Alumni (National Fellow)

Maxine Eichner

National Fellow
B.A. Yale University (1984)
J.D. Yale University (1988)
M.A. University of North Carolina (1997)
Ph.D. University of North Carolina (2002)
Dream Mentor:
Molly Shanley
Vassar College
Fields of Interest:
Legal History
Social Issues


Maxine Eichner is the Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor of Law, at the University of North Carolina School of Law. Professor Eichner writes on issues at the intersection of law and political theory, focusing particularly on family relationships, social welfare law and policy; feminist theory; sexuality; and the relationship of the family, the workplace, and market forces. Professor Eichner is the author of The Supportive State: Families, Government, and America’s Political Ideals (Oxford University Press, 2010). She is now finishing a second book, The Privatized Family: Families, the Market, and the Collapse of the American Dream, which explores the effects that market forces have on families, as well as considers government’s proper role in shielding families from these forces. She is also an editor of Family Law: Cases, Text, Problems (eds., Ellman, Kurtz, Weithorn, Bix, Czapanskiy, and Eichner, 2014). In addition, she has written numerous articles and chapters for law reviews, peer-reviewed journals, and edited volumes on law and political theory.

Thesis Description:

Reinstating Family: Rethinking the Relationship Between the Family and the State
Eichner’s dissertation, “Reinstating Family: Rethinking the Relationship Between the Family and the State,” explored the relationship between state and family by examining the understandings of the family-state relationship embodied in three different areas of contemporary United States law. Specifically, she studied the intersection between parenting and the workplace, the state and federal laws delineated “family” and the laws governing the relationship among parents, children, and public schools. She argued that a more nuanced, richer understanding of the relationship between family and state should be incorporated into American law.

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