sex/gender


LOS ANGELES – On this International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I am honored to be spending this month at the USC Shoah Foundation, reviewing testimonies of persons who did their part to set right one of history’s terrible wrongs.

Seventy-three years ago today, Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, the infamous Nazi concentration camp located about 45 miles west of Kraków, Poland. Liberations of other camps by other Allied forces soon followed; among them, the U.S. liberation of Buchenwald on April 11, 1945, and the British liberation of Bergen-Belsen 4 days later.

Sixty years later, a 2005 U.N. General Assembly resolution set this date aside for commemoration of World War II atrocities (image credit); to quote the resolution, of

“… the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of one third of the Jewish people, along with countless members of other minorities …”

The resolution further:

  • honored “the courage and dedication shown by the soldiers who liberated the concentration camps”;
  • rejected “any denial of the Holocaust as an historical event”;
  • envisaged the Holocaust as “a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice”;
  • denounced “all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, wherever they occur”; and
  • encouraged initiatives designed to “inculcate future generations with the lessons of the Holocaust in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide.”

Among the many such initiatives are memorial centers and foundations throughout the world – 2 of which have helped me in my own research into the roles that women played during postwar international criminal trials at Nuremberg.

In December, the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, located in Glen Cove, New York, opened its archives to me. Special thanks to Helen  Turner, archivist and Director of Youth Education, for her assistance.

This month, as the inaugural Breslauer, Rutman and Anderson Research Fellow, I am in residence at the University of Southern California, examining documents in USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive. It has been a fruitful and moving scholarly experience, and I look forward to sharing my research at a public lecture on campus at 4 p.m. this Tuesday, Jan. 30, video available here (as I was honored to do last week at UCLA Law’s Promise Institute for Human Rights; video here). Special thanks to all at the foundation’s Center for Advanced Research – Wolf Gruner, Martha Stroud, Badema Pitic, Isabella Evalynn Lloyd-Damnjanovic, and Marika Stanford-Moore – and to the donors who endowed the research fellowship. (Fellowship info here.)

As reflected in the 2005 General Assembly resolution, the work of such institutions helps to entrench – and to prevent backsliding from – states’ promises to ensure and respect human rights and dignity norms, set out in instruments like the 1945 Charter of the United Nations, the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. To this list I would add the many documents establishing international criminal fora to prosecute persons charge with violating such norms – from  the Nuremberg-era tribunals through to today’s International Criminal Court.

Last autumn a colleague recommended The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce. I finally got ’round to reading it about 6 months after its June 2017 release, over winter break.

It begins by recounting Luce’s impulse roadtrip in 1989, joining Oxford friends in tearing down the Berlin Wall. It proceeds to survey trends scholars have been discussing for at least a decade – and then, as one might say, the book adds Trump and mixes. The result is a series of aphorisms and anecdotes; an example:

“In Moscow’s view, history is back and nothing is inevitable, least of all liberal democracy.”

Yet just a half-year later, events point to things missing from this mid-2017 account.

One is consideration of how voters would react to the current U.S. administration; that is, whether the ballot box might stymie the very forces it unleashed with the presidential election of November 8, 2016. (This omission surprises, given that as early as April 2017, a Democratic candidate had made a strong showing in a highly publicized Georgia congressional race.) Since Retreat was published, Republicans have lost a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama, along with other races, including 2 presumed GOP-safe statehouse seats in my own Georgia county. If results like these turn out to be bellwethers for the November 2018 midterms – and if newly elected leaders then work to recalibrate the policy agenda – at least some of the governance alarms raised in Retreat will seem less well-founded.

Another is discussion of sex and gender as pieces of the geopolitical puzzle. Nearly all the anecdotes related, and nearly all the sources cited, are male or pertain to men. Exceptions are critiques of the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, and of the United Kingdom’s post-Brexit PM, Teresa May, plus comments on Germany by reference to Angela Merkel. All 3 are women, of course, yet neither the subject’s sex nor the gendered nature of politics figures into these analyses. The January 21, 2017, global Women’s Marches suggested a need for more attention to sex-gender dynamics, and events in the second half of last year, signaled by #MeToo and #Time’sUp, confirm it.

