Legal Studies Courses
LS 100 – Foundations of Legal Studies (changed course number from 100A to 100 beginning Sp12.), 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 introduction 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 101 – American Law & Legal Institutions, 4 units, Area IV or V
The United States has a legal system that developed from its English roots into a complicated set of rules and organizations that must serve the needs a large, federal state with a dynamic market economy. “American Law & Legal Institutions” surveys American law, both substantive and procedural, and the institutions that shape and implement it, including legislatures, courts, lawyers, and litigants. The course provides students with a basic background in law and how it operates in the contemporary United States.
LS 102 – Policing and Society, 4 units, Area I
This course examines the American social institution of policing with particular emphasis on urban law enforcement. It explores the social, economic and cultural forces that pull policing in the direction of state legal authority and power as well as those that are a counter-weight to the concentration of policing powers in the state. Special attention is given to how policing shapes and is shaped by the urban landscape, legal to cultural.
LS 103 – Theories of Law and Society, 4 units, Core (H, SS) or Area II
A historical examination of major interpretations of law, morals and social development, with special emphasis on the social thought of the 18th and 19th centuries. The course covers Montesquieu, Maine, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, and other theorists.
LS 104AC – Youth, Justice & Culture, 4 units, Area I or II
The seminar 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 105 – Theoretical Foundations of Criminal Law, 3 units, Area I or II or III
Criminal law raises fundamental theoretical issues that have occupied philosophers over the years. In the course we will discuss a selection of articles that bring to bear such a philosophical perspective on important aspects of criminal law. Topics include justification of punishment, foundations of blame and responsibility, substantive values protected by criminal law, significance of actual harm, liability of groups and other collectivities, and virtues and limits of the rule of law.
LS 106 – Philosophy of Law, 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.
LS 107 – Theories of Justice, 4 units, Core (H) or Area II or III or IV
This course examines the idea of justice as a critical standard in law and politics. The main emphasis will be on social justice and the distribution of liberty, wealth, and power in society. The course will cover four modern theories that relate distributive justice to ideas about liberty, equality, need, desert, efficiency, markets, property, and community: utilitarianism (Bentham and Mill), libertarianism (Nozick and Friedman), egalitarian liberalism (Rawls and Walzer), and Marxism (Marx and Cohen). To assess the strengths and weaknesses of these theories, we will discuss their implications for a range of issues, including legal regulation of sex and marriage, labor market regulations, affirmative action, and immigration.
107WI – Writing Intensive Discussion Section for Theories of Justice
This is one of the discussion sections for LS 107. It is a writing intensive discussion section.
LS 109 – Aims & Limits of Criminal Law, 4 units, Area I
Analysis of the capacity of criminal law to fulfill its aims. What are the aims of criminal Law? How are they assigned relative priority? What principles can be identified for evaluating the effort to control disapproved activities through criminal law?
LS 110 – Special Topics Lecture, 4 units, Areas will be listed in the Course Offerings information each semester.
LS 111 – The Making of Modern Constitutionalism, 4 units, Area V
Historical examination of the emergence of constitutionalism as an authoritative approach to the study of law and politics; coverage from the 16th to 18th centuries, concluding in discussion of the debate over ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
LS 116 – Legal Discourse: 1500 – 1700, 4 units, Area II
The course focuses on the history of legal thought and discourse from the late medieval period to the Enlightenment. Topics to be considered include the relationship between legal thought and intellectual developments and the relationship between political and constitutional developments and legal discourse. Although the emphasis is on England, there will be some consideration of differences between English and continental European legal thought.
LS 119 – Philosophy & Law in Ancient Athens, 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.
LS 120 – Conceptions of Punishment: Ancient & Modern, 4 units, Area I
A comparison of the understanding of punishment prevailing in modern Anglo-American thought and in former cultures such as Medieval Europe, Ancient Israel, and Ancient Greece. The topics include wrongdoing; suffering; deterrence, vengeance, purgation; excuses; volition; determinism, fate; collective responsibility. Most of the readings are in literary works such as the Greek tragedies.
