Course Syllabus (PDF)
Pol S 561/ Pol S 566 Course Description
This is a PhD level course and can be applied to the course requirements for the following fields in the Political Science Department: public law and comparative politics. It also fulfills course requirements for the CLASS Grad Certificate program.
This course engages a critical global transformation: the legalization of politics at the domestic, transnational and international level. Today the forces of legalization are proceeding at unparalleled rates around the globe. Traditional local norms and legal institutions are increasingly subject to these global pressures, substituting these diverse local settings with a general law. This trend changes how we come to use the law, practice the law and study the law. This seminar introduces graduate students to comparative law and politics research in Political Science and to the field of interdisciplinary scholarship known as law and society or sociolegal studies. The readings come from scholars in a variety of disciplines, including Political Science, Anthropology, Sociology, and Law.
The course is organized around core themes in the law and society tradition: The roles of courts and other legal institutions; individual and group disputing processes; institutional and discursive mechanisms of social control; colonial and post-‐colonial legacies for social ordering and disputing; transnational legal ordering and comparative analyses of legal cultures. Sociolegal scholarship has developed as an alternative to the work of more conventional legal scholars who focus on official rules, judicial doctrines, or judicial decision-‐making. The course thus focuses on the content of legal rules and doctrines only incidentally and in order to illustrate their theoretical points.
This course is targeted at PhD students who are interested in studying this intersection between law, courts and politics in comparative and international perspective. Drawing from public law, comparative politics, international relations and law & society literatures across a wide array of geographical settings and international regimes, we will critically examine the alleged utility of various theories and methodology for conducting comparative research on law in society.
20% Discussant-Presenter/Short Paper (5pp)
20% Reading Response Briefs and Participation
60% Research Paper (15-20pp)