Legal Studies Courses Summer 2019

NOTE: Legal Studies offers courses during the six week sessions: Session A and Session D.
NOTE: Areas listed are for the New Plan.

Quick List of courses:
Session A: 100, 104AC, 138, 157, 160, 164
Session D: [110.1, 110.2] ***LS 110’s CANCELED***, 132AC, 145, 147, 170, 182 (182 re-scheduled, see note below)

Session A (May 28 – July 5) six weeks

LS 100: Foundations of Legal Studies, Jonathan Simon, 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.

LS 104AC: Youth, Justice & Culture, Elizabeth Brown (from SFSU),
4 units, Area I or II

The course challenges adult-centered representations of urban youth of different ethnicities, their problems, and the supposed solutions to those problems. It departs from the conceptualizations and methods used to study youth in mainstream criminology and developmental psychology. The seminar builds an alternative, youth-centered perspective, exploring what it means to put youth perspectives at the center of socio-legal inquiry. As a socio-legal endeavor, the seminar studies law as it is lived, shaped, and encountered by urban youth in their everyday lives. It illuminates the conceptual frames, methodological tools, and substantive findings that come to the front when the focus is on how youth make sense of their own lives, assert their own views of justice and law, and act on one another. Particular attention is given to youth conflict, peer relations, identity building within and across ethnic groups, claims on space and territory, the salience of law and rights, and adaptations to adult authorities and practices in the contexts of urban neighborhoods and public schools.

LS 138: The Supreme Court & Public Policy, 4 units, Sean Farhang,
Core 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. 

LS 157: International Relations & International Law, 4 units, Ivana Stradner,
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.

LS 160: Punishment, Culture & Society, 4 units, Alessandro De Giorgi,
Core 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.

LS 164: Juvenile Justice & the Color of Law: The Historical Treatment of Children of Color in the Judicial System, 4 units, Trina Thompson, Area I or II or IV

We will investigate 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 and modern context. 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.

Session D (July 8 – August 16) six weeks

****CANCELED****LS 110.1: Multi-Door Criminal Justice, 4 units, Hadar Dancig Rosenberg, Area I or IV****CANCELED****

Modern criminal law has changed its face in the last decades. Plea bargains have become a common practice, pushing aside evidentiary hearings. The adversarial model has been criticized and diluted by the inclusion of the victim as an acknowledged stakeholder in criminal proceedings. The role of the State as the sole authority for responding to crime has also been questioned, emphasizing the interest of the community in resolving conflicts. Concurrently, debate about the emotional effect of crime, and the resulting psychological needs of victims and offenders, has initiated reforms that promote apology and dialogue between victims and offenders. This course seeks to introduce current criminal justice mechanisms, alternatives and reforms, focusing on examples from the American and Israeli criminal justice systems. We will examine a variety of punitive and non-punitive justice mechanisms that have proliferated in recent years as social responses for crime, including Arraignment Hearings, Probation, Parole, Therapeutic Settlement Conferences, Problem Solving Courts, Diversion Programs, Conditional Settlements, Restorative Justice and even Social Media as an arena for seeking justice. We will discuss the background for their emergence, explore their (sometimes conflicting) characteristics and look into their perils and promises. The students will be asked to conduct non-participant observations of criminal justice processes at the courtroom, exploring their traits. The course will also examine the influence of American criminal justice reforms and the deepening legitimacy crisis of mass incarceration on Israeli criminal justice system, and the ways Israeli criminal justice system embraced, as well as resisted and transformed American reforms in light of the specific history, culture and challenges of the Israeli context.

****CANCELED****LS 110.2: Surveillance, Privacy and the Law, 4 units, James Rule, Area I or IV****CANCELED****

This seminar will examine tensions surrounding efforts to observe, monitor, track and record personal information. Such tensions between privacy interests and those of surveillance will be understood as universal elements of social life, from intimate face-to-face interactions to government surveillance activities like those of the NSA. Of special interest will be the repercussions of such tensions in the realm of law—including law-enforcement, civil liberties, tort law, and privacy codes aimed at drawing the line between privacy “rights” and prerogatives of surveillance.

LS 132AC – Immigration and Citizenship, 4 units, Carrie Rosenbaum,  Area II or IV

We often hear that America is a “nation of immigrants.” This representation of the U.S. does not explain why some are presumed to belong and others are not. We will examine both historical and contemporary law of immigration and citizenship to see how law has shaped national identity and the identity of immigrant communities . In addition to scholarly texts, we will learn to read and analyze excerpts of cases and the statute that governs immigration and citizenship, the Immigration and Nationality Act.

LS 145:  Law & Economics I, 4 units, Bruno Salama, Core (SS) or Area III

This course uses the concepts and tools of economics to analyze problems in law, focusing on contracts, property, torts, and legal process. Students will be expected to apply the analysis to broad array of legal issues.

LS 147: Law & Economics II, 4 units, Dan Vencill (emeritus, SFSU),
Area III

Law and Economics I is not a prerequisite. Microeconomic theory will be applied to government and regulation. Topics include the economic analysis of constitutional law, administrative law, regulation, corporations, and environmental law. To illustrate, the behavior of legislators who want to maximize the votes that they receive will be described and predicted. Similarly, the behavior of regulatory agencies who seek to maximize their own budgets will be predicted. The best forms of regulation will be identified assuming that parties subject to it minimize the cost of compliance, as when corporations try to satisfy environmental controls at least cost.

LS 170: Crime & Criminal Justice, Elizabeth Tejada, 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.

LS 182: Law, Politics & Society, Malcolm Feeley, 4 units, Core or IV or V

This course explores the nature and function of law and legal systems.  It asks:  What is the nature of legal authority?  Where does it originate? Why do we obey it?  From where does law come? How are laws made? How do judges reason?  It also focuses on law and conflict resolution:   How do people bring cases to court?  How do judges decide cases?  What alternatives are there to the legal process?  The course addresses basic question common to all legal systems, but draws most examples from Anglo-American legal systems.   Finally, a traditional conception of law is that it is a timeless set of principles, yet society is always changing.  So, how then does law change?  How do courts respond to social change?  To what extent can courts themselves bring about social change?  And, if they try, what resources are at their disposal?  Readings will be drawn from a variety of fields: philosophy, history, judicial opinions, and scholarly articles.  If you are attentive to these materials and engage during lectures and discussion sections, you will become knowledgeable one of society’s most important institutions, the legal system.  There are no prerequisites for this course. It should be of interest to Legal Studies majors; those thinking about going to law school; science majors; and visiting foreign students who are interested in getting a window onto an important institution—law– not only in the United States but everywhere—indeed anyone curious about one of society’s core institutions.

***NOTE: This course must have at least 22 students enrolled in order for it to continue. If the course has less than 22 students, it will be canceled, so have a back-up plan.***