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Critique Humanities Law/Legal Nonfiction Social Sciences

Keynote Address: Columbia Journal of Gender and Law

By Dean Spade, Unknown

Reflecting on the title of this symposium, I was thinking about the metaphor of “the frontier” and what it means to place our conversations about gender and US law in the context of US law as a project of settler-colonialism. In particular, the title of this symposium made me think about how the theorization and practice of resistance to coercive gender norms is often . invested in narratives of citizenship and belonging that undergird colonialism and white supremacy. How does an understanding of genocide and slavery as the conditions of the creation of the US nation-state and US law impact our analysis of the relationship between law and gender? 1 The title of this symposium evokes the most basic questions that legal scholars arid activists must ask ourselves as we seek to transform systems that \;Ve understand as harmful or violent. What is the law? What is violence? Are racialized-gendered distributions of harm and violence incidental to American law and the US nation-state or co-constitutive with it?

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