Faculty Profiles

Frances Olsen

Frances Elisabeth Olsen

Professor of Law
B.A. Goddard College, 1968
J.D. University of Colorado, 1971
S.J.D. Harvard, 1984
UCLA Faculty Since 1984

LAW 655 - Feminist Legal Theory

In recent decades, sex discrimination scholarship has moved beyond its initial focus on legal doctrine and constitutional arguments to develop a criticism of the legal system itself. This seminar will focus on the impact that feminist legal theory is having on legal philosophy. We will read major works in feminist legal theory and discuss the practical effects these theoretical formulations have on selected legal issues of importance to men and women.

Among other things, we will consider the impact feminist legal theory has had on anti-discrimination law and the ways that different interpretations of gender equality impact the lives of women, men, and children.  Is "gender-neutrality" sometimes used to justify misogynistic policies, and if so, why? What does this tell us about relationships between theory and practice more generally, and what relationship does it bear to the use of "color-blind" policies in the area of race discrimination?