June 2023

Thursday June 1stGender and Political Economy Roundtable I: Revisiting Distributive Analysis.

This panel seeks to revisit distributive analysis and what it means for Gender and Political Economy (GPE). It seeks to explore the relationship between gender, sex discrimination law, the regulation of sex work, social exclusion of female workers, privatization of social welfare functions, and neoliberalism. This panel seeks to theorize the gap between the law on the books and the law in action and how it distributes power and opportunities.  Using comparative case studies and different sets of analytical tools, the panel articulates sets of methods or priors that help clarify the terms of engagement. The panel also assesses the role of informality and the way it should be assessed in analysis of law and GPE.  PARTICIPANTS: 1. Chantal Thomas; 2. Libby Adler; 3. Nicole Stybnarova; 4. Deborah Dinner“STEALTH” PARTICIPANT(S): Yiran ZhangCHAIR: Kerry Rittich 

Saturday June 3rd Gender and Political Economy Roundtable II:  Transnational and Comparative Perspectives.

This panel session will bring together comparative perspectives on the relationship between gender roles and the legal, social and cultural norms and institutions that shape markets and economies during rapidly changing times. With growing awareness of wealth and income inequality in both developed and developing countries, the time is ripe for study of how social groupings around gender, sex and sexuality relate to economic inequality analysis. The objective is to critically interrogate assumptions embedded in current approaches to gender and the political economy with a view to contributing to a framework for a comprehensive distributional analysis of gender in the law, and to do so in a way that attends to both the role of theory in action and the role of action in theory.  PARTICIPANTS: 1. Dipika Jain; 2. Nkatha Kabira; 3. Vanja Hamzic; 4. Aziza Ahmed“STEALTH” PARTICIPANT(S): Vasuki NesiahCHAIR: Chantal Thomas

QUESTIONS FOR ROUNDTABLE PARTICIPANTS. The roundtable chairs will use the questions below as a template for facilitating discussion.




PARTICIPANT BIOGRAPHIES (in alphabetical order by last name)

Libby Adler is Professor of Law and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northeastern University School of Law. She writes on sexuality, gender, family and children, including foster care, and draws heavily from queer and critical theory. Her book, Gay Priori: A Queer Critical Legal Studies Approach to Law Reform, was published in April 2018 by Duke University Press. She is also a co-editor of the casebook Mary Joe Frug’s Women and the Law (4th ed.), and has written about contemporary legal issues arising out of Nazism. Professor Adler has served as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, where she taught Women and the Law, and at the University of Frankfurt, where she taught a course on contemporary legal fallout from the Nazi labor program. She received the Northeastern University Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007-2008.

Aziza Ahmed is Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law. Her scholarship examines the intersection of law, politics, and science in the fields of constitutional law, criminal law, health law, and family law. Before joining Boston University, Ahmed taught at University of California, Irvine School of Law, and Northeastern University School of Law. She has served as visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School, Bennett Boskey Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, visiting scholar at the Harvard Law School Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, and Law and Public Affairs fellow at Princeton University. Ahmed is the author of the forthcoming book Feminism’s Medicine: Law, Science, and Social Movements in the AIDS Response, published by Cambridge University Press, and coeditor of the forthcoming handbook, Race, Racism, and the Law, published by Edward Elgar Publishing.

Deborah Dinner is a legal historian at the Cornell Law School whose research examines work, gender, capitalism, and the welfare state in the twentieth-century United States. Her scholarship explores the interaction between social movements, legal and economic thought, political culture, and legal change. Dinner is the author of The Sex Equality Dilemma: Work, Family, and Legal Change in Neoliberal America, a [forthcoming] book that analyzes how sex discrimination law and social welfare policies evolved, from 1964 to 1996, in the context of legal and political debates about the relationship between motherhood and women’s labor-market participation.

Vanja Hamzić is Reader in Law, History and Anthropology at SOAS University of London. His work principally considers colonial, postcolonial and decolonial subjectivity making—with a particular focus on gender nonconformity—in South and Southeast Asia, West Africa and Louisiana. Vanja’s books include Control and Sexuality: The Revival of Zinā Laws in Muslim Contexts (2010) and Sexual and Gender Diversity in the Muslim World: History, Law and Vernacular Knowledge (2016, 2019). His current book project addresses gender diversity and cosmological pluralism in eighteenth-century Greater Senegambia and colonial Louisiana. Vanja was a 2016/17 Member at the School of Social Science in the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.   

