LAPA's course offerings meet a growing demand for law-related teaching at Princeton. LAPA-sponsored courses have enriched Princeton's curriculum with classes that address a wide range of topics and target several different segments of the student body. In previous semesters, offerings have included freshman seminars on such topics as "The Supreme Court and Constitutional Democracy," "Who Owns the Past?" and "Multiculturalism and Constitutional Justice;" an English Department graduate seminar entitled "Legal Slaves and Civil Bodies: Interpretation, Literature, and the Law"; a Politics Department undergraduate seminar on "Citizenship" and a Woodrow Wilson School course on "Regulation of the Telecommunications Industry."
Opportunities to learn about legal processes, institutions, and history are widespread across many campus departments. Included below are abbreviated descriptions of some of the law-related graduate courses (Spring '07, Fall '06), undergraduate courses (Spring '07, Fall '06) and freshman seminars (Spring '07, Fall '06) that were offered during the 2006-07 academic year. Not all courses listed here were sponsored by LAPA, but they are included on this page in order to publicize cross-disciplinary opportunities to interested students. For more information on current courses, please consult the Office of the Registrar's Course Schedule
This seminar will investigate the shifting place of the pirate in legal and political theory, from the ancient to the medieval and modern periods. In close readings of selected philosophical and literary works, we will explore some of the questions that piracy has posed to the notion of the enemy, the relations between political and criminal categories, and the law of war. Not open to freshmen.
This course investigates how psychoanalytic concepts may offer productive corollaries for analyses of socio-racial phenomena. The first part of the course, "Science, Law, and Fiction" introduces the problem of "psychology" in the history of American desegregation. Open to graduate students only.
The ferocious conflicts that characterized the Thirty-Years War (1618-1648) left unmistakable marks on the Protestant Baroque drama---the so-called mourning play ("Trauerspiel"). Written by Silesian lawyers and diplomats, these plays were staged in high schools and thus became part of the basic education of civil servants. The seminar provides an introduction to Baroque poetics and to the historical situation in 17th century Silesia. Not open to freshmen.
This course addresses the issues and methods in the study and interpretation of American legal history. Students may elect to take this as a research seminar. Not open to freshmen.
Selected topics in Islamic law and jurisprudence. The topics vary from year to year, but the course normally includes reading of fatwas and selected Islamic legal texts in Arabic. Not open to freshmen. Reading knowledge of Arabic is required.
The seminar will survey recent work on free will and moral responsibility with a special emphasis on Nomy Arpaly's new book, Merit, Meaning and Human Bondage. In the second half (time permitting) we will bring the discussion of moral responsibility to bear on problems in criminal law theory.
Traditionally, international law focused on only two normative systems: those promulgated by nation-states & those promulgated among nation-states. It has become clear that nation-states are not the only relevant norm-generating communities to study. Drawing upon insights from various social science and humanities disciplines, this course explores how legal norms are articulated and disseminated. Open to graduate students only.
A seminar that will provide students with a strong base in Islamic and Middle Eastern law. Topics will include a historical and geographical overview of what defines Islamic and Middle Eastern law; public law; private law; criminal law in Middle Eastern-related cases; Islam, international law, and human rights; water, environment, oil, and property. No Arabic or other Middle East language required. Open to graduate students only.
This course employs the methods of microeconomics, industrial organization and law and economics to study where market failures warrant government intervention with policies implemented through the law or regulatory agencies. Open to graduate students only.
Examines theory and practice of land use policy and planning in the US. Explores concepts of sprawl and smart growth, then examines land use plan making, law, and regulation. Analyzes land use programs and issues, including the roles and interactions of executive agencies, courts, experts, advocates, property owners, profit-oriented and nonprofit developers, and citizens. Open to graduate students only.
This course examines international law and
governance in the context of environmental
problems. Topics covered include: regulation
under conditions of scientific uncertainty,
efficacy of regulatory approaches, and
intersections between environmental regulation
and development. Co-taught with Prof. Richard
Stewart, NYU School of Law. Open to graduate
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We will examine how American novelists and filmmakers have portrayed and responded to passing, not as merely a social performance but as a profound intersubjective process embedded within history, law, and culture. To what extent does the act of passing reinforce or unhinge seemingly natural categories of race, gender, and sexuality? Juniors and seniors only.
This course examines the evolution of African American political mobilization in the twentieth century. It explores the various ways that African Americans articulated their political demands and affirmed their citizenship, using worker's rights, the church, feminism, education, war, grassroots organizations, the federal bureaucracy, international allies, and the law as tools for political action.