LS 123 – Data, Prediction & Law, 4 units, Area I or V
Data, Prediction, and Law allows students to explore different data sources that scholars and government officials use to make generalizations and predictions in the realm of law. The course will also introduce critiques of predictive techniques in law. Students will apply the statistical and Python programming skills from Foundations of Data Science to examine a traditional social science dataset, “big data” related to law, and legal text data.
***Note: students should complete Foundations of Data Science, or complete equivalent preparation in Python and statistics, before enrolling in this course.
LS 125 – Human Rights and War Crimes Investigations: Methods, 4 units, Area I or IV
This seminar offers an introduction to the concept and practice of human rights research and investigations, with an emphasis on the collection and analysis of online open source information. In addition to lectures and readings, the course will engage students in the Human Rights Investigations Lab at Berkeley Law’s Human Rights Center, an effort that supports the work of Amnesty International, the Syrian Archive, and a number of other organizations that are working to bring awareness to and collect evidence in support of international atrocity cases, including human rights law firms and international commissions of inquiry. In the seminar and lab, students will have an opportunity to engage in one or more real-world investigations.
LS 130 – Human Rights: The Native Experience, 4 units, Area IV or V
This course highlights aspects of the development and implementation of human rights in society. Cases reveal the question facing all nations: to what extent should indigenous peoples be secure in their land, cultural integrity, political and economic rights. Fundamentally, this inquiry depends on recognizing the existence of inalienable and indivisible rights afforded to all humans.
LS 132AC – Immigration and Citizenship, 4 units, 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 133AC – Law & Social Change: The Immigrant Rights Movement, 4 units, Area IV or V
This course will explore the relationship between social movements and the law (ie, statutes, administrative regulations, judicial decisions, and policies and practices of enforcement, at both state and federal levels), focusing on the movement for immigrant rights led and populated by undocumented activists. We will examine that movement as it has emerged both nationally and in the state of Arizona. We will ask how legal action has spurred the formation of a social movement, and how that movement has sought to influence, resist, and transform the law. We will study the ways in which the movement in Arizona has faced a distinctive legal landscape: state legislation and state and local enforcement tactics have made the state almost uniquely hostile for immigrants, yet they has also enabled activists to use the federal courts and the Constitution as vehicles for change. We will also examine the ways in which the movement in Arizona has coalesced with a national movement for immigrant rights, as it has sought legislative and administrative goals: a path to legalization for DREAMers (undocumented youth), comprehensive immigration reform, and relief from deportations. We will finally consider how major changes in the leadership and direction of federal institutions with plenary power over immigration have demanded conceptual and tactical response from this movement, analyzing the transition between Obama and Trump administrations. The course will seek to answer two primary questions about the undocumented activists who are now at the center of this movement: first, how movement participants with no formal institutional role – and in this case, no formal legal status – have become confident and sophisticated legal claims-makers whose actions shape the law and its enforcement; and second, how those participants conceive law and legal institutions, and their own relation to them. The course will also be concerned with the role(s) of lawyers who collaborate with, assist, and work on behalf of the movement; we will consider how these roles may depart from conventional forms of legal representation.
LS C134 – Membership and Migration: Empirical and Normative Perspectives (Big Ideas Course), 4 units, Area II or V
NOTE: ***This is a cross-listed course with Sociology C146M, Either of these two sections can be added and still count towards the major, but it is best to sign up for our section Legalst C134.***
We will explore questions about migration and membership in the contemporary world by drawing on empirical and normative perspectives. By “empirical,” we investigate what social science evidence tells us about the drivers of migration or the benefits of citizenship. By “normative,” we think through questions of what a society ought to do: what is the morally right, just, or fair thing to do about issues of migration and citizenship?
LS 135 – Law, Judicial Politics, and Rights in Latin America, 4 units, Area IV or V
This course introduces the study of comparative constitutional law in Latin America and will prepare students to acquire substantial training on the existing legal traditions in the world: the common law and the civil law systems.
We will study how political, social, and historical dynamics shape the work of state actors, such as the executive, legislative, judicial powers, as well as the legal profession, and civil society groups to mobilize legal and social change.
