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Harvard Women's Law Journal

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Part I explains how human rights law enables those denied their rights to assert claims against their own States. Part II relies on the recent work of feminist historian Gerda Lemer to describe how women have repeatedly reinvented "feminist consciousness" during the past 300 years of Western civilization and how feminist consciousness has repeatedly waned and disappeared. It then explains how international human rights law supports that consciousness. Part III draws on Nietzsche's theory of the "eternal return' to show how American feminists can claim international human rights law as their own. Part IV uses Adrienne Rich's powerful poem Turning the Wheels to show how feminists can free themselves from Lerner's cycles of consciousness and oblivion by using international human rights law to focus on the real needs of American women.