Fall 2012 Syllabus - University of Massachusetts Amherst...

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University of Massachusetts, Amherst Department of Political Science Course Syllabus: Legal Studies 250 Introduction to Legal Studies Fall 2012 Full-Class Meetings: Tues. & Thur., 2:30-3:45 p.m. Location: School of Mgmt., Room 137 Section Meetings: Mon., 9:05-9:55 a.m. (Sec.1) Fri., 9:05-9:55 a.m. (Sec. 2) Mon., 10:10-11:00 a.m. (Sec. 3) Fri., 10:10-11:00 a.m. (Sec. 4) Mon., 12:20-1:10 p.m. (Sec. 5) Fri., 12:20 p.m.-1:20 p.m. (Sec. 6) Mon., 11:15-12:05 p.m. (Sec. 7) Mon., 1:25-2:15 p.m. (Sec. 8) Mon., 2:30-3:20 p.m. (Sec. 9) Location: As assigned (Check SPIRE) Course Instructor Daniel LaChance E-mail: [email protected] Phone: 413-545-5878 Office: Thompson 204 Office Hours: Weds., 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., and by appointment Course Overview Law is traditionally studied vocationally. That is, students of the law often learn about it strategically, in order to eventually write legislation, advocate for a client, or decide cases. In this course, students will be introduced to a different way of studying law, one rooted in the interdisciplinary field of legal studies (sometimes known as “law and society”). Rather than just studying “law,legal studies scholars study “legality”—a term that refers to statutes and Supreme Court decisions, to be sure, but one that also describes symbols, images, stories, relationships, and ways of thinking. And rather than studying law as an enterprise that operates autonomously, legal studies scholars study the law as an object that cannot be understood apart from the social, political, and cultural contexts in which it exists. With that distinction in mind, this course will explore how law permeates human life and, conversely, how human life permeates law. Six questions will guide our exploration: What is law? How do judges make decisions? What are the major approaches to understanding the relationship between law and society? How, when, and why is the law enforced? How has law been represented in culture? Are there viable alternatives to the current way we imagine, create, and enforce law?
Graduate Teaching Assistants James Ben-Aaron Allen Linken E-mail: [email protected] E-mail: [email protected] Office: Thompson 536 Office: Thompson 536 Sections: 1, 3, and 5 Sections: 2, 4, and 6 Office Hours: Mondays, 11:10 a.m.-12:10 p.m. Office Hours: Tuesdays, 12:40-1:40 p.m. Mondays, 1:20-2:20 p.m. Thursdays, 12:40-1:40 p.m. Donovan Lessard E-mail: [email protected] Office: Thompson 536 Sections: 7, 8, and 9 Office Hours: Thursdays, 12-2 p.m. Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Amanda Collins E-mail: [email protected] Texts John Bonsignore, et al., Before the Law: An Introduction to the Legal Process, 8thEdition(Wadsworth: Belmont, Calif., 2006). All other readings are posted on Moodle; please bring printed copies to discussion sections. Evaluation Mid-Term Examination (25%) A combination of multiple choice and essay questions that will ask you to recall, analyze, synthesize, apply, and evaluate the material presented to you during the first half of the course.

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