LS 136 – Law and Rights in Authoritarian States, Stern, 4 units, Area IV or V
This course investigates the reasons why authoritarian leaders devolve power to courts and the control strategies they deploy to keep judges, lawyers and plaintiffs in check. The course will mix more theoretical readings on approaches to law and the logic of courts with empirical studies of how law works in four settings: Nazi Germany, East Germany, China, and Russia. Throughout the semester, we will ask ourselves how world historical time (e.g. the rise of rights talk, the global trend increased judicial power) and regime type (e.g. military dictatorship, competitive authoritarianism, one-party states) influence both the letter and the practice of law. In addition to scholarly books and articles, course materials will include original court documents as well as memoirs and films that illustrate how ordinary people experience the legal system.
LS 137 – Equality Rights, Oppenheimer, 3 units, Area IV or V
Comparative Equality Law uses a problem-based approach to examine how the law protects equality rights in different jurisdictions. The course will comparatively examine US, European, and other national, regional and international legal systems (including those of India, Brazil, Colombia, Canada and South Africa) and provide a global overview of legal protection from and legal responses to inequalities. The course covers 5 topic modules: Theories and sources of equality law; Employment discrimination law (race, sex, age, disability, LGBTQ+); Secularism, human rights and the legal rights of religious minorities; Sexual harassment/Violence; Affirmative action (race, caste, origin), and gender parity.
Note the odd times at which this course meets!
Comparative Equality Law meets on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
The Tuesday class meets at 9:10 (9:00 “Berkeley Time”) for 50 minutes, in a classroom on the Berkeley campus.
The Thursday class meets on Zoom at 15:00 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). For most of the semester that’s 8:00 am in Berkeley, but when we move from “daylight savings time” to “standard time” in November, 15:00 UTC becomes 7:00 am in Berkeley. Because the course includes students and faculty from at least eight time zones in North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia it is essential to set the course meeting time in Universal time instead of Pacific time. And, because most of our partner universities start their classes on the hour, we will not use “Berkeley Time” for our Thursday class meetings.
LS 138 – The Supreme Court & Public Policy, 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.
LS 139 – Comparative Perspectives on Norms & Legal Traditions, 4 units, Area V
This course is an introduction to the comparative study of different legal cultures and traditions including common law, civil law, socialist law and religious law. A section of the class will be dedicated to the comparison of the colonial and post-colonial legal process in Latin America and in Africa.
LS 140 – Property and Liberty, 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 World Wide Web. Readings will include legal theorists, court cases, and historical case studies.
LS 141 – Wall Street to Main Street, Brilliant/Solomon, 4 units, Area III (room-shared with American Studies 102 and History 133B)
As longstanding metaphors in American history and culture, “Wall Street” and “Main Street” typically refer to streets that intersect at right angles and places that represent the antithesis of each other. In this rendering, Wall Street is home to nefarious big banks and greedy financiers, while Main Street is home to wholesome “mom-and-pop” shops patronized by ordinary people of modest means. What’s good for one is not good for the other. This course, which will be co-taught by a historian and corporate law professor, will examine critical junctures in the intersection of Wall Street and Main Street in American history and culture, how and why Wall Street and Main Street have been understood to point in opposite directions, the extent to which that understanding makes sense, and how and why the relationship between Wall Street and Main Street has evolved over time.
LS 142 - Monetary Law and Regulation, 4 units, Area III or V
This course surveys the history of US monetary law from its inception to the coming about of cryptocurrencies. We begin with a discussion of monetary affairs in colonial times and during the American Revolutionary War. We then examine the framework established at the Constitutional Convention. We cover the 19th century and New Deal Supreme Court cases that shaped US monetary law as we know it today. Finally we discusses contemporary legal dilemmas such as the regulation of bitcoin and stablecoins, the creation of central bank digital currencies, the workarounds of the US debt ceiling and the debate over the spectrum of the Fed’s legal authority. We conclude by revisiting some classic questions concerning the nature and functions of money.
LS 145 – Law and Economics I, 4 units, 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 a broad array of legal issues.
LS 146 – Law & the Economics of Innovation, 4 units, Area III
We will discuss how the creation of knowledge, artistic, literary, and musical works are supported in a competitive economy especially in the digital age. We will discuss intellectual property, copyrights, trade secrets, trade marks, and geographic indications, in historical and institutional contexts. We will consider the problems of competition that arise in the digital economy, such as Google Books, the Microsoft antitrust cases, and search advertising.