Dipika Jain is a Professor of Law and the Director of the Centre for Justice, Law and Society at Jindal Global Law School in India. She is also a visiting faculty at Transnational Law Institute at King’s College London since 2017. Her teaching and research is at the intersection of law and marginalization. She writes on gender and sexuality, postcolonial feminism, public health law, transgender law, minor jurisprudence, critical legal theory, constitution and social movements, reproductive justice, legal education and critical pedagogies and empirical legal studies. She is co-editor of the anthology Desire and its Discontents: New Queer Politics in Neoliberal India.

Nkatha Kabira is Senior Lecturer at the University of Nairobi’s School of Law and an Iso Lomso (‘eye of tomorrow’) Fellow at Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies in South Africa. She completed her doctoral degree at Harvard Law School in May 2015 and has since been working towards converting her doctoral thesis into a book titled The Law of Commissions: A Case Study of The Place of Commissions in Law and Governance in Kenya. This study is the culmination of work done over a period of ten years in the areas of law and development, constitution making and implementation, legal and institutional reform, rule of law, regulation of the state and the administration of justice. She has professional and research experience in several areas ranging from law and language to democracy and governance and to gender and the law.

Vasuki Nesiah teaches human rights, legal and social theory at NYU Gallatin where she is also faculty director of the Gallatin Global Fellowship in Human Rights. She has published on the history and politics of human rights, humanitarianism, international criminal law, reparations, global feminisms, and decolonization. A founding member of Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), she is co-editing TWAIL: A Handbook with Anthony Anghie, Bhupinder Chimni, Michael Fakhri, and Karin Mickelson (forthcoming from Elgar). A selection of recent publications include: “Feminist Approaches to International Law” with Karen Engle and Diane Otto in Jeffrey L Dunoff and Mark A Pollack, eds., International Legal Theory: Foundations and Frontiers, (Cambridge University Press 2022); “A Mad and Melancholy Record”: The Crisis of International Law Histories, Notre Dame Journal of International & Comparative Law, Volume 11, Issue 2 (2021); “The Law of Humanity has a Canon: Translating Racialized World Order into ‘Colorblind’ Law”, PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, (November 2020), “Freedom at Sea”, London Review of International Law, (July 2019) and the co-edited volume, A Global History of Bandung and Critical Traditions in International Law (Cambridge 2017).

Kerry Rittich is Professor of Law, Women and Gender Studies, and Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto. She has served as Associate Dean in the University of Toronto JD Program.  She writes in the areas of labor law, international institutions and global governance, law and development, and gender and critical theory. Publications include Recharacterizing Restructuring: Law, Distribution and Gender in Market Reform (2002); (with Joanne Conaghan), Labour Law, Work and Family: Critical and Comparative Perspectives, (2005); and “Theorizing International Law and Development”, F. Hoffman and A. Orford, eds., Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law (2016).  She has been the Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies at Harvard University, Visiting Professor at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, and Professor and Academic Director of the Center for Transnational Legal Studies, London.

Nicole Stybnarova is a Lecturer in Jurisprudence, International Law, and Forced Migration at the Refugee Studies Centre (ODID), University of Oxford. Her research interests include Migration Law, Private International Law, Human Rights, and Critical Social Theory. Her DPhil focused on marriage recognition and reunification through the lens of Marxist feminism. Her current project focuses on legal linguistics and the theory of social change. In 2023, Nicole will be a visiting fellow at Max Planck Institute for Comparative and Private International Law (Hamburg) and in 2024, she will be visiting the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School. Her publications can be accessed at:

Chantal Thomas is Radice Family Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Cornell Law School. She has been a Visiting Professor teaching international economic law at institutions such as Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, the Center for Transnational Legal Studies in London, and Soochow University in China. Professor Thomas focuses her scholarship on the relationship between international law, political economy, and global social justice in a variety of contexts, with a focus on international trade and international migration. Her writings include: Race as a Technology of Global Economic Governance, UCLA Law Review (2021); and Disorderly Borders: How International Law Shapes Irregular Migration (forthcoming, OUP).

Yiran Zhang is an Assistant Professor of Labor and Employment Law at Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School. Her research focuses on the governance of care work at the intersection of the often-informal labor markets, the welfare state, and the economic household. Her current projects study how U.S. welfare programs, including Medicaid and childcare subsidies, impact home-based care. Her other research explores how law and informality impact migrant care workers’ workplace strategies in Asia. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Indiana Law Journal, Stanford Law & Policy Review, and Georgetown Immigration Law Journal. She teaches employment and labor law and a writing seminar on the law of care work.