Pol S 561 Course Description
This seminar introduces graduate students to a field of interdisciplinary scholarship known as law and society or sociolegal studies. The course also serves as a core course for graduate students in Political Science who work in the field of Public Law. It will also be of interest to Political Science graduate students in the fields of Comparative Politics and International Relations. As such, it covers some canonical works by political scientists on the role of law, courts and judges in politics. This will included research on both domestic courts in comparative perspective as well as international courts. The course also serves as a core course for the CLASS certificate program, and is thus designed to appeal to graduate students in other departments who are looking for an introductory overview of the interdisciplinary law and society field. The readings come from scholars in a variety of disciplines, including Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, and Law.
The course is organized around some 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; 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.
Discussant-Presenter/Short Paper (5pp) 20%
Reading Response Briefs and Participation 20%
Research Paper (15-20pp) 60%