THE LEADING FEMINIST
SCHOLAR OF OUR GENERATION
challenges us to rethink
the most basic issues of family law
Albertson Fineman, one of the nations leading feminist
legal scholars, has been named Robert W. Woodruff Professor
of Law at Emory, beginning in spring 2004.
Fineman is widely reputed to be the leading feminist legal scholar
of our generation, says John Witte Jr., Jonas Robitscher
Professor of Law and Ethics, who headed the Woodruff selection
committee. She brings to Emory an extraordinary record
of courageous interdisciplinary scholarship and a bracing enthusiasm
for conversation and scholarship on law and public policy that
will edify everyone.
internationally recognized law and society scholar and expert
on family law and feminist legal theory, Fineman comes to Emory
from the Cornell law school, where she is the Dorothea S. Clarke
Professor of Feminist Jurisprudence. She also is the founder
and director of the Feminism and Legal Theory Projectan
interdisciplinary examination of law and policy topics of particular
interest to womenwhich she will bring to Emory.
of Emorys major draws, says Fineman, is the Center for
the Interdisciplinary Study of Religion (CISR), where she will
serve as a senior fellow. Her work in the field of divorce and
family law has had a profound effect on the debates surrounding
the legal regulation of family and intimate relationships.
first book, The Illusion of Equality: The Rhetoric and Reality
of Divorce Reform, claims that the countrys no-fault
divorce reforms of the 1970s and 1980s have actually harmed
the women and children they were meant to protect.
1995 book, The Neutered Mother, the Sexual Family and Other
Twentieth Century Tragedies, broke new ground in the exploration
of single motherhood, welfare reform, and ending marriage as
a legal category.
most recent book, The Autonomy Myth: A Theory of Dependency,
articulates a radical reconception of family: Rather than focusing
on the bond between husband and wife, she proposed, societys
first priority should be the tie between parent and child.
legal scholar today has done more to make us view old questions
in a new light, said Thomas C. Arthur, dean of the
law school. She has already transformed the way we view
no-fault divorce, and her ongoing work on caregivers and dependents
challenges us to rethink some of the most basic issues of family
who was on the Emory campus in March for the conference Sex,
Marriage, and Family, and the Religions of the Book, the
culmination of a two-year research effort by the CISR, says
a vast diversity of love and reproductive relationships exists
is not synonymous with marriage, Fineman said during the
panel discussion I Do, I Dont: The Cases For and
should marriage be the price of entry into state-supported subsidies
symbolic dimension of marriagethe coming together of two
individuals with vows of love and commitmentwould likely
continue, Fineman said. It is the conduct of the parties,
not the mandates of the state, that actually constitutes the
her appointment, Fineman becomes the law schools third
Woodruff Professor, the highest honor Emory can bestow on a
faculty member. She joins newly recruited Michael
Perry and Harold J. Berman, who came to Emory in 1985 from
Harvard law school.M.J.L.