Perhaps the pretermission is due to the book’s rather strict construction of “Western liberalism,” as  centered on the freedom of the individual. That framing of liberty may incur tension with views of equality that take into account an individual’s  membership in a group. The book evinces discomfort with attention to such membership by reference to “identity politics,” on the one hand, and color-lined “nationalism,” on the other. The excesses of both are indeed complications. But they exist. Better to explore reconciliation of liberty-equality tensions, as another commentator recently did, than only to decry manifestations of excess.

All this is not to say that the book’s structural observations are to be disregarded. To the contrary:

Its concern that elites have overstated the Western liberal solution is correct. The same may not be said of the book’s prescription of listening more to persons who voted for the current president, at least not if “listening” refers to myriad of 2017 articles presenting anecdotal interviews with such voters. Listening in a more statistically grounded manner well may be in order.

Also correct is the book’s concern that as political and economic power shifts east, to Asia, the West ought to recognize, to think, and to act more strategically in response to that shift. Its positing of a standoff between liberal India and illiberal China –

“… Divided by the Himalayas, the world’s two largest countries, China and India, sit side by side – one an autocracy, the other a democracy. …”

– is not immediately persuasive, yet merits further pondering.

In short, Luce’s observations offer a basis on which to continue to make sense of our present and future:

“We must think more radically than that.”

Luce pushes us, and for this, his book is a worthwhile read.

nobloodforoilSo, I don’t march.

I stayed home when millions protested the invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Stayed home for “No Blood for Oil” too (though I did have the T-shirt, at left). Avoided the streets of my Paris sabbatical home on May Day 2002, when half a million marched to the chants of “Là-Bas Le Pen.”

Pretty much avoided all public demonstrations since childhood, never having really seen the point of taking to the streets instead of concrete action – that is, instead of litigating/teaching/reasoning/writing/policymaking toward lasting solutions.

So why march today?

► Because the promise of the election of Barack Obama – hands down, the best President of my lifetime – so soon was dashed by never-believed yet oft-repeated undercuttings of his citizenship. The spurious claims and the events that ensued sunk the hope that had lifted many of us in 2007 and 2008. Fell particularly hard on those of us who are immigrants, or who count immigrants among our loved ones.

aliceroom3Because in the last years we’ve been forced to swallow bile: cruel falsehoods about the 1st woman to be nominated by a major U.S. political party; harsh slaps against everyone who has endured sexual assault; soulless insults about every disadvantaged group imaginable.

► Because Looking-Glass intrigue belongs to the fantasy world of Lewis Carroll, not to the real world in which we all must live.

Because aspirations to human dignity, equality, liberty, and justice, without borders, will not withstand anti-“globalist” attack unless those of us who hold these values dear come to their defense.

Because if we fail to object, we fail our children.

To quote other ‘Grrls:

“It seems like a day when numbers matter.”

“I couldn’t not go.”

And so even we not-marchers march, in D.C., in Philadelphia, and, at last count, in nearly 700 other places around the world.

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(Cross-posted from IntLawGrrls)

With thanks to all of you who’ve already submitted proposals for IntLawGrrls! 10th Birthday Conference at the University of Georgia School of Law, we’re pleased both to extend the call for papers deadline till Monday, January 9, and to report on how the conference is shaping up:

► Festivities will begin on Thursday, March 2, 2017. That afternoon, from 3:30 to 5 p.m., Georgia Law’s Women Law Students Association will host the 35th annual Edith House Lecture, featuring Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Our conference will open the same evening, at 7 p.m. at Ciné, with a screening of “500 Years,” Pamela Yates’ documentary about Guatemala set to premiere at the January 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Following the screening will be a conversation with Yates, the film’s director and an IntLawGrrls contributor, and with the producer, Paco de Onís.

