Legal Studies Courses Summer 2020

NOTE: Legal Studies offers courses during the six week sessions: Session A and Session D.
NOTE: Areas listed are for the New Plan.

Quick List of courses:
Session A: 132AC, 138, 160, 164
Session D: 100, 145, 157, 170, 182

Session A (May 26 – July 2) six weeks

LS 132AC – Immigration and Citizenship, 4 units, Carrie Rosenbaum,  Area II or IV

We often hear that America is a “nation of immigrants.” This representation of the U.S. does not explain why some are presumed to belong and others are not. We will examine both historical and contemporary law of immigration and citizenship to see how law has shaped national identity and the identity of immigrant communities . In addition to scholarly texts, we will learn to read and analyze excerpts of cases and the statute that governs immigration and citizenship, the Immigration and Nationality Act.

LS 138: The Supreme Court & Public Policy, 4 units, Brittany Arsiniega (Furman University), Core or Area IV or V

This course examines a number of leading U.S. Supreme Court decisions in terms of what policy alternatives were available to the Court and which ones it chose. Prospective costs and benefits of these alternatives and who will pay the costs and who gets the benefits of them are considered. Among the areas considered are economic development, government regulation of business, national security, freedom of speech and discrimination. Readings are solely of Supreme Court decisions.

LS 160: Punishment, Culture & Society, 4 units, Alessandro De Giorgi,
Core or Area I or II

This course surveys the development of Western penal practices, institutions, and ideas (what David Garland calls “penality”) from the eighteenth-century period to the present. Our primary focus will be on penal practices and discourses in United States in the early 21st century. In particular we will examine the extraordinary growth of US penal sanctions in the last quarter century and the sources and consequences of what some have called “mass imprisonment.” To gain some comparative perspective the course will also take up contemporary penality (or penalities) in Europe, South Africa, Central America, and Asia, as well as US penality and society at some earlier conjunctures.
In our analysis of penality, we will draw upon a range of social science theories with general relevance but with particularly rich application to the study of punishment. These theories provide the “tool kits” we will use to interpret and analyze multiplex implications of punishment and its relationship to changes in economic, social, and political relations associated with modernization and more recently the globalization of modern capitalism. The course will examine many examples of penal practices and the ideas associated with them including mass imprisonment, the death penalty, and restorative justice. In the last portion of the class we will examine the recent crisis in California’s juvenile prisons through the lenses both of different social theories and the examples of different national and historical penal patterns.

LS 164: Juvenile Justice & the Color of Law: The Historical Treatment of Children of Color in the Judicial System, 4 units, Trina Thompson, Area I or II or IV

We will investigate the profound role of law and legal institutions in shaping and defining racial minority and majority communities. Students will interrogate the definition and meaning of race in U.S. society (e.g., whether race is biological, cultural, environmental, based on White supremacy, or a social construct that is constantly being transformed) and will critically examine the connection between law, race and racism, both in the historical and modern context. The course is a collaborative effort to learn the truths of our collective history; to share the truths of our individual experiences and lives; and, to determine if we desire a more just society, and if so, how to create our own paths and contributions to this endeavor.

Session D (July 6 – August 14) six weeks

LS 100: Foundations of Legal Studies, Hadar Dancig Rosenberg & Rivka Amado, 4 units, Core (H, SS)

This is a liberal arts course designed to introduce students to the foundational frameworks and cross-disciplinary perspectives from humanities and social sciences that distinguish legal studies as a scholarly field. It provides a comparative and historical intro to forms, ideas, institutions, and systems of law and sociological ordering. It highlights basic theoretical problems and scholarly methods for understanding questions of law and justice.

LS 145:  Law & Economics I, 4 units, Bruno Salama, Core (SS) or Area III

This course uses the concepts and tools of economics to analyze problems in law, focusing on contracts, property, torts, and legal process. Students will be expected to apply the analysis to broad array of legal issues.

LS 157: International Relations & International Law, 4 units, Smadar Ben-Natan, 4 units, Area IV or V

International law today is a dynamic and contested topic. This course will introduce and evaluate modern theories and doctrines of international law, as well as international law as a field of practice comprised of various institutions and actors. We will examine a host of fundamental questions in international relations and international law, including, for example, why states enter into international agreements, why states comply with international law, and what how international practice is embedded and contested in global power relations. Discussion will address major current debates and critical accounts on international law, such as its colonial history and human rights record, and look into the connections between the global and local, such as the roles of non-state actors and civil society.

LS 170: Crime & Criminal Justice, Elizabeth Tejada, 4 units, Area I

This course examines the scope and causes of the crime problem in America, and the uses and limits of our criminal justice system in dealing with it. The class will look at recent trends in crime and at how our crime problem compares with that of other countries. Topics include the massive expansion of the American prison system in recent years and its effect on the crime rate, critical analyses of different theories of the causes of crime, strategies for preventing and controlling crime, death penalty, gun control, white-collar crime, and crime in the family.

LS 182: Law, Politics & Society, Malcolm Feeley, 4 units, Core or IV or V

This course explores the nature and function of law and legal systems.  It asks:  What is the nature of legal authority?  Where does it originate? Why do we obey it?  From where does law come? How are laws made? How do judges reason?  It also focuses on law and conflict resolution:   How do people bring cases to court?  How do judges decide cases?  What alternatives are there to the legal process?  The course addresses basic question common to all legal systems, but draws most examples from Anglo-American legal systems.   Finally, a traditional conception of law is that it is a timeless set of principles, yet society is always changing.  So, how then does law change?  How do courts respond to social change?  To what extent can courts themselves bring about social change?  And, if they try, what resources are at their disposal?  Readings will be drawn from a variety of fields: philosophy, history, judicial opinions, and scholarly articles.  If you are attentive to these materials and engage during lectures and discussion sections, you will become knowledgeable one of society’s most important institutions, the legal system.  There are no prerequisites for this course. It should be of interest to Legal Studies majors; those thinking about going to law school; science majors; and visiting foreign students who are interested in getting a window onto an important institution—law– not only in the United States but everywhere—indeed anyone curious about one of society’s core institutions.

***NOTE: This course must have at least 22 students enrolled in order for it to continue. If the course has less than 22 students, it will be canceled, so have a back-up plan.***

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