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Literature and Law

ENGL 106.001
instructor(s):
TR 3:00-4:30pm
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 5: 19th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Sector IV: Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Sciences of the College's General Education Curriculum

Many of the central issues in law––evidence, confession, punishment, justice, criminality––are also central preoccupations in literature. In this course we will read literary and legal texts that illuminate key concepts and dilemmas in the law. Topics will include the tension between strict liability and fair adjudication, the problem of bias within legal processes, and the place of rhetoric and storytelling in law. We will explore issues from legal history (slavery, segregation, sex and marriage) as well as select issues in contemporary law (mass incarceration, torture, the right to die).

 Authors may include William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Susan Glaspell, Oscar Wilde, Nadine Gordimer, Mahmoud Saeed, Ariel Dorfman. Students will be required to write three short papers and an exam.