Family Law Center

Family Law Center

Family Law Center

Mother and son

2021 Summer Feminist Legal Theory Series

Registration is required

The series is co-sponsored by the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, The Feminism and Legal Theory Project, The Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative, the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode, the Family Law Center at the University of Virginia School of Law, and the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education

Wednesday, June 2
2-3 p.m. EDT

Panel Discussion: Reflections on the History and Beginnings of Feminist Legal Theory 

Chair and Moderator: Martha Albertson Fineman (Emory), with additional speakers to be announced

Wednesday, June 16
2-3 p.m. EDT

“Half Baked Ideas” Sessions

Up to six simultaneous sessions will be held in Zoom breakout rooms (speakers to be selected from this call for participation)

Wednesday, June 30
2-3 p.m. EDT

Junior Scholar Paper Presentation 

Wednesday, July 7
2-3 p.m. EDT

Junior Scholar Paper Presentation 

Wednesday, July 21
2-3 p.m. EDT

Junior Scholar Paper Presentation 

Wednesday, Aug. 4
2-3 p.m. EDT

Panel Discussion: Reflections on the Present and Future of Feminist Legal Theory

Speakers to be announced.


Virtual Book Launch

Legal Recognition of Non-Conjugal Families

Wednesday, June 9
6-7:30 p.m. (Register by Noon on June 9)

Family Law Center Director Naomi Cahn will serve on a panel of experts discussing the book “Legal Recognition of Non-Conjugal Families: New Frontiers in Family Law in the US, Canada and Europe,” sponsored by the FBK-Center for Religious Studies and the Universita Di Trento. Details

Fulton, Faith, Families and Foster Care  

Friday, Jan. 22 

Supreme CourtAs its inaugural event, the UVA Family Law Center will host an online symposium examining Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 4. 

In the case, Catholic Social Services is challenging the City of Philadelphia’s refusal to refer foster children to Catholic Social Services because it will not certify same-sex couples as foster parents. 

“Fulton exposes fundamental conflicts between the states’ authority to prohibit discrimination, the right of religious groups to participate in public life, and our collective obligation to promote child welfare,” Family Law Center Director Naomi Cahn said. 

UVA Law professor Gregg Strauss, co-director of the center, added, “As the case illustrates, our public and private duty to help needy children has become the latest battleground in the fight between the liberty of religious citizens to participate in public life and the state’s obligation to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQIA citizens.”

Conference co-organizers Cahn, Strauss and UVA Law professor Micah Schwartzman ’05 will bring together a multidisciplinary group of scholars with varying perspectives, many of whom have filed amici briefs in the case.


Tentative Schedule

9-9:15 a.m.


  • Risa Goluboff, Dean, Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law, Professor of History, University of Virginia School of Law

9:15-10:45 a.m.

Panel 1 | What Are the Roles of Government and Private Citizens in Foster Care and Adoption?

  • Elizabeth D. Katz ’09, Associate Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
  • Linda C. McClain, Robert Kent Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law
  • Catherine J. Ross, Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor, George Washington University Law School
  • Robert W. Tuttle, David R. and Sherry Kirschner Berz Research Professor of Law and Religion, George Washington University Law School
  • Commentary: Solangel Maldonado, Eleanor Bontecou Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law; Serena Mayeri, Professor of Law and History, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
  • Moderator: Micah Schwartzman ’05, Hardy Cross Dillard Professor of Law; Director, Karsh Center for Law and Democracy; University of Virginia School of Law

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Panel 2 | How Do Religious Rights for Adults Affect the Rights of Foster Children and Parents?

  • Stephanie Barclay, Associate Professor of Law, Notre Dame Law School
  • James Dwyer, Arthur B. Hanson Professor of Law, William & Mary Law School
  • Catherine E. Smith, Professor, Chauncey G. Wilson Memorial Research Chair, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
  • Tanya Monique Washington, Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law
  • Commentary: Elizabeth Bartholet, Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law; Faculty Director, Child Advocacy Program; Harvard Law School; Elizabeth W. Sepper, Professor of Law, University of Texas at Austin School of Law
  • Moderator: Gregg Strauss, Professor of Law; Co-Director, Family Law Center, University of Virginia School of Law

1:15-2:30 p.m.

Panel 3 | What Can Social Science Tell Us About How Discrimination Law in Foster Care and Adoption Affects Child Welfare?

  • Charlotte J. Patterson, Professor of Psychology and Women, Gender & Sexuality, University of Virginia
  • Nelson Tebbe, Jane M.G. Foster Professor of Law, Cornell Law School; Netta Barak-Corren, Associate Professor, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law
  • Bianca D.M. Wilson, Rabbi Zacky Senior Scholar of Public Policy, Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law
  • Commentary: Craig Konnoth, Associate Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School; Michael Higdon, Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Professor of Law, University of Tennessee College of Law
  • Moderator: Robert Emery, Professor of Psychology; Director, Center for Children Families and the Law; University of Virginia

2:45-4 p.m.

Panel 4 | What Is or Should Be the Future of Foster Care, Religion and LGBT Law?

  • Clare Huntington, Joseph M. McLaughlin Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law
  • Robin Fretwell Wilson, Director, Institute of Government and Public Affairs; Mildred Van Voorhis Jones Chair in Law; Co-Director, Program in Family Law and Policy; Co-Director, Epstein Health Law and Policy Program; Professor, Department of Pathology, College of Medicine; University of Illinois
  • Jordan Woods, Associate Professor of Law, University of Arkansas School of Law
  • Commentary: Courtney G. Joslin, Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law, University of California at Davis School of Law; Jessica Dixon Weaver ’95, Robert G. Storey Distinguished Faculty Fellow, Gerald J. Ford Research Fellow, Associate Professor of Law, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law
  • Moderator: Naomi R. Cahn, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Distinguished Professor of Law; Nancy L. Buc ’69 Research Professor in Democracy and Equity; Director, Family Law Center; University of Virginia School of Law