Critical Race Theory (LAW-682-001)
U* Notice - This course as offered *may* be eligible to satisfy Upper Level Writing Requirement. Students must have an explicit conversation with the professor no later than the end of the add/drop period, confirming that they intend to use the course assignment to fulfill the ULWR. Students must inquire and professors must agree to supervise the ULWR in writing. Students must present a written product for grading that meets both ULWR standards and the requirements of the course assignment.
More than three decades ago, a new scholarly movement developed in the legal academy. This movement, Critical Race Theory, challenged the style and substance of conventional legal scholarship. Critical Race Theory is a diverse interdisciplinary field, which critiques the “objectivist” approach to the law and legal systems. Some of the better-known early advocates of this movement include Derrick Bell, Mari Matsuda, Charles Lawrence, Richard Delgado, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Patricia Williams. Critical race scholars have rejected traditional legal methods of addressing systemic racial inequities such as pursuing formal equality, individual rights, and colorblind methods. Instead, critical race scholars have sought to show that the law is socially constructed and as such is influenced by institutional and individual perspectives. Scholars have also argued that race, class, gender, and sexual orientation have always played a critical role in legal outcomes. In putting forth such arguments, critical race scholars often employed new styles for legal scholarship, which include storytelling and narrative. This course examines the genesis of Critical Race Theory and explores its possibilities and limitations. This investigation requires thinking carefully about race and racism, as well as classism, sexism, and heterosexism. The course should provide an opportunity to challenge basic assumptions about race, law, and racial justice. We will do so in a respectful and collegial environment. Topics we will study may include racial identity, the social construction of race, education, criminal justice, employment discrimination, and national security issues.
Textbooks and Other Materials
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First Class Readings
Not available at this time.