This course explores the many ways in which the American legal system directly and indirectly regulates sexuality, sexual identity, and gender, and considers such regulation in a number of substantive areas of law including marriage, child custody, employment, education, and criminal law and constitutional rights such as free speech, equal protection, and due process. Departmental permission required.
The course will focus on the conflicts occasioned by changing family patterns, the role of technology in conflicts over procreation and rights of the fetus, the meaning of property and its impact on divorce settlements, and the comparative development of laws of inheritance and incest. Multicultural issues will also figure prominently in the course.
Examining the relationship between law and environmental policy, this course focus on cases that have established policy principles. The first half of the seminar will be conducted using the Socratic method. The second half will allow students to reargue either the plaintiff or defendant position in a key case, which will be decided by the classroom jury.
This course offers an opportunity to explore the social and cultural meanings of legal texts. The focus is on methodology: on how to locate cases, statutes, treatises, trial records, and legal lives in their historical contexts, and on the differing ways historians have used legal texts as historical artifacts. It should offer students an opportunity to think broadly about the role of law in the wider culture and to try their hand at doing legal history.
In contemporary America, few issues are as hotly debated as religion, especially when it comes to the Ten Commandments. Drawing on literature and the media (both old and new), the arts and the law, this course contextualizes and historicizes the current debate, which has reached all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It explores the variety of ways in which this ancient text has left its mark on the America of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Historically, the law of literal retribution, "an eye for an eye," has given the Bible a black eye. With one eye trained on ancient Near Eastern counterparts, we will examine the distinct lives this and other biblical laws--like slavery and sacrificial altars--led in literature and in practice.
This course examines the outlines of Islamic family law in gender issues, sexual ethics, family structure, family planning, marriage and divorce, parenthood, child guardianship and custody, etc. The course starts with a general survey of Islamic legal system: its history and developments, structure and spirit, and the attempts of the Muslim jurists to come to terms with the challenge of time.
A survey of the development of American constitutionalism, considered historically as the product of legal, political and intellectual currents and crises. Coverage includes the Founding, the Marshall and Taney eras, the slavery crisis, the rise of corporate capitalism, the emergence of the modern state, the New Deal crisis, and new forms of rights and liberties. The Supreme Court will also be discussed.
An inquiry into the value of liberty and of particular civil rights and liberties. The course considers competing theoretical justifications for rights and liberties generally, as well as particular problems concerning freedom of speech and the press, religion, sexuality, abortion, and discrimination. Supreme Court opinions regarding the constitutionality of legislation in each of these areas will be discussed and criticized.
An examination of courts as unique legal and political institutions with distinctive approaches to resolving disputes and formulating law and public policy. Emphasis is on foreign, American and international courts.
This course introduces students to the many facets of the U.S. Congress-asking "What does Congress do and why?" Some of the many topics we will examine include: congressional elections, the role of political parties and interest groups in the lawmaking and elections, how the organization of Congress affects lawmaking, and issues of representation accountability.
This course is about power. We will analyze the assumption that gender and sexuality are important categories for political analysis by asking how gender and sexuality are: "political", codified by law, shaped by values and policies, deployed to affect political outcomes, and combined with other factors to help or hinder the expression of power.
The course focuses on strategies of political actors in the Middle East in the light of long-term structures, cyclical patterns, and individual choices. Law will be privileged in the treatment of political systems and of crises, both domestic and international. Lectures will address enduring critical issues including legitimacy of states and rulers, political Islam, Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon.
A study of the politics and history of human rights. What are human rights? Is it morally acceptable and politically wise to launch humanitarian military interventions to prevent the slaughter of foreign civilians? What are the laws of war, and how can we punish the war criminals who violate them? Cases include the Ottoman Empire, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Bosnia, and Rwanda.
In this Writing Seminar, we ask, Who owns the past? Is culture a commodity to be reproduced, bought, and sold by anyone, or does its special importance for some people take priority?
How do laws preserve and limit human rights? Are human rights less important in times of national crisis? In this Writing Seminar, we explore the tension between the law's obligation to protect individual rights and its obligation to uphold the state's right to govern, especially during national emergencies.
The course will consider the ethical and legal frameworks for making leadership decisions on major public issues in the United States, as well as the operational frameworks for effective and responsible public leadership. Open to junior and seniors only.
Introduction to communications policy and law, covering such topics as freedom of the press and the development of journalism; intellectual property; regulation of telecommunications, broadcasting, and cable; and policy challenges raised by the Internet and the globalization of the media. Not open to freshmen.
This course aims to familiarize students with patent law (its history, doctrines, and policies) and at the same time to help students understand both the collaborative process by which patent applications are developed and the adversarial processes by which patents are interpreted and enforced. Open to juniors and seniors, and WWS and EGR graduate students through department consent.
