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Clssc Amer Cinema&Legal Thought: Law of the West (LAW-814B-001)
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The thesis of this course is that our collective perceptions of both natural and institutional justice, and our convictions about the social role of the legal profession, have been formed – directly or indirectly – by exposure to popular culture in general, and in particular to the film (and TV) Western. Like the popular literature of westward expansion generally, the Western movie sets out to dramatize the tension between radical individualism and organized social life, or (to put the same point differently) between the pulls of violence and the rule of law. The course is organized around a series of 14 films that students will view in advance of weekly class discussions (with one “bonus” film near the beginning of the semester, and another at the conclusion). Each film will paired with a relatively short list of supplementary readings, some drawn from the literature of film criticism, and others from the fields of cultural and legal history. For more details, please see the “Tentative Syllabus” posted below.
Textbooks and Other Materials
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First Class Readings
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The syllabus is available in the following format(s):