Below you will find the text of Professor Martha Albertson Fineman’s 2022 ABF Award speech. The award ceremony took place virtually on Tuesday, February 15, 2022.
“Thank you very much Dean Nance for such a lovely introduction.
I was very proud when I first became a fellow of the American bar foundation, an organization comprised of an impressive group of scholars, jurists, and practitioners dedicated to upholding the finest traditions of legal scholarship and practice.
Of particular importance to me over the years has been the Foundation’s commitment to using an interdisciplinary approach to consider the complexities and intricacies of law and their implications for society.
In this regard, the foundation has served a vital role — not only in supporting — but also in validating interdisciplinary research seeking to understand how law both arises from and impacts the societies in which we live.
As many of you are undoubtedly aware, such interdisciplinary studies have not always been well received within the Academy, and today we see attacks on critical theory specifically and academic freedom more generally by politicians and others.
Such threats seem to be destabilizing and undermining the very institutions upon which we depend.
Those of us who believe such critical but constructive research is essential for a thriving democracy and a just society welcome the example and support of organizations like the American Bar Foundation.
Receiving the outstanding scholar award for 2022 is not only a tremendous honor, but validation for my work that will sustain me in the complex and unsettled future we most certainly face. Thank you.”