Catharine A. MacKinnon

James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law

James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law

2016-2017

Biography

Catharine A. MacKinnon is a lawyer, teacher, writer, and activist on sex equality issues domestically and internationally. She is Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan and from 2008-2012 was the first Special Gender Adviser to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Widely published in many languages, her dozen books include Sexual Harassment of Working Women (1979), Feminism Unmodified (1987), Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989), Only Words (1993), Women's Lives, Men's Laws (2005), Are Women Human? (2006), and her casebook Sex Equality (2001/2007). She conceived sexual abuse as a violation of equality rights, pioneering the legal claim for sexual harassment as sex discrimination in employment and education; with Andrea Dworkin, she recognized the harms of pornography as civil rights violations and proposed the Swedish Model to abolish prostitution. Her approach to equality has been largely accepted in Canada and elsewhere. Representing Bosnian women survivors of Serbian sexual atrocities, she established legal recognition of rape in genocide, winning with co-counsel a $745 million verdict at trial. She works with Equality Now, an international NGO promoting sex equality, and the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW).

Areas of Interest

Catherine A. MacKinnon, Butterfly Politics (Belknap Press 2017).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Gender & Sexuality
,
Feminist Legal Theory
,
Law & Political Theory
Type: Book
Abstract
The minuscule motion of a butterfly’s wings can trigger a tornado half a world away, according to chaos theory. Under the right conditions, small simple actions can produce large complex effects. In this timely and provocative book, Catharine A. MacKinnon argues that the right seemingly minor interventions in the legal realm can have a butterfly effect that generates major social and cultural transformations.Butterfly Politics brings this incisive understanding of social causality to a wide-ranging exploration of gender relations. The pieces collected here—many published for the first time—provide a new perspective on MacKinnon’s career as a pioneer of legal theory and practice and an activist for women’s rights. Its central concerns of gender inequality, sexual harassment, rape, pornography, and prostitution have defined MacKinnon’s intellectual, legal, and political pursuits for over forty years. Though differing in style and approach, the selections all share the same motivation: to end inequality, including abuse, in women’s lives. Several mark the first time ideas that are now staples of legal and political discourse appeared in public—for example, the analysis of substantive equality. Others urge changes that have yet to be realized.The butterfly effect can animate political activism and advance equality socially and legally. Seemingly insignificant actions, through collective recursion, can intervene in unstable systems to produce systemic change. A powerful critique of the legal and institutional denial of reality that perpetuates practices of gender inequality, Butterfly Politics provides a model of what principled, effective, socially conscious engagement with law looks like.
Catharine A. MacKinnon, In Their Hands: Restoring Institutional Liability for Sexual Harassment in Education, 125 Yale L.J. 2038 (2016).
Categories:
Family Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Civil Rights
,
Gender & Sexuality
,
Education Law
Type: Article
Catherine A. MacKinnon, Sex Equality (Found. Press 3d ed. 2016).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Gender & Sexuality
Type: Book
Abstract
This volume provides detailed information on inequality between the sexes, an expert grasp of the legal and conceptual tools of sex equality in its manifold dimensions, and visions of future possibilities.
Catharine A. MacKinnon, Raising Hell, Making Miracles: The Everlovin' Legal Imagination of Ann Scales, 91 Denv. U. L. Rev. 13 (2013).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Legal Profession
Sub-Categories:
Feminist Legal Theory
,
Biography & Tribute
Type: Article
Catharine A. MacKinnon, Intersectionality as Method: A Note, 38 Signs 1019 (2013).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
,
Gender & Sexuality
,
Feminist Legal Theory
,
Legal Theory & Philosophy
Type: Article
Directions in Sexual Harassment Law (Catharine A. MacKinnon & Reva B. Siegel eds., Yale Univ. Press 2004).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Constitutional Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Gender & Sexuality
,
Feminist Legal Theory
Type: Book
Abstract
The U.S. Supreme Court accepted her theory of sexual harassment in 1986. Here MacKinnon collaborates with eminent authorities to appraise what has been accomplished in the field and what still needs to be done.
Catherine A. MacKinnon, Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues (Harv. Univ. Press 2007).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Gender & Sexuality
,
Feminist Legal Theory
,
Human Rights Law
Type: Book
Abstract
Catharine A. MacKinnon. are women human ? And Other International Dialogues CATHARINE A... MABKINNIJN are women human? and other international dialogues. Front Cover.
