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Drucilla Cornell is a professor of Political Science, Comparative Literature, and Women and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. She also holds visiting positions at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and Birkbeck College, University of London. She has one daughter, Serena Cornell.


She received her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Philosophy and Mathematics from Antioch College in 1978, and her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from University of California Los Angeles Law School in 1981.

Prior to beginning her life as an academic, Professor Cornell was a union organizer for a number of years. She worked for the UAW, the UE, and the IUE in California, New Jersey, and New York. As well as being a union organiser, Professor Cornell has been an active feminist. After 9/11 she organised a feminist peace group with Professor Ann Snitow at the New School. She is the most senior ranked professor in the Political Science Department at Rutgers, and was the only A1 ranked female professor at the University of Cape Town during her appointment there.
On deconstruction and the law

She played a key role in organizing the conference on deconstruction and justice at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 1989, 1990, and 1993—a conference at which Jacques Derrida is thought by many to have made his definitive philosophical turn towards ethical thought.

Her first play, produced in 1989, was a dramatic adaptation of Finnegans Wake which continues to be performed on Bloomsday. Her other plays, 'The Dream Cure', 'Background Interference', and 'Lifeline', have been produced in New York and other cities including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boca Rotan, Florida, and Cape Town, South Africa. She has also produced a documentary film on the African humanist ethic of uBuntu, entitled uBuntu Hokae.
Work in South Africa

From 2008 to the end of 2009, Professor Cornell held the National Research Foundation Chair in Customary Law, Indigenous Values, and the Dignity Jurisprudence at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She founded the uBuntu project in 2003, and continues to be the co-director of that project with Chuma Himonga. She is also a co-director of the uBuntu Township Project, with Madoda Sigonyela. Professor Cornell is an advocate and researcher for Khulamani, an on the ground organisation of people who suffered under apartheid and are now struggling to find new and creative ways to counter the devastation that remains because of the system of racialized capitalism. The uBuntu Project is publishing several books. The first, uBuntu and the Law: Indigenous Ideals and Postapartheid Jurisprudence, was published by Fordham University Press in 2012. The second, The Dignity Jurisprudence of the South African Constitutional Court, is forthcoming in the fall of 2012, also from Fordham Press.
Selected works

(1991) Beyond Accommodation: Ethical Feminism, Deconstruction and the Law
(1992) The Philosophy of the Limit
(1993) Transformations: Recollective Imagination and Sexual Difference
(1995) The Imaginary Domain: Abortion, Pornography, and Sexual Harassment
(1998) At the Heart of Freedom: Feminism, Sex, and Equality
(2000) Just Cause: Freedom, Identity, and Rights
(2000) Feminism and Pornography
(2002) Between Women and Generations: Legacies of Dignity
(2004) Defending Ideals: War, Democracy, and Political Struggles
(2007) Moral Images of Freedom: A Future for Critical Theory
(2009) Clint Eastwood and Issues of American Masculinity
(2010) Symbolic Forms for a New Humanity: Cultural and Racial Reconfigurations of Critical Theory (Coauthored with Kenneth Michael Panfilio)

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