This course explores the intersection of law, society and politics, and aims to foster discussion of contemporary issues among students from different cultures and disciplines. After an introduction to law and legal culture, we will engage with classical social theorists as well social scientists who examine the impact of law on issues such as morality, crime and punishment, free speech, inequality, and private property.
Throughout the course students will be invited to consider 1-how law simultaneously plays complex constitutive, regulative and coercive roles in society; 2-that there are both state and non-state legal systems; and 3-how an individual’s place in society affects experiences, values or choices. Students will also develop written and oral communication skills to express informed opinions about issues in law and society, as well as intercultural competence through discussion with other students.
This course is open to all students with an interest in law and/or the social sciences – in particular, history, sociology or politics. It is designed as an undergraduate class, but the variety of students taking this course typically ranges from first-year students to post-graduate students. This experiential diversity provides unique opportunities for students to learn from one another.
No prior knowledge of law or of social science is required; the only prerequisite is an open mind.
Students are expected to attend each class; read the literature assigned for each class; and participate in class discussions and excursions. In addition to active participation, each student will complete (at least) one written protocol that analyzes assigned readings; make a short in-class presentation on a topic related to one of the daily themes; and take a written final examination.
Readings for the course will be contained in a reader that will be provided at orientation.