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Introducing Professor Debra Parkes

Welcome, Professor Debra Parkes!

Welcome, Professor Debra Parkes

The CFLS is pleased to introduce Professor Debra Parkes, who has joined the Peter A. Allard School of Law as Chair in Feminist Legal Studies, as of July 1 2016. The Chair plays a leadership role at Allard Hall, as well as nationally and internationally, in fostering feminist research networks, mentoring JD and graduate students, and contributing to feminist scholarship addressing a range of issues. In this role, Debra will continue to build on the remarkable work of Professor Emerita Susan B. Boyd, the first incumbent of the Chair and Director of the Centre from 1997–2012. Professors Janine Benedet and Isabel Grant will continue as Co-Directors of the CFLS until January 1, 2017, at which time Professor Parkes will begin a three-year term as Director.

As a student at UBC Law School in the mid-1990s, Professor Parkes benefitted first-hand from the support of the CFLS. The Centre provided an opportunity to interact with academics, lawyers, and community leaders who were making a difference on feminist issues. In her time in practice following law school, as well as during the past 15 years as an academic, Professor Parkes has lent her expertise to such key feminist legal organizations as (to name only a few):

  • Canadian Journal of Women and the Law (as Editor-in-Chief from 2009-2013)
  • Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF)
  • National Association of Women and the Law
  • Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
  • Elizabeth Fry Society of Manitoba

Professor Parkes’ particular research interests relate to the criminalization and imprisonment of women. She has published widely in this and other areas. She is a regular commentator in the media and contributor to judicial education and continuing legal education seminars. Students will be excited to know that Professor Parkes is looking forward to dropping into the Marlee Kline room regularly for tea and conversation, and that she is delighted to be teaching LAW 307 Women, Law & Social Change in Fall 2016.

The Centre is very much looking forward to this new chapter in Professor Parkes’ capable hands, and would like to extend a very warm welcome to her from our community!

To learn more about Professor Parkes’ background, specific research interests, and what she’s looking forward to at UBC, see here for a Q&A.

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Special Issue – Canadian Journal of Women and the Law

Our dedicated readers may remember this blog post from June 9, 2014, which covered a workshop entitled “Men’s Groups: Challenging Feminism”. Two years later, we are excited to announce the product of that workshop! This special issue of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law/Revue Femmes et Droit, co-edited by Susan B. Boyd and Elizabeth Sheehy, Volume 28, Issue 1, April 2016 is entitled Men’s Groups: Challenging Feminism / Groupes masculinistes : défier le féminisme.


The workshop, organized by Susan Boyd, then Chair in Feminist Legal Studies, was held May 26-27, 2014 and the CFLS was co-sponsor, as was Allard Law. Feminist and pro-feminist scholars in multiple disciplines from Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, the United Kingdom, Poland, Sweden, and Taiwan gathered at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC.

The objective was to address a modern source of resistance to feminism: organizations acting in the name of men’s and fathers’ rights and interests. These groups argue that men are discriminated against in relation to law (especially family law and laws on violence against women), education, and government funding. Another objective was to provide an opportunity for self-examination, update, and creativity to support the advancement of feminist theories and strategies. Two key issues explored were: (1) how men’s group actions in different countries and at the international level engage with, and discursively construct, feminism and (2) lessons for the feminist movement, nationally and globally; historically and currently, from the arguably growing the legitimacy of men’s groups. Not all such groups are conservative or overtly anti-feminist, but many are, some vitriolicly so, seeking a return to some perceived pre-feminist world of traditional gender roles and family values. They use various sites of struggle, including law reform debates, cyberspace, and the media, to present their views. They also appear at public venues such as courts and government buildings and often use banners and/or self-present as superhero characters. Complicating the picture, men’s rights and fathers’ rights groups often include women, who are sometimes the spokespersons.

The special issue features papers by a range of authors from Australia, England, Israel, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United States.  A companion special issue will soon be published as (2016) 5:2 International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy.

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March 8: Emma Cunliffe

This week, on International Women’s Day, Tuesday, March 8th, Professor Emma Cunliffe will speak in the CFLS lecture series on “Gendered Racial Violence: R v Barton and the Death of Cindy Gladue”. This talk will critically examine the trial transcripts from Barton’s trial. It will explore how Gladue was depicted by witnesses and lawyers, and trace the operation of racialized and gendered stereotypes throughout the case.


In PDF: Lecture Poster 03.08.16 Emma Cunliffe

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Recommended Reading List

This reading list was originally posted to the CFLS website. There are several suggested readings here that are worth checking out!

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