Women & Gender Studies Institute

Dr. Prabha Kotiswaran, The Dickson Poon School of Law – WGS Research Seminar

Title: Governance Feminism: Assessing Feminist Realities and Futures

Wednesday, November 27, 2019 – 4:00pm – 6:00pm

JHB100A, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street

My talk will discuss the key themes of a project that I have engaged in with my collaborators (Janet Halley, Rachel Rebouche & Hila Shamir) that resulted in two books Governance Feminism: An Introduction and Governance Feminism: Notes from the Field (University of Minnesota Press, 2018, 2019). The Governance Feminism books seek to understand how some feminists and feminist ideas—but by no means all—have entered into state and state-like power in recent years. Being a feminist can qualify you for a job in the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Criminal Court, the local prosecutor’s office, or the child welfare agency.  However governance feminism emerges from traditional sites of state power as well as from various forms of governance and operating at the grassroots level, in the private sector, in civil society, and in international relations. My talk will address our key findings from the Governance Feminism project before presenting my work from the two books on the role of feminist law reform projects in addressing violence against women in India. I conclude by asking how we might assess feminist successes and failures. What responsibility do we shoulder for the outcomes of our work? What compromises and strange allies do we make along the way?  Ultimately, I ask if feminism can foster a critique of its own successes?

Bio: Dr Prabha Kotiswaran is Professor of Law & Social Justice at King’s College London. Her main areas of research include criminal law, transnational criminal law, sociology of law, postcolonial theory and feminist legal theory. She has authored Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor: Sex Work and the Law in India (Princeton 2011, winner of the 2012 SLSA-Hart Prize for Early Career Academics) and co-authored Governance Feminism: An Introduction (Minnesota 2018, with Janet Halley, Rachel Rebouché and Hila Shamir). She has edited Sex Work (Women Unlimited, Delhi 2011), Towards an Economic Sociology of Law (Wiley 2013, with Amanda Perry-Kessaris and Diamond Ashiagbor), Revisiting the Law and Governance of Trafficking, Forced Labor and Modern Slavery (Cambridge University Press 2017) and Governance Feminism: Notes from the Field (Minnesota 2019, with Janet Halley, Rachel Rebouché and Hila Shamir). She is currently working on a project on the laws of social reproduction.

Future Research Seminars