Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oh Minow

Martha Minow is a paradigmatic case of too much of a good thing.

I first stumbled across her by reading her 1991 book, Making All The Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion, and American Law. I often tell people that the speed I read books is directly in relation to how much I'm enjoying it. Books I love speed along, books I loathe crawl. That's true up to a point, but if I really love a book, my pace comes crashing to a halt, because I need to stop and chew over particularly juicy bits, or copy down especially illuminating passages. And so, even though I consider MATD to be one of the best books I ever read, and even though I have four whole pages of quotations from the book copied onto my computer, and even with two library extensions, I never actually finished it. I just got it for a Chanukah present, so maybe I'll take another shot at it.

In addition to MATD, I also got another Minow book from 1997, this one called Not Only For Myself: Identity, Politics, and Law. Like MATD, this one is going slow because I'm loving it. It's making great arguments, and at the moment it's making great arguments switching from the 1st Century Jewish Rabbi Hillel to an episode of Star Trek within the space of a page. How cool is that?

But the Minow awesomeness extends beyond her work in identity politics. She literally seems to have a hand in everything cool. The collection of works by the late, great, Jewish legal theorist Robert Cover? She edited it. A primer to Feminist Legal Theory? Minow. Post-genocide reconciliation and reconstruction? She has three books on it. She even co-wrote an editorial criticizing US detention policy by comparing us to and advocating for the Israeli model. It's like if Samantha Power decided to expand beyond genocide and do everything awesome. It's almost too much to handle at once.

Anyway, if you ever have a chance ever to read anything by Minow, I can't recommend her highly enough. She truly is one of the most brilliant, and under-appreciated, legal minds out there in the United States today.

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