Faculty Snapshot: Katherine Franke
Tell us about your work.
I consider myself an activist academic. My work in queer theory, gender justice, racial justice, religious liberty, and Israel/Palestine aims to bring rigorous academic thinking to some of the most pressing social justice causes of our time.
What are you looking forward to right now? What are you most excited about?
I am really looking forward to reengaging in person with colleagues, students, friends, and the community. While our Zoom lives have enabled new kinds of connection during the pandemic, I have experienced it as far too transactional, and I miss the conversations that happen incidental to the task at hand — before and after the meeting or class.
Are you currently looking for collaborators? If so, what types of collaborations are you seeking?
I launched a new project last January, the ERA Project, that brings academically rigorous policy analysis to the fight to finalize the Equal Rights Amendment. I would love to collaborate with colleagues and students in a wide range of disciplines. There is an ongoing need to add explicit sex discrimination language to the U.S. Constitution. Colleagues from journalism, economics, business, engineering, medicine, ethnic/racial studies — really everyone.
Also, I am leading a team of researchers at the law school documenting the law school's connection to slavery and its legacies. The law school opened its doors in 1858 — who were our first faculty and students; who served in the Civil War and on what side; how were property law, constitutional law, contract law etc. taught at a time when people were considered property; where did the funding for the law school come from? And other questions. There has been a wonderful ongoing project on Columbia University and slavery, but the this is the first professional school to take up this issue, and I would welcome collaborations with students who are interested in unearthing this history.