Hastings Women’s Law Journal


As indicated by the title, our primary question concerns the relationship of situated knowledges, identity politics and the political dimension of law. The term "situated knowledges" refers broadly to issues raised in feminist epistemology: how do oppressed groups experience the world differently to the dominant perspective, what is the relationship between different knowledge bases and what is the epistemological significance of "the view from below?" "Identity politics" is a term which has been used to describe political coalitions formed primarily around politically-charged identities. It has been used to indicate, for instance, that identification as a "feminist" or as a "lesbian" carries with it certain political implications and conversely, that anyone who does not hold certain beliefs is not 'really' a feminist or a lesbian. Recently, the relationship between identity and politics has been theorized in a way which takes more account of difference. Our aim is to consider some of this feminist theory in light of practical questions arising in relation to knowledge and identity in law: in particular, what is the relationship between knowledge and identity in the legal context, and how can this relationship be understood in terms of the politics of law?