Law-related classes taught: Much of my teaching, research, and professional career revolves around law-related themes. I qualified in the sociology of law and did coursework at Boalt when I was in graduate school in Berkeley.
Here at UIC, I have taught CrJ 421 Juvenile Justice as a senior seminar to students interested in juvenile legal matters. The course has a focus on laws and cases that affect minors, the history of juvenile court, and what happens to minors as they are adjudicated delinquent.
I also taught CrJ 220 Criminology as a history of sociolegal theory. We explore how the discourses of law, crime, and justice are constructed and changed over time and place. We spend a considerable amount of time discussing different legal theories.
I also have offered the seminar, Gender, Sexuality, and the Law.
Law-related scholarly interests: My research has focused on sexuality, morality, gender, and the law. In 2000, I was a co-organizer for an international workshop at the Oñati International Institute of the Sociology of Law in Spain, “Sexuality and the State: Transnational Perspectives.” The workshop resulted in our co-edited anthology, Regulating Sex: The Politics of Intimacy and Identity (2005 Routledge Press). This text examines state intervention into so-called private matters such as same-sex intimacy; childhood and sexuality; and commercial sexual exchange.
My legal and community advocacy on behalf of adjudicated youth includes serving for three years (2001-2004) on the Board of Directors of Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM), as well as a community partner with Girl Talk, a gender-responsive intervention program with young women in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.
I belong to several collaborative projects with other sociolegal scholars. From 2002 to 2005, I served on the Advisory Committee at the Legal Services for Children office in San Francisco, CA, where we developed national model legal standards for the adjudication of homosexual minors in both dependency and delinquency courts. (see, Wilber, Shannan, Caitlin Ryan and Jody Marksamer. 2006. CWLA Best Practice Guidelines: Serving LGBT Youth in Out-of-Home Care, Child Welfare League of America, Washington DC.)
Since 2003, I have participated in the invitation-only roundtable at the Northwestern University Law School, Child and Family Justice Center, “Top of the Pyramid: Girls Most In Trouble” where we meet in state-wide collaboration to develop gender-specific interventions for female adolescent offenders.
I advised at the 2005 national, invitation-only working conference at the University of Nevada, William S. Boyd School of Law, “Representing Children in Families,” where we developed a set of written recommendations for ways that lawyers and court actors could most efficiently advocate for law and policy changes to promote systems of care that are fair, safe, and respectful of human dignity with regard to children (see Green, Bruce A. and Annette R. Appell, editors. 2006 Nevada Law Review: Special Issue on Legal Representation of Children—Proceedings of the UNLV Conference on Representing Children in Families: Children's Advocacy and Justice Ten Years After Fordham, 6(3), Las Vegas, NV: University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 571-1424.)
While a 2006-2007 visiting scholar at the American Bar Foundation, I conducted a research project focused on legal and community responses to the commercial sexual exploitation of children in Chicago (see “Pedophilia, Gay Marriage, and Trafficking: the Construction of Moral Panics,” on file with the author).
I have placed my students in internships with a variety of community-based legal service agencies, as well as directed independent studies that involved, for example, running a film series for youth in lock up at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC).
During my 2007-2008 Fulbright-Garcia Robles fellowship at the University of Guadalara I conducted a research project focused on the Mexican juvenile legal system.
I have published in several law reviews and journals, for example:
Schaffner, Laurie. 2002. “An Age of Reason: Paradoxes in Legal Constructions of Adulthood,” International Journal of Children’s Rights, 10:201-232.
Schaffner, Laurie. 1999. “Violence and Female Delinquency: Gender Transgressions and Gender Invisibility,” Berkeley Women’s Law Journal, 14:40-65.
Schaffner, Laurie. 1997. “Female Juvenile Delinquency: Sexual Solutions and Gender Bias in Juvenile Justice,” Hastings Women’s Law Journal, 9(1):1-27.
Other technical reports and online journal offerings include:
Schaffner, Laurie. 2007. “On the Ethical Care of Gay and Lesbian Youth in Corrections.” The Link: Connecting Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare 5(3): 6-13. Child Welfare League of America, Juvenile Justice Division. (Available online at http://www.cwla.org/programs/juvenilejustice/jjdnewsletter.htm).
Schaffner, Laurie. 2005. “Research Brief: Violence Against Girls Provokes Girls’ Violence,” Justice Policy Journal, 2(2) Fall:1-15. (Available online at http://www.cjcj.org/jpj/index.php)
Schaffner, Laurie. 2003. “The Study of the GIRLS LINK Collaborative: The Evaluation of GIRLS LINK,” Technical report for the Cook County Bureau of Public Safety and Judicial Coordination, Juvenile Justice Commission of Cook County, Chicago, IL, www.ajfo.org.
Schaffner, Laurie, Andrea Shorter, Shelly Shick, and Nancy Stein. 1996. “Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Girls in the San Francisco Juvenile Justice System,” Technical Report for the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice, San Francisco, CA.
In 2006, I published Girls in Trouble with the Law (Rutgers University Press), a study of gender, adolescence, and the juvenile legal system in the US. This work takes a critical stance and details how racism, the criminalization of poverty, and patriarchy converge in the work in juvenile ‘correctional’ systems. This work earned the 2007 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship award from the Section on Childhood and Youth of the American Sociological Association.