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Encyclopedia > Catharine MacKinnon
Catherine MacKinnon
Catherine MacKinnon

Catharine Alice MacKinnon (born 7 October 1946) is an American feminist, scholar, lawyer, teacher, and activist. She was educated at Smith College (B.A., 1969), Yale Law School (J.D., 1977) and Yale University Graduate School (Ph.D. in political science, 1987). As of 2006, she is the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School and is also a long-term Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. Image File history File links Catherine_MacKinnon. ... Image File history File links Catherine_MacKinnon. ... October 7 is the 280th day of the year (281st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... Feminism is a collection of social theories, political movements and moral philosophies, largely motivated by or concerned with the liberation of women. ... A scholar is either a student or someone who has achieved a mastery of some academic discipline, perhaps receiving financial support through a scholarship. ... English barrister 16th century painting of a civil law notary, by Flemish painter Quentin Massys. ... A teachers room in a Japanese middle school, 2005. ... Activism, in a general sense, can be described as intentional action to bring about social or political change. ... Smith College, located in Northampton, Massachusetts, is the largest womens college in the United States. ... Bachelor of Arts (B.A., BA or A.B.), from the Latin Artium Baccalaureus is an undergraduate bachelors degree awarded for either a course or a program in the liberal arts or the sciences, or both. ... 1969 (MCMLXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1969 calendar). ... Yale Law School, established in 1843 in New Haven, Connecticut, is a division of Yale University. ... Juris Doctor (Latin for Teacher of Law) or J.D. is a degree in law offered by universities in a number of countries. ... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ... Yale redirects here. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Political science is the field of the social sciences concerning the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behavior. ... 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... An aerial view of the Law Quadrangle at the University of Michigan. ... The University of Chicago is a private university located principally in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. ...

Contents

Career

MacKinnon's work has mainly focused on the meaning of equality in law and life. Traditional equality employed the Aristotelian notion of equality--that is, the treatment of likes alike, unlikes unalike. She critiques this definition of equality as failing to recognize that subordination of groups and existing hierarchy in society results in differences perceived as natural. The law, or other groups with power, then justifies distinctions based on these differences. Under MacKinnon's theory, the opposite of equality is not difference but hierarchy as social constructs. "Equality thus requires promoting equality of status for historically subordinated groups, dismantling group hierarchy," in MacKinnon's view. This requires a substantive approach to equality jurisprudence in its examination of hierarchy, where before abstract notions of equality sufficed.


MacKinnon's legal career may be divided into three central areas of focus involving her work on: (1) sexual harassment, (2) pornography, and (3) international law -- although there is overlap with these issues and she continues to work in each of these areas.


MacKinnon has also worked on political theory throughout her career. MacKinnon has explained:

In the context of the women's movement practice at the time, my thought in taking up method was that women's situation lacked and needed a full-dress theory of its own, and that the experience of women had a distinctive contribution to make to political theory on the epistemic level. Back then, my view was that the relation between knowledge and power was the central issue that women's situation and formal theory posed for each other, and that sexuality was where this issue was crucially played out. Almost thirty years later, the discussion launched then is far from finished.[1]

"The parts on method in Catharine A. MacKinnon, Toward A Feminist Theory of the State (1989), were essentially written in 1971 and 1972, circulated, and then published in pieces in 1982 and 1983 in Signs, one part subtitled An Agenda for Theory. The book as a whole was published 15 years later."[2]


"Sexual Harassment of Working Women"

According to an article published by Deborah Dinner in the March/April 2006 issue of Legal Affairs:

In 1974, MacKinnon, then pursuing graduate and legal studies at Yale, heard of an administrative assistant at Cornell University who resigned after being refused a transfer when she complained of her supervisor's harassing behavior, and who was denied unemployment benefits because she quit for "personal" reasons. It was at a consciousness-raising session about this and other women's workplace experiences that the term "sexual harassment" was first coined. Angry about the story and what it stood for, MacKinnon began working on a legal argument that would let women sue for sexual harassment.[3]

The conclusion that sexual harassment could violate laws against sex discrimination was first accepted by a U.S. court in Williams v. Saxbe, 413 F. Supp. 654 (D.D.C. 1976) and Barnes v. Costle, 561 F.2d 983 (D.C. Cir. 1977). // Case citation is the system used in common law countries such as the United States, England and Wales, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and India to uniquely identify the location of past court cases in special series of books called reporters or law reports. ... The United States District Court for the District of Columbia is the United States District Court that hears cases originating in the District of Columbia under Federal law. ... The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, known informally as the D.C. Circuit, is the federal appellate court for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. ...


MacKinnon's father, George MacKinnon, was one of the judges on the panel in Barnes v. Costle and filed a concurring opinion in which he argued there was "no basis for liability by the employer in a situation like the one presented in this case." Judge MacKinnon also wrote in the concurring opinion: "Sexual advances may not be intrinsically offensive, and no policy can be derived from the equal employment opportunity laws to discourage them. We are not here concerned with racial epithets or confusing union authorization cards, which serve no one's interest, but with social patterns that to some extent are normal and expectable. It is the abuse of the practice, rather than the practice itself, that arouses alarm. Accordingly, there is no justification under this rationale to impose vicarious liability upon an employer." Judge MacKinnon's opinion was not adopted by the majority, however. In 2002, Catharine MacKinnon wrote in The Logic of Experience: Reflections on the Development of Sexual Harassment Law, 90 Geo. L.J. 813, 813 n.* (2002): "This Essay is dedicated to the memory of my father, George E. MacKinnon, Circuit Judge of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, 1969-1995."


