A book project: “Semen in Its Place” - Anita Bernstein, Brooklyn Law School
From Iain Mcgee
A book project: “Semen in Its Place”
Anita Bernstein, Brooklyn Law School
About the seminar
Semen creates, destroys, and changes human life. We who experience its power—that’s all of us—can and should take more control over it.
Materials capable of doing significant good and harm are in wealthy countries managed by hazardous substance regulation. Codifications on point found in American law have counterparts in the statutes, regulations, and directives of Great Britain and the European Union. Varied in their particulars, these sources hold in common the trait of simultaneously recognizing danger and refraining from the imposition of a ban. This ‘live with it and manage it’ approach need not be limited to what businesses put into commerce. “Semen in Its Place” extends it to another substance with high risk and high utility.
Seen in a consumer perspective, hazardous substance regulation pursues three goals that can be arrayed in chronological order. The first of these goals is disclosure aimed at improving choices about engagement with the substance. Information can steer an individual to and from possibilities not limited to avoidance, toleration, and enthusiastic embrace. The second is safe containment, meaning effective and flexible separation between the substance and vulnerable human anatomy. The last of the three might be called splash protection. It seeks to undo or lessen the effect of an unwanted or regretted contact.
Applied to semen, these attentions keep in mind two significant hazards: formation of the costly and risky condition of pregnancy, and transmission of disease to a sexual partner. But this substance delivers more than danger. Water is the only other liquid found on our planet that has a comparable claim on policymakers’ energies. “Semen in Its Place” takes a wide view of semen that reckons with its unique benefits.
About the speaker
Professor Bernstein is a nationally recognized authority on tort law and feminist jurisprudence, as well as professional responsibility, products liability, and family law. Her awards include the first Fulbright scholarship in European Union affairs given to a law professor. As a member of the American Law Institute, she has served as an adviser on two torts Restatements, the recently completed one on intentional torts and the in-progress Restatement covering remedies. In 2020 she received from the AALS Section on Torts and Compensation Systems the top honor in her academic field, the William L. Prosser Award.
Her writings have appeared in dozens of law reviews, including the principal ones of Harvard, Yale, Columbia, California, Michigan, Cornell, Duke, Texas, and Vanderbilt. Her books address torts, products liability, and the law of marriage. Professor Bernstein’s wide-ranging interests extend to microfinance, diversity as a rationale for affirmative action, and comparative and international law. Her scholarship has been cited in decisional law by federal courts (both trial and appellate) and the supreme courts of Pennsylvania and Texas. She has also authored a series on legal malpractice in the New York Law Journal.
Prior to joining Brooklyn Law School, Professor Bernstein was the Sam Nunn Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law, the Wallace Stevens Professor of Law at New York Law School and Norman & Edna Freehling Scholar and Professor of Law at Chicago-Kent College of Law. She also served as a visiting professor at Michigan Law School, Cornell Law School, and the University of Iowa College of Law, where she was the Mason Ladd Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law. Before her academic career, she practiced with Debevoise & Plimpton and was a law clerk to Judge Jack Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.