LS 147 – Law and Economics II, 4 units, 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 149 – Law, Technology & Entrepreneurship, 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.
LS 150 - Intimate Partner Violence, 4 units, Area I or IV
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; and the disparate impacts on different communities. Through a trauma-centered and intersectional approach, students will be positioned to assess and analyze the responses by our legal system to this persistent and prevalent social problem.
LS 151 – Law, Self, and Society, 3 units, Area II
Contemporary 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 collectives, 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.
LS 152AC – Human Rights & Technology, 4 units, Area II or III or IV
Scientific advances promise great increases in social good, but whether those advancements herald a better or worse world, depends on how scientific knowledge is applied. Applying scientific knowledge in the service of humanity is challenging, and requires an informed, deliberate method. Through lectures, discussions, case studies, and field research, students will gain an understanding of the international human rights framework, historical and social context for contemporary human rights violations, insights into the role of race, gender, and technology in structural inequality, opportunities to work across disciplines on real-world design challenges, and experience assessing needs and designing for specific, selected human rights apps.
LS 153 – Law & Society in Asia, 4 units, Area II or V
This course offers a comparative perspective on law and legal institutions. Looking comparatively helps shed light on our own system and question what is “normal” or “natural.” From what it means to be a lawyer to notions of what is “just” or “fair,” courts and dispute resolution outside the U.S. can be both very different and, at times, surprisingly familiar. After an overview of concepts and classic approaches to the study of law and society, the course will explore these differences and similarities in three Asian settings: China, Japan, and India. Topics include lawyers, illicit sex, and environmental protection, to see how each country’s history, political structure, values, and interests shape how legal issues are defined and play out.
LS 154 – Human Rights, Research & Practice, 4 units, Area IV
This course provides an overview of international human rights, including the field’s historical and theoretical foundations; the jurisprudence of international human rights; empirical insights from disciplines such as sociology, psychology, history, and anthropology; and emerging trends in human rights practice.
LS 155 – Government and Family, 4 units, Area II
How has the law constructed and deconstructed “family” relationships? What are the common law, statutory, and constitutional principles that affect the formation, regulation, and dissolution of families? How do these principles, as well as diverse cultural and social values, guide the State in determining who may or may not marry, who may or may not become a legal parent, and the circumstances that justify State intervention in otherwise private and autonomous families to protect children against neglect or abuse? Should children have legal “rights” and, if so, to what and against whom? Special attention is given to the laws, policies, and current debates concerning marriage and domestic partnerships, child custody and adoption, and the public child welfare system. These issues are explored through a variety of readings in the law and the social sciences.*unit increase effective Fall 2004
LS 156 – Bioethics And The Law, 4 units, Area II or III or IV
Law now plays a prominent role in medicine and science. Recent years have witnessed a major expansion of law’s involvement. Law (statutory and court-made) articulates and interprets norms of conduct. This course will examine a number of topics where law and medicine intersect involving many of our most fundamental values including body, life, death, religion, reproduction, sexuality, and family. In each area we will include both traditional issues, like “right to die” and more current disputes such as physician assisted suicide.
LS 157 – International Relations & International Law, 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 158 – Law and Development, 4 units, Area III or IV
Focusing on developing countries, this course considers the relationship between legal institutions and rules – including informal and traditional ones – and develpment – defined by different actors by economic growth, education, health, or a wide spectrum of freedoms. It examines efforts by national leaders, international organizations, foreign aid agencies, and NGOs to “reform” law to promote development , along with the resistance and unplanned consequences that often ensue.
LS 159 – Introduction to Law & Sexuality, 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.
LS 160 – Punishment, Culture, & Society, 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.
LS 161 – Law in Chinese Society, 4 units, Area II
This course examines concepts that form the basis of the Chinese legal system, traditional theories and institutions of pre-1911 society, and the expression and rejection of the traditional concepts in the laws of the Nationalist period and the People’s Republic of China.
