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MacKinnon, Catharine A.

Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law


Catharine A. MacKinnon is the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at Michigan Law and the long-term James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. She holds a BA from Smith College, a JD from Yale Law School, and a PhD in political science from Yale. She specializes in sex equality issues under international and domestic (including comparative, criminal, and constitutional) law. She pioneered the legal claim for sexual harassment and, with Andrea Dworkin, created ordinances recognizing pornography as a civil rights violation and the Swedish model (Equality Model) for abolishing prostitution. The Supreme Court of Canada has largely accepted her approaches to equality, pornography, and hate speech, which have been influential internationally as well. Representing Bosnian women survivors of Serbian genocidal sexual atrocities, she won with co-counsel a damage award of $745 million in August 2000 in Kadic v. Karadzic under the Alien Tort Act, the first recognition of rape as an act of genocide. Among the schools at which she has taught are Yale, Stanford, Chicago, Harvard, Osgoode Hall (Toronto), Basel (Switzerland), Hebrew University (Jerusalem), and Columbia. She was awarded residential fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study, Stanford, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and the University of Cambridge. Professor MacKinnon's scholarly books include the casebook Sex Equality (2001/2007/2016), Are Women Human? (2006), Women's Lives, Men's Laws (2005), Only Words (1993), Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989), Feminism Unmodified (1987), and Sexual Harassment of Working Women (1979), as well as her most recent book, Butterfly Politics (2017 and 2018). She is widely published in journals, the popular press, and many languages. Professor MacKinnon practices and consults nationally and internationally, including with the United Nations, and works regularly with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and ERA Coalition. Serving as the first special gender adviser to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (The Hague) from 2008 to 2012, she implemented her concept of "gender crime." In 2014, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of American Law Schools Women's Division and was elected to the American Law Institute. In 2019, she was given the Woman of Vision Award from the National Organization for Women. Studies document that Professor MacKinnon is among the most widely cited legal scholars in the English language.

Recent Publications

More Publications...

​"Equality in Substance." Daedalus 149, no. 1 (Forthcoming, 2020).

Women's Lives in Men's Courts: Briefs for Change. Northport, N.Y.: Twelve Tables Press, Forthcoming, 2019.

"Weaponizing the First Amendment: An Equality Reading." Va. L. Rev. 106, no. 6 (2020): 1223-83.
Full Text: WWW

"Reconstituting the Future: An Equality Amendment." Women & Law (2020): 109-29. (Published in a joint publication of the top sixteen law reviews. Originally published under the same title in Yale Law Journal Forum, December 26, 2019.)

"Global #MeToo." In The Global #MeToo Movement: How Social Media Propelled a Historic Movement and the Law Responded, edited by Anne M. Noel and David B. Oppenheimer. Washington D.C.: Full Court Press, 2020.

"The First Amendment: An Equality Reading." In The Free Speech Century, edited by Lee Bollinger and Geoffrey Stone, 140-61. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.

"Reconstituting the Future: An Equality Amendment." Kimberlé W.Crenshaw, co-author. Yale L.J. F. 129 (2019): 343-64.
Full Text: Westlaw | WWW

Butterfly Politics: Changing the World for Women, With a New Preface. 2nd ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard, 2019.

"Substantive Equality Past and Future: The Canadian Charter Experience." In Canada in the World: Comparative Perspectives on the Canadian Constitution, edited by Richard Albert and David R. Cameron, 227-44. Comparative Constitutional Law and Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

"Research Review: Gender in Constitutions." Introduction to Gender in Constitutional Law, by Catherine A. MacKinnon, editor, 1-18. Constitutional Law Series, 3. Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar, (2018).
Full Text: Elgar Online (UMich users) | Elgar Online

Editor. Gender in Constitutional Law, 3 vols. Constitutional Law Series, 3. Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018.

"Response to Five Philosophers: Toward a Feminist Theory of the State Some Decades Later." Feminist Phil. Q. 3, no. 2 (2017): Article 6, 1-18.
Full Text: WWW

"Introduction to Symposium on Toward a Feminist Theory of the State." Law & Ineq. 35, no. 2 (2017): 255-64.
Full Text: HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Lexis | Westlaw

Butterfly Politics. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2017.

"Substantive Equality Revisited: A Reply to Sandra Fredman." Int'l J. Const. L. 14, no. 3 (2016): 739-46.
Full Text: Lexis | Oxford (UMich Users) | Oxford

Sex Equality. 3rd ed. University Casebook Series. St. Paul, Minn.: Foundation Press, 2016.

"Rape Redefined." Harv. L. & Pol'y Rev. 10, no. 2 (2016): 431-77.
Full Text: HEIN (UMich Users) | HEIN | Lexis | Westlaw

"In Their Hands: Restoring Institutional Liability for Sexual Harassment in Education." Yale L.J. 125, no. 7 (2016): 2038-105.
Full Text: HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Lexis | Westlaw | WWW

Foreword to Sexual Politics, by K. Millett, ix-xvii. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.