Courses

Justice & Law Courses

JLST 101(F)Introduction to Justice and Law

This course will examine all aspects of America's legal system, including its historical and constitutional underpinnings; the processes of resolving disputes, e.g., trials, plea-bargaining, and civil settlement; and the diverse roles of participants in the system, e.g., judges, jurors, legislators, and law schools. The course will emphasize the deeply interdisciplinary nature of law, probing the law's intersections with politics, history, economics, psychology, philosophy, sociology, science, and religion. [ more ]

JLST 250 TTrials

Not offered this year

Humans are social creatures. In organized societies, when conflicts arise, people rely on the law and, within the law, on trials to sort out competing claims and assign proper consequences. "Trials" include other tests such as the trial of battle, experimental trials, trials to qualify for athletic finals, and probationary periods. At it core, then, a trial is a way to test the veracity or quality of some person or thing. This tutorial traces the application and various meanings of trials, focusing on three themes: trials as a test of personal character; trials as a way of knowing; and trials as social institutions designed to protect the social order by offering justice. [ more ]

JLST 376Sex, Gender, and the Law in U.S. History

Not offered this year

This course explores how the law in America has defined and regulated gender and sexuality. We will evaluate how the law has dictated different roles for men and women, how sexual acts have been designated as legal or illegal, and the ways that race, class, and nationality have complicated the definition and regulation of gender and sexuality. We will examine how assumptions about gender and sexuality have informed the creation and development of American law, contested interpretations of the Constitution, and the changing meanings of citizenship; We will consider how seemingly gender neutral laws have yielded varied effects for men and women across race and class divides, challenging some differences while naturalizing others. Finally, we will examine the power and shortcomings of appeals to formal legal equality waged by diverse groups and individuals. Throughout the course, we will consider the various methodologies and approaches of the interdisciplinary field of legal history. Topics to be covered will include the Constitution, slavery, marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance, immigration, sexual violence, reproduction, abortion, privacy, suffrage, jury duty, work, and military service. [ more ]

JLST 397(F)Independent Study: Legal Studies

Legal Studies independent study. Open only under the supervision of a member of the Legal Studies Advisory Committee. [ more ]

JLST 398(S)Independent Study: Legal Studies

Legal Studies independent study. Open under the supervision of a member of the Legal Studies Advisory Committee. [ more ]

JLST 401(S)The Unwritten Constitution

The eight thousand words of America's written constitution only begin to map out the basic ground rules that actually govern our land." So begins Akhil Amar's book The Unwritten Constitution. Amar recasts the debate over whether America has a "living Constitution." That debate usually revolves around whether change in constitutional meaning requires resort to the formal amendment process or can be achieved through judicial interpretation. Amar supports a living Constitution, but proposes something far-reaching: history itself effectively amends the Constitution. Thus, for example, he argues that Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and precedents set by George Washington, not to mention the daily activities and assumptions of ordinary Americans, have become constitutional subtext which must be taken into account by judges and anyone else (i.e., politicians and citizens) interpreting the Constitution. Closely related, Amar rejects a primarily "textualist" approach, proclaiming that the Constitution's terse text must be read in concert with a vast unwritten Constitution. Is his notion convincing? Preposterous? A healthy way of understanding the inevitable intersection of law, history, and politics? A transparent excuse to read one's own views into the Constitution? Is the idea of an unwritten constitution democratic or undemocratic? The course will emphasize the deeply interdisciplinary nature of law, probing the law's intersections with politics, history, philosophy, religion, science, psychology, art, economics, sports, and cyberspace. [ more ]

JLST 402International and Transitional Justice

Not offered this year

Before the 1990s, the world saw only occasional, discrete war crimes trials after major-power cataclysms. In the last two decades, trials expanded dramatically in number, scope, and philosophy. Separate Ad Hoc Tribunals for crimes in Yugoslavia and those in Rwanda, in Sierra Leone and in Cambodia are giving way to a permanent International Criminal Court, which has begun to hand down indictments and refine its jurisdiction. The UN Security Council, alongside national governments, decides on legitimacy and punishment. At the same time, worries about residual impunity or the effect that punishment might have on societies' futures has led to the development of national and social courts, as well as national military tribunals, to complement those at the international level. Meanwhile, national activists look to international apologies and reparations for models of what to demand. Examples of internationalized transitional justice abound. This research seminar examines the intent, process, meaning and consequence of these new practices, particularly in terms of national constitutions, international law, and principles of justice. [ more ]

JLST 403(F, S)Senior Seminar in Human Rights in International Politics and Law

The idea that all humans have rights simply because they are human-independent of anything they might do or achieve-has transformed local and international politics, probably permanently. This concept's place in international politics, its strengths and limitations, depend on how people use it. Beginning with the 18th-century's transatlantic movement to abolish slavery, we will examine international movements and institutions that have affected what human rights mean, to whom, and where. Readings draw on philosophy, history, sociology, and international relations, but as a political science class we emphasize politics. Who benefits from the idea of universal human rights? Who loses? How does this idea about individual value liberate and entrap? Does this idea ultimately reinforce American hegemony, or plant the seeds of a non-American order? [ more ]