LS 162AC – Restorative Justice, 4 units, Area IV
This course will examine the theory and practice of restorative justice, with an emphasis on the ways that criminal justice systems implicate the emotions and the social integration of both victims and offenders. The course will begin with a critical examination of the current focus of the criminal justice system on retribution and incarceration. It will explore the racially disproportionate effects of this system, a product both of governmental failures to recognize the continuing economic, social and psychological effects of slavery and Jim Crow, and law’s failure to look beyond a narrow, individually-oriented notion of discrimination. The course will also interrogate the ways that existing approaches function – at times, purposefully – to foster vengeance and contempt toward offenders as a social category, complicating the process of re-entry and reintegration.
LS 163 – Adolescence, Crime & Juvenile Justice (title changed Fa12 from: Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice ), 4 units, Area I
This course examines the premises, doctrine, and operational behavior of juvenile courts, particularly in relation to the commission of seriously antisocial acts by mid-adolescents. An introductory section will introduce the historical development and legal theory of adolescence as a semi-autonomous period with special policy goals and problems. The treatment of juvenile justice will include the history of theories of delinquency; the jurisprudence of delinquency; the incidence and severity of delinquency; police response to juvenile offenders; the processes of juvenile courts and youth corrections; and reforms or alternatives to the juvenile court system.
LS 164 – Juvenile Justice & the Color of Law: The Historical Treatment of Children of Color in the Judicial System – Delinquency & Dependency, 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.
LS 168 – Sex, Reproduction, and the Law, 4 units, Area II
This course examines recent American legal and social history with respect to reproductive and sexual behavior. We will consider two theoretical aspects of the problem: first, theories of how law regulates social behavior and second, more general theories about how reproduction is socially regulated. Armed with these theoretical perspectives, the course will then examine closely a number of legal/social conflicts, including sterilization, abortion and contraception.
LS 169 – Criminal Justice in the United States: Policing, Mass Incarceration, and Paths to Reform, 4 units, Areas to be determined
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.
LS 170 – Crime and Criminal Justice, 4 units, Area I
This course examines the nature and extent of crime in America and the uses and limits of the criminal justice system in dealing with it. We will consider competing explanations of the causes of crime, and assess strategies for crime prevention and control, both within the criminal justice system and beyond it. Our central focus is on the criminal justice system including: the police; constitutional rights and the exclusionary rule; the role of the defense attorney and the prosecutor; bail; the trial; the guilty plea; sentencing and corrections; and the penalty of death.
LS 171 – European Legal History, 4 units, Area V
Main themes in European legal history: topics include classical Roman law, Justinian’s codification (6th century A.D.), the medieval revival of Roman law in Italy and elsewhere, medieval canon law (the law practiced in the ecclesiastical courts), the jus commune (amalgam of Roman, canon and indigenous law that prevailed in Europe until the modern period), the law merchant, the beginnings of the English common law, early modern developments in continental Europe and England, nineteenth-century codification, twentieth century developments.
LS 173AC – Making Empire: Law & the Colonization of America, 4 units, Area II or V
This is an intro to the origins, development, and expansion of European settlement on the North American mainland. We will concentrate on the impulses – commercial, ideological, and racial – that drove European colonizing; the migrations (voluntary and forced) that sustained it; and the political and legal “technologies” that supplied it with definition, explanation, and institutional capacity. We will pay attention to themes of sovereignty, civic identity, race, and “manifest destiny” and will discuss how law provided both the language and technical capacity to transform territory into property, people into slaves, and the land’s indigenous inhabitants into “others” who existed “outside” the civic order of the American Republic.
174 – Comparative Constitutional Law: The Case of Israel, 4 units, Area IV or V
The seminar will provide an introduction to the comparative study of constitutional law through the lens of Israeli constitutional jurisprudence – a jurisprudence built explicitly on the foundations of a variety of other constitutional systems, reflecting the diversity of approaches to constitutionalism. Through this comparative framework students will learn basic constitutional theory as well as explore some of the major constitutional debates in Israeli contemporary law. The constitutional theory part of the course will discuss the formation of Israeli constitution in comparison with the structure of other constitutions such as the U.S. Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This framework will introduce the central notions of constitutionalism – the ideas that that constitutions can (and should) limit government; the role of the judiciary in interpreting and enforcing the constitution; and the importance of constitutional rights. Among the constitutional debates that the class will explore are topics such as freedom of expression and freedom of association, equality, the right of human dignity, due process, social rights, freedom of occupation, freedom of religion etc. These topics will also be looked at from a comparative perspective drawing upon different constitutional regimes such as the Canadian Charter and the constitution of South Africa.