Catharine A. MacKinnon, Women's Lives, Men's Laws (Harv. Univ. Press 2005).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Feminist Legal Theory
Type: Book
Abstract
In the past twenty-five years, no one has been more instrumental than Catharine MacKinnon in making equal rights real for women. As Peter Jennings once put it, more than anyone else in legal studies, she “has made it easier for other women to seek justice.” This collection, the first since MacKinnon’s celebrated Feminism Unmodified appeared in 1987, brings together previously uncollected and unpublished work in the national arena from 1980 to the present, defining her clear, coherent, consistent approach to reframing the law of men on the basis of the lives of women. By making visible the deep gender bias of existing law, MacKinnon has recast legal debate and action on issues of sex discrimination, sexual abuse, prostitution, pornography, and racism. The essays in this volume document and illuminate some of the momentous and ongoing changes to which this work contributes; the recognition of sexual harassment, rape, and battering as claims for sexual discrimination; the redefinition of rape in terms of women’s actual experience of sexual violation; and the reframing of the pornography debate around harm rather than morality. The perspectives in these essays have played an essential part in changing American law and remain fundamental to the project of building a sex-equal future.
Catharine A. MacKinnon, Women's September 11th: Rethinking the International Law of Conflict, 47 Harv. Int'l L.J. 1 (2006).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Gender & Sexuality
,
Feminist Legal Theory
,
International Humanitarian Law
Type: Article
Catharine A. MacKinnon, Pornography as Trafficking, 26 Mich. J. Int'l L. 993 (2005).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Gender & Sexuality
,
Feminist Legal Theory
,
Human Rights Law
Type: Article
Catharine A. MacKinnon, The Straight Road: A Tribute to Burke Marshall, 113 Yale L.J. 811 (2004).
Categories:
Legal Profession
Sub-Categories:
Biography & Tribute
Type: Article
Catharine A. MacKinnon, A Sex Equality Approach to Sexual Assault, 989 Annals N.Y. Acad. Sci. 265 (2003).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Criminal Law & Procedure
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Gender & Sexuality
,
Feminist Legal Theory
Type: Article
Abstract
Sexual assault is a practice of sex inequality. It is not generally addressed as such by law, including criminal law, and should be.
Catharine A. MacKinnon, Mainstreaming Feminism in Legal Education, 53 J. Legal Educ.199 (2003).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Legal Profession
Sub-Categories:
Feminist Legal Theory
,
Legal Education
Type: Article
In Harm’s Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings (Catharine A. MacKinnon & Andrea Dworkin eds., Harv. Univ. Press 1998).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Constitutional Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
First Amendment
,
Gender & Sexuality
,
Civil Rights
,
Feminist Legal Theory
Type: Book
Abstract
This book covers the hearings in Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Massachusetts.
Catherine A. MacKinnon, Only Words (Harv. Univ. Press 1996).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Constitutional Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
First Amendment
,
Fourteenth Amendment
,
Gender & Sexuality
,
Feminist Legal Theory
Type: Book
Abstract
MacKinnon contends that pornography, racial and sexual harassment, and racial hate speech are acts of intimidation, subordination, terrorism, and discrimination, and should be legally treated as such.
Catherine A. MacKinnon, Law’s Stories as Reality and Politics, in Law's Stories: Narrative and Rhetoric in the Law 232 (Peter Brooks & Paul Gewirtz eds., 1996).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Legal Theory & Philosophy
,
Law & Political Theory
Type: Book
Catherine A. MacKinnon, Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law (Harv. Univ. Press 1987).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Feminist Legal Theory
Type: Book
Abstract
An analysis of the legal status of women includes discussions of discrimination, rape, sexual harassment, and pornography
Ellen C. Dubois, Mary C. Dunlap, Carol J. Gilligan, Catharine A. MacKinnon & Carrie J. Menkel-Meadow, Feminist Discourse, Moral Values, and the Law: A Conversation, 34 Buff. L. Rev. 11 (1985).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Legal Profession
Sub-Categories:
Feminist Legal Theory
,
Legal Ethics
Type: Article
Catharine A. MacKinnon, Reply to Miller, Acker and Barry, Johnson, West, and Gardiner, 10 Signs 184 (1984).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Feminist Legal Theory
Type: Article
Catharine A. MacKinnon, Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: An Agenda for Theory, 7 Signs 515 (1982).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Law & Public Policy
,
Feminist Legal Theory
,
Law & Political Theory
Type: Article
Catherine A. MacKinnon, Sexual Harassment of Working Women: a case of sex discrimination (Yale Univ. Press 1979).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Gender & Sexuality
,
Feminist Legal Theory
Type: Book
Abstract
Sexual harassment of working women has been widely practiced and systematically ignored.

Education History

Current Courses

Course Catalog View