Claire E. Rasmussen
Inquiry into how law matters in social practice. Examines general theories of law, the workings of legal institutions, and the character of legally constituted practices and relationships in diverse terrains of social life. Offered: jointly with POL S 363.
Description. This course explores the relationship between law and politics in contemporary American society. The course materials and discussions will focus around the way that law matters in political interactions, social relationships, and cultural life. We will examine these themes through exploring several sets of relationships between law, reason and justice, law and community, and law and violence. In addition to focus upon traditional legal institutions such as the courts and constitutions as well as legal actors such as lawyers and police, we will also be focus on law as a set of norms, symbols, discourses, and social practices that powerfully shape experience at the national and local levels. We will thus address law at the national scale in the macro-politics of federal courts, death penalty policy, etc. and at the local scale of the mobilization of law in neighborhoods, cultural symbols, and everyday life. The course will move between a discussion of the ideals of law and law as it is viewed by its practitioners and the practices of law and how it is viewed by those outside of legal institutions and, sometimes, outside the law.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Reading: Lief Carter Reason in Law, Patricia Williams, The Alchemy of Race and Rights, Carol Greenhouse (ed.) Law & Community in Three American Towns, Steve Herbert Policing Space and a course reader.
Class assignments and grading
Requirments /Grading Two in-class exams, one 7-8 page essay, and participation.