Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=910250
 
 

Citations (1)



 


 



Lifting Our Veil of Ignorance: Culture, Constitutionalism, and Women's Human Rights in Post-September 11 America


Catherine Powell


Fordham University School of Law

2005

Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 57, p. 331, December 2005
Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 910250
Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 12-116

Abstract:     
This Article challenges the culture clash view of human rights law, which posits a clash between Western countries' presumed respect for women's human rights and non-Western countries' presumed rejection of these rights on cultural and religious grounds. Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, this view has taken on new significance, in light of the perceived civilizational divide between the Western and Muslim worlds. The Article calls into question this view, by examining cultural stereotypes of women used to oppose U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. My reading, therefore, is at odds with the conventional understanding that U.S. failure to ratify the Convention based on constitutionalism (rather than culture).

A fresh look at the ways constitutionalism has masked cultural assumptions about women is particularly urgent given recent concerns over clashes between gender and culture in the evolving constitutional frameworks of Afghanistan and Iraq. Unlike these countries, the U.S. has largely been able to avoid international criticism of its women's human rights record by veiling traditional cultural assumptions about women behind the claim of constitutionalism. Drawing on John Rawls's veil of ignorance idea as a heuristic device, the Article uses the veil metaphor to call for a more transparent and participatory process of implementing human rights law in the U.S. (and abroad). Thus, this Article builds on my earlier work criticizing the current structure of international law for its traditional reliance on opaque notions of the nation-state, which operate to exclude women.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 54

Keywords: internationalism, human rights, women's rights, culture and law

JEL Classification: K00, K30, K39

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: June 19, 2006 ; Last revised: November 5, 2012

Suggested Citation

Powell, Catherine, Lifting Our Veil of Ignorance: Culture, Constitutionalism, and Women's Human Rights in Post-September 11 America (2005). Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 57, p. 331, December 2005; Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 910250; Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 12-116. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=910250 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.667463

Contact Information

Catherine Powell (Contact Author)
Fordham University School of Law ( email )
140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 3,328
Downloads: 467
Download Rank: 33,835
Citations:  1

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo7 in 0.344 seconds