Charles Knowlton Law & Liberal Arts Visiting Scholar Program


The 2009 Charles Knowlton Law and Liberal Arts Lecture, "Women's Status, Men's States," was held on Monday, February 16 at 6:00 pm in the Law School Auditorium.

This year's speaker Catharine MacKinnon, is the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School and long-term visitor at Harvard Law School. Professor MacKinnon is an activist lawyer who pioneered sexual harassment law and, with Andrea Dworkin, recognized the harms of pornography as violations of human rights.

One of the most important and prolific feminist legal scholars alive today, and one of the most widely-cited legal scholars writing, MacKinnon defined legal theory for women with her book Feminism Unmodified. Her other books include Sex Equality (2001, 2007), Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989), Only Words (1993), Women's Lives, Men's Laws (2005), and Are Women Human? (2006).

She works with Equality Now, an NGO promoting international sex equality rights for women. Representing Bosnian women survivors of Serbian genocidal sexual atrocities, Professor MacKinnon won, with co-counsel, a damage award of $745 million in August 2000 in Kadic v. Karadzic, which first recognized rape as an act of genocide.

Professor MacKinnon holds a B.A. from Smith College, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. in political science from Yale. She has taught at eleven law schools, including Yale, Chicago, Harvard, Osgoode Hall, Stanford, Basel (Switzerland), Columbia, and Hebrew University, spent a year at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and practices and consults nationally and internationally. She is one of the most widely-cited legal scholars in English.

Most recently, MacKinnon was appointed as Special Gender Adviser to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, where she will provide strategic advice to his Office on sexual and gender violence.