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.

June 16: The Ghomeshi Verdict – What’s Next?

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Let’s Talk About Changing the System

On Thursday, June 16, three panelists, including our very own Janine Benedet, will explore the fallout from the Jian Ghomeshi verdict and discuss how legal, policing and community systems can better support survivors of sexual assault and violence. The panel discussion will begin at 6:15pm, following the YWCA Annual General Meeting.*

*Only interested in attending the public event? No problem! Feel free to arrive at 5:45 for refreshments.

See the poster for event details. Click here for more information on the panelists and to register!

The Ghomeshi Verdict: What's Next

The Ghomeshi Verdict: What’s Next

 

Remembering Judy Mosoff

mosoff_resJudith Paula Mosoff
June 20, 1947 – December 20, 2015

The Centre for Feminist Legal Studies lost an important member of our community to cancer, on December 20, 2015. Professor Judith Mosoff was a faculty member at UBC Law for 24 years. She played a key role in the clinical program before moving into the academic stream, teaching courses such as administrative law, criminal law and procedure, regulatory state, perspectives on law, disability law, children and the law, and, most recently, legal ethics and professionalism. Judy was a past member of the CFLS Steering Committee and she also organized several of the annual Marlee Kline Lectures in Social Justice.

Judy’s scholarly work on disability and disability rights was known across the country. She challenged the legal system to grant human rights to persons with disabilities but also challenged the human rights paradigm to address disability rights in a fulsome manner. For instance, her article “Excessive Demand’ on the Canadian Conscience: Disability, Family and Immigration” (1999) 26:2 Man. L.J. 149-179 was quickly followed by “Is the Human Rights Paradigm ‘Able’ to Include Disability: Who’s In? Who Wins? What? Why?” (2000) 26:1 Queen’s L.J. 225-276. Other articles on human rights and disability, as well as corporal punishment, were published with her colleague and friend Professor Isabel Grant.

The feminist community will likely remember Judy best for her work on law and mothers with mental health issues. Her well-known 1995 article “Motherhood, Madness and Law” (1995) 45:2 U.T.L.J. 107-142 was groundbreaking for its exploration of how mental health law and child protection law intersect in a way that dramatically affects women with psychiatric disabilities. Together with her chapter “’A Jury Dressed in Medical White and Judicial Black’: Mothers with Mental Health Histories in Child Welfare and Custody” in Challenging the Public/Private Divide: Feminism, Law, and Public Policy (1997), this work is a rare Canadian example of in depth scholarly consideration of how the ideology of motherhood intersects with attitudes about mental illness in judicial decision-making about parental fitness and can result in the legal system severing the relationship between mother and child. Judy had returned to this subject and was working on a second paper when she became ill.

Perhaps the project that meant most to Judy was her role as a founding member of Steps Forward, an inclusive post secondary initiative: http://www.steps-forward.org. Her passion for social justice and for issues such as how to include those with developmental disabilities in educational systems will be much missed. Steps Forward is currently taking donations towards a Judith Mosoff Bursary or scholarship to support future students.

Feminist Book Launch!

Here is a photo from a recent great feminist event with UBC Law Professors Efrat Arbel and Catherine Dauvergne to launch their new book Gender in Refugee Law: From the Margins to the Centre.  Also pictured are Jenni Millbank who is a UBC LLM alum and Shauna Labman who did both her LLM and PhD at UBC Law.  10 of 15 contributors were present at the party to celebrate the launch of this exciting new publication.  Congratulations to all involved!

Gender in Refugee Law Book Launch, September 29, 2014

Gender in Refugee Law Book Launch, September 29, 2014