Janet Halley, IGLP contributor and Royall Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, published the second installment of “What is Family Law?: A Genealogy,”  in the latest issue of the Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities.

The article raises important new questions about the rise of the modern family and of family law and offers a genealogy of domestic relations law (later renamed family law).  Part I is an account of how it emerged as a distinct field in American law in the latter half of the nineteenth century. This Part, Part II, is an account of its successive transformations over the course of the twentieth century. Professor Halley argues that domestic relations/family law did not always exist; rather, it was invented, and the ideological implications of that act of creation remain embedded in the field today. Her central idea is that the family and its law are the opposites of the market and its law. Born in the middle of the nineteenth century as the notorious status/contract distinction, it has shown amazing powers of resilience, surviving three highly intentional and collectively organized attacks and gathering to itself new ideological and practical implications as the presuppositions about law that permeate legal consciousness have changed and changed again over time.

The IGLP will be hosting a symposium on February 23 to celebrate Professor Halley scholarship and the publication of the Genealogy.  This Symposium, entitled “From the Household to the Family: Legal Genealogies” will bring together legal scholars from the US and abroad to examine the legal, political and ideological implications of this shift from the household to the family. Special commentators include IGLP Contributors Duncan Kennedy, Teemu Ruskola, Jeannie Suk and Philomila Tsoukala.  Click HERE for more information