of tea and a few more stories: Deepening our understanding of Indigenization


Let us tell you a story… or two.
Sit and witness us unravel how we are implicated in Indigenizing the Academy.
In returning to our article “Cedar, Tea and Stories” we will re-answer our discussion questions. We will delve deeper into the personal and professional responsibilities that we hold up as we hold each other up.

Elizabeth Brulé
My present research focuses on Indigenous decolonization and resurgence practices including Indigenizing post-secondary curriculum, Indigenous youth activism and Missing and Murdered Women, Girls, Transgender and Two-spirit persons. Grounded in Indigenous feminist and critical race theory, and the social organization of knowledge scholarship, my area of specialization is in the field of comparative sociology in higher education with an analytic focus in critical pedagogical approaches to learning and alternative research methodologies, including Indigenous and anti-racist research methods and Institutional Ethnography. My present book project is an institutional ethnographic analysis of the ways in which marginalized student advocacy work intersects with the changing policies and practices of post-secondary neoliberal education reforms. I am of Métis and Franco-Ontarian ancestry of the Mattawa-Ottawa territory of the Algonquin First Nations and the Métis Nation.

Ruth Koleszar-Green
Ruth Koleszar-Green is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at York University. Ruth uses She/her pronouns. She is the co-chair of the Indigenous Council at York University and the Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Initiatives. She is an activist turned accidental academic. Koleszar-Green identifies as an urban Indigenous person, and is a citizen of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. She is from the Mohawk Nation and is a member of the Turtle Clan. She was born a Canadian but was 1/2 disenfranchised when she was 10 years old. By the time she was 34.5 years old she was completely disenfranchised. She acknowledges the privileges she gets in a world of identity politics to be governed by legislation that is 100 years older than she is! She also acknowledges her paternal Celtic heritage. Koleszar-Green likes to think about Indigenous education and social issues that impact Indigenous communities. She has a PhD from OISE in Adult Education and Community Development, an MSW and a BSW from Ryerson


Background Reading:

  • E. Brulé & R. Kolezar-Green.(2018, Fall). “Cedar, Tea and Stories: Two Indigenous Women Scholars Talk About Indigenizing the Academy.” Special Issue of Cultural and Pedagogical Inquiry, “Spirit and Heart: Indigenous People contest the formal and lived curricula,” 10(2), pp. 109-118.
  • E. Brulé. (2018). “Casting an Indigenous Feminist Worldview on Gender-Based Violence Prevention Programs,” Special Issue of Studies in Social Justice, “Activist in Academy, Feminists in the Field: In Memoriam Jackie Kirk, 1968-2008," 12(2), pp. 337-344.
  • E. Brulé. (2015). “Voices from the Margins: The Regulation of Student Activism in the New Corporate University.” Special Issue of Studies in Social Justice, “Scholar- Activist Terrain in Canada and Ireland II,” 9(2), pp.159-175.

Monday, October 21, 2019
1-2:30pm, Macdonald Hall, room 001

Dr. Carys Craig, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, Director, Osgoode LLM Program in Intellectual Property Law;
formerly Associate Dean, Osgoode Hall Law School

Topic: The Death of the AI Author: A Relational Feminist Perspective




Dr. Carys Craig
Much of the second-generation literature on AI and authorship asks whether an increasing sophistication and independence of generative code should cause us to rethink embedded assumptions about the meaning of authorship, arguing that recognizing the authored nature of AI-generated works may require a less profound doctrinal leap than has historically been suggested. In this essay, we argue that the threshold for authorship does not depend on the evolution or state of the art in AI or robotics. Instead, we contend that the very notion of AI-authorship rests on a category mistake: it is not an error about the current or potential capacities, capabilities, intelligence or sophistication of machines; rather it is an error about the ontology of authorship.

