Shifting Normativities: Families, Feminisms, Laws


(Left to right): Erez Aloni, Susan Boyd and Régine Tremblay

How we define families has changed drastically over the last few decades and the laws in Canada are catching-up to the evolving and growing needs of families across Canada.

On May 9th and May 10th, scholars and practitioners from around the world came together at Allard Hall for an interdisciplinary conference focusing on family law and feminist theory, discussing relevant and cutting-edge topics like “Trans Parents and Trans Minors-Intertwined Paths of Recognition” and “Interplay of Family Law and Immigration Law for Mothers Without Status.”

“Such a gathering, beyond the immediate fruitful exchange of ideas, contributes to celebrations and production of original family law scholarship, which is essential in order to crafting a better family law. Particularly because there is a shortage of family law scholarship in Canada,” said Professor Erez Aloni who served as the co-organizer of the conference alongside Professor Régine Tremblay.

The conference was also an opportunity to celebrate and honour the work of Professor Emerita Susan Boyd (F.R.S.C.), a leading socio-legal scholar who has made exceptional contributions to family law and feminist legal studies at the Allard School of Law and beyond. She joined the Allard School of Law in 1992 and was instrumental to the creation of the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies (CFLS).  She served as director of the CFLS from 1997 to 2002.

“The conference embodied some of Susan Boyd’s qualities: rigorous and critical academic work in a spirit of comradery,” said Professor Tremblay. “This combination is especially conducive to successful exchange of ideas.”

The conference will result in a collection of essays pulled together into a book co-edited by Professors Tremblay and Aloni, and a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Family Law. The underlying theme of the book is the exploration of how the law has struggled to adjust its normative content in the face of dramatic shifts in family life over the last few decades. It aims at producing interdisciplinary scholarship about the shifting normativities in family law and family life. The special issue will celebrates Susan Boyd’s scholarship.