are organized in 5 modules. Each module includes reading,
internet, and other assignments. Brief
descriptions of each module
are found below.
- What is Law?
In this module
we will think about law in several ways. First,
we will consider a parable by Franz Kafka. Next we will
consider an interesting short story by Kurt Vonnegut
questions should beactive throughout this module:
do law and legal processes impact the justice system?
view law as a problem, barrier, protection, or something
- What is the
relation of an individual's political ideology and his
or her views of law and justice?
- Are there
alternatives to the current system of law and justice?
do we balance overlapping, and at times competing,
views of justice?
role has morality and religion played in the
- The Meaning and Logic of Law
brings us to the real "meat and potatoes" of
this course - theory. We begin to examine the law as
a mechanism for social control. We also look at theories
regarding the origins of law.
- Do we reach
a level of normative agreement that is so universal that
these agreements down in the form of laws?
we simply need rules to keep order and we make laws
- Or maybe
we are tricked into believing either of the previous
statements so that powerful
interests are protected and maintained?
3 - Legal
continues our look at theory. In addition to our examination
of the origins of law, we begin to look at the role of
- Jurisprudence and the Study of Law
The term "jurisprudence" includes
general forms on intellectual inquiry about law. This
inquiry extends to questions about the philosophy, principles,
and practices of law. In this module we examine
traditional and contemporary schools of jurisprudence.
Our inquiry ranges from positivism and realism to critical,
feminist, and postmodern views of law and justice. This
module also includes an examination of the Law and
Society movement. Drawing on theoretical perspectives
introduced in earlier modules, we examine various perspectives
that have anchored the law and society movement. We also
look at a few issues that are among the primary areas
of law and society research.
5 - Legal Culture and Legal Behavior
ought to be a law!" You have heard that one before.
Have you wondered why sometimes there is a law and other
times there is not?
- How do issues
get on the agenda?
- What are
the roles of legislatures and judges and how
do these roles complement or compete each other?
- What do laws
tell us about right and wrong?
- What do they
tell us about society?
- Can we break
law to change law? If
so, do we break laws while retaining respect
- Is law an
object of social change?
- Is law a
tool for social change?
- Law is often
seen as a mechanism for shaping society
and righting wrongs. How well does the law work
for these purposes?