- American Constitutional Development I: This course examines the foundations and development of the American constitutional system, with the focus on the U.S. Supreme Court's role in defining judicial review, separation of powers, federalism, and basic limitations on governmental power to protect individual rights.
- American Constitutional Development II: This seminar examines the judicial role in protecting civil rights and liberties under the Constitution, with principal attention to the Supreme Court's interpretation of due process, the right of privacy, First Amendment freedoms, and equal protection.
- American Political Thought: Analysis of central themes in American political thought in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with special attention to the foundational principles of American constitutionalism and the controversy over slavery.
- Criminal Justice and Society: This course critically examines the American criminal justice system. Major topics include social control through the criminal law, policing in a free society, the structure and processes of criminal trial courts, as well as theories and administration of punishment.
- Human Rights in America: This course examines the origins and development of civil liberties in the United States from a human rights perspective. Students will analyze competing views on issues of current concern considered against relevant historical background. Topics range from economic security and education to race discrimination and civil liberties in the war on terror. A major theme of this course concerns the tension between American ideals and actual practices.
- Law and Literature: The purpose of this course is to explore fundamental questions about the law through literature. Students will examine a wide range of literary texts, from ancient Greek epic poems and Icelandic sagas to contemporary American fiction. Major themes include the conflict between law and justice, revenge, culpability, punishment, social order, and the authority and legitimacy of legal institutions. Although this course focuses on law as it is portrayed in literature, some attention is given to considering law as literature, specifically with respect to the American Constitution and judicial opinions.
- Law and Race: This seminar explores the relationship between law and race from a sociolegal perspective. While noting criticisms of the so-called “black/white binary paradigm,” the focus will be placed on the African-American experience in the United States. Working with a wide range of texts (from canonical primary sources to recent writings of critical race theorists), students will consider the extent to which American law has embodied racism. This course specifically analyzes the role of legal institutions in promoting and blocking progressive social change as well as the contributions of social movements and civil rights lawyers in resisting and reshaping the law. Intersections of law, race, and gender will be examined.
- Public Controversies and the Supreme Court: This course critically examines the role that the Supreme Court plays in highly divisive issues. Major topics include affirmative action, abortion, healthcare reform, same-sex marriage, and national security.
- Race, Crime, and Law: Sociolegal examination of race and the American criminal justice system. Topics include the sociology of urban violence, racial profiling, prosecutorial discretion, race discrimination in jury selection, jury nullification, racial disparities in capital punishment, and the war on drugs.