Feminist Legal Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 163–183 | Cite as

Feminist Literary Theory and the Law: Reading Cases with Naomi Schor

  • Marco WanEmail author


This article brings together feminist literary theory and law by approaching a number of U.S. Federal cases on sex equality in light of the work of the renowned feminist literary critic Naomi Schor, and shows that literary theory constitutes an under-explored resource for feminist legal critique. Schor’s writings constitute a sustained rumination on the relationship between reading and feminism. Drawing on writings on language and the body by key French feminist theorists, Schor advances a method of interpretation which she terms, provocatively, ‘clitoral reading’, and which focuses on the place of details relating to women’s bodies and desires within literary and cultural discourses. In the course of her career, she analysed texts from domains as diverse as literature, philosophy, visual art, the history of fashion, and photography. I will demonstrate that her work can make a valuable contribution to legal studies by using it as an interpretative lens to re-examine U.S. Federal court judgments.


Law and literature Feminism Interpretation Sex equality Constitutional law 



I am especially grateful to Janet Halley for her encouragement and her comments. I would also like to thank Senjuti Chakraborti, Andrew Counter, Başak Ertür, Wendy Gan, Christopher Hutton, Douglas Kerr, Julia Kuehn, and Stewart Motha for their input on an earlier version of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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