Modern Day Inquisitions

30 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2011 Last revised: 13 Sep 2011

See all articles by Rebecca J. Cook

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2011


Like the Inquisitions in the 1600s, the modern day inquisitions are attempts to secure the supremacy of religious hierarchies in matters of gender, sexuality, and reproduction. The modern day inquisitions jeopardize academic freedoms, particularly of scholars who focus on reproductive health law and ethics, and use hostile stereotypes and social condemnation, among other mechanisms, to control sexuality and reproduction, and to privilege male dominance. In this sense, the overarching barriers to achieving gender justice in this hemisphere are the modern day inquisitions.

This article based on a keynote speech of the Conference on Gender Justice in the Americas, graciously hosted by the University of Miami School of Law, February 23-25, 2011, attempts: to take stock of some of the past achievements in applying human rights and constitutional provisions to protect the dignity of different sexualities, reduce violence, and promote reproductive and sexual health, to explore some of the lessons learned in applying human rights and constitutional provisions to these issues, and finally, to think about how best to face challenges ahead and to strengthen networks to create better synergies in our research, teaching, and advocacy to improve gender justice in the Americas.

Keywords: reproductive rights, gender, sexuality, reproduction, religion, academic freedom

JEL Classification: I18

Suggested Citation

Cook, Rebecca J., Modern Day Inquisitions (2011). University of Miami Law Review, Vol. 65, No. 3, pp. 767-796, 2011, Available at SSRN:

Rebecca J. Cook (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 Queen's Park Cr.
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
416-978-4446 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

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