Legal Studies Course Offerings Fall 2011

Fall 2011 Legal Studies Course Offerings

Please check the OSOC ( for the scheduling details.

R1B: Racial Identity & the Law,   Bruce,  4units,                                                                 Area N/A  ***This course is lower division and will not count towards the major.***

In this course, we will examine the role of the law in constructing racial identity in the United States.  In writing a series of essays on related topics, students will develop their ability to critically read and analyze the written word. A central focus of the course will be investigating the research process, and coursework will culminate in a substantial research paper.  This course will satisfy the second half of the University’s Reading and Composition requirement.

39D: Current Political & Moral Conflicts & the Constitution Frosh/Soph Seminar,  Pomerantz,  2 units, Area N/A

***This course is lower division and will not count towards the major.***

We will read several judicial opinions and seek to discover the ways in which courts use authority and craft law.

100A: Foundations of Legal Studies, Perry, 4 units, Area I or II or III

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.

105: Foundations of Criminal Law, Dan-Cohen, 3 units, Area I or III

Perhaps more than any other legal area, criminal law raises fundamental theoretical issues that have occupied philosophers over the years. This is not surprising in light of the obvious proximity between the enterprise of using state coercion to punish the guilty on the one hand and central concerns of moral and political philosophy on the other. In the course we’ll discuss a selection of articles that bring to bear such a philosophical perspective on important aspects of criminal law. The topics include the justification of punishment, the foundations of blame and responsibility, the substantive values protected by criminal law, the significance of actual harm, the liability of groups and other collectivities, and the virtues and limits of the rule of law.

138: The Supreme Court & Public Policy, Quinn, 4 units, Area III or IV

An analysis of the policy consequences of Supreme Court decisions. Particular attention will be paid to to the Court’s interaction with other branches of government and the mass public.

Warning: LS 138 was formerly LS 190. If you have already taken LS 190: The Supreme Court & Public Policy, this is the same course…don’t sign up for it again.

146: Law & the Economics of Innovation, Scotchmer,  Area I or III

The course discusses how the creation of knowledge and artistic, literary and musical works are supported in a competitive economy, especially in the digital age. This includes a discussion of intellectual property, broadly construed as patents, copyrights, trade secrets, trade marks and geographic indications, in historical and institutional context, recognizing that intellectual property is only one way to reward authors and other creators. We also consider public funding in its many guises, and why (or if) there should be public sector funding in parallel to, or instead of, private mechanisms of reward, the problems of competition that arise in the digital economy, especially where firms must choose between sharing common standards for delivering content or developing proprietary standards, and whether legal rules should govern these choices. We will discuss some major competition issues that have arisen in the digital economy, such as Google Books, the Microsoft antitrust cases, and the competitiveness of search advertising when there is a dominant search provider such as Google.

151: Law, Self & Society, Dan-Cohen, 3 units, Area I

Contemporary moral and political philosophy has been increasingly interested in how conceptions of the self relate to various aspects of our social and political life.  These issues have an important bearing on legal theory as well.  Law is shaped by certain implicit assumptions about the nature of individuals and collectivities, while it also actively participates in forming the identities of persons and in structuring collective entities such as families, corporations, and municipalities.  This course will explore some theoretical approaches to this reciprocal relationship between law and the different social actors that it governs.

154: International Human Rights, A. Miller, 4 units,  Area I or II

This course considers how the practice of punishing crime can be understood in terms of the larger system of social life and cultural values in which punishment occurs. In exploring the social meanings of punishment, it examines some of the major historical changes in punishment that have been introduced in America and Europe since the 18th century.

155: Government & the Family,  Hollinger, 4 units, Area III or IV

How has the law constructed and deconstructed “family” relationships? What are the common law, statutory, and constitutional principles that affect the formation, regulation, and dissolution of families? How do these principles, as well as diverse cultural and social values, guide the State in determining who may or may not marry, who may or may not become a legal parent, and the circumstances that justify State intervention in otherwise private and autonomous families to protect children against neglect or abuse? Should children have legal “rights” and, if so, to what and against whom? Special attention is given to the laws, policies, and current debates concerning marriage and domestic partnerships, child custody and adoption, and the public child welfare system. These issues are explored through a variety of readings in the law and the social sciences.

163: Juvenile Delinquency & Juvenile Justice, Zimring, 4 units, Area III or IV

This course examines the premises, doctrine, and operational behavior of juvenile courts, particularly in relation to the commission of seriously anti-social acts by mid-adolescents. Topics include the history of theories of delinquency; the jurisprudence of delinquency; the incidence and severity of delinquency; police response to juvenile offenders; the processes of juvenile courts and youth corrections; and reforms or alternatives to the juvenile court system.

170: Crime & Criminal Justice,  Perry, 4 units, Area IV

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.

171: European Legal History, McClain, 4 units, Area II

Main themes in European legal history: topics include classical Roman law, Justinian’s codification (6th century A.D.), the medieval revival of Roman law in Italy and elsewhere, medieval canon law (the law practiced in the ecclesiastical courts), the jus commune (amalgam of Roman, canon and indigenous law that prevailed in Europe until the modern period), the law merchant, the beginnings of the English common law, early modern developments in continental Europe and England, nineteenth-century codification, twentieth century developments.

182: Law, Politics & Society, Feeley, 4 units, Area III or IV

This course examines the theory and practice of legal institutions in performing several major functions of law: allocating authority, defining relationships, resolving conflict, adapting to social change, and fostering social solidarity. In doing so, it will assess the nature and limits of law as well as consider alternative perspectives on social control and social change.

