Cornell, Drucilla



 J.D., UCLA Law School, 1981 (Honors: Order of the Coif, Law Review)

B.A., Antioch College, 1978 (Majors: Philosophy and Mathematics)

Research Interests

Women and Politics

Biographical Notes

Prior to beginning her life as an academic, Cornell was a union organizer for a number of years. She worked for the UAW, the UE, and the IUE in California, New Jersey, and New York. She played a key role in organizing the conference on deconstruction and justice at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 1989, 1990, and 1993 - a conference at which Jacques Derrida is thought by many to have made his definitive philosophical turn toward the ethical. In addition, she has worked to coordinate Law and Humanities Speakers Series with the Jacob Burns Institute for Advanced Legal Studies and the Committee on Liberal Studies at the New School for Social Research. Professor Cornell was professor at the Cardozo School of Law from 1989 to 1994. From 1994-2001, she was professor of law at Rutgers-Newark Law School. Her other academic appointments include visiting distinguished professor of philosophy at Warwick University, UK; visiting professor of philosophy at SUNY Stonybrook; professor at the National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Institute. She has been a senior fellow at A.D. Whitehouse, Cornell University, and a Mellon fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Selected Publications

She has written numerous articles on contemporary continental thought, critical theory, grass-roots political and legal mobilization, jurisprudence, women's literature, feminism, aesthetics, psychoanalysis, and political philosophy that have appeared in such journals as:

  • Economy and Society
  • Social Policy
  • Identities, Journal for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society
  • Interventions
  • New Literary History
  • Times Literary Supplement
  • Critical Inquiry
  • Constellations
  • Signs
  • Hypatia
  • Differences
  • Philosophia Africana
  • Philosophy and Social Criticism
  • International Journal of Philosophy
  • Praxis International
  • Cultural Critique
  • Cornell Law Review
  • Cardozo Law Review
  • Harvard Law Review
  • Yale Law Review
  • Yale Journal of Law and Humanities
  • University of Pennsylvania Law Review 

She is the co-editor, with Seyla Benhabib, of Feminism as Critique: On the Politics of Gender (1987); with David Gray Carlson and Michel Rosenfeld of Hegel and Legal Theory (1991); with Carlson and Rosenfeld of Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice (1992); and of Feminism and Pornography (2000). She has published seven books:

  • Beyond Accomodation: Ethical Feminism, Deconstruction and the Law (1991, new edition 1999)
  • The Philosophy of the Limit (1992)
  • Transformations: Recollective Imagination and Sexual Difference (1993)
  • The Imaginary Domain: Abortion, Pornography, and Sexual Harrassment (1995) 
  • At the Heart of Freedom: Feminism, Sex, and Equality (1998)
  • Just Cause: Freedom, Identity, and Rights (2000), Between Women and Generations: Legacies of Dignity (2002)

She is part of a published philosophical exchange with Seyla Benhabib, Judith Butler, and Nancy Fraser entitled Feminist Contentions (1995). Her work has been translated into French, German, Japanese, Serbo-Croation, Portuguese, and Spanish. She lectures widely and has recently given papers and conducted seminars in South Africa, Japan, Serbia, and Macedonia. In March 2003, she will deliver the prestigious Ryle Lectures at Trent University in Canada. A produced playwright, productions of her plays The Dream Cure, Background Interference, and Lifeline have been performed in California, New York, Florida, and Ohio. Her dramatization of James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake runs every year in Dublin, Ireland. She is currently working on two books: one about the future of freedom, equality, and global development; another about the future of critical theory.