Electives

CHEM 113(F)Chemistry and Crime: From Sherlock Holmes to Modern Forensic Science

In this course, designed for students who do not plan to major in the natural sciences, we use a case-oriented approach to explore selected topics of forensic science. These include: (1) the scientific and technological foundation for the examination of physical, chemical, and biological items of evidence, and (2) the scope of expert qualifications and testimony, the legal status of scientific techniques, and the admissibility of the results in evidence. The analysis of trace evidence, including glass, soil, gunpowder residues and bullet fragments, and inorganic and heavy metal poisons are discussed through an understanding of the basic concepts of chemistry and analytical chemistry. Forensic toxicology and pharmacology are applied to the analysis of alcohol, poisons, and drugs based upon the principles of organic chemistry and biochemistry. The characterization of blood and other body fluids necessitate an understanding of serology and molecular genetics. The cases which stimulate the exploration of these areas include: the John and Robert Kennedy assassinations, the Jeffrey MacDonald case (Fatal Vision), the Wayne Williams case, the deaths of celebrities Marilyn Monroe, John Belushi, and Janis Joplin, the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, the Casey Anthony case, the Tylenol poisonings, and the identity of Anastasia. Interactive demonstration sessions provide an appreciation of scientific experimentation in general and the work of a crime lab in particular. It includes an analysis of evidence and provides an opportunity to learn forensic techniques such as chromatography (for ink, drug, and fire accelerant analysis), spectroscopy (for alcohol and drug analysis), and electrophoresis (for DNA fingerprinting). [ more ]

REL 203 / JWST 101(F)Judaism: Before The Law

This course introduces the academic study of Judaism through a humanistic exploration of "the Law" as a concept in Jewish thought and practice. Coverage will include the Law of Moses in the Hebrew Bible, the rabbinic distinction between "Oral Law" and "Written Law," medieval philosophical justifications for the Law, modern interpretations of the Law as Moral Law, Hasidic challenges to the centrality of the Law, and twentieth-century Jewish fiction that is haunted by a felt absence of the Law. Topics may also include the nature of rabbinic authority, methods of Jewish legal interpretation and innovation, and Jewish law as it pertains specifically to women, gentiles, idolaters, food consumption, and the Land of Israel. Course materials will include classical sources such as the Talmud and Midrash, modern philosophical texts by Franz Rosenzweig, Leo Strauss and Joseph Soloveitchik, Kafka's The Trial with his parable "Before The Law," Woody Allen's film Crimes and Misdemeanors, and ethnographic accounts of contemporary Jewish observance. All readings will be in translation. [ more ]

WGSS 210 / AFR 210 / AMST 210 / INTR 210 / PSCI 210Culture and Incarceration

Not offered this year

This seminar examines incarceration, immigration detention centers, and the death penalty from historical and contemporary perspectives. Students will study and examine interdisciplinary texts as well primary sources (legislature and criminal codes and writings by the incarcerated). The emphasis will be on the study of social attitudes concerning ethnic groups, gender/sexuality and class as they pertain to a "penal culture" in the United States. [ more ]

SOC 215Crime

Not offered this year

An examination of crime, criminals, and crime-fighters. Topics include: violent urban youth gangs in America; the recruitment, socialization, argot, culture, worldviews, and ethics of professional criminals, both in America and in the international arena; the stages of criminal careers; the violence inherent in the drug trade; the trafficking of girls and women; the illegal immigration industry; white-collar scams, fraud, and financial depredations; identity theft; the work worlds and habits of mind of crime-fighters, with a special focus on the work of uniformed police officers, detectives, federal agents, and state and federal prosecutors; the symbolic representations of criminals and crime-fighters in American and international popular culture; and the crisis of public social order. Special attention to the nature of criminal investigation. [ more ]

PSCI 216 / LEAD 216(F)American Constitutionalism I: Structures of Power

How has the American Constitution been debated and understood over time? What is the relationship between constitutional and political change? This course examines the historical development of American constitutional law and politics from the Founding to the present. Our focus is on structures of power -- the limits on congressional lawmaking, growth of presidential authority, establishment of judicial review, conflicts among the three branches of the federal government, and boundaries between the federal and state and local governments. The specific disputes under these rubrics range from secession to impeachment, gun control to child labor, waging war to spurring commerce; the historical periods to be covered include the Marshall and Taney Court years, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Warren Court, and the conservative ascendancy of the late twentieth century. Readings are drawn from Supreme Court opinions, presidential addresses, congressional debates and statutes, political party platforms, key tracts of American political thought, and secondary scholarship on constitutional development. Throughout the semester, our goal will be less to remember elaborate doctrinal rules and multi-part constitutional "tests" than to understand the changing nature of, and changing relationship between, constitutional power and constitutional meaning in American history. [ more ]

ECON 229Law and Economics

Not offered this year

This course applies the tools of microeconomic analysis to private (i.e., civil) law. This analysis has both positive and normative aspects. The positive aspects deal with how individuals respond to the incentives created by the legal system. Examples include: how intellectual property law encourages the creation of knowledge while simultaneously restricting the dissemination of intellectual property; how tort law motivates doctors to avoid malpractice suits; and how contract law facilitates agreements. The normative aspects of the analysis ask whether legal rules enhance economic efficiency (or, more broadly, social welfare). Examples include: what legal rules are most appropriate for mitigating pollution, ensuring safe driving, and guaranteeing workplace safety? The course will also cover the economics of legal systems; for example, what are the incentives for plaintiffs to initiate lawsuits and what role do lawyers play in determining outcomes. The course will also consider potential reforms of the legal system. In the 2014-15 academic year, the course will place more emphasis on intellectual property law as part of the campus-wide initiative, "The Book Unbound," associated with the opening of the new library. [ more ]

