POL S 363 A: Law in Society

Meeting Time: 
MW 2:30pm - 3:50pm
Location: 
BAG 154
SLN: 
18797
Joint Sections: 
LSJ 363 A
Instructor:
Scott Lemieux

Syllabus Description:

Political Science 363: Law In Society

Scott Lemieux, slemieux@uw.edu

Gowen Hall: 114

Office Hours: M/W 1:30-2:30 or by appointment.

 

Section Instructors:

Chelsea Moore (AA & AB) mooreche@uw.edu

Paige Sechrest (AC & AD) sechrest@washington.edu

 

Introduction:  This course will examine law and legal discourse and how they interact with both state institutions and society at large. We will consider a variety of perspectives, looking not only at formal legal institutions but legal discourse among ordinary people and the interaction between the two. A particular theme of the class is how the law can act to both challenge and reinforce social hierarchies.

Textbooks: We will be reading four books this quarter:

  • Dale Carpenter, Flagrant Conduct (W.W. Norton)
  • Adam Cohen, Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck (Penguin)
  • Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (Liverlight)
  • James Foreman Jr., Locking Up Our Own (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

 

General Requirements and Class Policies:

 

  • Students are expected to come to class and have completed the assigned readings prior to class. Lectures will assume that students have read the assigned readings.  
  • This course will comply fully with the Americans With Disabilities Act and all relevant university procedures. If you require accommodation because of a disability please consult the university’s procedures here: http://depts.washington.edu/uwdrs/

 

  • Exams missed without prior agreement with the instructor or a documented family or medical emergency will not receive a grade, without exception.

 

  • Incompletes will only be given to students who have completed a substantial amount of the assigned work, and then only in cases of a documentedfamily or medical emergency.

 

 

  • Any contestation of grades must be done according to the procedures established by your section leader. Dr. Lemieux will not consider any grade complaints until one has been made in writing and addressed by the section leader.

 

Exams: You will have three take-home open-book exams that will test your knowledge of the class materials. Your knowledge of the class texts as well as material covered in lecture and section will be tested.

 

Section: Students are required to attend section prepared to discuss class material. Section leaders may assign quizzes and other brief assignments.   

 

A WORD OF WARNING ON GRADING AND EXPECTATIONS: We try hard to make expectations for the class clear and to set standards that are applied fairly to all the students in the class. It is your responsibility to meet those expectations during the entire semester. This is not a good class for cramming as assignment deadlines approach. We do not allow do-overs for poor grades on assignments. We do not give extra credit under any circumstances.  

 

 

Grade Breakdown: Your final grade will consist 28% each for three take-home exams, and 16% for section participation and assignments.

 

Class Schedule.   Readings marked with an asterisk (*) will be uploaded to the courses Canvas site (or links provided.)

 

3/26 Class introduction

  1. Legal Discourse and Legal Interpretation

3/28-4/2 *Robert Cover, “Violence and the Word”; Mark Graber, “Thaddeus Stevens’s Constitution”

  1. Law and the Shadow of the Law

4/4-11 Rothstein, The Color of Law

*Strauss and Lemieux, “The Two Browns

FIRST TAKE HOME MIDTERM DISTRIBUTED ON CANVAS APRIL 11. DUE IN SECTION ON APRIL 17. CLASS CANCELLED APRIL 16.

III. Law and Constraints on Social Change

4/25-5/1 Adam Cohen, Imbeciles

*Gerald Rosenberg, The Hollow Hope (excerpts)

*Kimberlé Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex.”

  1. Law and the Potential for Social Change

5/3-9 Carpenter, Flagrant Conduct

*Michael McCann, “Reform Litigation on Trial”

SECOND TAKE-HOME MIDTERM EXAM DISTRIBUTED ON CANVAS MAY 9. DUE IN SECTION MAY 15. CLASS CANCELLED MAY 14.

  1. Law and Criminal Justice

5/16-21 Foreman, “Locking Up Our Own”

  1. Law and civil litigation

5/23-30 *McCann et. al, “Java Jive”; Engel, “The Oven Bird's Song.”

FINAL TAKE-HOME EXAM DISTRUBUTED ON CANVAS MAY 30. DUE THROUGH THE CANVAS LINK JUNE 5 AT 6 PM.

 

Catalog Description: 
Inquiry into how law matters in social practice. Examines general theories of law, the workings of legal institutions, and the character of legally constituted practices and relationships in diverse terrains of social life. Offered: jointly with LSJ 363.
Department Requirements: 
American Politics Field
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 9:10pm