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Law and Literature

ENGL 0060.001
MWF 10:15-11:14am

Many of the central issues in law––evidence, criminality, confession, punishment, justice––are also central preoccupations in literature. We will explore the way literature “cross-examines” aspects of law and, conversely, how law relies on fictions and counterfactual worlds to rule on cases. Some of the questions we will explore include: Is the law a reliable tool for pursuing justice, or does it generate its own kinds of injustice? Should courts rule in accord with the way justice is understood by the majority of the community? In modern democracies, law is supposed to have a monopoly on legitimate physical force; how should we understand the relations between law and violence?  Our objects of study will include literary texts, films, legal commentaries, and some legal opinions. Students will have the opportunity to think about methods of interpretation and to strengthen critical analysis skills and writing skills.

Mandatory Recitations details are visible in Path@Penn.

English 0060.201 Ariel Bates, Friday 10:15-11:14am

English 0060.202 Ailin Jain, Friday 10:15-11:14am

English 0060.203 Clara Jimenez, Friday 10:15-11:14am

English 0060.204 Mursal Sidiqi, Friday 10:15-11:14am

English Major Requirements
  • Sector 1 Theory and Poetics (AETP)
  • Sector 5 19th Century (AE19)
  • Sector 6 20th & 21st Centuries (AE20)
English Concentration Attributes
  • 20th-21st Century Concentration (AE21)
College Attributes
  • Foundational Approach: Cultural Diversity in US (AUCD)
  • Sector IV: Humanities and Social Science (AUHS)