Susan  Williams

Susan Williams

Walter W. Foskett Professor of Law; Director, Center for Constitutional Democracy

  • B.A., Harvard University 1982
  • J.D., Harvard University 1985
  • Member, Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard University
  • Served on the board of editors for the Harvard Law Review
  • Clerk, Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (1985-86)
  • Visiting Faculty, University of Paris II (Pantheon-Assas)
  • Visiting Fellow, Wolfson College, Cambridge University, UK
  • Visiting Fellow, European University Institute, Fiesole, Italy
  • Director, Maurer School of Law Center for Constitutional Democracy

Professor Williams is the author of Truth, Autonomy, and Speech: Feminist Theory and the First Amendment (NYU Press 2004). Her current book project, Constituting Equality: Comparative Constitutional Law and Gender Equality, is a collection of essays growing out of a spring 2007 conference she organized. She has also written numerous articles on constitutional law and feminist legal theory.

She is actively involved in constitutional advising for the Burmese democracy movement. She is a constitutional advisor to the Women's League of Burma, the Federal Constitution Drafting Coordinating Committee, and the state constitution drafting committees of all of the states of Burma. In this capacity, she teaches workshops, produces educational materials, and works on drafting and revising constitutional language.

At Indiana Law, Williams teaches Property, First Amendment Law, Feminist Jurisprudence, and a seminar on Comparative Constitutional Law on Gender Equality. She believes that the best lawyers do not conduct legal analysis in a vacuum. "We must train our students to think and argue clearly and critically," she says. "But at the same time, we must encourage them to bring their own values and experiences to bear on the legal issues they are studying. Law is a mirror in which we can read our character as a society, both as it presently exists and as we would ideally like it to be."

Selected Works
  • Democratic Theory, Feminist Theory, and Constitutionalism: Models of Equality and the Challenge of Multiculturalism, in FEMINIST CONSTITUTIONALISM (Beverly Baines, Daphne Barak-Erez, & Tsvi Kahana, Eds.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Forthcoming 2010).
  • Introduction: Comparative Constitutional Law, Gender Equality, and Constitutional Design, and Equality, Representation, and Challenge to Hierarchy: Justifying Electoral Quotas for Women, and Women in the Constitutional Drafting Process in Burma (with Thin Thin Aung), in CONSTITUTING EQUALITY: GENDER EQUALITY AND COMPARATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW (Editor). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • Feminist Theory and Freedom of Speech, 84 INDIANA LAW JOURNAL 999 (2009).
  • Theorie Feministe et Liberte d'Expression, in LIBERTÉ D'EXPRESSION AUX ÉTATS-UNIS ET EN EUROPE (Élisabeth Zoller, Ed.) Paris: Dalloz, 2008.
  • Autonomy and the Public/Private Distinction in Bioethics and Law, 12 INDIANA JOURNAL OF GLOBAL LEGAL STUDIES 483 (2005).
  • Religion, Politics, and Feminist Epistemology: A Comment on the Uses and Abuses of Morality in Public Discourse, 77 INDIANA LAW JOURNAL 267 (2002).
  • Constitutional Drafting and Individual Rights: The Example of Gender Equality, in Designing Federalism (National Reconciliation Program, UN 2005)
  • Truth, Autonomy, and Speech: Feminist Theory and the First Amendment ( New York University Press 2004)
  • A Feminist Reassessment of Civil Society, 72 Ind. L.J. 417 (1997), reprinted in Family, State and Law (Michael D. Freeman, ed.), Volume 1 of The International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory (Tom D. Campbell, ed. 2d ed. 1999).
  • Feminist Legal Epistemology, 8 Berkeley Women's L.J. 63 (1993)
  • Legal Education, Feminist Epistemology, and the Socratic Method, 45 Stanford L. Rev. 1571 (1993)
  • Utopianism, Epistemology, and Feminist Theory: A Review of Beyond Accommodation: Ethical Feminism, Deconstruction and the Law by Drucilla Cornell (1991), 5 Yale J. L. & Fem. 289 (1993)
  • Content Discrimination and the First Amendment, 139 U. Pa. L. Rev. 615 (1991)