Catharine MacKinnon has explained the history of sexual harassment law as it developed in the D.C. Circuit in the following way:

The D.C. Circuit's early sexual harassment rulings gave women sex equality rights they had lacked, and in so doing provided legally enforceable standards that promoted self-respect and entitlement to inviolability and dignity that women did not have before. Why the D.C. Circuit was capable of this motion when other courts were not is well framed as a question of D.C. Circuit history. It happened here, not in other circuits, for no lack of trying elsewhere at the same time. The plaintiffs elsewhere had compelling cases; precedent and social conditions were comparable; lawyers presented the arguments elsewhere. Passing why this change happened in the D.C. Circuit, why did it happen at all?....That all of the early women plaintiffs in the D.C. Circuit, and many elsewhere, were African-American and most of the men judges who produced this change had confronted their own group-based inequalities, may have something to do with it. For whatever reason, which certainly must include the women's movement as a whole, the relevant actors possessed vision, insight, conceptual acuity, principle, a sense of history, and indomitability. It was also necessary that the lawyers who brought the cases listened to their clients and were willing to call their injury what it was, as were the judges who heard their cases, although the law never had before. Perhaps, as the legal realists would have it, the cases that made the law simply reached the right desks on a roll of the clerk's dice.[4]

In 1977, MacKinnon graduated from Yale Law School after having writing a paper on the topic of sexual harassment for Professor Thomas I. Emerson. Two years later, MacKinnon published "Sexual Harassment of Working Women," arguing that sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and any other sex discrimination prohibition. Professor Emerson wrote the forward for the book. "Sexual Harassment was circulated in draft form, especially to activists litigating sexual harassment cases."[5] Sexual harassment is harassment or unwelcome attention of a sexual nature. ... Gender discriminaton is discrimination based on gender. ... President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. ...


In her book, MacKinnon argued that sexual harassment is sex discrimination because the act reinforces the social inequality of women to men (see, for example, pp. 116-18, 174). Catharine MacKinnon distinguished between two types of sexual harassment (see pp. 32-42). MacKinnon labeled the first type "quid pro quo," meaning sexual harassment "in which sexual compliance is exchanged, or proposed to be exchanged, for an employment opportunity (p. 32)." The second type of harassment "arises when sexual harassment is a persistent condition of work (p. 32)." In 1980, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission followed MacKinnon's framework in adopting guidelines prohibiting sexual harassment by prohibiting both quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment (see 29 C.F.R. § 1604.11(a)). The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations (sometimes called administrative law) published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government of the United States. ...


In 1986, the Supreme Court held in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson that sexual harassment may violate laws against sex discrimination. In Meritor, the Supreme Court also recognized the distinction between quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile work place harassment. Meritor Savings Bank v. ...


"Patricia J. Barry argued the cause for respondent [Mechelle] Vinson. With her on the brief was Catherine [sic] A. MacKinnon," as noted in the Supreme Court's opinion. Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal (i.e., in opposition to the respondent) included one filed "for the United States et al. by Solicitor General [Charles] Fried, Assistant Attorneys General Reynolds and Willard, Deputy Solicitor General Kuhl, Albert G. Lauber, Jr., John F. Cordes, John F. Daly, and Johnny J. Butler."


According to MacKinnon:

Once the issue of whether sexual harassment was properly sex-based discrimination under Title VII reached the U.S. Supreme Court in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson—also a D.C. Circuit hostile environment case—the correct approach to the issue seemed so obvious as to be disposable in a single virtually circular sentence: "Without question," then-Justice Rehnquist wrote for a unanimous Court, "when a supervisor sexually harasses a subordinate because of the subordinate's sex, that supervisor 'discriminate[s]' on the basis of sex." The D.C. Circuit, and women, had won. A new common law rule was established.[4]

In 1998, a conference was held at Yale Law School celebrating "the 20th anniversary of the publication of Catharine A. MacKinnon's landmark book" and was "sponsored by the Law School, Yale University Press and the University of Michigan Law School."[6] The conference was organized in part by Rebecca Tushnet and Reva Siegel. At the conference, Tushnet had on display the paper that MacKinnon originally wrote for Professor Emerson. The papers presented at this conference serve as the basis for the book, Directions in Sexual Harassment Law (Catherine A. MacKinnon & Reva B. Siegel eds., 2003).


On November 18, 1998, the Fifth Circuit stated in Butler v. Ysleta Independent School District, 161 F.3d 263 (5th Cir. 1998): // Case citation is the system used in common law countries such as the United States, England and Wales, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and India to uniquely identify the location of past court cases in special series of books called reporters or law reports. ...

We are witnesses to the birth of a second generation of sexual harassment law. The first generation was heralded by the D.C. Circuit's decision in Barnes v. Costle, 561 F.2d 983 (D.C.Cir.1977), and the publication by Catharine A. MacKinnon of Sexual Harassment of Working Women in 1979. It reached maturity with Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57, 106 S.Ct. 2399, 91 L.Ed.2d 49 (1986), in which the Supreme Court held that a hostile work environment could create a valid Title VII claim.

MacKinnon's book Sexual Harassment of Working Women: A Case Sex Discrimination is the eighth most-cited American legal book published since 1978, according to a study published by Fred Shapiro in January 2000.