JLST 250 TTrials

Not offered this year

Humans are social creatures. In organized societies, when conflicts arise, people rely on the law and, within the law, on trials to sort out competing claims and assign proper consequences. "Trials" include other tests such as the trial of battle, experimental trials, trials to qualify for athletic finals, and probationary periods. At it core, then, a trial is a way to test the veracity or quality of some person or thing. This tutorial traces the application and various meanings of trials, focusing on three themes: trials as a test of personal character; trials as a way of knowing; and trials as social institutions designed to protect the social order by offering justice. [ more ]

HIST 327Law in the Middle Ages

Not offered this year

Medieval laws form the foundation for much of our modern legal system. They also constitute crucial but problematic sources for our understanding of medieval society. This course will cover law from the sixth through the fourteenth centuries, with special emphasis on the law of the Roman empire and the law of the Christian church. Through smaller units on Law in Antiquity, Law in the Early Middle Ages, The High Medieval Legal Tradition, and Marriage in Canon Law, we will gain some exposure to the depth and complexity of the medieval legal tradition. We will spend most of our time with the legal sources themselves, concentrating specifically on legislation dealing with marriage, the settlement of disputes, and crime of all kinds. Along the way, we will also study the early history of lawyers and the legal profession. No prior experience with the Middle Ages is expected. [ more ]

HIST 380(S)Comparative American Immigration History

This course examines the underlying tension between the notion of American pluralism and the desire for homogeneity through the study of the history of immigration to the United States from Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Special attention will be paid to the condition in the sending countries and the historical ties of those countries to the United States, immigration and labor recruitment, anti-immigrant sentiments, and the development of American immigration policy. This is an EDI course because it examines how people from different countries and cultures interacted with each other and those already in the United States. Theirs is a story of immigration, exclusion, resistance, accommodation, labor and the creation of an American image of pluralism, coupled with the desire for assimilated immigrants. [ more ]

PSCI 420 / JLST 403(F, S)Senior Seminar in Human Rights in International Politics and Law

The idea that all humans have rights simply because they are human-independent of anything they might do or achieve-has transformed local and international politics, probably permanently. This concept's place in international politics, its strengths and limitations, depend on how people use it. Beginning with the 18th-century's transatlantic movement to abolish slavery, we will examine international movements and institutions that have affected what human rights mean, to whom, and where. Readings draw on philosophy, history, sociology, and international relations, but as a political science class we emphasize politics. Who benefits from the idea of universal human rights? Who loses? How does this idea about individual value liberate and entrap? Does this idea ultimately reinforce American hegemony, or plant the seeds of a non-American order? [ more ]

HIST 457 / WGST 457Gender, Law, and Politics in U.S. History

Not offered this year

This seminar explores the legal history of the United States as a gendered system. It examines how women have shaped the meanings of American citizenship through pursuit of political rights and obligations such as suffrage, jury duty, and military service; how those political struggles have varied across race, religion, and class; and how the legal system has shaped gender relations for both women and men through regulation of such issues as marriage, divorce, work, reproduction, and the family. While we will read some court cases, the focus of the seminar is on the broader relationship between law and society. Readings will address not only the history of statutory law, and of the lawsuits and trials testing those laws, but also the social history of the impact of the law and the political history of efforts to change laws. [ more ]


PHIL 114(F)Freedom and Society

Freedom is one of our fundamental values as Americans. It is emphasized in our founding documents, and it occupies a central place in our contemporary political discourse. But do we ask: What is freedom? and Why do we value it? In the first unit of this course, we will consider the relationship between freedom and social order. Do society's laws limit our freedom in order to make us safe? Or do laws somehow enhance or enable our freedom? We will read Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau in seeking answers to these questions. We will then turn to some specific social forms in the second unit. We will ask whether they promote or preclude our freedom. We will read Adam Smith and Karl Marx on capitalism, and Simone de Beauvoir on gender. [ more ]

HIST 153 TEstablishment & Exercise: Religion and the Constitution in the United States

Not offered this year

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This 100-level tutorial examines the constitutional history of conflicts over religion in the United States, and asks how the law has weighed religious freedom against other cultural values, legal rights, and social needs. This course will consider the following questions: How has the interpretation of the First Amendment's religious clauses changed over time? What happens when the establishment clause and free exercise clause come into conflict with each other? Is the American state secular? What is the difference between religious beliefs and moral beliefs? How have constitutional arguments about religion intersected with social movements and political culture? Topics will include: the origins and early interpretations of the religion clauses; the changing scope of constitutional protections for the beliefs and practices of religious minorities; controversies over religion in schools, workplaces, and public spaces; debates about tax exemptions for religious organizations; the rights of conscientious objectors; and the emerging conflicts between claims for religious liberty and anti-discrimination laws. This course examines the ways these conflicts illuminate tensions between the competing values of equality and liberty, and interrogates the ways that the very act of legal decision-making defines the boundaries of what counts as religion. [ more ]

