Courtney W. Howland was born in the U.S., lived in Europe for a number of years, and now lives back in the U.S. She has degrees in the arts, B.A. Barnard College, Columbia University, and in law, J.D. Yale Law School. She has been a faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Georgetown University Law School. She has published in the areas of women’s rights, feminist theory, and women and religion.
As Research Scholar at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, she has published A Feminist Perspective on Opera Interpretation: The Case of Richard Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer (Münster, Germany: Lit Verlag, 2014). Drawing upon gender studies, musicology, German studies, and literary theory, A Feminist Perspective on Opera Interpretation develops a feminist analytic framework for interpreting opera and for critiquing the usual interpretations of opera, using Richard Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer as a case study.
Her current book project is entitled Teaching the Gods: Gender and Power in Richard Strauss’s Daphne. The book will build on the feminist theory of opera interpretation developed in A Feminist Perspective on Opera Interpretation.
Ms. Howland is known for her work on religious fundamentalism and women, particularly her publications Religious Fundamentalisms and the Human Rights of Women (New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1999 (hardback); New York, NY: Palgrave, 2001 (paperback)) and “The Challenge of Religious Fundamentalism to the Liberty and Equality Rights of Women: An Analysis under the United Nations Charter,” Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, 35: 271–377 (1997), reprinted in: Susan Deller Ross, Women’s Human Rights: The International and Comparative Law Casebook (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008); Elizabeth M. Bucar and Barbara Barnett, eds., Does Human Rights Need God? (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2005); Kelly D. Askin and Dorean M. Koenig, eds., Women and International Human Rights Law, vol. 1 (Ardsley, NY: Transnational Publishers, 1999).