A Continuous Body: Ongoing Conversations About Women and Legal Education

Judith Resnik

How has the conversation changed? That was central question animating a conference Taking Stock: Women of All Colors in Legal education convened in June 2003 by the American Association of Law Schools and by the Section of Legal Education and the Commission on Women of the American Bar Association. Why should the topic of the roles of women of all colors in legal education still be an organizing principle of discussion? Were gender, race, and ethnicity only a politics, questing after equality, the answer would be that equality has not yet come into being. In this essay, I detail some of the ways in which gender, race, and ethnicity remain empirical variables important to understanding the contemporary dynamics of the legal academy. Further, gender, race and ethnicity are more than variables: they are ideas and concepts that organize societies. Therefore, they pose central questions for thinking about law. The legal academy has to address how assumptions about gender, race, and ethnicity shape the law and, in turn, about what role law plays, has played, and should play in making those concepts meaningful. To that end, this essay also sketches some of what has been learned about the effects of gender, race, and ethnicity on legal education, as well as the challenges of having the same conversation while also appreciating how much that conversation has change

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