Call Number: 15572
Course Number: 6730-01
Professor: Stephen M. Feldman
Credit Hours & Type of Credit: 3
Semester Offered: Fall
Prerequisites: Students must have completed their first year of law school.
Recommended Courses: None
Course Overview: This course will examine American legal thought from the nation’s inception through today. We will discuss issues related to the nature of law, the nature of judicial decision making, the relationship between law and society, and the like. The first part of the course will explore historically important jurists, jurisprudents, and schools of thought, including the constitutional framers, natural law thinkers, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and Benjamin Cardozo. The second part of the course will explore current schools of thought, including law and economics, feminist jurisprudence, pragmatism, and postmodernism.
The purpose of the course is to encourage critical thinking: to question some of the apparent foundations of legal study and practice that attorneys, students, and professors often take for granted. I do not expect students to agree with all of the viewpoints expressed by the various writers that will be read during the semester. In fact, you might not agree with any of the writers. Such disagreement is fine (and is even to be encouraged).
Course Materials: See the current Book List located under Courses and Curriculum.
Course Format: Lecture/discussion
Written Assignments: 5 short (one paragraph to one page in length) reaction papers (giving the student's reaction, analysis, or ideas with regard to any part of the class reading): these papers are not graded, but must be turned in at some point during the semester; the papers are occasionally read in class (without identifying the author) to generate discussion
Type of Exam: Take-home essay (open-book).
Basis for Grading Student Performance: Primarily exam (though grades can lowered if, for example, the student fails to turn in 5 reaction papers during the semester)