Law & Contemporary Problems Symposium on “Sex in Law” Publishes Disputed Article

The journal Law & Contemporary ProblemsIt published the first issue 2022 of its interdisciplinary symposium “Sex in Law” Kathleen Stock’s article, “The Importance Of Referring To Human Sex In Language” is one of the many contributions to this symposium. Stock makes the argument that abandoning biologically-based concepts of “woman”,’man’, ‘girl,’ or ‘boy” will deprive language-users of invaluable tools for understanding and explaining material and social reality. However, the gains made are only partial and uncertain. Some student editors were forced to resign after this article was published in the journal. This is covered in this blog post.

This symposium contains articles that are drawn from both normative and disciplinary perspectives. They address contemporary issues about the law’s treatment of sexuality, gender and sex. In addition to Stock, contributors include Edward Schiappa, Joshua D. Safer, Anne B. Goldstein, Richard Chused, Anthony Michael Kreis, Wickliffe Shreve, Joanna Harper, June Carbone, and Madeleine Pape.

Because of this controversy, there are no student editors listed in the journal’s masthead. Here is the alternative statement:

Students are the staff of this journal. Law & Contemporary Problems (L&CPThe symposium issue issues are not selected by the special editors. As L&CP is organized and operates, issue proposals are approved by the journal’s faculty board and article selections are made by the special editors. After the special editors and authors have completed their articles, the student is usually responsible for producing the issue. The issue 85-1: Sex in Law is the first to be published. No articles were read, edited, reviewed or approved by anyone. L&CPStudent staff editors and executive board members act in their official capacity as journal members. In the summer of 2021 eight 3L student editors resigned and the rest of the 3L members voted to not have student participants to this symposium. This was in reaction to Kathleen Stock’s essay, and to the rejection by the faculty board of Kathleen Stock’s essay. Also, the decision to reject the request of Kathleen Stock for a style guide for uniform language in the issue that the student executive boards considered essential to protect the transgender community.

Kimberly Krawiec, Professor Doriane Cole and Kimberly Krawiec wrote the foreword to the issue. They were also the editors. These are their words:

After a few editors and journal board members quit or refused to work on this volume, we want to end by expressing our gratitude to all students involved in editing it. The research assistants to individual authors did the same work as the students. Duke Law students also contributed their time, without compensation or institution credit, in order to make the volume. Meredith Criner was the de facto editor, but she did much of the work below the lines that would normally be reserved for students.