Martha Minow


I am not exactly sure why, but when I turned to think about legal education for today's conference, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein came to mind. It was not because of my own nightmares that my chosen profession as law professor involves turning ordinary people into monsters, although that's a thought we can explore perhaps over drinks. It was because of this comment Shelley makes in the book: “If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections, and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind.” This gives me a starting place to talk about legal education. For Shelley's spiritual heirs include contemporary feminist lawyers who have sketched three fundamental challenges to legal study as usually practiced: the first is a critique of pedagogy; the second, a critique of mission; the third, a critique of content. Each critique starts with women--as students, as a topic, and as a cause--but opens into larger visions of who and what matters.

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