May 11, 2009 10:47 Age: 5 yrs

Fineman Receives Emory University Scholar/Teacher Award

Martha A. Fineman, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law, received the University Scholar/Teacher Award. The recipient is chosen by Emory faculty on behalf of the United Methodist Church Board of Higher Education and Ministry.  

One of the world’s leading feminist theorists and family-law scholars, Fineman has encouraged colleagues, lawmakers and students to challenge the status quo. After earning a B.A. degree from Temple University and a J.D. degree from the University of Chicago, Fineman clerked for the Honorable Luther M. Swygert in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Fineman has taught at the University of Wisconsin Law School, Columbia Law School and Cornell Law School, where she held the first endowed chair in feminist jurisprudence in the United States. In 2004, she joined Emory Law.

Fineman has published more than 60 scholarly texts. Her books include “The Neutered Mother, the Sexual Family and Other Twentieth Century Tragedies,” “The Autonomy Myth:  A Theory of Dependency” and the forthcoming “The Vulnerable Subject:  Anchoring Equality in the Human Condition.” In her writings, Fineman explores issues such as the nature and function of the family as a societal institution, the economic and political consequences of welfare and divorce reforms, and the meanings of dependency in American society and politics.      

An important component of Fineman’s scholarly work is the Feminism and Legal Theory (FLT) Project, which she founded in 1984. The core purpose of FLT is to foster interdisciplinary examinations of laws, social policies and structures that are of particular interest to women.

Her research, scholarship and activism have helped to define the field of feminist legal theory and family and marriage law. A dedicated teacher and mentor, Fineman also carries forward the themes and methods developed in her research and the FLT Project, encouraging students to question the basic assumptions they have about the ways society operates.   

Fineman’s exemplary scholarship and teaching have earned her national recognition, including the Harry Kalven Prize for Distinguished Research in Law and Society, the Ruth Bader Ginsberg Distinguished Visiting Professorship at the Thomas Jefferson Law School and the Centennial Celebration Lectureship at the New England School of Law.

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