(Offered as LJST 101 and POSC 218 [LP] [IL - starting with the Class of 2015].) Law in the United State is everywhere, ordering the most minute details of daily life while at the same time making life and death judgments. Our law is many things at once--majestic and ordinary, monstrous and merciful, concerned with morality yet often righteously indifferent to moral argument. Powerful and important in social life, the law remains elusive and mysterious. This power and mystery is reflected in, and made possible by, a complex bureaucratic apparatus which translates words into deeds and rhetorical gestures into social practices.
This course will examine that apparatus. It will describe how the problems and possibilities of social organization shape law as well as how the social organization of law responds to persons of different classes, races and genders. We will attend to the peculiar way the American legal system deals with human suffering--with examples ranging from the legal treatment of persons living in poverty to the treatments of victims of sexual assault. How is law organized to cope with their pain? How are the actions of persons who inflict inquiries on others defined in legal terms? Here we will examine cases on self defense and capital punishment. Throughout, attention will be given to the practices of police, prosecutors, judges, and those who administer law's complex bureaucratic apparatus.
Limited to 100 students. Fall semester. Professor Sarat.2017-18: Not offered
This course will examine the relationship between legal institutions and democratic practice. How do judicial decisions balance the preferences of the majority and the rights of minorities? Is it possible to reconcile the role that partisan dialogue and commitment play in a democracy with an interest in the neutral administration of law? How does the provisional nature of legislative choice square with the finality of judicial mandate? By focusing on the United States Supreme Court, we will consider various attempts to justify that institution’s power to offer final decisions and binding interpretations of the Constitution that upset majoritarian preferences. We will examine the origins and historical development of the practice of judicial review and consider judicial responses to such critical issues as slavery, the New Deal, and abortion. The evolving contours of Supreme Court doctrine will be analyzed in the light of a continuing effort to articulate a compelling justification for the practice of judicial intervention in the normal operation of a constitutional democracy.
Limited to 50 students. Spring semester. Professor Douglas.2017-18: Not offered
If media coverage is any evidence, it is clear that legal trials capture, and have always captured, the imagination of America. Trials engage us affectively and politically by dramatizing difficult moral and social predicaments and by offering a public forum for debate and judgment. They also “perform” law in highly stylized ways that affect our sense of what law is and does. This course will explore the trial from a number of different angles: as an idea, as a legal practice, and as a modern cultural phenomenon. What does it mean to undergo a “trial”? How do various historical trial forms--trial by ordeal or by oath, for example--compare with our contemporary adversarial form? What cultural and legal trajectories have trials followed in U.S. history? What narrative and structuring roles do trials play in literature and film? How do popular renderings of trials in imaginative texts and the media compare with actual trial practice, and perhaps encourage us to sit in judgment on law itself? In what ways do well-known trials help us to tell a story about what America is, and what kind of story is it?
Limited to 40 students. Fall semester. Professor Umphrey.2017-18: Not offered
This course provides an introduction to the primary texts and central problems of modern legal theory. Through close study of the field’s founding and pivotal works, we will weigh and consider various ways to think about questions that every study, practice, and institution of law eventually encounters. These questions concern law’s very nature or essence; its relations to knowledge, morality, religion, and the passions; the status of its language and interpretations; its relation to force and the threat of force; and its place and function in the preservation and transformation of political, social and economic order.
Limited to 40 students. Spring semester. Professor Sitze.2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
This course examines the ways in which historical thinking and imagining operate in the domain of law. History and law are homologous and tightly linked. Law in various guises uses history as its backbone, as a lens through which to view and adjudicate tangled moral problems, and as a means of proof in rendering judgment. Questions of history and precedent are integral to an understanding of the way language and rhetoric operate in the very creation of legal doctrine. Moreover, law’s use of history also has a history of its own, and our present understanding of the relationship between the two is a product of Enlightenment thinking. Conceiving of history as one kind of “narrative of the real,” in this course we will explore the premises that underlie history’s centrality to law as we inquire after the histories that law demands, creates, and excludes, as well as the ways in which law understands and uses history to seek finality, and to legitimize its authority.
