Exploring Transgender Politics: A Conversation with Catharine MacKinnon

Event date
28 November 2022
Event time
15:00 - 17:00
Oxford week
MT 8
Bonavero Institute of Human Rights - Sir Joseph Hotung Auditorium

Catharine A. MacKinnon, Mischa Shuman, Sandra Fredman and Finn Mackay

Notes & Changes

Please note that due to the UCU strikes happening on the 24th, 25th, and 30th November, the date and time of this event has now changed.

Sponsored by the Philosophy, Law & Politics Colloquium, the Feminist Jurisprudence Discussion Group, and the Jurisprudence Discussion Group.

This event is in-person only and will not be live-streamed. Registration is required for admission to the event and numbers are limited. Please register at oxfordPLPevents@gmail.com by November 15th and arrive at the venue by 2:45p.m. so you can be checked in against your registered name and email address.

To initiate discussion among the panel, Catharine MacKinnon will offer an original critique of current “feminist” analyses of transgender advocacy and a series of observations on the light today's transgender movement sheds on gender hierarchy.

This event is in-person only and will not be live-streamed. Registration is required for admission to the event and numbers are limited. Please register at oxfordPLPevents@gmail.com by November 15th and arrive at the venue by 2:45p.m. so you can be checked in against your registered name and email address.

A photograph of Catharine A MacKinnon speaking at a lecturn

Professor Catharine MacKinnon

Professor Catharine A. MacKinnon is the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law, University of Michigan and The James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School since 2009.

In the 1970s, Professor MacKinnon created the legal claim for sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination. With Andrea Dworkin, she created the equality approach to pornography and racist hate speech, both of which were largely accepted by the Supreme Court of Canada.. With Bosnian and Croatian survivors of the Serbian-led genocide, she conceived the concept of rape as an act of genocide and successfully litigated with co-counsel to establish it and secure a damage award at trial for survivors. She was involved in creating the language for the Palermo Protocol on international trafficking and drafted anti-trafficking legislation that was passed by Congress in the United States. She and Andrea Dworkin conceived, and she proposed, the Nordic/Equality Model for prostitution, decriminalizing prostituted people and penalizing their buyers and sellers, which was passed in Sweden in 1999, and has since become law in Norway, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Canada, France, and Israel. From 2008-2012, Professor MacKinnon was the Special Gender Advisor to the first Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC’s Rome Statute largely encompasses her concept “gender crime.” In 2022, she was selected for the Henry Phillips Prize in Jurisprudence, which has only been awarded 29 times since 1895. She has written many articles and over a dozen books, which have been translated into many languages, including Sexual Harassment of Working Women: A Case of Sex Discrimination (1979), Feminism Unmodified (1987),  Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989), Only Words (1993), Sex Equality (the casebook) (2001, 2006, 2016), Women’s Lives, Men’s Laws (2006), Are Women Human? (2007) and Butterfly Politics (2017). According to empirical studies, she is the most frequently-cited woman scholar on law in English and among the top most-cited legal scholars over time.

Mischa Shuman headshot

Mischa Shuman

Mischa Shuman is a writer and researcher, whose work intersects at the boundary of quantitative sociology, and gender. She is an applied physicist at Harvard University where she studies applications of mathematical and physical models to social network theory. As a feminist, she believes intersectional engagement is crucial in the struggle for the liberation of women and queer people. As a trans woman of color, Mischa writes on intersectional aspects of misogyny, transphobia - especially transmisogyny - and queerphobia. Through her essays and opinion pieces, Mischa has exposed the alarming misogyny and transphobia that is central to the recent meteoric rise of “strongmen” authoritarians. Her writing has featured in Slate, the Guardian, Ms.Magazine, the Advocate, as well as other major publications. In 2017, Mischa was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in the nonfiction category for her essay “Hiding the T in Trans Rights”. Mischa is a mother of three, and her children amaze her every day, with their wit, insight, and compassion. 

Sandra Fredman

Sandra Fredman

Sandra Fredman is Professor of the Laws of the British Commonwealth and the USA at the University of Oxford. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and became a Queen’s Council (honoris causa) in 2012. In 2012, she founded the Oxford Human Rights Hub, of which she is the director. She has published widely and  has numerous peer reviewed publications in the fields of gender equality, feminism and the law, discrimination law, labour law, and comparative human rights, especially socio-economic rights. Her books include Comparative Human Rights (OUP, 2018); Human Rights Transformed (OUP 2008); Discrimination Law  (OUP, 3rd ed 2022); Women and the Law (OUP, 1997); The State as Employer (Mansell, 1988) with Gillian Morris; and Labour Law and Industrial Relations in Great Britain (2nd ed, Kluwer, 1992)  with Bob Hepple. She edited Age as an Equality Issue (Hart, 2003) with Sarah Spencer; Discrimination and Human Rights: The Case of Racism (OUP, 2001); Exponential Inequalities (OUP 2022) with Shreya Atrey; and Feminist Frontiers on Climate Justice (Elgar, 2023) with Cathi Albertyn, Meghan Campbell, Helena Alviar and Marta Machado. She has been an expert advisor on equality for a variety of governments and organizations. Most recently, she was a member of the expert drafting group of the Abidjan Principles on the Right to Education in the context of Privatization. Her current research projects include the right to fair work for gig economy workers; and the right to Early Childhood Care and Education.

A photograph of Finn Mackay

Dr Finn Mackay

Dr Finn Mackay is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK and the author of two books, "Radical Feminism: Activism in Movement" and "Female Masculinities and the Gender Wars". Finn has worked in youth work and in the women's sector, founded the London Feminist Network in 2004, which revived London Reclaim the Night and is a Trustee of the Feminist Archive, the British Sociological Association and an Ambassador for the Worker's Educational Association.