Antipornography civil rights ordinance

In 1980, Linda Boreman (who had appeared in the pornographic film Deep Throat as "Linda Lovelace") made public statements that her ex-husband Chuck Traynor had beaten and raped her, and violently coerced her into making Deep Throat and other pornographic films. Boreman made her charges public for the press corps at a press conference, together with MacKinnon, members of Women Against Pornography, and feminist writer Andrea Dworkin offering statements in support. After the press conference, Dworkin, MacKinnon, Gloria Steinem, and Boreman began discussing the possibility of using federal civil rights law to seek damages from Traynor and the makers of Deep Throat. Linda Boreman was interested, but backed off after Steinem discovered that the statute of limitations for a possible suit had passed (Brownmiller 337). The antipornography civil rights ordinance is a name for several related laws, closely associated with the anti-pornography radical feminists Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon, that proposed to treat pornography as a violation of womens civil rights, and to allow women harmed by pornography to seek damages through a... 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday. ... Linda Boreman (January 10, 1949 - April 23, 2002) became famous as a pornographic actress under the stage name Linda Lovelace in the 1972 film Deep Throat. ... Deep Throat is an American pornographic movie released in the summer of 1972, written and directed by Gerard Damiano and starring Linda Lovelace (the pseudonym of Linda Susan Boreman). ... Chuck Traynor (died July 22, 2002) was an American pornographer. ... Women Against Pornography (WAP) was a radical feminist activist group based out of New York City and an influential force in the anti-pornography movement of the late 1970s and 1980s. ... Andrea Rita Dworkin (September 26, 1946 – April 9, 2005) was an American radical feminist and writer best known for her criticism of pornography, which she linked with rape and other forms of violence against women. ... Gloria Steinem at news conference, Womens Action Alliance, January 12, 1972 Gloria Steinem (b. ... A statute of limitations is a statute in a common law legal system that sets forth the maximum period of time, after certain events, that legal proceedings based on those events may be initiated. ...


MacKinnon and Dworkin, however, continued to discuss civil rights litigation as a possible approach to combatting pornography. In the fall of 1983, MacKinnon secured a one-semester appointment for Dworkin at the University of Minnesota, where they co-taught an interdepartmental course on pornography. During the course, they hashed out details of a civil rights approach. MacKinnon opposed traditional arguments against pornography based on the idea of morality or sexual innocence, as well as the use of traditional criminal obscenity law to suppress pornography. Instead of condemning pornography for violating "community standards" of sexual decency or modesty, they characterized pornography as a form of sex discrimination, and sought to give women the right to seek damages under civil rights law. However, in Are Women Human?, MacKinnon appears to support anti-pornography laws based on obscenity, such as those in India.[citation needed] 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Washington Avenue Bridge at night The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, almost always abbreviated U of M, and sometimes referred to as The U by locals, is the oldest and largest part of the University of Minnesota system. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ...


With encouragement from community activists in south Minneapolis, the Minneapolis city government hired MacKinnon and Dworkin to draft an antipornography civil rights ordinance as an amendment to the Minneapolis city civil rights ordinance. The amendment defined pornography as a civil rights violation against women, and allowed women who claimed harm from pornography to sue the producers and distributors for damages in civil court. The law was passed twice by the Minneapolis city council but vetoed by the mayor. Another version of the ordinance passed in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1984. This article is about the city in Minnesota. ... This article is about the city in Minnesota. ... The antipornography civil rights ordinance is a name for several related laws, closely associated with the anti-pornography radical feminists Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon, that proposed to treat pornography as a violation of womens civil rights, and to allow women harmed by pornography to seek damages through a... Civil rights or positive rights are those legal rights retained by citizens and protected by the government. ... Civil rights or positive rights are those legal rights retained by citizens and protected by the government. ... A lawsuit is a civil action brought before a court in which the party commencing the action, the plaintiff, seeks a legal remedy. ... In the common law, civil law refers to the area of law governing relations between private individuals. ... Location in the state of Indiana Coordinates: County Marion Founded 1821 Mayor Bart Peterson (D) Area    - City 953. ... 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The ordinance that passed in Indianapolis defined pornography as:

the graphic sexually explicit subordination of women, whether in pictures or in words, that also includes one or more of the following: (1) Women are presented as sexual objects who enjoy pain or humiliation; or (2) Women are presented as sexual objects who experience sexual pleasure in being raped; or (3) Women are presented as sexual objects tied up or cut up or mutilated or bruised or physically hurt, or as dismembered or truncated or fragmented or severed into body parts; or (4) Women are presented being penetrated by objects or animals; or (5) Women are presented in scenarios of degradation, injury, abasement, torture, shown as filthy or inferior, bleeding, bruised, or hurt in a context that makes these conditions sexual; or (6) Women are presented as sexual objects for domination, conquest, violation, exploitation, possession, or use, or through postures or positions of servility or submission or display. The use of men, children, or transsexuals in the place of women in paragraphs (1) through (6) above shall also constitute pornography under this section.[7]

"The production, sale, exhibition, or distribution of pornography" is a cause of action for discrimination against women. [8]


This ordinance overturned as unconstitutional by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. MacKinnon continued to support the civil rights approach in her writing and activism, and supported anti-pornography feminists who organized later campaigns in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1985) and Bellingham, Washington (1988) to pass versions of the ordinance by voter initiative. The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. ... The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the courts in the following districts: Central District of Illinois Northern District of Illinois Southern District of Illinois Northern District of Indiana Southern District of Indiana Eastern District of Wisconsin Western District...   Settled: 1630 â€“ Incorporated: 1636 Zip Code(s): 02138, 02139, 02140, 02141, 02142 â€“ Area Code(s): 617 / 857 Official website: http://www. ... 1985 (MCMLXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Bellingham, Washington is the county seat of Whatcom County in the U.S. state of Washington. ... 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


In a speech entitled "Pornography as Trafficking," and republished in Michigan Journal of International Law (26 Mich. J. Int'l L. 993, 996 (2005)), MacKinnon stated: "Although legitimate corporations increasingly traffic the materials, the pornography industry, like other means of human trafficking, remains at base an organized crime industry built on force, some physical, some not." For support she cited U.S. Dep't Of Justice, Attorney General's Commission On Pornography, Final Report 291-97 (July 1986) [9]. In a footnote to this sentence, MacKinnon wrote:

