Special Doubleheader Event
February 29 at 6pm ET; March 1 at 12:15pm ET
WASSERSTEIN HALL, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL
In-person and Livestream
Please join us for a special LPE@HLS presentation of Gender, Law, and the Political Economy of Social Reproduction. Over two events, leading feminist legal scholars will examine law’s role in constructing the political economy of gender and sexuality. The presentation will begin on the evening of Thursday, February 29th with a keynote address by Professor Janet Halley. Following on Friday, March 1st, we will host a lunchtime panel discussion featuring Professor Hila Shamir, Dr. Claudia V. Torres Patino, and Professor Yiran Zhang. The panelists will discuss theory, analysis, and method in feminist political economy research, both generally and as showcased in their own scholarship.
All are welcome! Both events will be hosted in-person at Harvard Law School and will be livestreamed via Zoom. Please see further event details below, including livestream links.
Some Forgettings: Oἶκοs / Economy / Family / Gender
Janet Halley, Harvard Law School
This lecture addresses matters of sex, sexuality, gender, and the family in historical and contemporary political economy. It deploys Robert Hale’s Coercion and Distribution in a Supposedly Non-Coercive State as a model for analyzing the coercive effects of background rules on social actors with varying levels of social endowment, emphasizing distribution to end-users of the legal order and their bargaining strategies and outcomes. The analysis casts a skeptical view on “family law exceptionalism,” the idea that the family, the market, and the state are strongly distinct and opposed social, legal, and ideological sites. The understanding of the family that emerges is therefore simultaneously strongly non-economic and strongly economic. By exploring the long durée of critical and liberal feminist analytics of market/family/state strategies for families located across distinct class positions, this lecture seeks to clarify how sexual and inter-household divisions of labor are strongly responsive to and constitutive of labor market formations.
Sex and Care: Law and the Political Economy of Work
Hila Shamir, Harvard Law School
Claudia Veronica Torres Patino, Greater Boston Legal Services
Yiran Zhang, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations
This panel discussion examines highly gendered labor regimes across three distinct research case studies and the tensions they present between between legal control and informality. Professor Shamir highlights the anti-trafficking regime, with its flickering emphasis on sex trafficking as distinctly coercive. She recasts this anti-trafficking discourse to address labor migration across other sectors – sex work and domestic labor (both strongly gendered female), as well as agriculture and construction (both strongly gendered male). Dr. Torres’s ethnographic study of street sex work markets in Mexico City focuses on how informal customary norms regulate activities that give meaning and value to sex workers. She shows how international anti-trafficking rules adopted by Mexico in its compliance with international treaty obligations produce surprising and often perverse bargaining endowments among sex workers. Finally, Professor Zhang examines US federal subsidies for in-home healthcare work for disabled people who are often cared for by family members. Her analysis brings to the surface how the market-family division is the subject of deep regulatory control and immense social stress.
Janet Halley is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. She is an expert on feminist legal theory; sex, sexuality, gender and the law; family law; law and humanities; and critical legal studies. Her publications include Split Decisions: How and Why to Take a Break from Feminism (2006) and (with Hila Shamir, Rachel Rebouché, and Prabha Kotiswaran) Governance Feminism: An Introduction (2018) and Governance Feminism: Notes from the Field (2019).
Hila Shamir is a Professor at Tel-Aviv University Faculty of Law and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. She is an expert in the fields of Employment, Labor, Immigration, and Welfare Law with a focus on issues of workers in global value chains, human trafficking, and gender equality. Recently, she received a major European Research Council (ERC) grant to pursue research on A New Labor Law for Supply Chain Capitalism (Sept 2024 – Sept 2029).
Claudia Veronica Torres Patino is an attorney and legal scholar. In her doctoral dissertation at Harvard Law School, Dr. Torres conducted in-depth empirical research on street-based sex work in Mexico City. She is currently an Equal Justice Works Fellow at Greater Boston Legal Services, where her work focuses on enforcing the civil workplace rights of low-income, immigrant, and BIPOC workers who have been victims of wage theft, labor trafficking, workplace physical or sexual assault, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice.
Yiran Zhang is an Assistant Professor of Labor and Employment Law at Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School. Her research focuses on the governance of care work at the intersection of the often-informal labor markets, the welfare state, and the economic household. Her current projects study how U.S. welfare programs, including Medicaid and childcare subsidies, impact home-based care. Her other research explores how law and informality impact migrant care workers’ workplace strategies in Asia.