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Martha Albertson Fineman

Affiliated Scholar

Martha Albertson Fineman is Woodruff Professor of Law at Emory University. An internationally recognized law and society scholar, Fineman is a leading authority on family law and feminist jurisprudence. Following graduation from University of Chicago Law School, Fineman clerked for the Hon. Luther M. Swygert of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and then taught at University of Wisconsin and Columbia University. She joined Cornell Law School in 1999 to become the first endowed Chair in the nation in Feminist Jurisprudence. Her scholarly interest is in the legal regulation of intimacy. Fineman is founder and director of the Feminism and Legal Theory Project, which was inaugurated in 1984. Fineman’s publications include The Autonomy Myth: A Theory of Dependency (The New Press, 2003); "Taking Children’s Interest Seriously," Nomos; "Why Marriage?" University of Virginia Journal of Law and Social Policy (2001); and The Neutered Mother, the Sexual Family and other Twentieth Century Tragedies, (Routledge Press, 1995). She has received awards for her writing and teaching and has served on several government study commissions. She teaches family law, feminist jurisprudence, law and sexuality, and seminars on reproductive issues and select topics in feminist legal theory.

Major Works:


  • Dougherty, Terence, ed. and Fineman, Martha Albertson, ed. Feminism Confronts Homo Economicus: Gender, Law, And Society. Cornell University Press, 2005.
  • The Autonomy Myth: A Theory of Dependency. New Press, 2004.
  • Fineman, Martha Albertson, ed and McCluskey, Martha T., ed. Feminism, Media, and the Law. Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Feminism and Legal Theory. Twayne Publishing, 1996.
  • The Neutered Mother, the Sexual Family and Other Twentieth Century Tragedies. Routledge, 1995.
  • Mothers in Law (Gender and Culture). Columbia University Press, 1995. (with Isabel Karpin).
  • The Public Nature of Private Violence. Routledge, 1994.
  • The Illusion of Equality: The Rhetoric and Reality of Divorce Reform. University of Chicago Press, 1994.
  • The Illusion of Equality: The Rhetoric and Reality of Divorce Reform. The University of Chicago Press, 1991.
  • At the Boundaries of Law. Routledge, 1990.


  • "No promotion of marriage in TANF! (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)." 30 Social Justice. 4 (December 2003) (with Gwendolyn Mink and Anna Marie Smith).
  • "Symposium on the Structures of Care Work: Contract and Care." 76 Chicago-Kent Law Review. 3 (November 2001).