Since that time, legitimate corporations have increasingly gone into trafficking pornography on the distribution end, prominently General Motors (through its subsidiary DirecTV), AT&T (through its broadband cable company), EchoStar Communications Corporation (backed by media mogul Rupert Murdoch), along with Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox Communications. Gail Dines, From Fantasy to Reality: Unmasking the Pornography Industry, in Sisterhood Is Forever 312 (Robin Morgan ed., 2003) (citing Timothy Egan, Technology Sent Wall Street into Market for Pornography: Erotica, Inc., a Special Report, N.Y. Times, Oct. 23, 2000, at A1, and Frank Rich, Naked Capitalists, N.Y. Times Mag., May 20, 2001, at 51). Dines has continued to track major mainstream corporations' involvement in the pornography industry. See Gail Dines, The Big Business of Pornography & Sex Trafficking, delivered at "Pornography: Driving the Demand in International Sex Trafficking," co-sponsored by Captive Daughters and the International Human Rights Law Institute of DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois (Mar. 14, 2005).

MacKinnon also wrote in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review in 1985:

And as you think about the assumption of consent that follows women into pornography, look closely some time for the skinned knees, the bruises, the welts from the whippings, the scratches, the gashes. Many of them are not simulated. One relatively soft core pornography model said, "I knew the pose was right when it hurt."' It certainly seems important to the audiences that the events in the pornography be real. For this reason, pornography becomes a motive for murder, as in "snuff"' films in which someone is tortured to death to make a sex film. They exist."[10]

MacKinnon represented Linda Susan Boreman (better known under her stage name of Linda Lovelace) from 1980 until her death in 2002. Linda Susan Boreman, better known by her stage name Linda Lovelace (January 10, 1949 - April 22, 2002), was a pornographic actress in the 1972 film Deep Throat, who went on to leave the pornography industry and became a spokeswoman for the anti-pornography movement. ...


International work

In February 1992, the Supreme Court of Canada largely accepted MacKinnon's theories of equality, hate propaganda, and pornography, citing extensively from a brief she co-authored in a ruling against Manitoba pornography distributor Donald Butler. The Supreme Court of Canada (French: Cour suprême du Canada) is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeal in the Canadian justice system. ... Motto: Gloriosus et Liber (Latin: Glorious and free) Official languages English and French, per mandate of the Constitution Act 1982 Flower Prairie Crocus Tree White Spruce Bird Great Grey Owl Capital Winnipeg Largest city Winnipeg Lieutenant-Governor John Harvard Premier Gary Doer (NDP) Parliamentary representation  - House seat  - Senate seats 14...


The Butler decision was controversial; it is sometimes implied that shipments of Dworkin's book Pornography were seized by Canadian customs agents under this ruling, as well as books by Marguerite Duras and David Leavitt[11]; the books were indeed seized by customs, but not as a consequence of Butler.[12] To date, at least one successful Butler prosecution has been undertaken, against the lesbian sadomasochistic magazine Bad Attitude. Marguerite Donnadieu, better known as Marguerite Duras, (April 4, 1914 – March 3, 1996) was a French writer and film director. ... David Leavitt is a writer. ... A lesbian is a female who is exclusively emotionally, sexually, and romantically attracted to other females. ... Flogging demonstration at Folsom Street Fair 2004. ...


MacKinnon has represented Bosnian and Croatian women against Serbs accused of genocide since 1992. She was co-counsel, representing named plaintiff S. Kadic, in the lawsuit Kadic v. Karadzic and won a jury verdict of $745 million in New York City on August 10, 2000. The Washington Post reported: Radovan Karadžić during a visit to Moscow in 1994. ...

The judgment, ending an eight-day trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, carries symbolic impact. But the ability of the women to collect any money is in doubt. Karadzic, who did not mount a defense, is an international fugitive charged with genocide by a United Nations tribunal. The civil suit was filed by 12 women who survived rapes and beatings in the former Yugoslavia, and on behalf of three organizations that provide humanitarian aid to Bosnian and Croatian war victims."[13]

Kadic was the first case to recognize rape as an act of genocide; the lawsuit (under the United States' Alien Tort Statute) also established forced prostitution and forced impregnation as legally actionable acts of genocide. In MacKinnon’s view, traditional approaches to human rights gloss over abuses specific to women (e.g., sexual violence), both in wartime and peacetime. The Alien Tort Statute, , (ATS) is a federal law that states, in relevant part: The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States. ...


MacKinnon has also worked to change laws, or their interpration and application in Mexico, Japan, Israel, and India. In 2001, MacKinnon was named co-director of the Lawyers Alliance for Women (LAW) Project, an initiative of Equality Now, an international non-governmental organization. The term non-governmental organization (NGO) is used in a variety of ways all over the world and, depending on the context in which it is used, can refer to many different types of organizations. ...


Political Theory

According to MacKinnon:

Recognition of women's experience of systematic disadvantage relative to men is at the basis of feminism, a theory that began not in academia but as a movement for liberation. Feminist theory remains no self-referential theory-for-theory's-sake theory. It comes from social reality and goes back into social reality, disciplined by that relation. Its project fits its ground: to expose unequal social status on the basis of sex in order to change it. Its project fits its ground: to expose unequal social status on the basis of sex in order to change it."[14]

"This is argued in theory in Catharine A. MacKinnon, Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (Cambridge, Mass., 1989), and pursued in depth legally in Catharine A. MacKinnon, Sex Equality (New York, 2001)."[15]:

