Gillian Calder

Gillian Calder
Professor, Acting Chair
Gender Studies
Office: CLE B107

LLM 2003, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

Area of expertise

Constitutional Law, Family Law, Critical Legal Pedagogies, Feminist and Queer Theories

Joined UVic Law in 2004, Gender Studies in 2023 (Acting)

I joined the Faculty of Law in 2004 from the practice of Aboriginal law with Mandell Pinder, LLP in Vancouver. My legal training has included a year of clerking at the BC Supreme Court in the 1997-1998 term, articles and practice with Russell and Dumoulin, LLP (as it then was) and teaching at the University of New Brunswick (2001-2002). Since coming to Victoria, I have taught Legal Process, Constitutional Law, Family Law, Civil Liberties and the Charter, Advanced Family Law, Queering Law and Race, Sex, Families. I am deeply committed to the study of critical legal pedagogy and served as Associate Dean, Academic and Student Relations from July 2015 – June 2020.  For the 2023-2024 academic year I will be serving as Acting Chair, Gender Studies.

I am interested in legal imagination, theories of constitutional law, law's impact on our understanding of family formation, and storytelling. The questions that I pursue in all of these areas are asked and considered through an approach to law and legal education that is grounded in feminist, anti-oppressive, and anti-colonialist practice.  In particular I am conscious of the role that Indigenous ways of knowing and being plays in my life, work and teaching.

Research Interests

  • Constitutional Law and Praxis
  • Legal regulation of the in-tact family
  • Law and Emotions
  • Feminist Legal Theories
  • Critical Legal Pedagogy
  • Performativity, Theatre and Law
  • Social Benefits Law

Selected Publications

Calder, Gillian, “Legislating Emotion, Reading Grief: Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage and Stillbirth in New Zealand Law.” (2022) 45(2) Dalhousie Law Journal 335-357;

Calder, Gillian, “The ‘Granular and Quotidian, Dispersed and Tentacular’: Critical Reflections on CJLS Special Issue 35(2) – On the Margins of Trans Legal Change” (2022) 11(1) feminists@law; 

Calder, Gillian, “‘Whose Body is This?’ On the role of emotion in teaching and learning law” Bandes, Madeira, Temple and Kidd White, eds, Research Handbook on Law and Emotion (London: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2021), pp. 62-79;

Calder, Gillian,  “To the Inclusion of All Others:  Story-telling “Motherhood” with Katniss, Hermione, Candy Quackenbush, Meggie, Tanya and the Warrior Cats.” (Thriving Mothers/Depriving Mothers, Demeter Press, October 2020).

Adjin-Tettey, Elizabeth, Gillian Calder, Patricia Cochran, Maneesha Deckha, Freya Kodar, Hester Lessard, Kate Plyley and Mark Zion, “Claire L’Heureux-Dubé: A Life, Constance Backhouse (2017: UBC Press for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History)” (2018) 56(1) University of Alberta Law Review 263-274.

Calder, Gillian and Lori G. Beaman, eds., Polygamy’s Rights and Wrongs: Perspectives on Harm, Family and Law (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014).

Calder, Gillian,  “Conclusion: ‘To the Exclusion of All Others’: Polygamy, Monogamy and the Legal Family in Canada” in Calder and Beaman, eds., Polygamy’s Rights and Wrongs: Perspectives on Harm, Family and Law (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014) pp. 215-233.

Calder, Gillian,  “The Cultural and Economic Injustices of Marriage Discrimination: A Review of Nicola Barker, Not the Marrying Kind: A Feminist Critique of Same-Sex Marriage (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)” (2014) 28(1) Canadian Journal of Family Law 113-134.

Calder, Gillian, “Performance, Pedagogy and Law: Theatre of the Oppressed in the Law School Classroom” in Zenon Bańkowski and Maksymilian Del Mar, eds., The Moral Imagination and the Legal Life: Beyond Text in Legal Education (London: Ashgate, 2013) pp. 215-254.

Bouclin, Suzanne and Gillian Calder and Sharon Cowan, “Playing Games with Law” in Zenon Bańkowski, Maksymilian Del Mar and Paul Maharg, eds., The Arts and the Legal Academy: Beyond Text in Legal Education (London: Ashgate, 2013) pp. 69-85.

Calder, Gillian and Rebecca Johnson, "The Jane Doe Coffee Table Book of Rape – Reflections on Rebellious Writing and Teaching." Elizabeth Sheehy and Jane Doe, eds., in Sexual Assault Law, Practice and Activism in a Post-Jane Doe Era (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2011), in press.

Calder, Gillian,  "Guantanamo: Using a Play-reading to Teach Law" (2010) 142 Canadian Theatre Review 44-49.

Calder, Gillian, "Penguins and Polyamory: Using Law and Film to Explore the Essence of Marriage in Canadian Family Law" (2009) 21(1) Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 55-89.

Calder, Gillian,  "'Finally I Know Where I am Going to be From': Culture, Context and Time in a Look Back at Racine v. Woods" in Kim Brooks, ed., Justice Bertha Wilson: One Woman's Difference (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2009) pp. 173-189.

Calder, Gillian and Sharon Cowan, "Re-imagining Equality: Meaning and Movement" (2008) 29 Australian Feminist Law Journal 109-130.

Calder, Gillian,  "'We the People of Constitutional Law 100 Y01': Pedagogical Promise of a Classroom Constitution in First-Year Law" (2008) 2 Canadian Legal Education Annual Review 39-60.

Adjin-Tettey, Elizabeth, Gillian Calder, Angela Cameron, Maneesha Deckha, Rebecca Johnson, Hester Lessard, Maureen Maloney, Margot Young, "Postcards from the Edge (of Empire)" (2008) 17(1)  Social and Legal Studies 5-38.

Bakht, Natasha, Kim Brooks, Gillian Calder, Jennifer Koshan, Sonia Lawrence, Carissima Mathen, Debra Parkes, "Counting Outsiders: A Critical Exploration of Outsider Course Enrolment in Canadian Legal Education" (2007) 45(4) Osgoode Hall Law Journal 667-732.

Calder, Gillian, "The Personal is Economic: Unearthing the Rhetoric of Choice in the Canadian Maternity and Parental Leave Benefit Debates" in Sharon Cowan and Rosemary Hunter eds., Choice and Consent: Feminist Engagements with Law and Subjectivity (London: Cavendish Publishing Ltd., 2007) pp. 125-141.

Calder, Gillian, "A Pregnant Pause: Federalism, Equality and the Maternity and Parental Leave Debate in Canada" (Case Comment) (2006) 14(1) Feminist Legal Studies 99-118.