Princeton University Program in Law and Public Affairs

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

Spring 2007

Graduate Courses

COM 535: Contemporary Critical Theories: Theory of Piracy

Professor: Daniel Heller-Roazen

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.

ENG 571: Literary and Cultural Theory: Race and Psychoanalysis

Professor: Anne A. Cheng

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.

GER 511: German Literature in the 17th Century

Professor: Staff

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.

HIS 573: Readings in American Legal History, 1607-1977

Professor: Hendrik A. Hartog

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.

NES 555: Themes in Islamic Law and Jurisprudence

Professor: Hossein Modarressi

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.

PHI 514: Recent and Contemporary Philosophy: Responsibilities

Professor: Gideon A. Rosen

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.

WWS 516B: Topics in Law & Public Policy: Globalizing International Law

Professor: Paul S. Berman, LAPA Fellow 2006-2007

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.

WWS 516C/NES 513: Topics in Law & Public Policy: Islamic and Middle Eastern Law

Professor: Chibli Mallat, LAPA Fellow 2006-2007

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.

WWS 523: Legal and Regulatory Policy Toward Markets

Professor: Ioannis N. Kessides

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.

WWS 528A: Topics in Domestic Policy Analysis: Land Use Policy and Planning

Professor: David N. Kinsey

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.

WWS 586D: Topics in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy: Global Environmental Governance

Professor: Michael Oppenheimer

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 students only.
return to top

Spring 2007

Undergraduate Courses

AAS 340 / ENG 367: Shades of Passing

Professor: Anne A. Cheng

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.

AAS 352 / HIS 483: Black Protest in 20th Century America

Professor: Noliwe M. Rooks

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.

AMS 326: Regulation of Sexuality

Professor: Mary Anne C. Case, Crane/LAPA Fellow 2006-2007

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.

ANT 207: The American Family in Law and Society

Professor: Lawrence Rosen

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.

ENV 310: Environmental Law and Moot Court

Professor: George S. Hawkins

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.

HIS 385: The Role of Law in American Society

Professor: Hendrik A. Hartog

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.

JDS 316 / CHV 316 / AMS 320: The Ten Commandments in Modern America

Professor: Jenna Weissman-Joselit

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.

JDS 345 / REL 345: "Eye-For-An-Eye": The Nature of Law, Justice, and Legal Literature in the Bible & Ancient Near East

Professor: Simeon B. Chavel

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.

NES 347: Islamic Family Law

Professor: Hossein Modaressi

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.

POL 314: American Constitutional Development

Professor: Keith E. Whittington

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.

POL 316: Civil Liberties

Professor: Robert P. George

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.

POL 318: Law and Society

Professor: Kenneth I. Kersch

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.

POL 324: Congressional Politics

Professor: Joshua D. Clinton

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.

POL 342 / WOM 342: The Politics of Gender and Sexuality

Professor: Beth K. Jamieson

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.

POL 364: Political Systems of the Middle East

Professor: Chibli Mallat, LAPA Fellow 2006-2007

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.

POL 380: Human Rights

Professor: Gary J. Bass

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.

WRI 131 and WRI 132: Cultural Heritage and the Law

Professor: Alexander A. Bauer

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?

WRI 177: Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Professor: Patricia L. Kennedy

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.

WWS 306 / POL 329: Public Leadership and Public Policy

Professor: Nathan B. Scovronick

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.

WWS 309 / SOC 313: Media and Public Policy

Professor: Paul E. Starr

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.

WWS 453/EGR 453: Special Topics in Public Affairs: Patent Law and Innovation Policy

Professor: Margaret Jane Radin, Microsoft/LAPA Fellow 2006-2007

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.

WWS 457/POL 398: Special Topics in Public Affairs: International Institutions and International Law

Professor: Robert O. Keohane

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.
return to top

Spring 2007

Freshman Seminars

FRS 116: The Benefits and Dangers of Federalism: Experience in the United States, Canada, and Beyond

Professor: Jameson Doig

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.

FRS 156: Literature and Human Rights

Professor: Simon Gikandi

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.

FRS 162: Exploring the Limits of the Market

Professor: Margaret Jane Radin, Microsoft/LAPA Fellow 2006-2007

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 double bind.
return to top

Fall 2006

Graduate Courses

POL 564: American Constitutional Development

Professor: Kenneth I. Kersch

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.

SOC 561: Crime and Punishment

Professor: Vanessa Barker (LAPA Fellow, 2006-2007)

Why are different forms of punishment used in different eras and different places? Why do societies vary in their reliance on incarceration?

WWS 555B: Topics in International Relations: International Justice

Professor: Gary J. Bass

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.

WWS 555C: Topics in International Relations: Human Rights and World Politics

Professor: Emilie M. Hafner-Burton

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 students.
return to top

Fall 2006

Undergraduate Courses

ANT 342: The Anthropology of Law

Professor: Lawrence Rosen

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.

CLA 325/HIS 329: Roman Law

Professor: Edward J. Champlin

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.

ECO 324: Law and Economics

Professor: Thomas C. Leonard

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.

GER 307: The Politics of Law: 20th Century German Republics

Professor: Arnd Wedemeyer

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.

HIS 460: Topics in Legal History: The American State in Historical Inquiry

Professor: Margot Canaday

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.

POL 315: Constitutional Interpretation

Professor: Robert P. George

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.

POL 317: Discrimination and the Law

Professor: Beth K. Jamieson

Can the law be used to remedy instances of discrimination? Should state power be used to address these distinctions?

POL 320: Judicial Politics

Professor: Charles M. Cameron

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.

POL 420: Seminar in American Politics: Democracy and the Problem of Judicial Review

Professor: Keith E. Whittington

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.

WWS 470/POL 391/CHV 470: Special Topics in Public Affairs: Comparative Constitutional Law

Professor: Kim Lane Scheppele, LAPA Director

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.
return to top

Fall 2006

Freshman Seminars

FRS 109: What is "Law"? Law and Culture In and Outside the West

Professor: Teemu Ruskola (LAPA Fellow, 2006-2007)

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.

FRS 113: The Supreme Court and Constitutional Democracy

Professor: Christopher L. Eisgruber, Former LAPA Director

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.
return to top

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