LSJ 200 A: Introduction to Law, Societies, and Justice

Winter 2024
Meeting:
MWF 1:30pm - 2:20pm / KNE 220
SLN:
16784
Section Type:
Lecture
Instructor:
Jonathan C Beck
LSJ CORE COURSE. DO NOT CONTACT INSTRUCTOR REGARDING ADD CODES OR OVERLOADS. OPTIONAL LINKED WRITING COURSE FOR C OR W CREDIT: SEE ENGL 298 A SEATS ARE HELD FOR WINTER TRANSFER STUDENTS, INQUIRE AT ORIENTATION
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

Hey you! Yes you! Are you looking for what you can be reading and working on this week? Be sure to check out modules! You can also keep track of what needs to be done in the Course Syllabus.

 

Instructor: Jonathan Beck, Ph.D.
Office hours: Fridays 10:30-12:30
Office: Gowen 025
E-mail: jcbeck@uw.edu

Teaching Assistants:

Ayda Apa Pomeshikov  (AA 8:30, AC 9:30)
ayda@uw.edu
Office hours: Tuesdays, 10:30-12:30 am, Foster Business Lib. Room #9, Thursdays by appointment only

Roman Pomeshchikov  (AB 8:30, AD 11:30)
romanpom@uw.edu
Office hours: by appointment on Tuesdays & Thursdays (to schedule please use this link)

Katie Sophie Gonser (AG 2:30, AH 3:30)
kgonser@uw.edu
Office hours: by appointment

Madalena Monnier-Reyna (AE 11:30, AF 1:30)
mmonnier@uw.edu 
Office hours: Tuesday/Thursday 1230-1:30 Smith 411 (Geography lounge space)

Lectures: MWF 1:30-2:20 in KNE 220

 

Course Overview

Law is central to social life: it shapes the distribution of power and resources, opportunities, relationships, punishment, and even our personal identities. Law is also shaped by social dynamics in complex ways. But what exactly is the law, and what different forms does it take? What gives law its power? How does it shape our everyday lives and identities? How does it create and enact violence, even as it seeks to suppress it? How can it be used to both protect and challenge rights, power, and privilege?

This course will introduce you to the social scientific study of law, as well as some of the main foci of the Law, Societies & Justice major, including violence, rights, and justice. Real world topics will be explored to illustrate the larger themes.

  1. What is law, and how does it matter? What are its intended and unintended consequences? Why does law on the books differ from law in action? How do social forces shape law’s meaning, application, and enforcement, and why is the impact of these social forces changing and uncertain? Why is legal discretion inevitable, and why does this matter?

  2. What is law’s relationship to violence? How and why does law entail and enact violence, even as it seeks to suppress it? Why does this matter?

  3. What are rights, and how are they related to law and justice? How do people make rights- claims in struggles over law and justice? What happens when rights claims conflict? How do struggles over rights relate to justice? How can rights-claiming enhance justice, and how can the assertion of rights trigger counter-mobilizations and undermine justice?

 

Required Reading: All required readings will be posted for free on Canvas. There are no required textbooks. There will be about 30 pages of reading per class session, and I will always provide reading questions to help guide you through the readings. These questions are not required for credit but should be considered a useful resource.

Assessment:  

Engagement/Participation - 20%
Reading/Discussion Assignments - 15%
Big Ideas Assignment 1 - 20%
Big Ideas Assignment 2 - 20%
Big Ideas Assignment 3 - 25%

To receive credit for this course, you must complete all assessment components above. I include a brief description of each component below:

Engagement/Participation: While reading books and watching videos can help you learn, learning is just as much about what you do within community. We are here to become better thinkers and writers, but also to develop our oral and interpersonal skills (these skills are, in Dr. Beck’s view, related). Lectures will be interactive and sections will be student-driven, so you should come prepared to class each week ready to think, write, discuss, and engage. While we understand and respect that each student will engage differently, it is your responsibility to take an active role in your learning. If you are concerned about your participation or our expectations in this class, you should discuss with your teaching assistant (TA) as early as possible in the quarter. 

Reading/Discussion Assignments: Throughout the course, there will be several short assignments, which the instructor will make available a week before each is due. These are low-stakes assignments meant to build confidence, help with comprehension, and provide you an opportunity for hands-on analysis of law and society. These assignments may sometimes ask you to engage material from outside the syllabus.

Big Ideas Assignments: The Big Ideas Assignments are designed to check in with your comprehension of course material and development of important academic skills (analysis, original research, writing, etc.). Each assignment will be based on course content up to that point. The assignments are not technically cumulative, but will require you to build on conceptual knowledge and academic skills we develop throughout the course.

Catalog Description:
Explores the central role of law in social processes; investigates the primary types of legal regimes and compares them across different national and international contexts; contrasts legal with non-legal forms of social ordering; investigates the structure and practice of human rights law.
GE Requirements Met:
Social Sciences (SSc)
Credits:
5.0
Status:
Active
Last updated:
May 29, 2024 - 1:27 am