Seth W Greenfest
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.
This class explores the fundamental roles that law plays in organizing contemporary social life. We will consider various ways of understanding law’s complex presence in society: how law shapes and enables social interaction; how law constructs differences among people and their actions; how law mediates and enforces power relationships; and how law matters for the kind of society we have. Topics will include disputing processes; legal ideology and legal practice; law and violence; law, identity, and community; and law and social change. The course will examine official legal institutions (courts) and actors (judges, police, lawyers, etc.), but will emphasize how law works as a complex array of norms, symbols, discourses, and practices that infuse and shape all aspects of social life.
Student learning goals
Build a skill set that allows students to talk about and research the law.
General method of instruction
Lecture plus TA-led discussion sessions.
Class assignments and grading
Midterm and Final exams which will be a combination of mutliple choice and short writing questions.
Weekly or bi-weekly short writing assignments related to discussion questions.