LS 175 – Access to Justice: Comparative & Historical Perspectives, 4 units, Areas to be determined
This class first introduces students to the origins of the access to justice problem, paying attention to disparate impacts along the lines of race, class, and gender. It examines how the costs of legal services, and in turn of law school tuition, steadily rose in the last several decades. Drawing on both historical and comparative case studies, students will then be encouraged to think creatively about who can represent individuals at law. Further inspiration comes from contemporary case studies outside North America and Europe. Finally, students will have an opportunity to execute a guided research project on a historical, comparative, or contemporary aspect of access to justice that helps shed light on potential solutions today.
LS 176 – 20th Century American Legal & Constitutional History, 4 units, Area V
This class covers the development of American law and the constitutional system in the twentieth century. Topics include Progressive Era Regulatory policy, criminal justice and relations, freedom of speech and press, New Deal legal innovations, modern tort liability, environmental regulation, judicial reform, and federalism. It is recommended that students have completed at least one course in legal studies or political science dealing with American history or government.
LS 177 – American Legal & Constitutional History, 4 units, Core (H) or Area II or III or V
This course explores the history of American legal institutions and doctrine from colonial times to the present. It deals both with the history of American constitutional law (through the study of major U.S. Supreme Court opinions) and with the development of certain important bodies of non-constitutional law, such as the law of property, the law of torts (civil wrongs), and criminal law. In exploring how American law has developed over time the course may serve as something of an introduction to our current legal and constitutional order.
LS 178 – Seminar on American Legal & Constitutional History, 3 units, Area V
This seminar has two purposes: to explore in depth selected topics in American legal and constitutional history, and to help students improve their research and writing skills. The aim is the production of a substantial research paper. Preference may be given to students who have taken 177.
LS 179 – Comparative Constitutional Law, 4 units, Area V
An examination of constitutional decision making in a number of countries based on selected high court opinions.
LS 180 – Implicit Bias, 4 units, Area IV
Implicit bias—automatic or unconscious stereotyping and prejudice that guides our perception of and behavior toward social groups—is one of the fastest growing areas of law and psychology. It also lies at the heart of one of the raging debates in American Law: whether the results of psychological studies showing the operation of unconscious gender, racial, and other biases can be used as courtroom evidence to prove discrimination. Students will be introduced to cutting edge research that bears not only on the highly relevant substantive areas of employment discrimination and criminal law, but also on questions regarding other legal contexts, such as communications, voting, health care, immigration, and property. Students will learn how implicit bias works, how to interpret and use empirical research findings from psychology, how to understand the major critiques of implicit bias research, and how to understand courts’ use of implicit bias findings. Remedies to implicit bias will be discussed throughout the course.
LS 181 – Psychology of Law, 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.
LS 182 – Law, Politics, and Society, 4 units, Core (SS) or Area 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.
183: The Psychology of Diversity & Discrimination in American Law, 4 units, Area IV
How does the psychology of culture, race, and ethnicity shape the legal pursuit of diversity and equal treatment? How are Americans thinking about and doing diversity in their everyday lives? What are the predominant perspectives on diversity and how are they being deployed or challenged in legal battles over race-conscious policies? What are the implications for efforts to remedy historic intergroup conflict and discrimination? These will be the central questions of this course. We will examine concepts of race and culture, various understandings of and approaches to diversity found in the law, and the role of sociocultural structures in shaping the operation of anti-discrimination law and social policy. Special attention will be given to the use of diversity-related psychological research in law. Some topics include: cultural psychology and cultural defense; psychology of desegregation; psychology of colorblindness and equal protection; psychology of “critical mass” and affirmative action; stereotyping, intent, and discrimination; cultural differences in attraction and implications for discrimination; psychology of sexism in the workplace; psychology of social class and poverty; psychology of disability and disability discrimination.
