Literature and Law
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.