Limited to 40 students. Spring semester. Professor Hussain.2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
This class is organized as an inquiry into the questions that are raised for jurisprudence by the specific cultural, spatial, and political experience of occupation. In particular, we will examine the experiences of colonial occupation in twentieth-century India, South Africa, Malaya and Algeria, as well as contemporary occupations in the West Bank, Gaza, Iraq, and Afghanistan, focusing throughout on the continuities and discontinuities between the two. Throughout the course, we will concentrate on the way in which the jurisprudence of occupation blurs many of the distinctions that modern, liberal jurisprudence seeks to maintain and justify--fusing, for example, everyday practices of governing (e.g., policing, census-taking, and policies of segregation) with distinctively military actions (e.g., air power, destruction of lives and infrastructure, and counterinsurgency campaigns). The questions we ask in this course will be both theoretical and historical. What might the genealogy of colonial occupation have to teach us about aspirations and limits of the jurisprudence of contemporary occupation? How, if at all, have paradigms of occupation changed with the advent of the era of decolonization, the introduction of tactics of sophisticated air power, the emergence of advanced communications technology, and the unprecedented temporalities and spatialities of economic globalization? Additionally, we will examine how international law defines and regulates occupation. What is occupation? On what grounds does modern jurisprudence authorize and constrain occupation? What is the difference between a legal occupation and an illegal occupation? Last but not least, we will ask what precedents, insights and lessons occupation provides for a more general understanding of law, governance, and conflict.
Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 30 students. Fall semester. Professors Hussain and Sitze.2017-18: Not offered
Shakespeare is often hailed as the playwright-poet who ushered in modernity, in large part because of his staging of apparently modern concepts of jurisprudence at their moment of inception. In this class, we will re-assess this image of Shakespeare through close readings of five plays (The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Richard II, Hamlet, and The Winter’s Tale). These plays grapple with legal and philosophical issues as wide-ranging as mercy and equity, the role of law in regulating sexuality, the possibility of rebellion in the face of tyranny, and the animating force of communal justice. But we will ask if, taken together, they constitute a theory of the promise, or limits, of modern law. In tackling this question, this course will be interested centrally in matters of literary and theatrical practice. Attention to, among other things, word play, genre (comedy, tragedy, history romance), performance, and audience will become the means by which we think law with Shakespeare. In doing so, we will also re-think the genesis of modern jurisprudence and ask what it means to consider ourselves modern.
Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Elsky2017-18: Not offered
The spatiality of social life is a fundamental element of human existence, not least through its involvement with power of various sorts. Spatiality is also a significant--and problematic--dimension of law (think of sovereignty, jurisdiction, citizenship). At the same time, law is a significant force through which spatiality is produced, reinforced, contested and transformed. Law literally constitutes social spaces through constitutions, treaties, statutes, contracts, modes of surveillance and policing, and so on. As it does so, it constitutes itself as a force in the world. Law may also be an arena in which other social-spatial conflicts are played out and, provisionally, resolved. The course will consider both the changing spatiality of law (its scope, scale, limits; its vectors and circuits) and the changing legal constitution of other social spaces. This will be done through an engagement with contemporary socio-spatial and legal theories and through a survey of exemplary events and situations. Among the more specific topics we will consider are privacy and property; public space of speech and dissent; migration, displacement and sanctuary; colonialism and occupation. The contexts of our study will not be limited to/by American law but will include examples involving international law, forms of legal pluralism, and other legal-cultural contexts. The course will conclude with an investigation of globalization and the emergence of cyberspace and their posited effects on the very possibility of law as we have come to understand and experience it.
Requisite: LJST 110 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 30 students. Fall semester. Senior Lecturer Delaney.2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
This course examines social movements (and related phenomena) as integral elements of legal orders and as significant sources of legal transformations. Through interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, and historical analyses, the course will explore the ways in which non-state actors engage formal legal institutions to shape or reform law, in order to affect the conditions of social life. Of particular interest are not merely desired changes in laws but resultant changes in the culture of law more broadly. The course will draw on a wide range of movements (historical and contemporary; “progressive” and conservative; broad-based and narrowly focused; American and non-American; local, national and global; North and South, activist and bureaucratic from “below” and from “within”; etc.) and study two or three in closer detail. The over-arching objective is to achieve a richer understanding of both the inner workings of “the law” and the dynamic life of law outside of formal institutions.
