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LAW Law, Slavery and Race

Public Interest Law: Direct Legal Services

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Regulatory & Policy
Public Interest Law
Direct Legal Services

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LAW 747

Law, Slavery and Race

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[ Regulatory & Policy ] Public Interest Law: Direct Legal Services

Why it is relevant for ...

[ Regulatory & Policy ] as a Related Elective for those interested in Antidiscrimination : This examination of the history of race and slavery in the U.S. and other national powers is a good choice for students whose chosen practice areas include legal responses to the problem of racial discrimination. Discriminatory treatment of African-Americans is a recurring theme in practice areas that include civil rights, education and employment law, as well as public interest and criminal law. This course offers useful perspectives on the influence of slavery and its attendant racial hierarchy on the constitutional regimes of the U.S. and other states that permitted slavery.

General course Description:

This course will explore the interaction of law, slavery and race in the United States, as well as from a comparative perspective. We will read original documents, including excerpts of trial transcripts, appellate opinions, treatises, codes, and first-person narratives. We will study the way law, politics and culture interacted to shape the institution of slavery and the development of modern conceptions of race. Course lectures and discussions will focus on questions such as: Did different legal regimes (Spanish, French, British) foster different systems of race and slavery in the Americas? How did/does law work "on the ground" to shape the production of racial hierarchy and creation of racial identities? In what ways did slavery influence the U.S. Constitution? How has race shaped citizenship in the U.S., and how can we compare it to other constitutional regimes? The course will begin with the origins of New World slavery, race and racism, and move chronologically to the present day. All students will be required to read and to participate in classroom discussion (obviously, attendance is required). Students will prepare two questions for discussion for 12 out of 20 class meetings; participation and discussion questions together will count for 25% of the grade. For students taking the exam, there will be a one-day take-home essay exam. Alternatively, students may write a final paper based on original research, of approximately 26 pages in length. A prospectus and rough draft will be required, for 5% and 10% of the grade respectively. The final exam or paper will be worth 75% of the grade (including the prospectus and rough draft). After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. Elements used in grading: Class Participation, Attendance, Written Assignments, Final Paper or Final Exam. Cross-listed with History (HISTORY 254D) & (HISTORY 354).

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