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Intersectionality Theory Within the United Nations

During this roundtable meeting, law professors and students will discuss intersectionality theory, which explores the ways in which some individuals experience multiple, intersecting forms of discrimination such as racism and sexism. Some have criticized the U.N. human rights treaty bodies for failing to fully account for intersectional forms of discrimination in its human rights work. Participants will reflect on some broad themes including: Should the United Nations integrate intersectionality into its work? What is the value of intersectionality in the international context? To what extent has the UN already begun to use intersectionality theory to guide its work? How could the UN further integrate intersectionality theory into its work?


LISA KOIS does not fit neatly into a box. She lives somewhere at the intersections and the margins of law and social action, of local and global, of theory and practice, of power and oppression. Having lived, and worked on issues of human rights and conflict transformation, in Sri Lanka for almost 13 years, with a number of international and local actors, she returned to the United States (not entirely of her of her own volition) in 2008. She has recently completed an assignment with UN Women, which raised very practical questions about gender, intersectionality, human rights and humanitarian law.
Professor LISA A. CROOMS teaches Constitutional Law, Supreme Court Jurisprudence, Gender and the Law, and International Human Rights Law at Howard University School of Law where she also directs the Law School’s Constitutional Law Center. She is an editor of The Oxford Handbook of Africam American Citizenship, 1865-Present [Oxford University Press (forthcoming September 2011)]. Other notable recent publications include Adler, Crooms, ET AL., Mary Joe Frug’s Women and the Law (4th ed., Foundation Press 2008), All Man Come Together and Say Boys Mus Dead: Hyperheterosexuality, Afro-Jamaican Culture and the 1997 Condom Riots in Sex, Power and Taboo: Gender and HIV in the Caribbean and Beyond, (Roberts, Reddock, et al., eds., Ian Randle Publishers 2009), and A Stone’s Throw to Justice: Liberty, Equality and Women’s Rights in the Opinions of Justice Thurgood Marshall, 52 HOW. L.J. 559 (2009). She serves on the board of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative and chairs the steering committee of the Human Rights at Home Campaign. Professor Crooms has recently completed research for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women on the issue of multiple or intersecting forms of discrimination and violence against women.
Professor PENELOPE ANDREWS is Associate Dean and Professor of Law. Before joining CUNY Law School as the Associate Dean, she was a Professor of Law at Valparaiso Law School, and held a Chair in Law at LaTrobe University, Australia. She has been a visiting professor at several law schools, including the University of Maryland, the University of Natal, the University of Aberdeen, the University of Potsdam, and the University of Amsterdam. In 2002 she was the Stoneman Fellow of Law and Democracy at Albany Law School and the Parsons Visitor at the University of Sydney.
In 2004 she was a resident at the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio, Italy, working on a manuscript on women's human rights law. She has written extensively on constitutional and human rights issues in the South African, Australian, and international contexts, and appears frequently on panels addressing issues of comparative constitutional law, international human rights, women, and racial minorities.
She is an editor of two books, The Post-Apartheid Constitutions: Reflections on South Africa's Basic Law, and Law and Rights: Global Perspectives on Constitutionalism and Governance. Her forthcoming book, From Cape Town to Kabul: Reconsidering Women's Human Rights, will be published in 2010. She has received several awards for her human rights work, including a scholarship in her honor to benefit disadvantaged black South Africans at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She sits on the Boards of several law journals and is the editor of the International Review of Constitutionalism.
Prof. Andrews has served as a Board Member for several NGOs, and has also served as a consultant and advisor to governments and NGOs. She has served as a law school site inspector for the American Bar Association. She has strong organizational and interpersonal skills, has conducted training workshops on a range of issues, and has organized several conferences in the USA and abroad. In 2005 she was a finalist for a vacancy on the Constitutional Court of South Africa and interviewed by the Judicial Services Commission. Her resume provides a full description of her prior positions, experience, honors and scholarship.