Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Now available: Toward a Humanist Justice

Toward a Humanist Justice: The Political Philosophy of Susan Moller Okin, edited by Debra Satz and Rob Reich.

The late Susan Moller Okin was a leading political theorist whose scholarship integrated political philosophy and issues of gender, the family, and culture. Okin argued that liberalism, properly understood as a theory opposed to social hierarchies and supportive of individual freedom and equality, provided the tools for criticizing the substantial and systematic inequalities between men and women. Her thought was deeply informed by a feminist view that theories of justice must apply equally to women as men, and she was deeply engaged in showing how many past and present political theories failed to do this. She sought to rehabilitate political theories--particularly that of liberal egalitarianism, in such a way as to accommodate the equality of the sexes, and with an eye toward improving the condition of women and families in a world of massive gender inequalities. In her lifetime Okin was widely respected as a scholar whose engagement went well beyond the world of theory, and her premature death in 2004 was considered by many a major blow to progressive political thought and women's interests around the world.

This volume stems from a conference on Okin, and contains articles by some of the top feminist and political philosophers working today. They are organized around a set of themes central to Okin's work, namely liberal theory, gender and the family, feminist and cultural differences, and global justice. Included are major figures such as Joshua Cohen, David Miller, Cass Sunstein, Alison Jaggar, and Iris Marion Young, among others. Their aim is not to celebrate Okin's work, but to constructively engage with it and further its goals.

Table of Contents
Introduction: Toward a Humanist Justice , Debra Satz, (Stanford University) and Rob Reich, (Stanford University)

PART 1: Rethinking Political Theory

1. Okin's Liberal Feminism as a Radical Political Theory , Nancy Rosenblum, (Harvard University)
2. Justice and Gender: Reflections on Susan Moller Okin , Joshua Cohen, (Stanford University)
3. Okin's Contributions to the Study Of Gender in Political Theory , Elizabeth Wingrove, (University of Michigan)
4. Can Feminism be Liberated from Governmentalism? , John Tomasi, (Brown University)

PART II: Gender and the Family

5. Equality of Opportunity and the Family , David Miller, (Oxford University)
6. "No More Relevance than One's Eye Color": Justice and Okin's Genderless Society , Molly Lynn Shanley, (Vassar College)
7. On the Tension Between Sex Equality and Religious Freedom , Cass Sunstein, (University of Chicago)

PART III: Feminism and Cultural Diversity

8. From Liberal to Post-Colonial to Multicultural Feminism: Competing Approaches to the study of Gender, Citizenship and Fate of Religious Arbitration , Ayelet Shachar, (University of Toronto)
9. Okin and the Challenge of Essentialism , Alison Jaggar, (University of Colorado at Boulder)
10. The Dilemma of a Dutiful Daughter: Love and Freedom in the Thought of Kartini , Chandran Kukathas, (London School of Economics)

PART IV: Development and Gender

11. Reinventing Globalization to Reduce Gender Inequality , Robert Keohane, (Princeton University)
12. The Gendered Cycle of Vulnerability in the Less Developed World , Iris Marion Young, (University of Chicago)

That last chapter will be one of the final pieces by Iris Young to see print.


Aeon J. Skoble said...

What's Tomasi's answer to his titular question?

Matt said...

I'm under the impression that a book by Young (either a nearly finished book edited by someone else or else a collection of papers- I'm really not sure) will come out from Oxford before too long. This was part of a casual conversation I was having with someone who would know, but I can't remember the details well enough to say more.

Jacob T. Levy said...

There are two volumes coedited by Iris (one with me on colonialism, one with Dan O'Neill and Molly Shannon on Carole Pateman). A volume of essays *about* her thought is coming out from Oxford later this year, _Dancing With Iris._

I've also heard some discussion about bringing the incomplete manuscript on responsibility to a publishable state, but I don't remember who was taking that task on and hadn't heard that it had gotten as far having a publisher. If someone has and it has, then that's good news.

Matt said...

Thanks for the info on the volumes. I'm pretty sure it's the last one you mention that I'd head about, supposedly to come out some time in the reasonably near future. But, I didn't get the details. We'll see.

Chris H. said...

Thanks for this post. Okin is very important to my work (and my interpretation of Rawls). I will have to get a copy soon.

Anne Coleman said...

Very interesting read. I'm anti-sexist bordering on feminism, and Okin is definitely an inspiration.