► A feature of the next day – the Friday, March 3 Research Forum – will be a plenary panel on “strategies to promote women’s participation in shaping international law and policy amid the global emergence of antiglobalism.” Among the speakers of this still-in-formation panel will be these IntLawGrrls contributors:

  • waldHonorable Patricia M. Wald, who’s currently serving by Presidential appointment on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, and who’s career has included service as a Judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and as Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit;
  • dudziakEmory Law Professor Mary Dudziak, a legal historian of the post-World War II era and the new President of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Law; and
  • bvsConference co-organizer and Stanford Law Visiting Professor Beth Van Schaack, an expert in international criminal law and the laws of war and former Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice of the U.S. Department of State.

► Filling the balance of Friday, March 3 (before, that is, our evening conference dinner) will be Research Forum presentations by panelists drawn from our call for papers. We’re delighted to extend the deadline for such proposals till Monday, January 9 – and to report that several dozen proposals already have been submitted (and many already accepted, on a rolling basis).

  • They’ve come not only from the United States – California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. – but also, in keeping with our global reach, from Canada, France, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
  • Expertise is multidisciplinary – among those submitting are policymakers, clinicians and center directors, NGO representatives, students, and professors, in law, psychology, history, political science/international relations, anthropology.
  • Topics are global, too, treating issues in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Caribbean,  and Europe: the economy (comparative corporate law, corporate social responsibility, international trade); the environment (environmental protection, climate change, gender empowerment); rights (human rights, reproductive rights, women’s rights); humanitarian law and peace and security (genocide, global and human security, terrorism, lethal autonomous weapons); international organizations (enforcement mechanisms like the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Court, plus U.N. responsibility related to the Haiti cholera outbreak);  international law theory (role of civil society, feminist approaches to international law (in French and English); law enforcement (policing youth, evidence-gathering); armed conflict/postconflict (reparations, the Cold War); and sex and gender (women’s participation in international judging, warfare, and religious practice, as well as issues related to sexual and gender-based violence).

We welcome your participation, too. Click for more information and to submit a proposal.

(Cross-posted from IntLawGrrls)

houseedithgeorgiawillbanner-copy

Accompanying us to San Francisco will be this Georgia WILL banner. It depicts Edith House, co-valedictorian of the Georgia Law Class of 1925 and Florida’s 1st woman U.S. Attorney. Our Women Law Students Association hosts a lecture in her honor each year; slated to speak at the 35th annual Edith House Lecture, on March 2, 2017, is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Women’s roles will be the focus of the University of Georgia School of Law Roundtable Discussion on Women’s Leadership in Legal Academia from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 5, 2017, at the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools in San Francisco.

This brainstorming session for women law professors, clinicians, or librarians  who are or are interested in becoming administrators within law schools and universities at large. Among other things, we’ll explore whether there’s interest in a sustained project to foster women’s leadership in legal academia, and if so, what should be the contours of that project.

Taking part in the discussion will be 4 Georgia Law administrators: Lori A. Ringhand, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and  J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law; Usha Rodrigues, Associate Dean for Faculty Development and M.E. Kilpatrick Chair of Corporate Finance & Securities Law; Carol A. Watson, Director of the Alexander Campbell King Law Library; and yours truly, Diane Marie Amann, Associate Dean for International Programs & Strategic Initiatives and Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law. Also featured will be Monika Kalra Varma, an executive leadership consultant who served for the last five years as Executive Director of the District of Columbia Bar Pro Bono Program.

We’ll be hosting a reception as part of the discussion, and look forward to conversation with many of our counterparts throughout the AALS community. And we welcome the cosponsorship of the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education.

This event is part of our law school’s ongoing initiative, Georgia WILL (Georgia Women in Law Lead). It began in August with a celebration of the centenary date on which the legislature authorized women to practice law in Georgia, and has continued with lectures by Georgia Law alumnae and other prominent women; among them, a federal judge, a former U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights, and a corporate general counsel. The January 5 session will kick off a half dozen spring semester Georgia WILL events.

