This fall semester the course will be taught as a seminar focused specifically on sex in law. We will begin with a history of biological sex classifications, societies' interest in those classifications, and the special benefits and/or burdens they have involved for individuals. This section of the course will feature the male-female binary, but in that context, we will also discuss the legal treatment of individuals with intersex conditions. We will then turn to an examination of modern sex classifications and equality law, and the way these have developed in tandem with academic work critiquing the social or gendered construction of sex. This section of the course will focus on the application of the Equal Protection Clause to discrimination “on the basis of sex” and the doctrine that has developed around the federal statutes prohibiting sex discrimination. We will end with focus on two current debates: the first about the merits of a sex-blind approach to equality law—whether, for example, society should continue to support or permit some men’s and women’s-only spaces; and the second about whether sexual orientation and gender identity should be considered aspects of “sex” for purposes of this law.
This is not an exam course. Grades are based on six short – 1500+ words – analytical papers related to the assigned materials, and regular, active participation in seminar discussions. If you wish to write a longer piece on a topic related to the subject matter of the course, we will consider an additional one credit independent study alongside the seminar. An independent study paper does not replace the critique papers. Please request permission of the instructors before enrolling in Law 335W.
|Course Areas of Practice|
Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law
Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context