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Complex Feminist Conversations, University of Chicago Legal Forum 1 (1989)


I have the pleasure of introducing this volume, Feminism in the Law. I begin, as will other contributors, by sharing some of the history of feminists in the law.

When I started teaching law in the 1970s, a senior colleague on my faculty gave me a warning. He said: "Be careful. Don't teach in any area associated with 'women's issues.' Don't teach family law, don't teach sex discrimination, don't teach about wills." If I want to be taken seriously by my colleagues, he said: "Teach the 'real' stuff—torts, contracts, procedure, property. And don't be visibly involved in women's issues."

At that time, I was in the midst of work on procedure, on adjudication, on habeas corpus, and on the rights of women in prison. I pursued these interests; I taught courses on procedure, federal courts, and prisoners' rights.

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