Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Laws (LLM)

First Advisor

Bhabha, Faisal


This thesis considers the implications of relational theory for doctrinal debates in Canadian and American constitutional equality law, with a focus on grounds of discrimination and suspect classification. Chapter 1 sets out the fundamentals of feminist relational theory, emphasizing relational approaches to difference, equality, and rights. Chapter 2 considers the methodological implications of applying relational theory to doctrinal problems. Chapter 3 sets out the basic structure and evolution of the suspect classification inquiry in American equal protection law. Chapter 4 does the same in respect of the Canadian doctrinal approach to grounds of unconstitutional discrimination. Finally Chapter 5 ties together Canadian and American scholarly debates over the proper shape of inquiries into groups/grounds or class(ification), and suggests a framework by which the relational theory set out in Chapter 1 might help to reframe and resolve aspects of these problems as they emerge in both jurisdictions.