Taught by: TBA

Catalog details

HIST 167 / AFR 167 / AMST 167Let Freedom Ring? African Americans and Emancipation

Not offered this year

This course will examine African Americans' transition from slavery to freedom. In the years that encompassed the Civil War and immediately after, most African Americans changed from being legal property, able to be bought, sold, mortgaged, rented out, and leveraged into U.S. citizens, with the Constitutional right to male suffrage. This course examines this transition. How did it come about? To what extent were African Americans able to exercise their rights that the constitution guaranteed? How did Emancipation shape African American family relations, culture and demography? This is a research seminar. We will examine work of historians and discuss the contradictions and nuances of emancipation. Readings will include monographs, scholarly articles and heavy dose of primary sources, as many as possible written by African Americans themselves. Assignments include an original research paper on an aspect of Emancipation. We will devote considerable time throughout the semester to finding primary and secondary sources and on the writing process. [ more ]

HIST 178 T / WGSS 178Marriage and the American Nation

Not offered this year

This tutorial explores the transformation of marriage as an institution, idea, and experience from colonial times through the beginning of the twenty-first century. What is marriage? Is it a private agreement or a public contract? A legal bond or a religious sacrament? A right or a privilege? Who can enter it? Who determines when it is over, and on what grounds? Examining the long history of American debates about these questions, we will consider the complex ways that beliefs and policies regarding marriage have affected national understandings of gender roles, of racial difference, of the meaning of citizenship, and of the function and reach of government. We will explore many of the controversies associated with marriage over the last 400 years, including interracial marriage, polygamy, divorce, domestic violence, property rights, custody, cohabitation, working mothers, and same-sex marriage. [ more ]

REL 203 / JWST 101(F)Judaism: Before The Law

This course introduces the academic study of Judaism through a humanistic exploration of "the Law" as a concept in Jewish thought and practice. Coverage will include the Law of Moses in the Hebrew Bible, the rabbinic distinction between "Oral Law" and "Written Law," medieval philosophical justifications for the Law, modern interpretations of the Law as Moral Law, Hasidic challenges to the centrality of the Law, and twentieth-century Jewish fiction that is haunted by a felt absence of the Law. Topics may also include the nature of rabbinic authority, methods of Jewish legal interpretation and innovation, and Jewish law as it pertains specifically to women, gentiles, idolaters, food consumption, and the Land of Israel. Course materials will include classical sources such as the Talmud and Midrash, modern philosophical texts by Franz Rosenzweig, Leo Strauss and Joseph Soloveitchik, Kafka's The Trial with his parable "Before The Law," Woody Allen's film Crimes and Misdemeanors, and ethnographic accounts of contemporary Jewish observance. All readings will be in translation. [ more ]

REL 214 / PSCI 271Religion and the State

Not offered this year

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution begins: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." What does "religion" mean in this formulation? Should "religion" be singled-out for exclusion from government? Are "religious" reasons ever legitimate reasons for laws, policies or popular political action? Should "religious" organizations be exempt from otherwise generally applicable laws? Is "religion" good or necessary for democratic societies? In this course we will respond to these and related questions through an investigation of "religion" as a concept in political theory. Particular attention will be given to the modern liberal tradition and its critics. Coverage will range from modern classics to innovative contemporary arguments. Classics may include John Locke's A Letter Concerning Toleration, selections from Jean-Jacques Rousseau's The Social Contract, James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, Immanuel Kant's Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, John Stewart Mill's Three Essays On Religion, and John Dewey's A Common Faith. More recent arguments may come from John Rawls, Alasdair MacIntyre, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Martha Nussbaum, Jeffrey Stout, Winnifred Sullivan, Brian Leiter and Andrew Koppelman. [ more ]

PSCI 223International Law

Not offered this year

International law embodies the rules that govern the society of states. It spells out who can be a state and how to become one, what states can do, what they cannot do, and who can punish transgressions. It also determines the status of other actors, such as international organizations, heads of state, refugees, transnational religious institutions, and multinational corporations. International law is similar to domestic law, with one very crucial difference: it is not enforced by a centralized, sovereign state. In other respects, it is the same: it protects the status quo, including the distribution of power among its members, it spells out legitimate and illegitimate ways of resolving conflicts of interest; it is biased toward the powerful; it tells its members how to act to coordinate their interests and minimize direct conflict; some of it is purely aspirational, some of it necessary for survival. And like domestic law, it is enforced only some of the time, and then against the weak more than the strong. Yet, law is still where we look for justice. [ more ]

PHIL 228 / WGSS 228Feminist Bioethics

Not offered this year

In this course we'll explore the ways in which feminist approaches to moral thinking have influenced both the methodology and the content of contemporary bioethics. The first portion of the course will address the emergence of the "Ethics of Care," critically assessing its origins in feminist theory, its development within the context of the caring professions, and its potential as a general approach to bioethical reasoning. The second portion of the course will use feminist philosophy to inform our understanding of the ways in which gender structures the individual's interactions with the health care system. To do this we'll explore topics that might traditionally be considered "women's issues" in health care, such as medicine and body image (e.g., cosmetic surgery, eating disorders), reproductive and genetic technologies, and research on women and their health care needs. In addition we'll also look at feminist analyses of topics that traditionally have not been regarded as "gendered," such as resource allocation and end of life issues. As a course offered under the Exploring Diversity Initiative, this class is designed to improve students' ability to recognize both the existence and the effects of gender disparities within the health care context, and in particular, how power and privilege within and beyond medicine contribute to gender inequalities in health and medical treatment. Moreover, students will theorize about ways of conceptualizing and of reforming health care interactions in order to reduce or eliminate those gender inequalities. [ more ]

