Saturday, September 2, 2017

European Conference on Politics and Gender - UNIL - Lausanne

In June we traveled to Switzerland so that I could participate in the European Conference on Politics and Gender at the University of Lausanne (UNIL) in Lausanne. 

Lausanne is Switzerland's 4th largest city, on the shores of Lake Geneva with beautiful views of the Alps. UNIL is a leading research university home to more than 17,000 students and researchers.

The European Conference on Politics and Gender (ECPG) conference consisted of three days of panels, lectures, plenary sessions, roundtable discussions, professional development workshops, and receptions.

My paper was entitled "The 'Notorious RBG' and the Development of Gender Discrimination Jurisprudence in the US."  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has captured the popular imagination as a feminist icon in the US. Indeed, Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer who made tremendous contribution to the advancement of equal rights for women in the USA by developing the ACLU’s litigation strategy before the Supreme Court of the US. Her legal strategy was to bring a series of cases before the Court, gradually culminating in a heightened scrutiny for gender discrimination under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. As the Equal Rights Amendment was never ratified, the Court’s framework for interpreting the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment - and the determination of which “test” to apply in cases involving gender discrimination – is critical to understanding the scope of women’s rights in the US.
Data collection for this project began when I was working for the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s confirmation hearings in 1993. One of my tasks was to read and synthesize everything she had written on gender discrimination. More recently, I have undertaken a content analysis of her opinions in all cases involving gender discrimination written during her 24 terms on the Bench. In my presentation I compared the arguments made by Attorney Ginsburg with those of Justice Ginsburg, and I discussed the impact of attorney and later judge and Justice Ginsburg on the development of gender discrimination jurisprudence in the US through an analysis of her scholarship, advocacy, and jurisprudence.

presenting my paper about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's contribution to 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause Jurisprudence  

One of my fellow panelists is also a Rutgers PhD!  Grace Howard presented her research about "Prosecutorial Innovatoin and the Criminalization of Pregnancy." In fact, there was a large contingent from Rutgers here -- from the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP)
In addition to the opportunity to present one's own research and to solicit valuable feedback, conferences also provide the opportunity to network with scholars in one's field. As I was perusing the program, I was delighted when I came across this paper: "The Gender Dimension of EU Enlargement: A Case Study of Macedonia as a Candidate Country," to be presented by a colleague from UKIM.  I was on the lookout for Prof. Karolina Ristova-Aasterud and was delighted to meet her at the welcome reception.

Wonderful to meet a law professor from UKIM - Professor Karolina Ristova-Aasterud. The conference provided several opportunities for us to meet and to brainstorm opportunities for future cooperation
Of course, it was delightful to continue to discuss our plans for future collaboration over the cheese fondue!

Hard to get enough cheese fondue (or chocolates!) when in Switzerland!
Most of the sessions that I attended took place in this classroom building - Anthropole - which was just off the metro stop

on the walk from the opening sessions to the welcome reception

UNIL is a lovely campus, that spans 3 metro stops.  Just a quick moment to enjoy the sounds of this babbling brook, as I was running from one classroom building to another.
And -- sheep!  I also took this video of the sheep so you could hear their bells

I took my daughter on a tour of the campus as well .... not every day you can walk around campus and see/hear sheep

Our hotel was actually on the metro stop. It could not have been any more convenient.  Many stayed in the lovely old town of Lausanne, nearer the Lake, but we loved staying at this hotel on the metro, just a few stops from the UNIL campus.

approaching Geopolis, where the fondue reception was being held

I believe this building also housed the Geology Department - and there was this display of rocks outside, lining the pathway

On the third day of the conference I was able to hear presentations by a few of the Rutgers scholars in attendance at the conference -- e.g., at this panel on Women Parliamentarians, featuring this presentation about "The Significance of Women in Congress from Women Members' Perspectives" by Kelly Ditmar.

presentation by Hila Amit, who won the PhD Prize in Gender and Politics for her dissertation "A Queer Way Out: Israeli Emigration and Unheroic Resistance to Zionism"

We flew from Skopje to Geneva -- when your mom takes you to a conference on Politics and Gender, these might be your coloring book pages of choice (Thanks, again, Shalom!)
And then we took the train from Geneva to Lausanne. (Perusing one of the books we got at the shop at the UN Office in Geneva)
Perhaps I will post separately about Geneva and Lausanne. We added a day before and a day after the conference so that we could explore Geneva and Lausanne, if only briefly.  We had a lovely time in Switzerland.

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