Spring 2023

Legal Science Fiction

Listed in: Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, as LJST-132  |  Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies, as SWAG-132


Michaela J. Brangan (Section 01)


(Offered as LJST 132 and SWAG 132) Science fiction conjures novel social arrangements in which questions of law inevitably emerge. Is a very smart robot just property? How should space be governed? If we can predict future crimes, can we punish future “criminals”? The answers to these questions are rooted in theories of what makes “the good society” and prompt us to think about how our own laws function with, against, or under the influence of scientific inquiry. In this course, we will consider how the speculative imagination approaches topics like civil rights, criminal law, labor, reproduction, corporate regulation, privacy, and property, analyzing science fiction texts and films alongside legal cases and theories of justice. Today, we regularly encounter legal conundrums that once seemed futuristic. Genetic engineering threatens the traditional framework of equality that provides the basis of rights. Algorithms, once thought to be a way to resolve race and gender biases, instead encode these biases into our everyday lives. How we order and improve human life is always a matter of legal concern, but regulation is often seen as anathema to technological progress. Why is this the case? Can this tension be resolved?

Limited to 40 students. Spring semester. Visiting Assistant Professor Brangan

How to handle overenrollment: Priority given to LJST Majors and prospective majors and then to first-years

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Class interaction (large/small groups); writing (formal/informal); study course materials

LJST 132 - LEC

Section 01
M 8:30 AM - 9:50 AM CONV 207
W 8:30 AM - 9:50 AM CONV 207


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2023