The seminar will study important legal cases in the field of criminal justice and penology, alongside some works of literature that address analogous issues. Focus on reading legal opinions, especially concerning: guilt, search and seizure, interrogation and confession, trial, appeal, and punishment. Attention also to the analysis of narrative and rhetoric in both law and literature.
Visiting faculty will join the seminar approximately every other week. Open to the public 4:30 to 6pm; then a break, and then students only for final hour.
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436
Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 428
[Birchfield v. North Dakota, 579 U.S. ____ (2016)]
Oregon v. Elstad, 470 U.S. 298
Scenes of a Crime (documentary video)
Hitchcock, I Confess (film)
Peter Brooks, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Yale University, joined the Princeton University faculty in 2008 as Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholar, in the University Center for Human Values and the Department of Comparative Literature. At Princeton he directs a project on “The Ethics of Reading and the Cultures of Professionalism,” which included the Symposium, “The Humanities in the Public Sphere,” held at Princeton in April 2012, the source of the recent book, edited with Hillary Jewett, The Humanities and Public Life (Fordham 2014).
He has published on narrative and narrative theory, on the 19th and 20th century novel, mainly French and English, and, more recently, on the interrelations of law and literature. He is the author of several books, including Enigmas of Identity, Henry James Goes to Paris, winner of the 2008 Christian Gauss Award, Realist Vision, Troubling Confessions: Speaking Guilt in Law and Literature, Psychoanalysis and Storytelling, Body Work, Reading for the Plot, The Melodramatic Imagination. and The Novel of Worldliness. He is also the author of two novels, The Emperor’s Body (Norton, 2011) and World Elsewhere (Simon and Schuster,1999). He edited Balzac, The Human Comedy: Selected Stories (2014). He co-edited, with Paul Gewirtz, Law’s Stories (Yale, 1996) and, with Alex Woloch, Whose Freud? (Yale, 2000). He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Comparative Literature and Yale Journal of Law & Humanities. His essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, New York Review of Books, The New Republic, Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, London Review of Books, Critical Inquiry, New Literary History, Yale Law Journal, and elsewhere. He has held Guggenheim, NEH, and ACLAs fellowships, and received the Mellon Foundation’s Distinguished Achievement Award.
Robert Weisberg, JD ’79, works primarily in the field of criminal justice, writing and teaching in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, white collar crime, and sentencing policy. He also founded and now serves as faculty co-director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center (SCJC), which promotes and coordinates research and public policy programs on criminal law and the criminal justice system, including institutional examination of the police and correctional systems. In 1979, Professor Weisberg received his JD from Stanford Law School, where he served as President of the Stanford Law Review. He then served as a law clerk to Chief Judge J. Skelly Wright of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Justice Potter Stewart of the U.S. Supreme Court. After joining the Stanford law faculty, he served as a consulting attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the California Appellate Project on death penalty cases, and he continues to consult on criminal appeals in the state and federal courts. Professor Weisberg is a three-time winner of the law school’s John Bingham Hurlbut Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Before entering the field of law, Professor Weisberg received a PhD in English at Harvard and was a tenured English professor at Skidmore College. Drawing on that background, he is one of the nation’s leading scholars on the intersection of law and literature and co-author of the highly praised book, Literary Criticisms of Law.