PHIL 291 TViolence: Its Trajectory and Its Causes

Not offered this year

This tutorial examines Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of our Nature. Why Violence Has Declined (2011). We focus first on the controversial theses that--despite two world wars and the Holocaust--the twentieth century was not the most violent so far, and that, over the entire course of history, human beings have become decreasingly violent. We then turn to the book's explanations of the factors it identifies as leading us to be violent--our "inner demons" and as curbing our violence--our "better angels." [ more ]

HIST 302 / ARAB 243 / REL 243 / WGSS 243Islamic Law: Past and Present

Not offered this year

From fear of the Shari'a to its implementation in so called "Islamic countries," Islamic law is perhaps best associated with draconian punishments and the oppression of women. Islamic law is ever present in our public discourse today and yet little is known about it. This course is designed to give students a foundation in the substantive teachings of Islamic law. Islamic law stretches back over 1400 years and is grounded in the Quran, the life example of the Prophet Muhammad, and juridical discourse. Teetering between legal and ethical discourse, the Shari'a moves between what we normally consider law as well as ethics and etiquette. The course will explore four key aspects of the law: its historical development, its ethical and legal content, the law in practice, and the transformation of Islamic law through colonialism and into the contemporary. Specific areas we will cover include: ritual piety, family and personal status law, criminal law, and dietary rules. [ more ]

PSCI 309 / LEAD 309Problems and Progress in American Democracy

Not offered this year

"I confess," French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in the introduction to his Democracy in America, "that in America I saw more than America. I sought the image of democracy itself, with its inclinations, its character, its prejudices, and its passions, in order to learn what we have to fear or hope from its progress." What would Tocqueville see if he returned to America today, almost 200 years later? What types of institutions, dynamics, and processes animate American political life in the twenty-first century? With Tocqueville as a guide to thinking about political ethnography, this course investigates four central elements of political life--religion, education, difference, and crime and punishment--that simultaneously pose problems for and represent sites of progress in American democracy. For each subject, we will ask several key questions. How has that particular aspect of political life changed in the recent past? How might it change in the near future? Does it conform to how American politics is designed to work? To how we want American politics to work? Using a diverse set of readings drawn from empirical political science, contemporary democratic theory, American political thought, historical documents, political punditry (from the left and the right), and current events, our focus, like Tocqueville before us, is on teasing out both the lived experience--the character and challenges--of American democracy and examining any disconnect between that experience and the ideals that undergird it. Among the many specific questions we will consider are whether particular religious traditions might be incompatible with democratic values, the extent to which recent changes in higher education have affected the health of democratic politics, the effects of ideological polarization on democratic discourse, and the place of the jury system in securing democratic justice. Throughout the semester, we will not only approach these questions from the joint perspectives of theory and practice but also seek to enrich our understanding by exploring American democracy as it happens all around us with several exercises in the community at large. [ more ]

INTR 322 / PSCI 313 / AFR 322 / AMST 322(F)Race, Culture, Incarceration

This course explores racially-fashioned policing and incarceration from the Reconstruction era convict prison lease system to contemporary mass incarceration and "stop and frisk" policies of urban areas in the United States. Also explored will be political imprisonment in the Untied States. [ more ]

HIST 327Law in the Middle Ages

Not offered this year

Medieval laws form the foundation for much of our modern legal system. They also constitute crucial but problematic sources for our understanding of medieval society. This course will cover law from the sixth through the fourteenth centuries, with special emphasis on the law of the Roman empire and the law of the Christian church. Through smaller units on Law in Antiquity, Law in the Early Middle Ages, The High Medieval Legal Tradition, and Marriage in Canon Law, we will gain some exposure to the depth and complexity of the medieval legal tradition. We will spend most of our time with the legal sources themselves, concentrating specifically on legislation dealing with marriage, the settlement of disputes, and crime of all kinds. Along the way, we will also study the early history of lawyers and the legal profession. No prior experience with the Middle Ages is expected. [ more ]

ENVI 328 / PSCI 328(F)Global Environmental Politics

This seminar draws on the last five decades of international efforts to regulate the environmental commons. The process of negotiating and implementing international environmental treaties will be a core focus of the course, yet emphasis will also be placed on emerging non-state means of addressing global environmental challenges. A variety of challenges faced in global environmental policymaking (compliance, participation by civil society and industry, incorporation of science, efficiency.) will be examined through the study of several international regimes, including on climate change, endangered species, biodiversity, biosafety and mercury pollution. [ more ]

PHIL 337 TJustice in Health Care

Not offered this year

Justice is a notoriously complex and elusive philosophical concept, the conditions of which are even more difficult to articulate within real world institutions and contexts than in the abstract. In this course we'll explore justice as a fundamental moral principle and as a desideratum of the US health care system. The first portion of the course will be devoted to considering general theories of justice as well as alternative conceptions of justice within the health care context. This will provide the background for subsequent examination of specific topics, which may include, among others: justice in health care financing and reform, which may itself include an analysis of the Affordable Care Act or current legislative proposals; justice in health care rationing, with particular attention to the relationship between rationing criteria and gender, "race," disability, and age; justice in the procurement and allocation of organs for transplantation; obesity and personal responsibility for illness; and justice in medical research, including "double standards" for research conducted in less developed countries. [ more ]