184: Sociology of Law,  Edelman, 4 units, Area III, IV

This introductory course explores major issues and debates in the sociology of law.  Topics include theoretical perspectives on the relationship between law and society, theories of why people obey (and disobey) the law, the relationship between law and social norms, the “law in action” in litigation and dispute resolution, the roles of lawyers, judges, and juries in the legal system and in society, and the role of law in social change.  The course will examine these issues from an empirical perspective.

189: Feminist Jurisprudence, Abrams, 4 units, Area I

This course will explore the ways in which feminist theory has shaped conceptions of the law, as both an influence contributing to sex and gender inequality, and a vehicle for its amelioration. The course will examine a range of feminist legal theories, including equality, difference, dominance, intersectional, poststructural, postcolonial theories. It will ask how these theories have shaped legal interventions in areas including workplace/educational access, sexualized coercion, work/family conflict, cultural defenses, and globalized sweatshop labor. It will also consider how epistemological challenges that emerged from feminist theory in other disciplines shaped challenges to objectivist epistemology in law.

190.1: Legal Theory,  Dan-Cohen, 3 units, Area I

In this seminar we’ll discuss a number of texts that cover a wide range of issues in the theory of law. Roughly speaking, they fall into two main categories. Some of the readings look at law from the outside, posing the question, what is law and what is the source of its authority? The answers proposed concern the distinction between natural law and positivism, and the relationship between law and morality. The other set of readings adopt an internal perspective, focusing primarily on theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of substantive legal issues. The aim is to identify salient ideas and values that shape legal discourse and inform legal policy. Enrollment is restricted.

To receive permission to enroll, email Professor Dan-Cohen ( and include your major, any philosophy coursework you’ve done, and a short statement of interest in the course. He will email you back with either a Class Entry Code that allows you to register via TeleBEARS, or a message to put yourself on the waitlist. If you are instructed to put yourself on the waitlist, you will be notified during the first class meeting if you will be admitted into the course.

190.2: Basic Legal Values, Dan-Cohen, 3 units, Area I

Although everyone agrees that law promotes some values, what these values are is often unclear and controversial. This is increasingly the case the more we come to recognize cultural diversity and moral pluralism faced by the law. In this seminar we will examine a number of values that have been advanced within the liberal tradition, such as well-being, autonomy, and dignity, and consider their potential role in shaping or explaining a wide range of legal disputes. The seminar will divide into two parts. In the first, we’ll get acquainted with these values in the context of the two main strands in liberal moral theory – utilitarianism and Kantianism – and consider some general issues concerning the meaning of these values and their interrelationships. The second part will consist of student presentations on specific substantive topics in which the general issues discussed in the first part arise. Enrollment is restricted.

To receive permission to enroll, email Professor Dan-Cohen ( and include your major, any philosophy coursework you’ve done, and a short statement of interest in the course. He will email you back with either a Class Entry Code that allows you to register via TeleBEARS, or a message to put yourself on the waitlist. If you are instructed to put yourself on the waitlist, you will be notified during the first class meeting if you will be admitted into the course.

190.3: Law, Politics & Literature, M. Shapiro, 4 units, Area III or  IV

This course will examine some key issues of politics through the close reading of a number of literary works.

190.4: History of Punishment, Lieberman, 3 units, Area II

The seminar will examine several leading programs for the reform and systematic overhaul of criminal punishment in the U.S. and western Europe during the period from the late-18th to the early-20th century.  Readings will focus on the original presentations of these reform projects, rather than on contemporary scholarship in which they are discussed.  A major area of attention is the emergence in the early-19th century of the penitentiary as the standard sanction for the treatment of the most serious crimes and to subsequent efforts to adapt imprisonment to new penal purposes.

H195A: Honors Thesis, 4 units, Area N/A, Boalt 136

Legal Studies seniors with a 3.5 GPA in the major, and an overall UC GPA of 3.3 are eligible for the Legal Studies Honors Program and, if they successfully complete it, will graduate with honors in Legal Studies. Honors students must enroll in LS 198, the honors seminar, offered in the fall prior, and complete a substantial research paper under the supervision of a Legal Studies faculty member during the Spring semester. Students are assigned a letter grade as well as a level of honors upon graduation. The level of honors is determined by the supervising faculty member based on the student’s final grade point average in the major and on the quality of the completed honors thesis. Interested students should contact the Undergraduate Advisor for details and forms.

***IMPORTANT NOTE: We are in the process of asking for permission to change the Honors Seminar to H195A for 4 letter-graded units. We are in a holding pattern, so for the time being the Seminar will remain as 198 for 2 P/NP units until we receive approval. This also means that the second semester of Honors (in the Spring) would then be called H195B for four letter-graded units, but we’re waiting for approval before we officially change the info posted here. The changes will hopefully be approved for Fall 2011.***

199: Independent Study, 1-4 units, P/NP

Legal Studies 199 is open to officially declared Legal Studies Seniors with a 3.0 GPA in the major and a 3.0 UC GPA.  Independent study is a research paper the student produces under the direction of a faculty member.  In order to enroll, the student must develop a proposal and find a Legal Studies faculty member who is willing to serve as director.  Ideally, the student should have already taken at least one course from the faculty member in the area which s/he wishes to research.  The student should submit a written proposal to the faculty member outlining the scope and length of the research project s/he would like to do.  A general guideline is one unit of credit per ten pages of text in the final research paper, up to a maximum of four units. The consent of the supervising faculty member should be secured prior to the first week of the semester.  Once a student has secured faculty permission, the student should see the Undergraduate Advisor for the requisite form.  Note: LS 199 can only be taken P/NP, but it is applicable towards the 32 upper division units in the major.

This entry was posted in Course Offerings, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.