Feminist Legal Theory (Second Edition)

A Primer

304 pages

January, 2016

ISBN: 9781479882809



Also available in


LawWomen's & Gender Studies

Part of the Critical America series


Nancy Levit is the Curators’ and Edward D. Ellison Professor of Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Her previous books include The Good Lawyer: Seeking Quality in the Practice of Law.

All books by Nancy Levit

Robert R.M. Verchick is the Gauthier-St. Martin Chair in Law at Loyola University New Orleans and Senior Fellow at Tulane University’s School of Social Work. He is the author of Facing Catastrophe: Environmental Action for a Post-Katrina World.

All books by Robert R.M. Verchick

Martha Minow is the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor at Harvard Law School.

All books by Martha Minow

Feminist legal theory is one of the most dynamic fields in the law, and it affects issues ranging from child custody to sexual harassment. Since its initial publication in 2006, Feminist Legal Theory: A Primer has received rave reviews. Now, in the completely updated second edition of this outstanding primer, Nancy Levit and Robert R.M. Verchick introduce the diverse strands of feminist legal theory and discuss an array of substantive legal topics, pulling in recent court decisions, new laws, and important shifts in culture and technology. The book centers on feminist legal theories, including equal treatment theory, cultural feminism, dominance theory, critical race feminism, lesbian feminism, postmodern feminism, and ecofeminism. Readers will find new material on women in politics, gender and globalization, and the promise and danger of expanding social media. Updated statistics and empirical analysis appear throughout. The authors, prominent experts in the field, also address feminist legal methods, such as consciousness-raising and storytelling.
The primer offers an accessible and pragmatic approach to feminist legal theory. It demonstrates the ways feminist legal theory operates in real-life contexts, including domestic violence, reproductive rights, workplace discrimination, education, sports, pornography, and global issues of gender. The authors highlight a sweeping range of cutting-edge topics at the intersection of law and gender, such as single-sex schools, abortion, same-sex marriage, rape on college campuses, and international trafficking in women and girls. 
At its core, Feminist Legal Theory shows the importance of the roles of law and feminist legal theory in shaping contemporary gender issues.


  • "This foundational text offers an outstanding introduction and overview to one of the most important movements in the legal  world today: feminist jurisprudence. The authors brilliantly weave together feminism, the law, and our ordinary experiences as men and women to create an accessible text that speaks to students, academics—and anyone who has ever thought about gender issues."

    —Naomi Cahn, Harold H. Greene Chair, George Washington University Law School

  • “The time is ripe for a new look at feminism, and the new edition of Feminist Legal Theory provides the foundation.   In clear, cogent, accessible prose, it tackles cutting-edge feminist topics . . . . This relatively slim volume has it all. . . . It simultaneously serves as a classic primer on feminist thought and a guide to the emerging issues that will challenge the next generation of feminist theory.”

    —June Carbone, Robina Chair of Law, Science and Technology, University of Minnesota Law School

  • "Feminist Legal Theory by Nancy Levit and Robert R. M. Verchick is not only a sophisticated theoretical exposition of feminist legal theory, but also a vivid analysis of real cases and popular culture and their relationship to women’s issues. It is the first stop in researching women’s issues for any academic or student of the law. The book is chock-full of information about law that relates to all aspects of women’s (and sometimes, men’s) issues ranging from education law to human trafficking. The information is presented through vivid, readable prose that lawyers, academics, and non-lawyers alike will find interesting, informative, and fun to read. I was blown away by the chapter on education with its analysis of constitutional and statutory law, and its up-to-date description of changes in regulatory authority. The book contains timely references to popular culture that will pique the interest of readers. A must-read for anyone who is interested in women’s issues."

    —Ann C. McGinley, William S. Boyd Professor of Law, University of Nevada Las Vegas

  • "Feminist Legal Theory is essential for all readers. Its comprehensive review of the various types of feminism, feminist history, and the broad range of issues that affect all women and men is impressive. Levit and Verchick’s work has the potential to make feminism not a four-letter word for millennial lawyers but instead a four-word phrase: 'Yes, I’m a feminist!' Enjoy!"

    —Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Charles M. and Marion J. Kierscht Professor of Law, University of Iowa