R1B: Climate Change, History, & Law in America: mid-19th-century to present, Kyle Deland, 4 units, Area N/A
**This course is lower division and will not count towards the major.**
Climate Change, History, and Law in America: mid-19th-century to present
This course explores the historical roots of the anthropogenic climate crisis from the perspective of law and the American state from the mid-19th-century to the present. This inquiry includes both how the law has contributed to climate change and how the law has ameliorated its causes and effects. Ultimately, we will answer the question: what can American legal and environmental history teach us about the limits and potential of the current and future law of climate change? To answer this question, we will read and critically engage selections from major works in environmental and legal history as well as historical primary source materials like statutes, court opinions, and scientific writing. Topically, the course begins with major 19th-century debates around extinction, God’s design, and human agency in nature and continues to cover conservationism and the rise of the American coal and oil industries. The course has a major focus on the legal response to the national disasters of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, embodied in the New Deal. We will conclude in our current moment and will explore the wisdom and legitimacy of legal responses to the climate crisis ranging from inaction to carbon taxes to the Green New Deal.
NOTE: R1B courses must be taken for a letter grade.
39D: Current Political & Moral Conflicts & the Constitution Frosh/Soph Seminar, Pomerantz, 2 units, Area N/A
**This course is lower division and will not count towards the major.**
We will read Supreme Court cases, as well as political and legal commentary from across the political spectrum, and consider not only the opinions of the Justices, but also why they hold those opinions. We will seek to discover the way in which courts use authority and craft law.
100: Foundations of Legal Studies, Marshall, 4 units, Core (H, SS)
This is a liberal arts course designed to introduce students to the foundational frameworks and cross-disciplinary perspectives from humanities and social sciences that distinguish legal studies as a scholarly field. It provides a comparative and historical intro to forms, ideas, institutions, and systems of law and sociological ordering. It highlights basic theoretical problems and scholarly methods for understanding questions of law and justice.
103: Theories of Law & Society, Tomlins, 4 units, Core (H, SS) or Area II
Surveys leading attempts to construct social theories of law and to use legal materials for systematic social theorizing, during the period from the mid-eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. The course considers major discussions of such themes as the relationships between law, politics, society and economy; the connection between historical change and legal change; the role of law in the processes of social integration and social discipline; and the distinctive elements of legal ordering in the modern west.
106: Philosophy of Law, Kutz, 4 units, Area IV or V
This course explores philosophical themes bearing on the nature of the law and its relationship to morality: e.g., What is law—does its claim rest only on social processes or does law necessarily embody moral claims? Do we have an obligation to obey the law? What are the moral limits of legal punishment? The course will sharpen students’ skills in practical reasoning through the analysis of logical argument. The materials consist of readings from the assigned text and additional readings available on bCourses. The format will be a combination of lecture and classroom discussion, with a substantial number of ungraded group debates and simulations.
107: Theories of Justice, Song, 4 units, Core (H) or Area II or III or IV
This is a course in political and legal theory, which is about ideas. Ideas matter because they shape our actions and our institutions and they frame the terms of public debate. Our focus is on the idea of justice. What is justice? Is it about maximizing happiness? Protecting individual liberty? Promoting equality? What kind of equality? Are liberty and equality conflicting political values? In a just society, how would basic liberties, educational opportunities, and income and wealth be distributed? How should we conceive of equality across racial and gender lines? We will pursue these questions by examining four leading theories in Western political thought: utilitarianism, libertarianism, egalitarian liberalism, and Marxism. To assess the strengths and weaknesses of these theories, we will examine critiques of these theories as well as consider their implications for a range of issues, including the regulation of sex, minimum wage laws, public funding for education, affirmative action, immigration, and global labor justice.
110.1: Human Rights: The Indigenous Experience, 4 units, Elizabeth Tejada (from SFSU) Area V or IV
This course explore the following questions: What are “human rights? Can human rights be considered “inalienable” when history reveals the denial of the rights? What are the barriers to achieving universal human rights? What do human rights campaigns tell us about the solutions to achieve human rights?