LS 184 – Sociology of Law, 4 units, Core (SS) or Area IV
This course explores major issues and debates in the sociology of law. Topics include theoretical perspectives on the relationship between law and society, theories of why people obey (and disobey) the law, the relationship between law and social norms, the “law in action” in litigation and dispute resolution, the roles of lawyers, judges, and juries in the legal system and in society, and the role of law in social change. The course will examine these issues from an empirical perspective.
LS 185AC – Prison (Big Ideas Course), 4 units, Area I
NOTE: ***This is a cross-listed course that has been offered in the past with Architecture (Arch 180AC), Ethnic Studies (EthStud 181AC), and Sociology (Soc 185AC). Any of the three sections can be added and still count towards the major, but it is best to sign up for our section LS 185AC.***
Taking a broad inter-disciplinary approach, this course embraces the longue durée of critical prison studies, questioning the shadows of normality that cloak mass incarceration both across the globe and, more particularly, in the contemporary United States. While speaking very directly to the prison system, this course intends to reorganize the logics of an institution we commonly accept as the reasonable destination for those identified as “criminal”. This interdisciplinary project recognizes that we cannot possibly teach about the presence and persistence of punishment and prisons in contemporary American life without inviting conversation across time periods, genres, and geographies. This course thus explores a series of visceral, unsettling juxtapositions: ‘freedom’ and ‘slavery’; ‘citizenship’ and ‘subjugation’; ‘marginalization’ and ‘inclusion’, in each case explicating the ways that story making, political demagoguery, and racial, class, and sexual inequalities have wrought an untenable social condition.
LS 186 – Gender, Law, & Society, 4 units, Area III or IV
This course addresses major topics, issues, and debates in socio-legal studies. The politics of law and legal institutions are examined and notions of neutrality and impartiality commonly associated with law are challenged. Topics include theoretical perspectives on law and society, the relationship between law -on-the-books and law-in-action, the social organization of lawyers and judges, stratification in access to law, problems in mobilizing the law, the interplay between legal and social change, and the relationship between law and the state.
LS 187 – Diversity, Law & Politics, T. Lee, 4 units, Area IV or V
Dimensions of diversity at the heart of this course are perceptions of commonality and attributions of difference defined by race and immigration. Emphasis is given to contemporary law and politics in the U.S., but with an eye toward how the law and politics of the here and now is rooted in history. “Race” is broadly defined by concepts of identity, immigration, citizenship, class, ethnicity, and gender. “Politics” is broadly defined both by a center stage of elite actors in government and the laws and policies they make and implement, and by the relevant contexts and audiences that define that stage, inclusive of elections, civic engagement, protests, political talk, and organizational behavior.
LS 189 Feminist Jurisprudence, 4 units, Area IV
This course will explore the ways in which feminist theory has shaped conceptions of the law, as both an influence contributing to sex and gender inequality, and a vehicle for its amelioration. The course will examine a range of feminist legal theories, including equality, difference, dominance, intersectional, post-structural, postcolonial theories. It will ask how these theories have shaped legal interventions in areas including workplace/educational access, sexualized coercion, work/family conflict, cultural defenses, and globalised sweatshop labor. It will also consider how epistemological challenges that emerged from feminist theory in other disciplines shaped challenges to objectivist epistemology in law.
LS 190 – Topics in Law and Society (1 – 4 units) Areas will be listed in the Course Offerings information each semester.
These are upper division courses that do not have discussion sections or GSIs. Seminars are designed to be smaller in size and involve more discussion. LS 190’s count towards the Distribution requirements. Because we recycle the numbers every semester, check under ‘Course Offerings’ for the semester in which you are taking the course to find which Area(s) it falls under.
H195A: Honors Seminar, 5 units, Letter-graded (No Areas)
Students contemplating an Honors thesis must enroll in LS H195A in the Fall of their senior year, which is aimed specifically at preparing them for the task. The five unit letter-graded seminar will cover such important subjects as selecting a thesis topic that is both interesting and capable of investigation within the limits of a single semester, developing and implementing an effective research strategy, and completing the writing. UCB GPA 3.5, Legal Studies GPA 3.5 required.