ENVI 340 / PSCI 343Climate Change Law

Not offered this year

Climate change is an inescapable component not just of environmental law and policy but of all law and all policy (as well as everything else). This course looks at mechanisms for mitigating as well as adapting to climate change from both the international and domestic legal perspectives. We will study the role of treaties, national legislation and regulation, sub-national responses, and the ongoing role of litigation. And we will examine the role of the lawyer and the legal community in addressing climate change. [ more ]

WGSS 343 T / AFR 343 / AMST 343 / INTR 343(S)Representations of Racial-Sexual Violence from Enslavement to Emancipation

This tutorial examines representations of and resistance to racial-sexual violence in American society, from colonial America to contemporary US culture. Interdisciplinary texts cover history, politics, literature, film, feminist studies, American studies, lgbtq and ethnic/black studies. Books include Southern Horrors; Intimate Matters; Scenes of Subjection; Trauma and Recovery; The Delectable Negro; At the Dark End of the Street; films include Birth of a Nation; Bush Mama; To Kill a Mockingbird. The primary focus is on racial and sexual vulnerability to violence and mobilization for freedom from the 18th-21st centuries. [ more ]

AFR 350Organizing Resistance: Black Activism, Then and Now

Not offered this year

This Africana class will be an experiential learning class designed both to study and to do activism as a way of learning how to be effective organizers in the Black world today. Our study component will focus on important past organizations and movements--Fannie Lou Hamer and the organizing of the Mississippi Freedom Summer and "Freedom Democrats" challenge to the Democratic Party, The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, The National Welfare Rights Organization, The Poor People's Budget, The Free Breakfast Program of the Black Panther Party--with an eye towards understanding how they actually organized and determining their successes and failure. The activism component of the class will include work in Pittsfield and/or Albany--with immigrant rights group, prison rights organizations, educational entities--and we will take a Spring break activism trip (for one of our two weeks off), either to Ferguson, Missouri, or to Florida to continue work on environmental justice already in place via Africana WS 25. We will also be exploring online activism, especially in relationship to the growing activism against police and other racist violence in Ferguson, Missouri, Sanford, Florida, Oakland, California and New York City. This Africana Studies course is an EDI course focusing on the experiences and expressions of the culturally diverse peoples of African descent in the United States, as well as the myriad ways in which they confront, negotiate, and at times challenge dominant U.S. hierarchies of race, culture, gender, and class. [ more ]

ENGL 371 T / COMP 331 / RUSS 331The Brothers Karamazov

Not offered this year

Widely hailed as one of the greatest novels ever written, Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov contains a series of enigmas, not the least of which is precisely who murdered the Karamazov father. In addition to exploring the shared guilt of all four of the brothers Karamazov in the crime of patricide, Dostoevsky poses the most probing questions of his day: Are families tied together merely by blood or by deeper spiritual bonds? Is religious faith possible in an age of reason, science, and technology? Can man's earthly laws ever carry out divine justice? Is humanity prepared to bear the burden of responsibility that comes with freedom? This tutorial will spend an entire semester exploring Dostoevsky's masterwork, and we will read a variety of secondary sources alongside The Brothers Karamazov, including history, philosophy, and literary theory. Our goal will be to understand Dostoevsky's answers to these so-called "accursed questions" through the unique artistic form of The Brothers Karamazov. [ more ]

ECON 374 TPoverty and Public Policy

Not offered this year

Since 1965, the annual poverty rate in the United States has hovered between 10% and 15%, though far more than 15% of Americans experience poverty at some point in their lives. In this course, we will study public policies that, explicitly or implicitly, have as a goal improving the well-being of the poor in this country. These policies include safety net programs (Aid to Families with Dependent Children/Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/Food Stamps, Medicaid/Children's Health Insurance Program, and housing assistance), education programs (Head Start and public primary and secondary education), and parts of the tax code (the Earned Income Tax Credit). We will explore the design and functioning of these programs, focusing on questions economists typically ask when evaluating public policy: Does the policy achieve its goals? Does the design of the policy lead to unintended effects (either good or bad)? Could it be redesigned to achieve its goals in a more cost-effective manner? Through in-depth study of these programs, students will learn how economists bring theoretical models and empirical evidence to bear on important questions of public policy. [ more ]

HIST 376 / JLST 376 / WGSS 376Sex, Gender, and the Law in U.S. History

Not offered this year

This course explores how the law in America has defined and regulated gender and sexuality. We will evaluate how the law has dictated different roles for men and women, how sexual acts have been designated as legal or illegal, and the ways that race, class, and nationality have complicated the definition and regulation of gender and sexuality. We will examine how assumptions about gender and sexuality have informed the creation and development of American law, contested interpretations of the Constitution, and the changing meanings of citizenship; We will consider how seemingly gender neutral laws have yielded varied effects for men and women across race and class divides, challenging some differences while naturalizing others. Finally, we will examine the power and shortcomings of appeals to formal legal equality waged by diverse groups and individuals. Throughout the course, we will consider the various methodologies and approaches of the interdisciplinary field of legal history. Topics to be covered will include the Constitution, slavery, marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance, immigration, sexual violence, reproduction, abortion, privacy, suffrage, jury duty, work, and military service. [ more ]