Everything about this theory was, to repeat, particular. It was not general. It was concrete. It was not abstract. It was specific and grounded. It was not a uniform homogeneous unity. It was a complex whole. The point of the discussion of method in Toward a Feminist Theory of the State was to articulate the consequences of this new knowledge and the way it was apprehended for theory--specifically for the kind of philosophy that thought that a thought had to be general and abstract, meaning free of particularity of position or substantive social content, not experienced--in order to be validly theoretical. And to connect this new information on what took place in women's lives, silenced by prior theory, to law: law as a state practice, one that has also claimed its validity in putting generality and abstraction into a particular lived form backed by power and authority. The point was to take women's experience seriously enough--both the how and the what of it--to end the inequality. The process was to get to the bottom of the theoretical constructs that had covered it up and defined its reality as theoretically invalid and empirically nonexistent or at most marginal, and had institutionalized that theory and its products as governing norms in law.[16]

MacKinnon understands epistemology to be about theories of knowing and politics to be about theories of power, and she treats these "themes more fully in MacKinnon, Feminism, Marxism, Method and the State: Toward Feminist Jurisprudence, 8 Signs: J. Women Culture & Soc'y 635 (1983); MacKinnon, Feminism, Marxism, Method and the State: An Agenda for Theory, 7 Signs: J. Women Culture & Soc'y 515 (1982)."[17] These articles then led to her publication of Toward A Feminist Theory of the State (1989).


For example, MacKinnon has written: "Having power means, among other things, that when someone says, 'this is how it is,' it is taken as being that way. . . . Powerlessness means that when you say 'this is how it is,' it is not taken as being that way. This makes articulating silence, perceiving the presence of absence, believing those who have been socially stripped of credibility, critically contextualizing what passes for simple fact, necessary to the epistemology of a politics of the powerless."[18]


In 1996, Fred Shapiro calculated that "Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: Toward Feminist Jurisprudence, 8 Signs 635 (1983)" was the 96th most cited article in law reviews even though it was published in a nonlegal journal.[19]


Legacy

Widely Cited

MacKinnon is one of the most widely-cited legal scholars in the English language.[20] In the January 2000 issue of the Journal of Legal Studies, Fred Shapiro published a list of "the 50 most-cited American legal books published since 1978, based on citations in scholarly literature" and wrote that "Catharine A. MacKinnon has three books in the top 20, two of which appear in the top eight." Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life was ranked #4, Sexual Harassment of Working Women: A Case Sex Discrimination was ranked #8, and Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989) was ranked #20[21] In the same issue of the Journal of Legal Studies, Fred Shapiro published a list "of the 50 most-cited legal scholars of all time" and placed MacKinnon at #32.[22]


Commentary on MacKinnon and her work

According to The Canon of American Legal Thought, an anthology that presents the "full texts of the twenty most important works of American legal thought since 1890," two of MacKinnon's writings are part of this top twenty canon (Feminism, Marxism, Method and the State: Toward Feminist Jurisprudence, 8 Signs: J. Women Culture & Soc'y 635 (1983) & Feminism, Marxism, Method and the State: An Agenda for Theory, 7 Signs: J. Women Culture & Soc'y 515 (1982)).[23]


Martha Nussbaum has described MacKinnon as "among the century's most important thinkers," for "no [other] single person [] has done more to change the course of American law." [24] Martha Nussbaum Martha Nussbaum (born Martha Craven on May 6, 1947) is an American philosopher, with a particular interest in ancient philosophy, political philosophy and ethics. ...


Cass Sunstein wrote in 1988: Cass R. Sunstein (b. ...

Catharine MacKinnon is the most prominent and persistent advocate for the dominance strand of feminist theory. She is also the most important force behind the claim that sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. That notion, for which MacKinnon is given too little credit, seemed bizarre and radical to many when initially put forward. Remarkably, MacKinnon's basic position was accepted in 1986 by every member of the Supreme Court--with a majority opinion written by then Justice Rehnquist. This development must count as one of the more dramatic and rapid changes in legal and social understanding in recent years. In addition, MacKinnon has supplied much of the underpinning for the current rethinking of both rape and prostitution; her criticisms focus on the systemic effects of these practices, their parallels in more conventional forms of gender relations, and the partial perspectives found in the legal treatment of both. MacKinnon has been perhaps the most important force behind the burgeoning theoretical literature in law on sex discrimination and feminist theory. With Andrea Dworkin, MacKinnon has developed what is probably her most controversial thesis: the idea that pornography is a form of sex discrimination. In these and other areas, MacKinnon's work has generated a dramatic shift in legal thinking and reoriented the terms of debate.[25]

Mary Joe Frug once wrote: "MacKinnon, of course, launched feminism into social theory orbit by drawing on Marxism to present her biting analysis."[26] Mary Joe Frug was a professor at New England School of Law from 1981 to 1991. ...


On October 26, 1995, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia stated in Hanlon v. Chambers 195 W. Va. 99, 100 n.14 (1995):

The pioneer work by Catherine MacKinnon entitled Sexual Harassment of Working Women (1979) demonstrated and emphasized the role of male power and domination in sexual harassment. Ms. MacKinnon's subsequent works have elaborated, in a variety of contexts, on the interrelationship between male domination and both physical and civil rights abuses of women. See, e.g., Catherine MacKinnon, Feminism Unmodified (1987); Catherine MacKinnon, Only Words (1993).

On December 6, 1999, the magazine American Lawyer included MacKinnon on its list of "Lawyers of the Century." As Aric Press explained: The American Lawyer is a monthly law journal. ...

The careers of the lawyers on our list were complex, their achievements over a lifetime varied in quality and impact. Marshall, for instance, is included as a great advocate and strategic lawyer, but not as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The same is true for Felix Frankfurter. Thurman Arnold is included as the quintessential Washington lawyer, which, for these purposes, covers not only the rise of the Beltway insider but also the rise of federal regulators themselves. Catharine MacKinnon is here for helping to invent sexual harassment doctrine, which transformed the workplace and, on occasion, our political life too. We don't endorse her controversial views on pornography and gender but merely note that the brilliant deserve to be heard even when they may be wrong.

