Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Laws (LLM)


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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.