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Graduate Seminar

LES 590

Fall 1998
Tuesdays 6:00-9:30 pm

I would like to select a topic students are interested in studying. So if any of these topics appeal to you, or if you have other suggestions, please let me know what they are. I am especially amenable to topics suggested by an organized group of students who are excited about working in a particular area.

The seminar is designed for LES grad students but is open to others.

Here is a list of possible seminar topics. Most are topics I sometimes talk about in class, have written articles about, and address elsewhere on this website.

Which of these would you take?

Possible Seminar Topics for Fall 1998

  • Conservative Efforts to Reclaim the Law (This was the topic of the undergraduate closing seminar when I taught it in 1995.)
  • The Politics of Law (using the new edition of David Kairys's book by the same name, which presents critical legal studies perspectives on law in general and a variety of substantive areas)
  • Corporate Domination (transformation of law to meet corporate needs; role of corporations in US society; corporate crime; efforts to regulate corporate power; see related announcement)
  • Law, Community, and the Individual (topic when I taught the closing Graduate Seminar a few years ago; issues of communitarianism, libertarianism, anarchism, social control & change. Is law necessary? If we got rid of it, what might replace it?)
  • Justice, Legitimacy, and False Consciousness (Why do people obey the law? What kind of justice does/can the law seek? Is procedural justice "real" justice? How does the law ensure legitimacy? Is legitimacy a good thing? What do we believe about law that may not be true? Following orders, civil disobedience, legal atrocities, etc.)
  • Paternalistic Law and Victimless Crime (When should the law intervene in people's lives? When shouldn't it? Is there really such a thing as a victimless crime? Who counts as victims? What should we have to put up with?)
  • Springfield Law (identifying and analyzing components of law and power in Springfield)
  • Other topics raising legal, philosophical, and empirical issues, e.g.:
    • Law and Insanity
    • Law and the Death Penalty
    • Law and Religion
  • Non-specific Topic: We might build our topic together when the semester begins, working at first from the daily newspaper as we identify interesting issues and pursue them together

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