In her article in American Lawyer about MacKinnon's contribution to the law, Frances Olsen wrote: The American Lawyer is a monthly law journal. ...

Not since the 1890 Harvard Law Review article by Charles Warren and Louis Brandeis initiated the cause of action for violation of privacy has an author been as closely identified with a new cause of action as Catharine MacKinnon has been with sexual harassment.... Combining teaching, law practice, and public advocacy, she has made an important contribution to the field of feminist legal theory, and thus to legal theory generally. Her work regarding sexual harassment remains her most original contribution and her most important legacy. [27]

Other Accolades

"Catharine A. MacKinnon was one of two speakers elected by the graduating class to speak at the law school's commencement ceremony, June 1989."[28]


On September 13, 2002, FindLaw Columnist Julie Hilden listed MacKinnon's casebook Sex Equality as one of nine great legal books to read, explaining: FindLaw is a legal resource website owned by the Thomson Corporation. ...

A comprehensive tome by a legal visionary: love her or hate her, a lawyer should know her work. Many of her "radical" sexual harassment ideas became commonplace; it's interesting to speculate on what other components of so-called MacKinnon radicalism will drift into the mainstream. People often forget what it used to be like for women in the workplace, and still is like in certain sectors; MacKinnon hasn't, and never will.[29]

In 2005, she was elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) and was at Stanford University as Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), 2005-2006. The House of the Academy, Cambridge, Massachusetts. ... The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) is an American interdisciplinary research body in Stanford, California. ...


Early life

MacKinnon was born into an upper-middle class family in Minnesota. Her parents are Elizabeth Valentine Davis and George E. MacKinnon. She has two younger brothers. George Edward MacKinnon (April 22, 1906 - May 1, 1995) was a Representative from Minnesota; born in St. ...


Her father was a lawyer, congressman (1947 to 1949), and judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1969 to 1995). Catharine MacKinnon described her father in the following way:

He was practical and level-headed, always seeing through the fog to the concrete reality beneath, reasoning from facts to real world consequences. He believed in doing every task well--there was always a right way to do everything--including thoroughly. He wrote his opinions the way he made his Christmas cookies: systematically, carefully, methodically, deliberately, following a recipe he found, then modified, then rewrote as he tested it against experience, until it became his own. His point was to produce a consistent result that anyone could follow. . . . George MacKinnon had his own inner compass and his own pace. He could not be pushed, as everyone who ever tried to threaten, bribe, persuade, interview, or change him learned--from organized crime in Minneapolis when he was U.S. District Attorney from 1953 to 1958, to lawyers making even slightly unconventional arguments before the D.C. Circuit on which he sat for 25 years, to his children seeking to move some of his views into the twentieth century. . . . [30]

Education

MacKinnon was valedictorian in high school and enrolled at her mother's alma mater, Smith College, becoming the third generation of her family to attend. When she graduated from Smith in 1969, MacKinnon was in the top 2 percent of her class.


MacKinnon holds a B.A. from Smith College, a J.D. from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in political science from Yale University. She was the recipient of a National Science Foundation fellowship at Yale Law School. The logo of the National Science Foundation The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. ...


Publications

Books

  • Sexual Harassment of Working Women: A Case of Sex Discrimination (1979) ISBN 0-300-02299-9
  • Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law (1987) ISBN 0-674-29874-8
  • Pornography and Civil Rights: A New Day for Women's Equality (1988) ISBN 0-9621849-0-X
  • Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989) ISBN 0-674-89646-7
  • Only Words (1993) ISBN 0-674-63933-2
  • (co-editor) In Harm's Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings, edited by C. A. MacKinnon and A. Dworkin (1997) ISBN 0-674-44579-1
  • Sex Equality. University Casebook Series. New York: Foundation Press, 2001. ISBN 1-56662-479-7 (MacKinnon dedicated her casebook, Sex Equality, to her mother.)
  • Sex Equality: Rape Law. University Casebook Series. New York: Foundation Press, 2001. (Reprinted from MacKinnon's Sex Equality, 1-50, 551, 766-908. New York: Foundation Press, 2001.)
  • Sex Equality: Family Law. University Casebook Series. New York: Foundation Press, 2001. (Reprinted from MacKinnon, Catharine A. Sex Equality, 1-50, 551-765. New York: Foundation Press, 2001.)
  • Sex Equality: Sexual Harassment (2003) ISBN 1-58778-564-1
  • Sex Equality: Lesbian and Gay Rights (2003) ISBN 1-58778-563-3
  • Directions in Sexual Harassment Law (2003) ISBN 0-300-09800-6
  • (co-editor) Directions in Sexual Harassment Law. R. B. Siegel, co-editor. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, 2004.
  • Women's Lives, Men's Laws (2005) ISBN 0-674-01540-1
  • Are Women Human?: And Other International Dialogues. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 2006.

