Law and Society

Fall 2007

Syllabus

 

 

Sample schedule with topics

course Objectives

The purpose of this course is to study the field of law and society. We will examine the nature of law and what we can and cannot expect it to do for us; the manner in which law and legal categories shape society; the role of lawyers, judges and other legal actors in the legal system; the basic structure of the judiciary and how cases flow through the court system, and controversial legal issues in such as areas as business, medicine, and gender.

Emphasis is placed on issues that illustrate the interaction between law and social control and law and social change. The course draws from a variety of perspectives including sociology, political science, history, and philosophy.

A major goal of the course is to offer a practical foundation in the critical assessment of law and legal thinking as well as improving their ability to make arguments in writing and orally. The substantive materials are presented in a manner which encourages critical legal analysis.

A major goal of the course is to offer a practical foundation in the critical assessment of law and legal thinking as well as improving their ability to make arguments in writing and orally. The substantive materials are presented in a manner which encourages critical legal analysis. Further goals include:

-          Learning how society and law interact, with a particular emphasis on sociolegal scholarship

-          Learning about how law and legal categories shape society and, conversely, how legal is shaped by society

-          Developing critical skills in assessing empirical evidence

Time Expectation

This is a three-hour course. The expectation is 9 hours of preparation outside class each week.

Attendance Policies

Class preparedness and participation are essential to success in this course. While there is no requirement to attend particular class, attendance is certainly an important course component. Students are expected to attend each class. There is no laptop policy.

tests and final exam

There will two tests and a final.

-          The tests that are scheduled throughout the semester are open-book and open notes, and combine multiple choice questions and short-essay questions. The test schedule appears in the "Lectures" tab. The questions will not address issues that have not been covered in class. Each test counts for 25% of the final grade.

-          The final is NOT open-book and open notes. So students may use neither the book nor the notes. The final combines multiple choice questions and short-essay questions, and will not address issues that have not been covered in class. The final counts for 40% of the final grade

Grading Policies

The student's final grade will be based upon written work and class participation as follows:

-          Each test: 25%

-          Final: 40%

-          Homework and Class participation: 10%

Course Materials

Suzanne Samuels, Law, Politics & Society, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006 (SS)

Lawrence M. Friedman, Law in America. A Short History, The Modern Library, 2004 (LMF)

Additional supplemental materials will be made available on-line

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