AALS-goers interested in the subject are most welcome to take part in the January 5 discussion/reception, to be held in Yosemite C, a room in the Ballroom Level of the AALS conference hotel, the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, 333 O’Farrell Street. Please join us, and please feel free to forward this notice to interested colleagues.

For more information, e-mail ruskintlaw@uga.edu.

(Cross-posted from Exchange of Notes)

politicsWhat a welcome surprise to read words I penned a few years ago quoted-within-a-quote in a post today at EJIL: Talk!

To be precise, Washington & Lee Law Professor Mark Drumbl wrote:

“Gender justice initiatives at the ICC remain entwined with other advocacy movements. Notable in this regard is the push for children’s rights. The pairing of women’s rights with children’s rights – while perhaps seeming somewhat odd – does reflect the historical association, in Diane Marie Amann’s words (cited by Chappell), of ‘women and children as bystanders, beings not fully conscious of the world around them’ within the Grotian Weltanschauung.”

The quote, from my essay “The Post-Postcolonial Woman or Child,” appears in Drumbl’s contribution to a terrific EJIL: Talk! symposium analyzing The Politics of Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court (Oxford University Press 2015), an important book by Louise A. Chappell (below right), Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow, School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

chappellChappell (who, like Drumbl, is an IntLawGrrls contributor) traces her subject through chapters that “represent,” “recognize,” “redistribute,” and “complement” gender justice at the ICC, an institution that “nested” “gender advocacy,” as Drumbl puts it in his review, entitled “Gender Justice and International Criminal Law: Peeking and Peering Beyond Stereotypes.” He adds:

“In short: her superb book is a must-read.”

Joining Drumbl in this symposium are:

► An opening post by EJIL: Talk! Associate Editor Helen McDermott, a post-doctoral Research Fellow in law and armed conflict in the Oxford Martin School Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations at the University of Oxford, England.

► An introduction by Chappell, who is due to close the conversation later this week (latter post now available here).

“Beyond a Recitation of Sexual Violence Provisions: A Mature Social Science Evaluation of the ICC” by Patricia Viseur Sellers, who serves as the International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s Special Adviser for Prosecution Strategies, is a Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College, Oxford University, and the former Legal Advisor for Gender and Acting Senior Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

“Gender Justice Legacies at the ICC” by yet another IntLawGrrls contributor, Valerie Oosterveld, Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies), Associate Professor, and Deputy Director of the Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law, London, Ontario, Canada.

To crib from Drumbl’s post, the series is a must-read.

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A scene from IntLawGrrls’ last conference, “Women in International Criminal Law,” October 29, 2010, at the American Society of International Law

Delighted to announce that we will be able to make it easier for some students or very-early-career persons whose papers are accepted for “IntLawGrrls! 10th Birthday Conference” to take part in this daylong celebration.

Thanks to the generosity of the Planethood Foundation, we have established a fund that will provide small grants to help defray the costs of travel to and accommodation at our conference, to be held March 3, 2017, at the Dean Rusk International Law Center, University of Georgia School of Law, Athens, Georgia USA. The law school is hosting as part of its Georgia Women in Law Lead initiative.

We’re pleased too to announce two additional conference cosponsors: the American Society of International Law and ASIL’s Women in International Law Interest Group (WILIG).

As detailed in our call for papers/conference webpage and prior posts, organizers Diane Marie Amann, Beth Van Schaack, Jaya Ramji-Nogales, and Kathleen A. Doty welcome paper proposals from academics, students, policymakers, and advocates, in English, French, or Spanish, on all topics in international, comparative, foreign, and transnational law and policy.

In addition to paper workshops, there will be at least one plenary panel, on “strategies to promote women’s participation in shaping international law and policy amid the global emergence of antiglobalism.”

The deadline for submissions will be January 1, 2017. Students or very-early-career person who would like to be considered for one of these grants to help defray travel costs are asked to indicate this in their submissions. Papers will be accepted on a rolling basis – indeed, we’ve already received several – so we encourage all to submit as soon as they are able.

For more information, see the call for papers or e-mail doty@uga.edu.

(Cross-posted from IntLawGrrls)