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1999-2002 Plan

Introductory Course

Ethics and Coexistence Student Fellows

Ethical Dilemmas of Post-Conflict Reconciliation

Ethical Dilemmas: Preliminary Case Studies

Long Range Proposal

Martha Minow

Michael Ignatieff

A Poetics of Reconciliation: The Aesthetic Mediation of Conflict

Coexistence Program Director

Martha Minow
Photograph by David Zadig

Martha Minow

Martha Minow
Professor of Law
Harvard University

Professor Minow received her J.D. from Yale University and her Ed.M. from Harvard. At Harvard Law School, she has taught Civil Procedure, Family Law, Legal Profession and Jurisprudence. Her scholarship includes articles about discrimination law affecting women, children, disabled persons and members of ethnic, racial or religious minorities. She has served on the Board of the American Bar Foundation, the W.T. Grant Foundation and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. Before entering teaching, Minow was a law clerk for the late Justice Thurgood Marshall and for Judge Bazelon. She is the author of Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion, and American Law, Not Only for Myself: Identity Politics and Law, and Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence. She is co-editor with Gary Bellow of Law Stories, essays on legal advocacy.

Select Law Review Articles Online:

  1. Columbia Law Review, November, 1997
    JUDGE FOR THE SITUATION: JUDGE JACK WEINSTEIN, CREATOR OF TEMPORARY ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES   In this Article, Professor Minow explores Judge Jack Weinstein's efforts to recast the role of the judge as problem solver.

  2. Connecticut Law Review , Spring, 1994
    THE WELFARE OF SINGLE MOTHERS AND THEIR CHILDREN   Professor Minow writes: "After all my years of studying American history. . . in college, I remember being startled to learn why so much of it seemed confusing to me: a graduate student explained to me that historians of this country are divided between those who find a society of consensus and those who view it as one of conflict. In this Essay, I would like to explore this 'new consensus' on welfare reform, including the elaborations since 1988 at both the state and federal levels."

  3. Georgetown Law Journal, November, 1993
    LEGACY OF JUDGE DAVID L. BAZELON: QUESTIONING OUR POLICIES: JUDGE DAVID L. BAZELON'S LEGACY FOR MENTAL HEALTH LAW   "In the spirit of his commitment to question authority, I use the topic of mental health law advocacy, past and future, to illustrate the mode of inquiry Judge Bazelon inspires."

  4. Georgetown Law Journal, August, 1992
    HONORING JUSTICE THURGOOD MARSHALL: CHOICES AND CONSTRAINTS.   As Justice Thurgood Marshall reminded the nation during its celebration of the Constitution's bicentennial, these guarantees have depended upon momentous social struggles, a civil war, and amendments to the Constitution. ... Yet, as Elizabeth Fox-Genovese argues, this very statement could instead merely reiterate the gender-based assumptions of the white men who recorded facts of rebellions, or neglect the choices exercised by slave women to care for their children rather than rebel. .. In his approach, Justice Marshall exposed the mistake made in treating choice as an all-or-nothing proposition or as an on/off variable. ... In classroom discussions of domestic violence against women, students often ask, "why doesn't she leave?" Feminist commentators tend to reject this question because it blames the woman and because it neglects the constraints she may experience due to economic dependency and a commitment to her children. ... Women can pursue nontraditional jobs, but they then often face sexual harassment at the workplace and disapproval by friends and family members, even assuming they secure employment. ... Justice Thurgood Marshall offered a way of understanding these issues that should set off a warning light whenever we see the word "choice" used in legal and political contexts to assign responsibility or liability.

  5. Harvard Women's Law Journal, Spring, 1997
    PERSPECTIVES ON OUR PROGRESS: TWENTY YEARS OF FEMINIST THOUGHT   Twenty years after its founding, WLJ has more than a dozen sister journals at other law schools, as well as its own track record of substantial and important contributions to legal scholarship and debate.

  6. University of Illinois Law Review, 1991
    THE FREE EXERCISE OF FAMILIES   Originally presented on October 4, 1990, as the first 1990-91 lecture of the David C. Baum Memorial Lectures on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights at the University of Illinois College of Law. As the peoples of Eastern Europe and of the former Soviet Union topple tyrannies and celebrate new-found liberties, as China silently observes the anniversary of the student search for freedom crushed in Tiananmen Square, the tradition of civil liberties in the United States serves as inspiration around the globe. ... Moreover, seventy-five percent of all Black children will live for a time in a single-parent, probably female-headed, household. ... Conceptions of inherent racial differences -- or even notions of cultural group identity -- might well look weak under careful scrutiny, and it is that kind of scrutiny I would favor. ... Instead, I mean to recommend the argument through this mode of discussion so that the family form of lawful marriage taken for granted by the state at least would be subject to challenge in the name of family freedoms. ... As a third example of a law potentially burdening free exercise of family, consider the recently adopted HUD regulation allowing the eviction or forfeiture of subsidized housing eligibility by family members of an individual suspected of engaging in drug-related or violent criminal activity. ... In the absence of a guarantee against governmental establishment of preferred family forms, as is present in the field of religious freedom, free exercise analysis is quite limited. ... First, I view the peyote decision as a mistaken departure from an admirable tradition of sensitivity by the Court to free exercise claims.

  7. Indiana Law Journal, Winter, 1995
    THE CONSTITUTION AND THE SUBGROUP QUESTION   Should a subgroup be able to secure special treatment when its members serve in the military or elsewhere in the government? When does accommodation become inconsistent with the government's commitment to neutrality concerning religion? Should Jews demand an entirely neutral government and oppose the use of prayer at the beginning of a legislative session or during a public high school graduation ceremony--or, instead, should Jews seek periodic rotation of Jewish clergy alongside a full array of leaders of other religions? Can Jews who serve in the military disobey the requirement of wearing a specified uniform by wearing yarmulkes? Our Supreme Court said "no," but Congress stepped in and said "yes."

