LJST 162—LAW & DISORDER — Visiting Professor Oraby — DESCRIPTION
Law takes many forms. Traversing social norms, statutory controls, constitutional provisions, international covenants, and enforcement mechanisms, law suffuses countless arenas simultaneously. Where there is law, order and disorder also thrive in unpleasant company. But what order does law ensure? And what kinds of disorder does law generate? Employing a global approach to the study of law in society, this course examines five domains of human experience (caste, revolution, desire, war, and indigeneity) that law organizes as well as five figures (the convert, the revolutionary, the queer, the terrorist, and the native) that challenge its regulatory logic. The course addresses the ways social actors harness law’s organizational power. We will examine the social life of law in postcolonial, neocolonial, and imperial context.
Meeting Time: Tues. & Thurs. 1:00pm - 2:20pm
LJST 280—SECTARIAN MODERNITY — Visiting Professor Oraby — DESCRIPTION
Sectarianism and modernity are often understood as diametrically opposed phenomena. Subnational ethnic and religious identities, it is said, prevent the development of modern politics, cultures, and social affinities. And yet, sectarian diference in states like Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq seems to be a necessary condition for their coherence as modern political entities. What if sectarianism, which undermines the secular national ideal of universal citizenship, is instead understood as distinctly modern, its emergence dating no further back than the nineteenth century? This course examines the intertwined genealogy of sectarianism and modernity, paying particular attention to the administration of law, religion, and society in three phases of historical development: the late Ottoman Empire, the French and British Mandate periods, and the postcolonial present. Under what conditions did sectarianism emerge as a meaningful analytic category for the study of Middle East politics? What legal innovations have constituted and transformed the meaning and practice of sectarianism over time? In what ways do global sovereignties contribute to the persistence of sectarian identities? Why does sectarianism endure?
Meeting Time: Tues. & Thurs. 2:30 - 3:50pm
LJST 270—RACE, LAW and AMERICAN LITERATURE — Visiting Professor DICHTER
The story of race in America is inextricably tied to the story of the law, but the nature of that connection is controversial. Is the law a reliable tool for the pursuit of justice, or an obstacle that tends to create injustices of its own? Law has faced longstanding criticism for serving the interests of the powerful at the expense of everyone else. Yet, throughout US history, individuals working for justice have also looked to the law as a means for achieving lasting change. This class will consider how a range of American literary authors have engaged with questions about race, justice, power, and the law. We will read narratives written about (and sometimes against) the law, addressing such issues as slavery, colonialism, crime, incarceration, segregation, civil rights, immigration, and marriage. At the same time, we will study pertinent legal texts (court cases, legislation, treaties) to see what kind of stories the law has told about itself.
Meeting Time: Tue. & Thu. 10:00am - 11:20am
LJST 273—THE AMERICAN PRISON— Visiting Professor DICHTER
The United States currently keeps more of its own citizens behind bars than any other country. While the US’s emergence as the global leader in incarceration rates is a relatively recent development, the prison has loomed large in American public life for 200 years. In this class, we will approach the prison not as a marginal phenomenon, but as an institution central to American culture. We will examine works of literature by and about prisoners alongside an expansive historical archive that includes reformers’ pamphlets, sociological studies, government reports, and inmate manifestos. Over the years, American prisons have been variously described as models of innovation and reform, as hotbeds of unrest and rebellion, as vestiges of slavery, and as vital components in the wars on drugs, crime and terror. These evolving debates about imprisonment have also continually raised questions about what it means to be “free” in America. This interdisciplinary course will trace those debates from the early days of the penitentiary through our present era of mass incarceration.
Meeting Time: Tues. & Thurs. 2:30 - 3:50pm