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Going Wild: Law and Literature and Sex

Special Issue: Feminist Legal Theory

ISBN: 978-1-78560-783-7, eISBN: 978-1-78560-782-0

Publication date: 8 February 2016


This paper explores four works of contemporary fiction to illuminate formal and informal regulation of sex. The paper’s co-authors frame analysis with the story of their creation of a transdisciplinary course, entitled “Regulating Sex: Historical and Cultural Encounters,” in which students mined literature for social critique, became immersed in the study of law and its limits, and developed increased sensitivity to power, its uses, and abuses. The paper demonstrates the value theoretically and pedagogically of third-wave feminisms, wild zones, and contact zones as analytic constructs and contends that including sex and sexualities in conversations transforms personal experience, education, society, and culture, including law.




We both thank Matthew Bakko, Elizabeth Dillon, Amanda Schwartz, and Amanda Wolter for excellent research assistance. We also appreciate the initial comments we received at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Law & Society Association, especially from Jody Lyneé Madeira; the subsequent suggestions from Martha Chamallas, Adrienne Davis, Maxine Eichner,Elizabeth Emens, Rebecca Hollander-Blumoff, Clare Huntington, Shari Motro, and Laura Rosenbury; the enormously valuable conversation at the feminist legal theory gathering at Fordham Law School in 2013; and the invitation to discuss these ideas again at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Law & Society Association. Finally, we are grateful for all that we learned from the students who enrolled in “Regulating Sex: Historical and Cultural Encounters,” Washington University in St. Louis, 2010–2015, and cheerfully engaged with us in this experiment.


Appleton, S.F. and Stiritz, S.E. (2016), "Going Wild: Law and Literature and Sex", Special Issue: Feminist Legal Theory (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 69), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 11-62.



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