Law Course Catalog

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7777. Race and the American Legal System

2.00 credits

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: Constitutional Law, An Introduction

Grading Basis: Graded

The central focus of this seminar is the way racial hierarchy has played a role in the development of American law, and it will provide a historical overview and a current assessment of race and the legal system. The seminar will provide students with critical analytic tools that they can use in their legal education and future practice. The ways in which white supremacy intersects with other forms of oppression, such as sexism and ableism, will necessarily be explored. The seminar is divided into three frameworks: Historical Origins of White Supremacy; Systems of Racism; and Going Forward. The Historical Origins module covers Colonization and the Discovery Doctrine; Slavery; the Framing of the Constitution; the Civil War Amendments/Reconstruction; and Segregation and Land Ownership. Systems of Racism covers Mass Incarceration; Housing Discrimination; Voting Suppression; Public Education; and Legal Education. In the Going Forward section, the seminar will take a critical look at how racial hierarchy in the law could be dismantled. Students will acquire tools to think critically about our nation’s legal framework and students will be encouraged to explore their professional identities and future impact within the existing system of laws.