During the following Spring semester, students who continue with the Honors Program (LS H195B three units letter-graded) will complete a substantial research paper under the supervision of a faculty member. The 3 units of H195B only (not H195A), count towards the 32 required for the major as one of the two courses that must be taken in the same Area for the Distribution requirement for the New Plan. The 5 units for H195A can be counted towards the 32 upper div units to complete the major, but not a Distribution requirement.
Lauri La Pointe will add students to H195A once Spring grades have been posted.
LS H195B – Honors Thesis, 3 units, (No Areas unless using towards the Area in which two courses are taken)
After successfully completing LS H195A in the fall semester, students who continue with the Honors Program will complete a substantial research paper under the supervision of a faculty member. UCB GPA 3.5 Legal Studies GPA 3.5 required. Enrollment in LS H195C Honors Research & Writing Seminar, 2 units, is also required.
The three units of H195B only (not H195A), count towards the 32 required for the major as one of the two courses that must be taken in the same Area for the Distribution requirement for the New Plan.
LS H195C – Legal Studies Honors Research & Writing Seminar, 2 units, (No Areas)
The goal of the seminar is to provide students additional support as they conduct the research for and write their senior honors theses, and prepare presentations for the Spring Legal Studies Undergraduate Research Conference. Students enroll in the two unit Legalst H195C seminar during the second semester of the Honors Program along with the three units of LS H195B.
LS 199 – Independent Study (1 – 4 units)
Legal Studies 199 is open to officially declared Legal Studies Seniors with a 3.0 GPA in the major. In order to enroll, the student must find a Legal Studies faculty member who is willing to serve as director. The student should have already taken at least one course from the faculty member in the area in which s/he wishes to do research. The student should submit a written proposal to the faculty member outlining the scope and length of the research project s/he would like to do. A general guideline is 1 unit of credit per 10 pages of text in the final research paper, up to a maximum of 4 units. Students should secure the consent of the supervising faculty member prior to the first week of the semester in which they would like to enroll. Students who have already secured faculty permission should see the Undergraduate Advisor for the requisite paperwork. Note: LS199 can only be taken P/NP, but is applicable towards the 32 upper division units in the major.
Lower Division Course Offerings
The Legal Studies Department offers two lower division seminars, one specifically for freshmen, and another for both freshmen and sophomores. We also have R1B courses that will fulfill the second half of the Reading and Composition requirement. These courses offer an introduction to the study of law in a small classroom setting. Students are encouraged to sign up early as these courses fill rapidly. We also have LS 88 which is a Data Science Connector course. Note: LS R1B, LS 24, LS 39, and LS 88 do not count toward the fulfillment of the Legal Studies major requirements.
LS R1B – Reading & Composition in Connection with the Law as a Social Institution, 4 units,
Topics change depending who teaches in a given semester. LS R1B fulfills the second half of the Reading and Composition requirement. R1B courses must be taken for a letter grade.
LS 24 – Freshman Seminar, 1 unit
First-year students only. Each session will consist of a lecture and discussion of assigned readings on a specific area of American and comparative law, such as Church and State, economic liberty, gender discrimination, or free speech.
LS 39 – Freshman/Sophmore Seminar, 2 units
Course may be repeated for credit as topic varies. Check with department for current topic. Past topics include Imperial and Modern China, Introduction to Private Law, and How Judicial Opinions Function.
LS 88 – Crime & Punishment: Taking the Measure of the U.S. Justice System, 2 units
We will explore how data are used in the criminal justice system by exploring the debates surrounding mass incarceration and evaluating a number of different data sources that bear on police practices, incarceration, and criminal justice reform. Students will be required to think critically about the debates regarding criminal justice in the US and to work with various public data sets to assess the extent to which these data confirm or deny specific policy narratives. Building on skills from Foundations of Data Science, students will be required to use basic data management skills working in Python: data cleaning, aggregation, merging and appending data sets, collapsing variables, summarizing findings, and presenting data visualizations. This course is meant to be taken concurrently with Computer Science C8/Statistics C8/Information C8: Foundations of Data Science. Students may take more than one 88 (data science connector) course if they wish, ideally concurrent with or after having taken the C8 course.