Sappho Goes to Law School: Fragments in Lesbian Legal Theory / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 93%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $1.99   
  • New (2) from $6.84   
  • Used (12) from $1.99   


In Sappho Goes to Law School Ruthann Robson weaves together concepts taken from traditional legal theory, postmodernism, feminist theory, and queer theory, as well as her own personal experience in the courtroom and classroom, to take stock of the complexities of lesbian identity and the often detrimental ways in which legal scholarship approaches lesbianism.

Columbia University Press

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Ruth Colker
Dunlap, Mary C.Sappho Goes to Law School is distinctively necessary, valuable, and comprehensive. It serves the vital purpose of providing a deep, well-researched, lesbian-centered commentary on the development and status of U.S. law, both substantive and procedural.
Library Journal
The legal status of lesbians and gay men in contemporary America continues to be controversial, as illustrated by these two very different titles, both by professors of law. Richards aims to combine "interpretive history, political philosophy, and constitutional argument to make sense of the background, development and growing impact of two of the most important movements of human rights currently on the American constitutional scene: feminism and gay rights" and ends by claiming to have explored "the interpretive fertility of antebellum abolition feminism in both the understanding and criticism of contemporary interpretive developments in the areas of gender and sexual preference." His analysis, however cogent, is undermined by a downplaying of lesbians in the title and elsewhere, a problematic conceptualization of "moral slavery," and Richards's often nearly impenetrable prose. In contrast, the rhetorical proposition in the title of Robson's exploration of lesbians and the legal machine is pointedly provocative and witty as well. This challenging collection of 13 essays can be read as a continuation of her previous book, Lesbian (Out)Law: Survival Under the Rule of Law (LJ 6/1/92). Applying queer theory to her examination of the legal system and legal theory to the concept of lesbianism, Robson confronts the complexities of such issues as lesbian identity, class, violence, marriage, and parenting. The writing, a heady mix of pedagogy, lesbian sex, and jurisprudence, is dense and iconoclastic but always intellectually stimulating, ultimately rewarding the reader who perseveres: "But in addition to their danger, both essentialism (modernism) and constructionism (postmodernism) present possibilities for an emancipatory enterprise such as a lesbian legal theory." If 70 pages of endnotes seems excessive, it only reinforces the notion that these titles are intended for subject collections.--Jim Van Buskirk, San Francisco P.L.
Presents 13 of the author's essays which develop a lesbian legal theory that would welcome Sappho or any of her modern incarnations to the legal arena. Paper topics include lesbians and criminal justice, the feminist jurisprudence question, the codifications of lesbian relationships, the third sex and child custody, and teaching lesbian sexuality in the law school classroom. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

RUTHANN ROBSON is professor of law at the City University of New York School of Law. She is the author of Lesbian (Out)Law and Legal Issues for Lesbians.

Columbia University Press

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Appeal of Sappho
1 The Specter of a Lesbian Supreme Court Justice: Problems of Identity 1
2 Incendiary Categories 2
3 Convictions: Lesbians and Criminal Justice 29
4 Embodiment(s) 43
5 Taxonomies and Reflections: The Feminist Jurisprudence Question 75
6 Beginning from (My) Experience: Lesbian Narratives 87
7 The Codification of Lesbian Relationships: Examples from Law and Literature 113
8 States of Marriage 131
9 Resisting the Family: Repositioning Lesbians 153
10 The Third Sex, Third Parties, and Child Custody 171
11 Neither Sexy Nor Reasonable 197
12 To Market, to Market: Considering Class 205
13 Lesbian Sex in a Law School Classroom 215
Notes 225
Index 295
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)