SOC 385(F)Breaking Apart

This course examines the splintering of American and indeed Western social structure and culture. Attention will be paid to the: transformation of family, marked by the abandonment of traditional definitions of sex, gender, and marriage; consequences of the de-industrialization and globalization of Western economy; increasing bureaucratization of every sphere of life, especially the growth of the leviathan state; institutionalization of adversary political cultures, on both left and right; proliferation of claims on public and private bureaucracies, fueled by competing propaganda spun by technicians in moral outrage; transformation of mass media and of audiences into specialized cliques; alliance of insulated political, economic, and cultural elites against the interests of middle/working classes on myriad issues, particularly crime, immigration, and the deracination of national cultures; metamorphosis of public manners, etiquette, and rules for discernment of aesthetic, artistic, and intellectual worth; clashes between the manifold cultural frameworks that give meaning to personal experiences; the stark racialization of public opinion and discussion; and the multiplicity of moral codes and conceptions of public order that often conflict with presumably common laws. [ more ]

WGSS 405 / HIST 458Sr.Sem:Sexual Rights,Gender Equality, and Religious Liberty: Conflicts in Law, Culture, and Politics

Not offered this year

Legal systems, political leaders, religious groups, and social movements, have generated and responded to conflicts and perceived conflicts between religious freedom, gender equality, and sexual rights in a variety of ways over the past twenty-five years. This course will consider these conflicts in a comparative context, and will examine when, why, and how appeals to religion, tradition and/or culture have been used to carve out exceptions to otherwise generally applicable laws. [ more ]

ENGL 407 / COMP 407(S)Literature, Justice and Community

Can we imagine possibilities of justice not dictated by already determined norms? What would a community founded on such a conception of justice look like? Can we imagine a version of community not founded on exclusion? What would the members of such a community look like-what version of subjectivity would that community imply? And might literature in particular have something to say about the possibilities for such versions of community, selfhood, and justice? This course will look at recent, theoretically-oriented writing on justice and community, with an emphasis on the work of Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy and Giorgio Agamben. We will place this challenging and exciting philosophical work in relation to fiction from Euripides to Kafka, Farah and Kushner, films (Almodovar, Farhadi), photography (Silva, Badlands) and worldly examples of competing claims to justice. The course pursues the aims of the EDI initiative by engaging works in which cultural differences reveal the limits of universalizing accounts of law and justice, works such as Euripides' Bacchae, Nuruddin Farah's Maps, Louise Erdrich's poetry, and Farhadi's A Separation. But the course will equally suggest that such contingency is inherent in the concept of justice as such, insofar as the problem of justice is bound up with forms of constituting indebtedness that define humans as communal beings. In that sense, contingency and difference mark justice even in its most familiar instances-intimately and close to home, as it were. [ more ]

HIST 433 / JWST 433The Justice of Violence? Histories of Terrorism in Europe

Not offered this year

The word "terrorism" entered the English language in 1795, an import from France that referred to the use of violence and intimidation by the ruling party during one phase of the French Revolution. Over the ensuing two centuries, terrorism has come to refer to the employment of violence, not only as a means of governing, but also and more often as a means of undermining the authority of those in power. This seminar examines a series of episodes of terrorism in Europe from the "Terror" of the French Revolution to the late twentieth century. It also explores various interpretations of the legitimacy and ethics of political violence and the phenomenon of terrorism in different historical contexts. In addition to common readings, students will conduct independent research on some aspect of the history of terrorism that will culminate in a 20-page paper. [ more ]

ECON 470The Indian Economy: Development and Social Justice

Not offered this year

The Indian economy has grown rapidly in the last two decades, but poverty has declined relatively slowly. Is this the persistence of long-standing historical disadvantages such as those faced by Scheduled Castes and Tribes? Does this reflect failures in policy, in areas such trade or labor law? Or is the quality of governance, especially the level of corruption, primarily to blame? We will use the traditional theoretical and quantitative methods of an economist to consider these questions, and, consistent with the goals of the Exploring Diversity Initiative, consider how they are shaped by power, privilege, and the social location of the narrator. [ more ]

AFR 476 / HIST 476(F)CAPSTONE: Black Radicalism

Amandla! Black Power! Venceremos! A Luta Continua! Ever since the end of slavery--brought about by the Haitian Revolution, slave rebellions, maroons, Quilombos, Civil War and various other means of resistance--transatlantic people of African descent have demanded radical change in the organization of modern societies. Their struggles and ideas have changed the ways we think and study--through the formation of Africana/African-American/Black-Studies--and the ways in which we express ideas--through the creation of rich traditions of music, dance, theater, poetry, carnivals, sculpture, and art that have acted as global conduits of cultures of resistance. In this Senior Seminar, we will study the most tumultuous period of Black radicalism in the 1960's, focusing on the Black Panther Party, the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, the Third World Women's Alliance/Angela Davis, and Caribbean and African radical movements, with an eye to examining their relevance to Black radical movements today. [ more ]


