Document Type

Book Chapter

Book Authors/Editors

Deborah L. Brake, Martha Chamallas, & Verna L. Williams


Oxford University Press, forthcoming

Publication Date



Combining analyses of feminist legal theory, legal doctrine and feminist social movements, this Handbook offers a comprehensive overview of U.S. legal feminism. Contributions by leading feminist thinkers trace the impacts of legal feminism on legal claims and defenses and demonstrate how feminism has altered and transformed understandings of basic legal concepts, from sexual harassment and gender equity in sports to new conceptions of consent and motherhood. It connects legal feminism to adjacent intellectual discourses, such as masculinities theory and queer theory, and scrutinizes criticisms and backlash to feminism from all sides of the political spectrum. Its examination of the prominent brands of feminist legal theory shows the links and divergences among feminist scholars, highlighting the continued relevance of established theories (liberal, dominance and relational feminism) and the increased importance of new intersectional, sex-positive, and postmodern approaches.

Unique in its triple focus on theory, doctrine, and social movements, the Handbook recounts the history of activist struggles to pass the Equal Right Amendment, the Anti-Rape and Battered Movements of the 1970s, the contemporary movements for reproductive justice and against campus sexual assault as well as the #MeToo movement. The emphasis on theory and feminist practice animates discussions of feminist legal pedagogy and feminist influences on judges and judicial decision making. Chapters on emerging areas of law ripe for feminist analysis explore foundational subjects like contracts, tax, and tort law and imagine feminist and social justice approaches to digital privacy and intellectual property law, environmental law, and immigration law.