Requisite: LJST 101 or consent of instructor. Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Senior Lecturer Delaney.2017-18: Not offered
(Analytic Seminar) This course introduces students to one of the more sustained problems in jurisprudence and legal theory: what happens to a constitutional order when it is faced with extraordinary conditions such as rebellion, war and terrorism. While it is generally agreed that rules, rights and procedures may be temporarily suspended, it is less clear which rights, and who decides on the suspension (the executive alone or in some combination with the legislature, with or without oversight by the courts). While these questions have now become familiar to us--and this course will guide students through the policy shifts and court battles in the United States since 9/11, from the issue of enemy combatants to the use of Guantanamo Bay as a detention center--we will take a more theoretical and historical approach to these questions. Thus we will look at the earliest use of some emergency techniques by the British in the colonies, Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War and the notorious Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, which has often been blamed for facilitating the rise of the Nazis. We will end by examining alternative methods for contending with emergency. One class meeting per week.
Requisite: LJST 101 or 110 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Hussain.2017-18: Not offered
This class explores the connections between law and literature by considering how the past imagined and represented possession, authority, and identity when a range of modern theories that are available to us now were only beginning to emerge. We will take 16th- and 17th-century England as our case study, asking the following questions: What role did property play in constructing identity before the formation of the modern individual subject? How could identity be rooted in property before the emergence of modern theories of property? How did this period imagine the figure of the “author” in the absence of copyright law? Finally, what role did poets and playwrights have in defining the meaning of property and possession, authority and authorship, and to what extent is possession itself a poetic concept? This course will seek to address these questions by exploring legal and literary representations of temporality and personhood; spatiality, nationhood, and empire; and of the possibility (and impossibility) of transforming thoughts and imaginative creations into possessions. We will read parliamentary debates and legal theory and cases alongside utopian fictions, mock last will and testaments, romances, and stage dramas, focusing on these issues as literary problems whose resolutions involve both poetic techniques and an appeal to the artistic imagination. Finally, we will consider law and literature as domains of possibility wherein alternatives to possession – commonality, collaboration, friendship – are glimpsed and imagined, and thus provoke us to examine our own contemporary understanding of these central modern categories.
Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Visiting Professor Elsky.2017-18: Not offered
(Research Seminar) The traditional understanding of war involved the armies of two nation-states confronting each other on a battlefield. And other than general customs of a just war, the law was thought to have little to say about war. But in the last half century even as the traditional form of war has changed rapidly, as conflicts involving non-state actors (such as insurgency and terrorism) have increased, international law has developed an intricate set of rules regarding who can fight and what methods of fighting are legal.
This course explores the connection between different types of conflict and the norms and rules of international law that are used to regulate that conflict. In this course, we will take a historical approach. We will read classic theorists of war such as Clausewitz, Schmitt and Michael Walzer. We will examine the history of The Hague and Geneva Conventions. And we will focus on specific instances of war from nineteenth-century colonial conflicts and guerilla warfare, to the 1999 “humanitarian” intervention in Kosovo, to the various fronts in the contemporary “war on terror.” Throughout we will ask how changes in technology and law change the definition of war. How do legal definitions of war attempt to demarcate it from other forms of violent conflict such as insurgency or terrorism?
Requisite: LJST 101 or 110 or consent of the instructor. Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professors Hussain and Douglas.2017-18: Not offered
(Analytic Seminar) The discipline of legal theory has the task of making law meaningful to itself. But there is a variety of competing legal theories that can make law meaningful in divergent ways. By what measure are we to assess their adequacy? Is internal coherence the best standard or should legal theory strive to accord with the extra-legal world? Then too, the institutions and practices of law are components of social reality and, therefore, as amenable to sociological or cultural analysis as any other component. Here again, many different kinds of sense can be made of law depending upon how “the social” is itself theorized. This course engages the theme of law and the problems of social reality by way of a three-step approach. The first part of the course presents an overview of the main lines of twentieth-century American legal thought. We begin with a study of legal formalism and the challenges posed to it by legal realism and its various successor theories. One focus of debate between formalism and its rivals is how much social realism should be brought to bear on legal analysis. Another question is: what kind of social realism should be brought to bear on the analysis of law. The second segment of the course provides a survey of some of the candidates. These include the Law and Society Movement, neo-Marxism and Critical Legal Studies. In the final segment we look at how these theoretical issues are given expression in connection with more practical contexts such as poverty law, labor law or criminal law.
