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SELA Participants Gather in Paraguay to Examine Law and Sexuality

Nearly 100 lawyers and legal scholars from North and South America gathered in Asunción, Paraguay, this past June for the 2009 meeting of the Seminario en Latinoamérica de Teoría Constitucional y Política (SELA).

The annual seminar brings together scholars from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Perú, Puerto Rico, Spain and the United States to present papers on a specific theme and discuss them in a series of panel discussions. The theme of this year’s seminar, held June 11-14, was “Law and Sexuality.”

Yale Law School professors Robert Burt ’64, Owen Fiss, Daniel Markovits ’00, Robert Post ’77, Reva Siegel ’86, and Jim Silk ’89 represented the legal academy of the United States, along with Professor Kenji Yoshino ’96 of NYU.

“Much in keeping with the SELA tradition, the meeting provided us with an opportunity for robust discussion of issues that transcend national boundaries and a chance to renew personal and professional relationships among the members,” said Professor Fiss.

Added Professor Markovits, “Our Paraguayan hosts provided boundless hospitality, and we could not have had a more appealing backdrop for our discussions than Paraguay and its people and culture.”

The seminar opened with a keynote address by Sonia Corrêa, a feminist and sexual rights activist. Corrêa charted the path taken by the movement for sexual rights and emphasized the importance of the tasks that still require attention. Panel discussions over the next two days examined such topics as conceptual discernment, the politics of identity, abortion, children’s rights, the role of the Catholic Church in the political debate over sexual rights, and the current state of Paraguayan politics.

The papers presented at the seminar are available on the SELA website and will be published in book form this winter.

SELA 2010 will be held in Chile on the topic, “Insecurity, Democracy, and the Law.”