This course will focus on the continual
tension between international law and
international politics. It will examine the
impact of this tension on issues of
intervention, such as the U.S. action in Iraq,
but also on other issues of substantive
importance, including environmental protection,
trade, human rights, laws of war applicable to
the "war on terror," and crimes of state. Not
open to freshmen.
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This seminar will examine federalism as a system of governance, with particular attention to the United States and Canada. We will also explore some intergovernmental patterns that lie at the border of federalism -- in particular, relationships between native American tribes and other U.S. governments, and the evolving relationships between First Nations, the provinces, and the federal government in Canada. In the final weeks, we will selectively explore recent experience in Europe, Latin America, and Asia.
What does it mean to be human? Is it possible to share the pain and suffering of others? What exactly are human rights and how do we understand their nature and meaning? How are they represented in literature, legal documents, film, and television? We will consider how literature and related cultural forms have played a crucial role in establishing the meaning of human rights and of enriching our understanding of what it means to be a human being entitled to freedom, life, and liberty.
Full-page ads in campus newspapers now
routinely solicit young women's eggs in
return for large sums of money. Knowledge itself
is apparently becoming more and more an object
of ownership and market exchange, and less and
less a commons open to all. Are all aspects of
our bodies, our personality, ourselves, turning
into market commodities? In this seminar, we
will consider three significant areas extending
beyond literal market practices: market
rhetoric, value incommensurability, and the
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This course explores questions of order and change in American constitutional doctrine and institutional relations and powers across time. It is open only to graduate students.
Why are different forms of punishment used in different eras and different places? Why do societies vary in their reliance on incarceration?
The course asks if international law can help to moderate or prevent war, why states sometimes pursue the prosecution of war criminals, and how law shapes and is shaped by international politics. It is open only to graduate students.
Investigates democratization as a global
phenomenon. Introduces the dominant theoretical
debates over the meaning of democracy.
Considers: goals and objectives of democracy;
democracies in history; importance of requisites
(economic, cultural, political) for democracy;
and other topics. It is open only to graduate
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The course provides students with the opportunity to study the relation between formal legal institutions and the social and cultural factors influencing their development. Western and non-Western systems are compared.
Objectives are to understand the basic principles of a major system of civil law, to trace the beginnings of these principles in the society that produced them, and to make some comparison between Roman and modern Common Law.
An introduction to the economics of law. Application of price theory and welfare analysis to problems and actual cases in the common law - property, contracts, torts - and to criminal and constitutional law. ECO 100 is a prerequisite for this course, and it is not open to freshmen.
We will use the constitutions of the Weimar and Federal Republics to study the political problems peculiar to German 20th-century history, but also to consider the philosophical problems of sovereignty, statehood, and representation raised both in constitutional debates and their wider cultural circuitry. GER 107 is a prerequisite for this course.
This seminar draws on recent and classic work by historians of the American state. We will strive -- in looking at both 19th and 20th century state -- to get a handle on what exactly the state is, and where historians locate it. This course is intended for juniors and seniors.
What is the Constitution? Who are its authoritative interpreters? How should they go about the task of interpretation? This course is not open to freshmen.
Can the law be used to remedy instances of discrimination? Should state power be used to address these distinctions?
This course provides an introduction to the political science of law and courts. Some topics that are typically covered include: bargaining and decision making on the U.S. Supreme Court; political use of litigation by activists, firms, and interest groups; social and economic impact of courts.
The course provides an historical and philosophical framework within which to consider the place of judicial review within a democratic political system. We will trace the continuing debate over whether the power of judicial review should exist, how it might be justified, and how it should be exercised.
This course will introduce students to the
variety of forms of constitutional government
and the way that human rights are understood and
enforced by courts around the world. It is open
to juniors and seniors.
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What is "law"? Is it universally present in all societies? Who gets to decide who has "law," and what are the normative implications of having, or not having, it? Is law a useful analytical category in cross-cultural comparison? How is law related to other aspects of culture and socioeconomic organization? This is a Class of 1976 Freshman Seminar in Human Values. It is open to freshmen only.
Why should unelected judges be able to
overrule elected legislatures? To what extent
should judges draw upon their own, personal
moral judgments when construing the
Constitution? How should we conceive of the
relationship between the Supreme Court and other
political institutions? This course is a
Freshman Seminar that is sponsored by LAPA and
UCHV. It is open to freshmen only.
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Note to Faculty: If you would like your course included, removed, or if you would prefer a different wording of the abbreviated description for your course, please contact Sara Nephew Hassani at firstname.lastname@example.org.