We will study the increasingly complex "marriage system," in which new forms of adult relationship join marriage in the legal order; the rules making marriage a significant distributive institution both in the larger political economy and amongst family members; and the rise of a body of constitutional law relating to family relationships. Throughout we will compare marriage with the alternative forms and with informal relationships, and will seek to understand how the family law system complements market labor and public welfare provision in distributing social welfare. The course closes with a comparison of the operation of family law among middle class and poor families using contemporary sociological writings. Students will engage in a divorce negotiation exercise involving short writing assignments, and may elect between a last-day take-home exam or (with the instructor's permission) a research paper.
Trafficking and Labor Migration
A new, rapidly evolving body of international and domestic law focuses on human trafficking and human smuggling. This Seminar will focus on understanding the legal mechanisms of this new legal order, the ideological and policy impulses that produced and sustain it, and the distributive effects it is producing both in the developed and the developing worlds. Guest speakers doing cutting-edge legal and ethnographic work in the field will bring us their new work for discussion. Students may satisfy the writing requirement of this Seminar with research papers, prospectuses for field work, and/or critical syntheses of existing writing in the field.
Critical Theory in Legal Scholarship
The goal of this seminar will be to help students imagine writing projects of their own which put critical theory from the humanities and from legal studies "to work" in understanding some concrete dimension of the law. Readings will be a selected range of "classics" in literary, social and legal theory, paired with remarkable examples of legal-academic writing strongly engaged with them. Our discussions will aim for mastery of the former and a nuanced understanding of the interventions and methods exemplified by the latter. The target audience of this Seminar is students with ambitions to write legal scholarship - whether 1L's at the very beginning of their thinking in this direction, or LLM's writing scholarly papers, or 2L's and 3L's in the early, middle or late stages of framing an academic project. 1L's and welcome to enroll. SJD's are welcome to audit. Students may write 6 short response papers or submit substantial writing within their own scholarly endeavors.