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Instructor Class Description

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Brandon Barclay Derman
LSJ 490
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in Comparative Legal Institutions

Focused, comparative examination of legal institutions.

Class description

Recent insights from the physical and social sciences make clear that climate change poses novel issues of environmental and social justice. It is also clear that, together with the economic implications of mitigation, these issues lie at the heart of stalemate in international and domestic efforts for climate regulation. Unsurprisingly, concern for effective and fair responses to climate change has enrolled law in several of its forms.

This course will examine three efforts for "climate justice" that mobilize law and rights. We will use these efforts as a prism through which to better understand key aspects of legality, rights consciousness, and struggles for justice in light of the increasingly apparent connections between nature and society, and between humans across the globe. These connections are integral to the processes of climate change and our regulatory approaches to it, but they are also representative of global economic and ecological ties more generally, over which law’s grasp is often tenuous and contested.

Given the scope and scale involved in climate change and response efforts, our intellectual journey will lead us to encounter multiple legal regimes, including US domestic and international law. We will also come face to face with different "registers" of legality, including US environmental regulation, international frameworks of human rights and migration, and emerging transnational norms around global social and ecological order.

Following a seminar format, the course will emphasize reading, writing, and participation in large and small group class discussion. Assignments will ask students to articulate and support original arguments, using the materials read in class, in their own writing. Students will have the option of earning a ‘W’ credit through specific additional writing components, linked to course assignments.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Brandon Barclay Derman
Date: 12/06/2013