Recent articles and chapters

  • "Sexual Harassment of Working Women: A Case of Sex Discrimination." In Sexual Harassment as an Ethical Issue in Academic Life, edited by L. P. Francis, 129-45. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2001.
  • "Sex Equality: On Difference and Dominance." In Theorizing Feminism: Parallel Trends in the Humanities and Social Sciences, 2nd ed., edited by A. C. Herrmann and A. J. Stewart, 232-53. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2001.
  • "MacKinnon, J., concurring in the judgment." In What Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said: The Nation's Top Legal Experts Rewrite America's Landmark Civil Rights Decision, edited by J. M. Balkin, 143-57. New York: New York Univ. Press, 2001.
  • "Only Words." In Law and Morality: Readings in Legal Philosophy, 2nd ed., edited by D. Dyzenhaus and A. Ripstein, 876-87. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 2001. (Excerpted from her book Only Words. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1993.)
  • "The Liberal State." In Law and Morality: Readings in Legal Philosophy, 2nd ed., edited by D. Dyzenhaus and A. Ripstein, 218-31. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 2001. (Excerpted from her book Only Words. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1993.)
  • "Féminisme, marxisme et postmodernisme." Actuel Marx 30 (2001): 101-30.
  • "'The Case' Responds." Am. Pol. Sci. Rev. 95, no. 3 (2001): 709-11.
  • "Can Fatherhood be Optional," N.Y. Times, sec. 4, p.15, col. 3 (17 June 2001) (op-ed piece).
  • "Books." Law Quad. Notes 44, no. 3 (2001): 6-8. (Introduction to excerpt from her book Sex Equality in "Books" section.)
  • "State of Emergency: Who Will Declare War on Terrorism Against Women?" Women's Rev. Books 19, no. 6 (2002): 7-8.
  • "The Logic of Experience: Reflections on the Development of Sexual Harassment Law (Symposium: The Bicentennial Celebration of the Courts of the District of Columbia Circuit)." Geo. L.J. 90 (2002): 813-33.
  • "Keeping It Real: On Anti-Essentialism." In Crossroads, Directions, and a New Critical Race Theory, edited by F. Valdes et al., 71-83. Philadephia: Temple Univ. Press, 2002.
  • "Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: Toward Feminist Jurisprudence." In Women, Law and Social Change: Core Readings and Current Issues, 4th ed., edited by T. B. Dawson, 380-3. Canadian Legal Studies Series. Concord, Ontario: Captus Press, 2002.
  • "Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: An Agenda for Theory." In Women, Law and Social Change: Core Readings and Current Issues, 4th ed., edited by T. B. Dawson, 377-80. Canadian Legal Studies Series. Concord, Ontario: Captus Press, 2002.
  • "Feminism and Legal Education." Sekai 706 (2002): 258-71. (Article is in Japanese.)
  • "Women and Law: The Power to Change." In Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women's Anthology for a New Millennium, edited by R. Morgan, 447-55. New York: Washington Square Press, 2003.
  • "The Social Origin of Sexual Harassment." In Violence and Society: A Reader, edited by M. Silberman, 251-8. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2003.
  • "Of Hearts and Minds, Lost and Found: A Tribute to Andrea Dworkin." Rain and Thunder, no. 18 (2003): 18-20.
  • "Mainstreaming Feminism in Legal Education." J. Legal Educ. 53, no. 2 (2003): 199-212.
  • "The Legal Regulation of Sexual Harassment: From Tort to Sex Discrimination." In Violence and Society: A Reader, edited by M. Silberman, 259-70. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2003.
  • "The Straight Road: A Tribute to Burke Marshall." Yale L.J.. 113, no. 4 (2004): 811-4.
  • "The Road Not Taken: Sex Equality in Lawrence v. Texas." Ohio St. L.J. 65, no. 5 (2004): 1081-95.
  • "Prosecutor v. Nahimana, Barayagwiza, & Ngeze." Am. J. Int'l L. 98, no. 2 (2004): 325-30.
  • "Prostitution and Civil Rights" Mich. J. Gender & L. 1 (1993): 13-31.
  • "Of Mice and Men: A Feminist Fragment on Animal Rights." In Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, edited by C. R. Sunstein and M. C. Nussbaum, 263-76. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2004.
  • "International Decisions: Prosecutor v. Nahimana, Barayagwiza, & Ngeze. Case No. ICTR 99-52-T. Judgment and Sentence." Am. J. Int'l L. 98, no. 2 (2004): 325-30. (Commentary on this case decided by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, December 3, 2003.)
  • "Afterword." In Directions in Sexual Harassment Law, edited by C. A. MacKinnon and R. B. Siegel, 672-704. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, 2004.
  • "X Underrated." Times Higher Ed. Supp., no. 1692 (2005): 18-9.
  • "Women, Violence Against." In Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, vol. 3 (T-Z, Index): 1164-5. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005.
  • "Pornography as Trafficking." Mich. J. Int'l L. 26, no. 4 (2005): 993-1012.
  • "The Logic of Experience: Reflections on the Development of Sexual Harassment Law." Geo. L.J. 90, no. 3 (2002): 813-33. (Reprinted in Women and the Law, edited by Jane Cambell Moriarty, 53-75. Eagan, Minn.: Thomson/West, 2005.)
  • "Genocide's Sexuality." In Political Exclusion and Domination, edited by M. S. Williams and S. Macedo, 313-56. NOMOS 46. New York: New York Univ. Press, 2005.
  • "Sex Equality under the Constitution of India: Problems, Prospects, and 'Personal Laws'." ICON: Int'l J. Const. L. 4, no. 2 (2006): 181-202. abstract
  • "Gender Literacy in Law." In On the Bias: Ideas for Judicial Education and Action, edited by K. Mahoney and J. K. Wilson. New York: New York Univ. Press. Forthcoming.

June 17 is the 168th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (169th in leap years), with 197 days remaining. ... 2001: A Space Odyssey. ...

Court cases

Meritor Savings Bank v. ... Andrews v. ... R. v. ... James Jim Keegstra is a far-right Canadian political figure, and former public school teacher. ... Bad Attitude is a lesbian magazine featuring stories of mild sado-masochism and published in the USA, which came to prominence as the first publication to fall foul of feminist-inspired pornography laws in Canada, in 1993. ...

