This is not a course in what the law says, how to be a lawyer, or how to avoid legal problems. Rather it is the foundational course in the Law and Society major where we will explore a wide variey of social science perspectives about law and its meaning in a contemporary world.
This course, which is required of all Law and Society majors at The Women's Collefe, is a combination of short modulels that focus a sociolegal lens on key conceps and themes that permeate the legal system, such as rights, responsitility, obligation, discretion, norm creation, etc. The first offering of course in Winter 2006 will consist of two modules, one focusing on rights and other on discretion.
In the world today, as in the past, questions of what is just or unjust still remain in the fore, and debates about the distribution of benefits and burdens between different individuals and groups has been addressed from different perspectives. Touching on some classic foundations, we will look at recent justice thoughts that take on contemporary problems of poverty and inequality; and objections to egalitarian notions of justice. The objective by the end of the quarter is for students to show familiarity with some perspectives and debates that underlie the discussion questions of justice in society.
Legal Literacy provides an introductory overview of how the legal system functions in the United States. This course seeks to demystify the law for students and show them how to use legal tools for problem solving. It examines the general structures and processes of government, such as how legislatures enact laws,how courts decide cases and how executive officials and administrative agencies regulate our behavior. It introcuces somespecific skills, such as how to read judicial case decisions, how to conduct legal research, and how to construct legal arguments. It also examines the basic forms of dispute resoluton--from negotiation and mediation to abitration and litigation. Throughout the course, students will be required to think critically about the strengths and weaknesses of our legal system.
This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of research methods in the social sciences. It covers research design, sampling methods, questionnaires and surveys, structured and unstructured interviews, participant observation, experimentation, data analysis and qualitative research methods. Particular emphasis is given to reading research reports critically, to understanding credibility and reliability, and to recognizing the political and ethical issues related to, and arising from, social science research.
Regulation is the effort to shape behavior, for our purposes through law. Historically and across cultures and countries, different institutions have been responsible for regulating behavior. Courts, particularly local courts, have regulated everything from licensing attorneys to the sale of adulterated food products. Since about the late nineteenth century, national states have relied upon government agencies that promulgate general rules. Increasingly today, international organizations, agreements and networks of actors regulate. This course will examine the institutions that have regulated and the processes by which they regulate. Prerequisites: LAS 2000 and LAS 2400.
Disputes are handled in many ways, most often outside of the formal legal system. This course provides students with a global perspective of the history, development, methodology, ethical and societal issues and trends in alternative dispute resolution processes, including an emphasis on empirical studies of dispute resolution.
Students learn tools and principles of advocacy. Students are guided through the process of building a campaign and using an advocacy template commonly employed by most national organizations. Students also compile an advocacy report for a particular social justice issue of their choice. Students research an existing societal problem; identify stakeholders and key audiences; research existing and new solutions; draft findings in a way that appeals to stakeholders/key audiences; and create a dissemination or strategy plan. Prerequisite: LAS 2000.
This course introduces students to the study of comparative sociolegal systems. Students examine and compare different political and legal structures. In doing so, students compare the sociolegal systems of nation-states, and for example, may acquire a greater understanding of the African Union, European Union, and Sharia law. In understanding the various sociolegal systems, students closely examine the impact of those systems on society. Prerequisite: LAS 2000 highly recommended.
This course examines topics relating to different types of crime (e.g., violent, property, white-collar, technological, organized, political, street, cyber and ?victimless? crimes) and the causes and punishments of such crimes. Emphasis is placed on the socioeconomic and sociopolitical backgrounds of the law violators. The social control of crime and criminality in the United States and the impact of crime on society are also studied. Students may engage primary/secondary sources critically analyzing the evolution of crime and punishment in this course. Prerequisite: LAS 2000 highly recommended.
Topics will vary each term.
A Law and Society faculty scholar immersed in contemporary sociolegal scholarship directs this seminar course. Special emphasis is given to promising new directions and developments in sociolegal studies. Students are expected to conduct supervised research and secondary analysis while integration theory with data. Students must receive consent of the faculty member to register in the course.
Taken by all students during their final year in the program, this first in the two-quarter, 8 credit hour capstone series requires students to integrate principles, theories, and methods learned in their coursework in the major by applying these concepts in an experiential learning environment. The experiential learning component involves a substantive work experience with one of a variety of community partners offered by the Law & Society program, in conjunction with the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. The community partners are agencies focused on promoting the public good, including social service organizations, governmental agencies, and policy-setting institutes. The students focus their work with the agency on a specific, approved project that meets the needs of the agency and its constituents, as well as being of special interest to the student. Students are required to work on this specific project for the agency through completion of approximately one hundred hours of service. Students must also complete two papers in order to complete this course: (1) and Organizational Profile and (2) an Analytical Paper, as well as a set of evaluations. Students meet four times during the quarter as a class with the faculty member assigned to capstone learning, and at least twice alone with that faculty member, to discuss and analyze the on-site learning experiences, as well as work on their required papers.
For this second course in the two quarter, 8 credit hour capstone series, students further integrate and reflect on their major coursework through a class seminar designed to examine overarching issues in law, citizenship, and justice, including the various discipline approaches to these topics. Students explore the nature of law as a social phenomenon through reading two books particularly chosen for their ability to challenge accepted norms regarding our judicial system and its ability to bring about social change. Students are also expected to work throughout the quarter on a final project, which synthesizes and applies the knowledge about law and society that the student has gained throughout her education. The final project has a research paper requirement (including submission of a previously submitted and approved bibliography) and a public presentation of that paper at the end of the capstone series. The learning objectives of this second course in the capstone series are for the students to further integrate and reflect on previous coursework in law and society and to be able to showcase: their critical thinking skills through the review and critical evaluation of the impact law has on society and society has on the law; their ability to apply their knowledge of theoretical models of law and society to their adult educational experiences; and their competence in written and oral communication skills to a public audience.