PHIL 114(F)Freedom and Society

Freedom is one of our fundamental values as Americans. It is emphasized in our founding documents, and it occupies a central place in our contemporary political discourse. But do we ask: What is freedom? and Why do we value it? In the first unit of this course, we will consider the relationship between freedom and social order. Do society's laws limit our freedom in order to make us safe? Or do laws somehow enhance or enable our freedom? We will read Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau in seeking answers to these questions. We will then turn to some specific social forms in the second unit. We will ask whether they promote or preclude our freedom. We will read Adam Smith and Karl Marx on capitalism, and Simone de Beauvoir on gender. [ more ]

ECON 229Law and Economics

Not offered this year

This course applies the tools of microeconomic analysis to private (i.e., civil) law. This analysis has both positive and normative aspects. The positive aspects deal with how individuals respond to the incentives created by the legal system. Examples include: how intellectual property law encourages the creation of knowledge while simultaneously restricting the dissemination of intellectual property; how tort law motivates doctors to avoid malpractice suits; and how contract law facilitates agreements. The normative aspects of the analysis ask whether legal rules enhance economic efficiency (or, more broadly, social welfare). Examples include: what legal rules are most appropriate for mitigating pollution, ensuring safe driving, and guaranteeing workplace safety? The course will also cover the economics of legal systems; for example, what are the incentives for plaintiffs to initiate lawsuits and what role do lawyers play in determining outcomes. The course will also consider potential reforms of the legal system. In the 2014-15 academic year, the course will place more emphasis on intellectual property law as part of the campus-wide initiative, "The Book Unbound," associated with the opening of the new library. [ more ]

PHIL 272 TFree Will and Responsibility

Not offered this year

Our practice of holding people responsible seems justified as long as people are free to make the choices that they do. But which criteria must a decision meet to qualify as free? Clearly, a free decision must not be the result of external coercion. But must it also be free from any outside influence at all? If so then freedom seems impossible, for we are all deeply influenced by external factors ranging from the general laws of nature to specific features of our genetic endowment and social environment (including religion, political ideology, and advertising). These affect not only our particular choices but also, more fundamentally, who we are and what we value. Since it is undeniable that we are pervasively influenced by such forces, the real question is whether, and how, free choice is possible amidst all of these influences. In this course we will examine recent philosophical attempts to make sense of the nature of free will and responsibility. Since these issues have a direct bearing on which theory of legal punishment we should accept, we will also examine influential theories of punishment. Our focus will be on works by contemporary authors. Emphasis will be placed on developing skills in reading, interpretation and oral argument as well as critical reasoning and writing. [ more ]

PSCI 334Theorizing Global Justice

Not offered this year

While economic exchanges, cultural convergence, and technological innovations have brought people in different parts of the world closer together than ever before, globalization has also amplified differences in material wealth and social inequalities. Ill health, inadequate sanitation, and lack of access to safe drinking water are increasingly common. Yet, more than ever before, the means exist in affluent regions of the world to alleviate the worst forms of suffering and enhance the well-being of the poorest people. How are we to understand this contradiction as a matter of justice? What is the relationship between justice and equality, and what do we owe one another in a deeply divided world? Course readings will engage your thinking on the central debates in moral philosophy, normative approaches to international political economy, and grassroots efforts to secure justice for women and other severely disadvantaged groups. Key theorists include Amartya Sen, Martha Nussbaum, John Rawls, Thomas Pogge, Nancy Fraser, Paul Farmer, Vandana Shiva, Majid Rahnema, and Enrique Dussel. [ more ]

ENGL 407 / COMP 407(S)Literature, Justice and Community

Can we imagine possibilities of justice not dictated by already determined norms? What would a community founded on such a conception of justice look like? Can we imagine a version of community not founded on exclusion? What would the members of such a community look like-what version of subjectivity would that community imply? And might literature in particular have something to say about the possibilities for such versions of community, selfhood, and justice? This course will look at recent, theoretically-oriented writing on justice and community, with an emphasis on the work of Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy and Giorgio Agamben. We will place this challenging and exciting philosophical work in relation to fiction from Euripides to Kafka, Farah and Kushner, films (Almodovar, Farhadi), photography (Silva, Badlands) and worldly examples of competing claims to justice. The course pursues the aims of the EDI initiative by engaging works in which cultural differences reveal the limits of universalizing accounts of law and justice, works such as Euripides' Bacchae, Nuruddin Farah's Maps, Louise Erdrich's poetry, and Farhadi's A Separation. But the course will equally suggest that such contingency is inherent in the concept of justice as such, insofar as the problem of justice is bound up with forms of constituting indebtedness that define humans as communal beings. In that sense, contingency and difference mark justice even in its most familiar instances-intimately and close to home, as it were. [ more ]

HIST 483 T / AFR 483 / GBST 483Freedom in Africa

Not offered this year

This course examines the ideas of major figures in the progressive tradition of African political thought. This emancipatory tradition emerged in societies shaped by racial, cultural, and economic exploitation, forcing both African men and women to address questions of identity and political action. Most members of this tradition also considered the ways in which uneven power relations within African communities shaped the personal and political landscapes. The Africans we will examine in this course drew on resources as varied as Pan-Africanism, Nationalism, Classical Liberalism, Social Democracy, Marxism, Black Consciousness, Negritude and Gender theory, yet each participated, at least implicitly, in a common African intellectual project: the meaning of Africa and of being African. [ more ]