The New Face of Women's Legal History: Introduction to the Symposium

7 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Tracy A. Thomas

Tracy A. Thomas

University of Akron School of Law

Date Written: October, 20 2008


Women's legal history is developing as a new and exciting field that provides alternative perspectives on legal issues both past and present. Feminist legal history seeks to examine the ways in which law historically has informed women's rights and how feminist discourse has shaped the law. The active scholars come from a variety of academic traditions including law, history, and women's studies. The Constitutional Law Center, established by Congress at the University of Akron School of Law, organized a conference entitled "The New Face of Women's Legal History" to bring together both the senior and emerging scholars in the field.

The articles included in this symposium edition of the Akron Law Review and introduced here provide an excellent sampling of the promising work underway in this nascent field. They each explore women's historical use of the law to advance feminist discourse. True to the theme of the conference, the papers evidence the new ways in which feminist scholarship is developing to integrate issues of race, gender, and historical analysis into the legal scholarship. Additional research from the symposium will also be published as part of an edited collection entitled Feminist Legal History: New Perspectives on the Law (T.J. Boisseau & Tracy Thomas, eds.). Contributing authors to the book employ the core theme of women's use of the law for feminist discourse in a variety of historical contexts to reframe and illuminate such topics as women's rights in the family, women's participation in the military, women's legal activism in social justice movements, women's roles in the judiciary, and women's status in constitutional law. The papers published here in this symposium edition provide a foray into this expanding field.

Keywords: legal history, feminist legal theory

JEL Classification: K1

Suggested Citation

Thomas, Tracy A., The New Face of Women's Legal History: Introduction to the Symposium (October, 20 2008). Akron Law Review, Vol. 41, p. 695, 2008; U of Akron Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-07. Available at SSRN:

Tracy A. Thomas (Contact Author)

University of Akron School of Law ( email )

150 University Ave.
Akron, OH 44325-2901
United States
330-972-6617 (Phone)
330-258-2343 (Fax)

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