  8. University of Maryland School of Law, Spring, 1994
    TRENDS IN HEALTH CARE DECISIONMAKING: WHO'S THE PATIENT?   When the health care focus on the individual patient shifts not to society but instead to the family or intimate group, conceptual, practical, and moral problems can arise.

  9. Minnesota Law Review, December, 1995
    WHATEVER HAPPENED TO CHILDREN'S RIGHTS?   This exchange in an abbreviated form illustrates a striking feature of discussions about children's rights: at least as a rhetorical matter they are commonplace among the international human rights community, but they remain controversial within significant sectors of this country. ... The editors of a 1977 volume entitled The Children's Rights Movement: Overcoming the Oppression of Young People concluded, for example, that "some children need vastly more help, protection, and concern, while others need less hovering over, channeling, and imposition of adult standards." ... CDF from the start advocated due process protections prior to school suspension, and a right to privacy for children regarding their school and juvenile court records. ... Unclear himself about which additional adult rights should be extended and which should be modified, Edelman lauded children's freedom of religion, racial equality, freedom of expression, procedural due process, and the right to privacy - adult-type rights - along with a right to education that would be unique to children. ... Friedan called for a "second stage" for the women's movement, one that would advocate family-friendly policies such as child-care, flex-time for workers, and other reforms that would respond to the influx of women in the paid labor force. ... Thus, the Convention calls for development rights - rights to education, cultural activities, play and leisure, and freedom of thought - to meet children's needs in reaching their full potential. ...

  10. University of Missouri at Kansas City Law Review, Fall, 1993
    LAW AND SOCIAL CHANGE   I think there tend to be two kinds of people when it comes to the topic of "law and social change"-those who believe that law is an important instrument of social change and those who think not. ... Quite in contrast are those who argue that law does not or should not produce social change. ... For example, my former colleague, Derrick Bell, who worked for the NAACP on school desegregation, has more recently written searing books and articles maintaining that law reform for racial justice has failed. ... In this view, customs and other day-to-day practices that continue to exclude or degrade non-whites fairly belong in an assessment of social change sought by law reform. ... Consider the results of a recent survey of employment discrimination cases reported by the federal courts in 1987. ... This distinction looms large in Neier's own evaluation of where law reform efforts have succeeded and where they have failed. ... This contrasts, in Neier's view, with the racial justice crusade, which did concern morality. ... But deinstitutionalization of persons with mental illness or mental retardation is a reform by one generation that could well be the scandal of the next. ... "Social" should be read to include the contexts of politics and culture in which people forge consciousness of their society and their aspirations for it; "social" also includes the arenas for debates over what morality and economic justice should entail. ..

  11. University of Pennsylvania Law Review, NOVEMBER, 1994
    LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE: THE IMPACT OF RESEARCH ABOUT FAMILY SUPPORT PROGRAMS ON PUBLIC POLICY.   Do public policies reflect the experiences of people who implement them or those who are supposed to benefit from them? This kind of question may seem remote from the work of an appellate judge, and yet Judge David Bazelon's abiding interest in the links and gaps between social science and law grew from concern with this basic question. ...Dr. David Olds and his colleagues, for example, have conducted family support programs with teenage mothers who face real risks of poverty, poor health for themselves and their children, and child abuse and neglect. ... The research on home visiting in particular has yet to yield findings that help make this kind of case. ... Home visiting programs could be made universally available to every pregnant woman or new mother, or they could be made universal by guaranteeing one home visit for each new parent and at the same time flexibly enabling access to further home visits or other services for those who need them. ... Various versions of home visiting aimed at enhancing children's health and well-being have existed in the United States since the middle of the nineteenth century, or even earlier if visits sponsored by religious groups are included. ... Democracy and Social Ethics is in many ways a work of anthropology as well as a work of persuasive politics; in it, Addams portrays the perceptions of the home visitor who is appalled by the child-rearing, spending, and work habits of a poor family. ... .

  12. College of william and Mary Law Review, Summer, 1992
    STRIPPED DOWN LIKE A RUNNER OR ENRICHED BY EXPERIENCE: BIAS AND IMPARTIALITY OF JUDGES AND JURORS,   First, let me ask whether we know bias when we see it. ... A potential juror poses the danger of bias when he or she is too close to the parties or the issue at hand. ... Yet they both advance a different view of bias and impartiality. ... Departure from a white male perspective, however, does not necessarily mean bias. ... If the decisionmaker herself were a victim of sexual harassment, some might worry that she would be unduly inclined to believe and favor the complainant. ... They also might worry about true accusations and seek to show their ability to overcome any appearance of bias by coming down hard on the accused. ... Four Justices signed the plurality opinion in which Justice Kennedy reasoned that the prosecutor offered explanations for his challenges, explanations sufficiently unrelated to race, and that thus no intentional discrimination occurred. ... (4) that the exclusion of Latinos from the jury leaves a jury that can be perceived as fair and impartial in a case involving a Latino defendant (and, in this case, Latino victims as well). ... But the issue of perspective is unusually pronounced in evaluations of the movie Thelma & Louise. ...

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[Announcement] [1999-2002 Plan] [Introductory Course] [Ethics and Coexistence Student Fellows] [Ethical Dilemmas of Post-Conflict Reconciliation] [Ethical Dilemmas: Preliminary Case Studies] [Long Range Proposal] [Martha Minow] [Michael Ignatieff] [A Poetics of Reconciliation: The Aesthetic Mediation of Conflict] [Coexistence Program Director]