Requisite: LJST 101 or 110 or consent of the instructor. Limited to Juniors and Seniors. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Senior Lecturer Delaney.2017-18: Not offered
(Research Seminar) The theory of governance known today as "neoliberalism" is most often understood as a mainly economic policy. Both its opponents and its proponents seem to agree that neoliberalism is best debated as an ensemble of practices (such as free trade, privatization, deregulation, competitiveness, social-spending cutbacks and deficit reduction) that emphasize the primacy of the free market in and for the arrangement of social and political orders. But, particularly in its initial theorizations, neoliberalism was also, perhaps even primarily, a philosophic doctrine concerning the place and function of law in and for human civilization in general. At the 1938 Walter Lippman Colloquium in Paris and then again at the inaugural 1947 meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in Switzerland, the leading figures of what would later become known as neoliberalism criticized existing economic theories for neglecting basic questions of legal theory and argued that capitalism could not be saved from the perils of socialism and communism without a renewed understanding of, and insistence on, the rule of law. In this course, we shall take this, the "legal theoretical" origin of neoliberalism, as a point of departure for understanding neoliberalism as a whole. In the first half of the course, we shall seek to understand neoliberalism on the basis of the way it posed law as a problem for thought. In relation to what alternate theories of law did neoliberalism emerge? On what terms did neoliberals reinterpret the "classical" liberalism of Hobbes and Locke? How did certain concepts of law figure into the way that neoliberal thinkers arrived at their understandings of the basic meanings of life and labor? In the second half of the course, we shall explore the ways in which various critics of neoliberalism have sought to expose and to question the legal theories at its origin. How might renewed attention to legal theoretical problems help us today in our attempt to think and act beyond neoliberalism's constitutive limits? Our goal in all phases of the course will be to reconstruct neoliberal thought on its own terms in order to grasp better its contemporary incoherence, crisis, and dissolution. Readings will include Samir Amin, Zygmunt Bauman, Michel Foucault, Milton Friedman, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, David Harvey, Friedrich Hayek, Maynard Keynes, Naomi Klein, Karl Marx, Ludwig von Mises, Alexander Rustow, and Saskia Sassen.
Requisite: LJST 110 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester; Professor Sitze.
2017-18: Not offered
(Research Seminar) What we call property is enormously important in establishing the nature of a legal regime. Moreover, an exploration of property offers a window on how a culture sees itself. Examining how property notions are used and modified in practice can also provide critical insights into many aspects of social history and contemporary social reality.
We will begin our discussion of property by treating it as an open-ended cluster of commonplace and more specialized notions (e.g., owner, gift, lease, estate) used to understand and shape the world. We will look at how the relation of property to such values as privacy, security, citizenship and justice has been understood in political and legal theory and how different conceptions of these relations have entered into constitutional debates. We will also study the relationship of property and the self (How might one’s relation to property enter into conceptions of self? Do we “own” ourselves? Our bodies or likenesses? Our thoughts?), property and everyday life (How are conceptions of property used to understand home, work and community?) and property and culture, (Do our conceptions of property influence understandings of cultural differences between ourselves and others? Does it make sense to claim ownership over one’s ancestors?). In sum, this course will raise questions about how property shapes our understandings of liberty, personhood, agency and power.
Requisite: LJST 101 or 110 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Senior Lecturer Delaney.2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
(Offered as POSC 474 [GP, LP] [SC - starting with the Class of 2015] and LJST 374.) This seminar explores how the civil rights movement began a process of social change and identity-based activism. We evaluate the successes and failures of “excluded” groups’ efforts to use the law. We primarily focus on the recent scholarship of theorists, legal professionals, and activists to define “post-identity politics” strategies and to counteract the social processes that “normalize” persons on the basis of gender, sexuality, disability, and class. This course fulfills the requirement for an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Requisite: One introductory Political Science course or its equivalent. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Bumiller.2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
Independent Reading Courses. Reading in an area selected by the student and approved in advance by a member of the Department.
Fall and spring semester.2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Independent work under the guidance of a tutor assigned by the Department. Open to senior LJST majors who wish to pursue a self-defined project in reading and writing and to work under the close supervision of a faculty member.
Admission with consent of the instructor. Fall semester.2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017