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Catharine MacKinnon

Catharine MacKinnon
Lawyer, teacher, scholar, writer, and activist

Catharine A. MacKinnon (BA, Smith College; JD, Yale Law; PhD Yale Political Science) is a lawyer, teacher, scholar, writer, and activist.

She is Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law, University of Michigan, and, since 2009, James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School. She specializes in equality in legal theory and political philosophy, focusing on sex, including intersectionally, in international, comparative, constitutional, and criminal law. Professor MacKinnon pioneered the legal claim for sexual harassment, proposed the Equality Model on prostitution in Sweden, and established the first legal recognition of rape as genocide.

Professor MacKinnon’s fourteen scholarly books include Sex Equality(2001/2007/2016), Butterfly Politics (2017), and Le Viol Redéfini: vers l’egalité, contre le consentement (2023), critically analyzing rape law.

Professor MacKinnon practices law and consults nationally and internationally. She was the first Special Gender Adviser to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (2008-2012), implementing her concept “gender crime,” and High-level Expert to UN Women’ Executive Coordinator and Spokesperson on Sexual Harassment from 2018 to 2020. She is elected to the American Law Institute and the American Philosophical Society, which awarded her the Henry M. Phillips Award in Jurisprudence in 2022.

Empirical studies document Professor MacKinnon as one of the most widely-cited legal scholars in English and over time the most frequently referenced woman.

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