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American University Washington College of Law    
 
    
 
  Nov 18, 2017
 
2017-2018 Catalog

LAW - 725B Gender, Cultural Difference, and International Human Rights Seminar


(3 hrs.)

Examines the application of international law to religious and cultural practices that have an impact on women’s rights. The course focuses on the personal status laws governing rights in the family, legal capacity, and inheritance in a number of countries. Students consider concepts of culture in international law and the scope of laws protecting the right to engage in religious and cultural practices; concepts of gender equality in international law; and feminist analyses of the ways in which gender, race, class, and other factors intersect with religion and culture to shape women’s de jure and de facto rights, with an emphasis on analyses by women in developing countries and women of color in the United States. Students also look at concepts of cultural difference, race, and gender in approaches to the practice of female circumcision and the concept of moral consensus as a cultural construct underlying restrictions on lesbian and gay rights in the United States and Europe. Examples include Islamic law, Hindu law, customary law in selected African countries, Jewish law, and Christian law as reflected in Irish constitutional law and canon law as incorporated in various legal systems.