We explore these issues through the indigenous context. We survey the cultural, political, and legal stature of indigenous peoples both in the U.S. and internationally. As Echo-Hawk does, we explore what is needed to achieve rights and reconciliation with focusing on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Finally, we look critically at the bias and cultural injustices that can underlie policies to stifle progress. We will discover the successes of those that persevere to achieve human rights and justice.
119: Philosophy & Law in Ancient Athens, Hoekstra, 4 units, Area V
This is an introduction to important aspects of the philosophical and constitutional thought of classical Athens. We will pay particular attention to accounts of the origins of the Athenian legal system; criticisms and defenses of the democracy; arguments about the nature of justice, law, and legal obligation; and the context of the Athenian way of organizing trials, taxation, and administration. Readings from Aeschylus, Thucydides, Aristophanes, Plato, Lysias, Aristotle, and others.
138: The Supreme Court & Public Policy, Ben Brown, 4 units, Core (SS) or Area IV or V
This course examines a number of leading U.S. Supreme Court decisions in terms of what policy alternatives were available to the Court and which ones it chose. Prospective costs and benefits of these alternatives and who will pay the costs and who gets the benefits of them are considered. Among the areas considered are economic development, government regulation of business, national security, freedom of speech and discrimination. Readings are solely of Supreme Court decisions.
140: Property & Liberty, Ben Brown, 4 units, Area II or III
The course will explore the relation between property law and limits of liberty in different cultures and at different times. The course will cover theories of property law, slavery, the clash between aboriginal and European ideas of property, gender roles and property rights, common property systems, zoning, regulatory takings, and property on the internet. Readings will include legal theorists, court cases, and historical case studies.
145: Law & Economics I, Prof. Bruno Salama, 4 units, Core (SS) or Area III
This course introduces economics as a tool for analyzing, evaluating and interpreting the legal framework that underpins a market economy. The first part examines the most basic legal foundations of markets, namely property, contract, corporate, tort, administrative and criminal law. The second part introduces relevant topics in the regulation of markets. It covers a few conceptual questions (the role of efficiency considerations in law and policy, the concept of regulations and the role of courts, and the dilemma between growth and distribution) as well as applied topics such as insurance, bankruptcy, labor, family, antitrust, and intellectual property law.
149: Law, Technology & Entrepreneurship, Bruno Salama, 4 units, Area III
Entrepreneurship plays an increasingly essential role in today’s global economy. New companies and startups play valuable roles in the formation of new industry, also spurring established incumbent companies towards further growth. This course is designed to explore the role of law in facilitating the development of entrepreneurial enterprises, paying special attention to the complex interaction between innovation and regulation.
151: Law, Self & Society, Dan-Cohen, 3 units, Area II
Contemporary moral and political philosophy has been increasingly interested in how conceptions of the self-relate to various aspects of our social and political life. These issues have an important bearing on legal theory as well. Law is shaped by certain implicit assumptions about the nature of individuals and collectivities, while it also actively participates in forming the identities of persons and in structuring collective entities such as families, corporations, and municipalities. This course will explore some theoretical approaches to this reciprocal relationship between law and the different social actors that it governs.
157: International Relations & International Law, Behnoosh Payvar, 4 units, Area IV or V
This course will evaluate and assess modern theories of international law. We will examine the work of legal scholars and look to political science and economics to see how these disciplines inform the study of international law. We will also examine a host of fundamental questions in international law, including, for example, why states enter into international agreements, why states comply with international law, and what kind of state conduct is likely to be influenced by international law.
159: Introduction to Law & Sexuality, Ilona Turner, 4 units, Area II or IV
This course focuses on the legal regulation of sexuality, and the social and historical norms and frameworks that affect its intersection with sex, gender, race, disability, and class. We will critically examine how the law shapes sexuality and how sexuality shapes the law. Our subject matter is mostly constitutional, covering sexuality’s intersection with privacy, freedom of expression, gender identity and expression, equal protection, reproduction, kinship, and family formation, among other subjects. We will study case law, legal articles, and other texts (including visual works) that critically engage issues of sexuality, citizenship, nationhood, religion, and the public and private spheres domestically and internationally.
