Notes Toward a Critical Contemplation of the Law

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In this tribute to Professor Derrick Bell’s legacy, Professor Katyal reflects on one of Bell’s greatest gifts: the necessary, and perhaps unfinished gift of critical contemplation of law, along with its possibilities and its concomitant limitations.   In her paper, Katyal reflects on two seemingly disparate areas of civil rights that might benefit from Bell’s critical vision: the area of LGBT rights and equality, and federal Indian law.  Relying on some of Bell’s most valuable insights, Katyal calls for the creation of a “critical sexuality studies” and a “critical indigenous studies” that employs some of Bell’s groundbreaking lessons in reimagining broader and more inclusive concepts of equality and equal protection.

Professor Katyal’s scholarly work focuses on intellectual property and property law, civil rights (including gender and sexuality), and new media. She also works on issues relating to intellectual property and indigenous people’s rights, with a special focus on cultural property in the United States and abroad.