March 17, 2006
On March 15th, 2006, Professor Martha Fineman of Emory Law School delivered the 49th annual John R. Coen lecture at CU Law. Professor Fineman is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law at Emory, where she teaches Family Law, Feminist Legal Theory, Sexuality and the Law, and Women and the Law. She is an internationally recognized law and society scholar, and a leading authority on family law and feminist jurisprudence. Following graduation from University of Chicago Law School, Fineman clerked for the Hon. Luther M. Swygert of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and then taught at University of Wisconsin and Columbia University. She joined Cornell Law School in 1999 to become the first endowed Chair in the nation in Feminist Jurisprudence. Her scholarly interest is in the legal regulation of intimacy. Fineman is founder and director of the Feminism and Legal Theory Project, which was inaugurated in 1984. Fineman's publications include The Autonomy Myth: A Theory of Dependency, The New Press (2003); "Taking Children's Interest Seriously," Nomos; "Why Marriage?" University of Virginia Journal of Law and Social Policy (2001); The Neutered Mother, and The Sexual Family and other Twentieth Century Tragedies, Routledge Press (1995). She has received awards for her writing and teaching and has served on several government study commissions.Professor Fineman's Coen Lecture focused on the interaction between religious beliefs and expectations about the family in American society and the emerging international norms regarding the family and the regulation of children's rights. Previewing her forthcoming book, she argued that current debate about family law and children's rights could be furthered by taking into account international norms about such rights. She also contrasted the view of the family that prevails in more conservative or fundamentalist religious groups to such international norms.