160: Punishment, Culture, & Society, Simon, 4 units, Core (H,SS) or Area I or II
This course surveys the development of Western penal practices, institutions, and ideas (what David Garland calls “penality”) from the eighteenth-century period to the present. Our primary focus will be on penal practices and discourses in United States in the early 21st century. In particular we will examine the extraordinary growth of US penal sanctions in the last quarter century and the sources and consequences of what some have called “mass imprisonment.” To gain some comparative perspective the course will also take up contemporary penality (or penalities) in Europe, South Africa, Central America, and Asia, as well as US penality and society at some earlier conjunctures.
In our analysis of penality, we will draw upon a range of social science theories with general relevance but with particularly rich application to the study of punishment. These theories provide the “tool kits” we will use to interpret and analyze multiplex implications of punishment and its relationship to changes in economic, social, and political relations associated with modernization and more recently the globalization of modern capitalism. The course will examine many examples of penal practices and the ideas associated with them including mass imprisonment, the death penalty, and restorative justice. In the last portion of the class we will examine the recent crisis in California’s juvenile prisons through the lenses both of different social theories and the examples of different national and historical penal patterns.
164: Juvenile Justice & the Color of Law: The Historical Treatment of Children of Color in the Judicial System – Delinquency & Dependency, Trina Thompson, 4 units, Area I or II or IV
Juvenile Justice and the Color of Law investigates the profound role of law and legal institutions in shaping and defining racial minority and majority communities. Students will interrogate the definition and meaning of race in U.S. society (e.g., whether race is biological, cultural, environmental, based on White supremacy, or a social construct that is constantly being transformed) and will critically examine the connection between law, race and racism, both in the historical context and in modern society. The course is a collaborative effort to learn the truths of our collective history; to share the truths of our individual experiences and lives; and, to determine if we desire a more just society, and if so, how to create our own paths and contributions to this endeavor.
170: Crime & Criminal Justice, Elizabeth Tejada (from SFSU), 4 units, Area I
This course examines the scope and causes of the crime problem in America, and the uses and limits of our criminal justice system in dealing with it. The class will look at recent trends in crime and at how our crime problem compares with that of other countries. Topics include the massive expansion of the American prison system in recent years and its effect on the crime rate, critical analyses of different theories of the causes of crime, strategies for preventing and controlling crime, death penalty, gun control, white-collar crime, and crime in the family.
181: Psychology & Law, Plaut, 4 units, Area II
This course will examine the implications of cognitive, social, and clinical psychology for legal theory, policies, and practices. The course will analyze the psychological aspects of intent, responsibility, deterrence, retribution, and morality. We will examine applications of psychology to evidence law (e.g. witness testimony, psychiatric diagnosis and prediction), procedure (e.g., trial conduct, jury selection), and topics in criminal, tort, and family law.
190.1: Law, Politics & Literature, Shapiro, 4 units, Area II or V
This course will examine some key issues of politics through the close reading of a number of literary works.
190.2: Constitutional Jurisprudence: Liberty/Equality, Alan Pomerantz, 4 units, Area IV or V
Personal liberty and inalienable rights have been a central tenet guiding our nation since the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The government was created to protect those liberties. But the founding documents were drafted by men of privilege who for decades occupied the important governmental and judicial positions of power. Accordingly, it was inevitable that the preservation of those privileges and the resulting inequities regarding race, the status of woman, sexual preference, gender and voting became imbedded. These inequities began to be addressed beginning with the Civil War, and accelerated after World War II when the federal government and the Supreme Court began to mandate equality at the expense of certain individual liberties and privileges. Recently, the trend has moved back towards protecting individual liberties and historic privileges at the expense of mandated equal treatment. But now the constitutional arguments are different and are based on religious freedom, individual morality, an expanded definition of verbal and “non-verbal” speech and prohibitions on government mandated speech and behavior. In the coming terms, the Supreme Court will be asked to re-examine issues regarding religious freedoms, race, health care, gender, abortion, and self identity through the lens of the developing emphasis on individual rights and privileges.
