Miller Center

Maxine Eichner

Political Science, University of North Carolina

Reinstating Family: Rethinking the Relationship Between the Family and the State

Eichner photo

Maxine Eichner is Reef C. Ivey II Professor of Law at University of North Carolina School of Law.

Her teaching and research interests include sex equality, family law, legal theory and torts. She writes on issues of liberal theory, feminist theory, and family law. Eichner's recent scholarship focuses on the stance that the state should take with respect to family ties among citizens. Eichner received a B.A. and a J.D. from Yale University (where she was an articles editor of the Yale Law Journal), before pursuing her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina. She held a Women's Law and Public Policy Fellowship through Georgetown Law School, and clerked for Judge Louis Oberdorfer in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, as well as for Judge Betty Fletcher in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She practiced civil rights, women's rights, and employment law for several years at the law firm of Patterson, Harkavy, and Lawrence in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Eichner's dissertation, "Reinstating Family: Rethinking the Relationship Between the Family and the State," explored the relationship between state and family by examining the understandings of the family-state relationship embodied in three different areas of contemporary United States law. Specifically, she studied the intersection between parenting and the workplace, the state and federal laws delineated "family" and the laws governing the relationship among parents, children, and public schools. She argued that a more nuanced, richer understanding of the relationship between family and state should be incorporated into American law.

Fellowship year: 2002

Mentor: Molly Shanley, Vassar College

Selected Recent Publications

The Supportive State: Families, Government, and America's Political Ideals (Oxford University Press, 2010). 

"The New Child Abuse Panic." The New York Times, July 11, 2015.

"Market-Cautious Feminism." in Austin Sarat, ed. Special Issue: Feminist Legal Theory Studies, in Law, Politics and Society 69 (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2016): 141 - 187.

"The Supportive State: Government, Dependency, and Responsibility for Caretaking." in Care Ethics and Political Theory (Oxford University Press, 2015).

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