Related cases

  • Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services MacKinnon filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff, Joseph Oncale.
  • Doe v. Karadzic (93 Civ. 878). Alternate URL, note Kadic in Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Oncale v. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Catharine A. MacKinnon, Points Against Postmodernism, 75 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 687, 687-88 (2000).
  2. ^ Catharine A. MacKinnon, Points Against Postmodernism, 75 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 687, 687 n.2(2000).
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b Catharine A. MacKinnon, "The Logic of Experience: Reflections on the Development of Sexual Harassment Law," 90 Geo. L.J. 813 (2002).
  5. ^ Frances Olsen, Feminist Theory in Grand Style, 89 Colum. L. Rev. 1147, 1147 & n.4 (1989) (citing Conversation with Professor Nadine Taub, attorney with Rutgers Legal Clinic who litigated early sexual harassment cases (July 1985) and MacKinnon's book at page xi).
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ Indianapolis and Marion County, Ind., Code Ch. 16, § 16-3(q) (1984), in In Harm's Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings at 444 (Catharine A. MacKinnon & Andrea Dworkin eds., 1997).
  8. ^ Id. at 442.
  9. ^ [3]
  10. ^ Catharine A. MacKinnon, Pornography, Civil Rights, and Speech, 20 Harv CR-CL L Rev 1 (1985). For support to her claim that snuff films exist, MacKinnon cited in footnote 61: "In the movies known as snuff films, victims sometimes are actually murdered."' 130 Cong. Rec. S13192 (daily ed. Oct. 3, 1984)(statement of Senator Specter introducing the Pornography Victims Protection Act). Information on the subject is understandably hard to get. See People v. Douglas, Felony Complaint No. NF 8300382 (Municipal Court, Orange County, Cal. Aug. 5, 1983); "'Slain Teens Needed Jobs, Tried Porn"' and "Two Accused of Murder in 'Snuff' Films"' Oakland Tribune, Aug. 6, 1983 (on file with Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review); L. Smith, The Chicken Hawks (1975)(unpublished manuscript)(on file with Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review).
  11. ^ Canada's Thought Police
  12. ^ Canadian Customs and Legal Approaches to Pornography
  13. ^ Christine Haughney and Bill Miller, "Karadzic Told to Pay Victims $745 Million," The Washington Post, Friday, August 11, 2000
  14. ^ Catharine A. MacKinnon, "Mainstreaming Feminism in Legal Education," 53 J. Legal Educ. 199, 201 (2003)
  15. ^ Catharine A. MacKinnon, "Mainstreaming Feminism in Legal Education," 53 J. Legal Educ. 199, 201 n.4 (2003)
  16. ^ Catharine A. MacKinnon, Points Against Postmodernism, 75 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 687, 689 (2000)
  17. ^ Catharine A. MacKinnon, Pornography, Civil Rights, and Speech, 20 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 1,3 & 3 n.2 (1985)
  18. ^ Catharine A. MacKinnon, Pornography, Civil Rights, and Speech, 20 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 1,3 & 3 n.2 (1985)
  19. ^ Fred R. Shapiro, "The Most-Cited Law Review Articles Revisted," 71 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 751 (1996)
  20. ^ Stanford profile
  21. ^ Fred R. Shapiro, [4] The Most-Cited Legal Books Published Since 1978], 29 J. Legal Stud. 409 (2000).
  22. ^ Fred R. Shapiro, The Most-Cited Legal Scholars, 29 J. Legal Stud. 397 (2000).
  23. ^ [5]
  24. ^ [6]
  25. ^ Cass R. Sunstein, Book Review, Feminism Unmodified, 101 Harv. L. Rev. 826, 829 (1988).
  26. ^ Mary Joe Frug, A Postmodern Feminist Legal Manifesto (An Unfinished Draft), 105 Harv. L. Rev. 1045, 1045 (1992).
  27. ^ [7]
  28. ^ Catharine A. MacKinnon, Graduation Address: Yale Law School, June 1989, 2 Yale J.L. & Feminism 299, 299 (1990)
  29. ^ [8]
  30. ^ Harry T. Edwards, In Memoriam: George E. MacKinnon, 64 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 819, 820-21 (1996) (quoting United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Tributes 8 (1996).

External links

  • Faculty biography at University of Michigan
  • MacKinnon Expertise and contact info
  • MacKinnon at Stanford (Alternate URL)
  • Encoding of Male Worldview
  • A bibliography of MacKinnon's works
  • The LAW Project
  • Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women
  • Biography on A&E
  • Catharine MacKinnon at the Notable Names Database
  • Rape Seeded—MacKinnon entry at Snopes.com
  • Catherine A. MacKinnon: The Rise of a Feminist Censor, 1983-1993—Criticism of MacKinnon from the Media Coalition, a publishing industry-sponsored group
  • Human Rights Cases, including Doe v. Karadzic

  Results from FactBites:
 
PBS: Think Tank: Transcript for "A Conversation With Catherine MacKinnon" (3462 words)
Catharine MacKinnon is a professor of law at the University ofMichigan.
MacKINNON: As to whether it's sexually explicit or not, someof it is and some of it isn't.
MacKINNON: Well, I'm not a liberal, so Idon't -- and I think she may be right in her analysis of, you know,that response or not.
WOMEN’S LIVES, MEN’S LAWS (1866 words)
Catharine MacKinnon is a famously polarizing figure; her groundbreaking work in feminist legal theory has ardent admirers and fanatical opponents, with much of the substance of her analysis and method obscured by political and intellectual fallout over her controversial work on pornography.
MacKinnon begins her search for equality in what she calls the practice of women’s lives—the unique forms of inequality that limit women’s lives: restrictions on reproductive freedom, commodification and exploitation of women’s sexuality, historical experiences of race- and class-based discrimination.
Whether one agrees with her or not, MacKinnon is extraordinary in her willingness to tackle big, provocative questions about the nature of law, the requirements of justice, and the limitations of legal discourse.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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