The course will address the evolution of the Supreme Court’s and federal government’s
activities in areas where liberty and equality are in conflict. The goal is to understanding the current political situation and the likely outcome of decisions the Court will be asked to make that implicate the inherent conflict between individual freedom and mandated equality.
190.3: Legal Theory Seminar, Dan-Cohen, 3 units, Area II or IV
In this seminar we’ll discuss a number of texts that cover a wide range of issues in the theory of law. Roughly speaking, they fall into two main categories. Some of the readings look at law from the outside, posing the question, what is law and what is the source of its authority? The answers proposed concern the distinction between natural law and positivism, and the relationship between law and morality. The other set of readings adopt an internal perspective, focusing primarily on theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of substantive legal issues. The aim is to identify salient ideas and values that shape legal discourse and inform legal policy.
190.4: Human Rights Research, Alexa Koenig & Eric Stover, 4 units, Area I or IV
This course will provide students with a theoretical and operational understanding of the modern online information environment and teach them how to find facts within it. It will provide them with the cutting-edge skills needed to research real-world events on the Internet and to debunk falsehoods online. At the heart of the seminar and practicum is the concept and practice of online open source investigation: the use of publicly accessible information on the Internet—including from social media—to power legal, journalistic and other types of inquiry. In addition to lectures and readings, students will be engaged in the Human Rights Investigations Lab (HRC Lab), where they will put their online investigation skills into practice in support of real-world legal and journalistic projects that respond to human rights abuses. The practicum will see participants working with a range of external partners in small student-led teams. The seminar and practicum will also address the need to fight disinformation, hate speech and other attempts to damage, disrupt or weaponize the public discourse. In the seminar and affiliated lab practicum, students will learn how to collect and authenticate information on war crimes and human rights abuses in a safe and effective manner, and will have an opportunity to engage in one or more investigations. The effort is being operated in partnership with Amnesty International, partner labs at several universities, and a range of civil society and journalism organizations who are conducting relevant inquiries.
190.5: Intimate Partner Violence & the Law, Mallika Kaur, 4 units, Area I or II or IV
From the Grammys to the San Francisco Sherriff’s Department; from Tech moguls to NFL players; from quiet #MeToo posts to #WhyIStayed tweets; from rappers, to our neighbor next door or even within our own dorm or home, stories of intimate partner violence permeate our society. How has the U.S. legal system responded to this violence? What are the best legal responses? Who decides? Are even the ‘best’ laws the best response to such violence? This course will investigate the phenomenon of intimate partner violence (also known as family violence, or domestic violence), by studying empirical evidence; theories of violence; the disparate impacts of IPV on different communities; the connection between IPV and gun violence; the effects of IPV on individuals, families, communities. Through a trauma-informed and intersectional approach, students will be positioned to assess and analyze the responses by our legal system (and lateral/alternative systems) to this persistent and prevalent social problem.
190.6: Minority Rights: The Israeli Balance, Roy Peled, 4 units, Area IV or V
In its’ declaration of independence, Israel declared itself as the fulfillment of the national aspirations of the Jewish people, and at the same time committed to maintaining full equality among all its citizens’ regardless of nationality. These potentially contradicting commitments have been at the center of Israeli political and legal discourse ever since. The course will present some of the choices made in Israeli policy, politics, and law as to the balance between the various competing right and interests’. The discussion will cover issues such as how its choices reflect on Israel as a democracy and comparison to different paths taken by other countries in similar circumstances.
190.7: Criminal Justice in the U.S.: Policing, Mass Incarceration, & Paths to Reform, Becca Goldstein, 4 units, Area I
This course will examine policing and mass incarceration in the contemporary United States. The first half of the course will explore policing, considering how the modern police emerged, whether police reduce crime, and why police violence persists. The second half of the course will turn to mass incarceration, examining how the U.S. came to incarcerate people at a greater rate than any nation in history, along with the individual and social consequences of incarceration. For both policing and mass incarceration, we will devote significant focus to the prospects for reform.
Course materials will include scholarly articles (from history, sociology, and political science), journalistic accounts (both written and multimedia), and protest music.