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    Legally affective: mapping the emotional grammar of LGBT rights in law school

    Raj, Senthorun ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6972-9252 (2023) Legally affective: mapping the emotional grammar of LGBT rights in law school. Feminist Legal Studies. ISSN 0966-3622

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    Abstract

    The teaching of critical race, feminist, and queer theory generally, and of LGBT rights specifically, has developed into a discrete, contested, and politicised area of teaching in English law schools and beyond. While there is some academic discussion on the personal and political significance of ‘promoting LGBT rights’ within law schools, less considered is how ‘LGBT rights’ are shaped by the emotions of legal academics and how these emotions circumscribe what we imagine LGBT rights can and/or should mean in law and critical legal study. To illustrate this dynamic, this paper uses critical race, feminist, and queer scholarship alongside work in the emerging field of Law and Emotion to articulate the ‘emotional grammar’ of teaching a Gender, Sexuality and Law unit at an English law school. Turning to autoethnography, I use my emotional experiences as a methodological tool to explore how emotions co-constitute the pedagogical, political, scholarly, and personal registers of LGBT rights as a descriptive, critical, and normative pursuit. In doing so, I use ‘emotional grammar’ as a novel way to map how emotions structure legal pedagogies invested in pursuing LGBT rights. Emotional grammar illustrates how emotions structure: (1) the articulation of LGBT rights as an object of study in law; (2) the pursuit of law to secure the rights of LGBT people; and (3) the shape of legal critique relating to LGBT rights.

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