Suffolk Law faculty are at the forefront of legal scholarship, publishing meaningful works on everything from work-family balance in America, to the future of the medical industry, to the subprime mortgage crisis.
Masculinities and the Law: A Multidimensional Approach
What fear propels soldiers into acts of bravery on the battlefield? Why are there so few Asian American firefighters nationwide? How do the dangers of border crossing boost the masculine self-esteem of male undocumented workers? Which conflicting concepts of masculinity shape the debate about women wearing the Islamic headscarf in Turkey?
Masculinities and the Law explores these and other questions about how we understand masculinity in the early 21st century.
"According to masculinities theory," says Cooper, Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School, "masculinity is not a biological imperative but a social construction. Men engage in a constant struggle with other men to prove their masculinity."
By examining how "masculinities" combine with race, sexual orientation, class, and other identities, the anthology offers new tools for understanding how and why people act in certain ways in particular situations, and suggests how that understanding might change the way the law is interpreted and applied.
Devon W. Carbado uses a case of employment discrimination against a female casino bartender who refused to wear makeup to show how legal doctrine embodies normative ideas of masculinity and femininity. Cooper explores class, racial and gender dynamics in the HBO series "The Wire."
In her essay "Sexuality Without Borders," Suffolk Law Dean Camille Nelson unearths the colonial roots of Jamaican laws banning homosexual acts, and highlights a paradox in modern culture: that musicians see the homophobic lyrics of Jamaica's popular dancehall music as a badge of resistance against white colonization.
Law and Justice on the Small Screen
Edited by Jessica Silbey and Peter Robson
Hart Publishing, 2012
From "Perry Mason" to "The Wire," popular television shows have shaped public expectations about law and justice.
"Research shows that much of what the public knows, or thinks it knows about law and the legal system, comes from television," writes Kimberlianne Podlas in her contribution to this collection of essays commissioned from 23 international scholars by editors Jessica Silbey, Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School, and Peter Robson, Professor of Law at the University of Strathclyde.
Television shows have been neglected in favor of film in recent scholarship on law and popular culture, Silbey and Robson claim. In this volume, they re-focus on the small screen, looking beyond the United States to include examples from France, Canada, Spain and the United Kingdom to give a comparative view of law and justice as seen on television. Their aim, says Silbey, was "to create a template for thinking about TV and popular culture studies internationally, and to provide a methodology for studying cultural objects through the lens of legal questions."
Does an android have human rights? What conflicting aesthetic/commercial pressures shape discussions in the writers' room of a police drama? How good is our data on the impact of television's depictions of law and justice? Questions like these arise in the book's first section on method and context. The second section takes on specific genres, including reality law programs such as "Til Debt Do Us Part" and "Judge Judy." In the final section, contributors analyze the content of specific shows, from Spain's "Anillos de Oro" ("Wedding Rings") to "The Wire" and "24," to raise big-picture questions about the effectiveness of law and the promise of justice.
As Lief H. Carter and Michael McCann write in conclusion to their essay on "Star Trek," beyond the abstract world of academic writing, the visual, public media of theater, film and television can contribute to "the work of promoting social justice" by offering a rich imagery that dramatizes "the fragile relationship between law, justice, and humanity."
Search our faculty publications for more, or visit our SSRN site and discover why Suffolk Law's faculty ranks among the most downloaded in the country.
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