Building on the established critique of the romantic author figure, as well as recent scholarship at the intersection of intellectual property and gender, we argue that the death of the romantic author also and equally entails the death of the so-called AI author. We provide a theoretical account of authorship that demonstrates why claims of AI authorship do not make sense in terms of the realities of the world in which the problem exists. Those realities, we argue, must push us past bare doctrinal or utilitarian considerations of originality, assessed in terms of what an author must do. Instead, what they demand is an ontological consideration of what an author must be. Drawing on insights from feminist literary and political theory, we suggest that the ontological question requires an account of authorship that is relational; it necessitates a vision of authorship as a dialogic and communicative act that is inherently social, with the cultivation of selfhood and social relations as the entire point of the practice. Of course, this ontological inquiry into the plausibility of AI-authorship transcends copyright law and its particular doctrinal conundrums, going to the normative core of how law should—and should not—think about robots and AI, and their role in human relations.

Background Reading:

Carys J. Craig (2007), "Reconstructing the Author-Self: Some Feminist Lessons for Copyright Law." Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law, 15.2, pp. 207-268.

Carys Craig and Ian Kerr (in publication), 'The Death of the AI Author," Mar. 23, 2019 draft.

Monday, November 18, 2019
1-2:30pm, Macdonald Hall, room 202

Dr. Pamela Palmater, Professor and Chair in Indigenous Governance, Ryerson University

Topic: There Can Be No Reconciliation in Canada without Addressing Genocide


Dr. Pamela Palmater
Dr. Pam Palmater is a Mi’kmaw lawyer, professor, author, and social justice activist from Eel River Bar First Nation in New Brunswick. She has four university degrees, including a BA from St. Thomas in Native Studies; an LLB from University of New Brunswick, and her Masters and Doctorate in Law from Dalhousie University specializing in Indigenous law. She currently holds the position of Professor and Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University.

A practicing lawyer for 20 years, Pam has been volunteering and working in First Nation issues for over 25 years on a wide range of issues like socio-economic conditions, Aboriginal and treaty rights, and legislation impacting First Nations. Her books, Indigenous Nationhood: Empowering Grassroots Citizens and Beyond Blood: Rethinking Indigenous Identity, and her other publications focus on Indigenous law, politics, and governance and the importance of native sovereignty and nation-building.

Pam was one of the spokespeople and public educators for the Idle No More movement and advocates alongside other movements focusing on social justice and human rights. She is frequently called as a legal expert before Parliamentary and United Nations committees dealing with laws and policies impacting Indigenous peoples. Her current research focuses on police racism, abuse and sexualized violence against Indigenous women and girls and its contribution to the crisis of murdered, missing, traded, and exploited Indigenous women and girls.

Pam is a well-known public speaker and media commentator – considered one of Canada’s Top 25 Influential Movers and Shakers by the Financial Post and the Top 5 Most Influential Lawyer in Human Rights by Canadian Lawyer Magazine. She has been recognized with many awards for her social justice advocacy on behalf of First Nations generally, and Indigenous women and children specifically, including the 2012 YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in Social Justice, 2012 Women’s Courage Award in Social Justice, and the Margaret Mead Award in Social Justice 2016, to name a few.


Background Reading:

Friday, November 22, 2019
1-2:30pm, Macdonald Hall, room 202

Dr. Elaine Power, Professor, Health Studies, Queen’s University; cross-appointed Gender Studies; affiliated with Cultural Studies

Topic: “I don’t want to say I’m broke”: Student Experiences of Food Insecurity at Queen’s University


Food insecurity—inadequate or insecure access to food because of financial constraints—has serious consequences for physical and mental health and academic performance. In this presentation, I will describe the results of my recent qualitative interviews with 26 Queen’s students who didn't have enough money for food or who worried about having enough money for food. Study participants were undergraduate, graduate and professional students, the majority of whom were racialized or Indigenous, including first generation Canadians, law students, international students, and undergraduate students transitioning to independent living.



Background Reading:

Maynard, M., Meyer, S. B., Perlman, C. M., & Kirkpatrick, S. I. (2018). Experiences of Food Insecurity Among Undergraduate Students: “You Can’t Starve Yourself Through School”. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 48(2), 130-148.

Power, E., Abercrombie, D., St-Germain, A.-A. F., Vanderkooy, P., & Dietitians of Canada. (2016). Prevalence, Severity and Impact of Household Food Insecurity: A Serious Public Health Issue. Dietitians of Canada Background Paper.