California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: August 3, 1999
Faculty on the Site.
Time: M-W 4:00 - 5:15 p.m.
Room: SCC J146
Jeanne Curran, Ph.D., Esq.
Course requires computer literacy.
Time: MWF 1:00-1:50 p.m.
Room: 314 MOLN
Instructor: Susan Takata, Ph.D.
Course requires computer literacy.
In studying the legal system and its ramifications, we are faced with the need to look at the theory and policy which support the present system of law, but also to "talk and think about how things could be," (Quinney, quoting Arendt, p. 85 of Arrigo in course text), as a means to understanding injustices and how we might correct them to produce a better life for all. Sometimes that may mean tinkering with the system as it is, and sometimes that may mean the need for fundamental change to the social order. Whatever position you take on law and justice, the readings in this course should challenge you to think about the theory and assumptions that underlie your position, and the many alternatives that have been and will continue to be presented as we enter the new millennium.
We chose the Arrigo book because it offers many different theoretical approaches, clearly discusses the assumptions of each, and is eminently readable. This text also presents a variety of questions that will be useful in discussing and reviewing the operation and policy of the law, and the system of law as it is built into our culture.
Most of the authors included in the text come from a Marxist perspective. Additional readings will offer the traditional perspective. In the next decade, the first of the new millennium, you will have to consider how our society and others across the globe, will maintain peace, deal with war, deal with "crime," share prosperity. We hope that this text and this class will enhance your skills of reasoning on the many approaches to these aspects of social justice.
One of the principles of good faith listening in public discourse is that you make a real effort to understand the validity claims of others. Not that you agree with them. That you make a good faith effort to hear them, and to understand what their perspective is. We hope this course will help you do that.
This text, too, was chosen for its broad coverage of issues central to our concerns in social justice, for its structural emphasis on the extent to which the media and politics play significant roles in issues of law and justice, and for its eminent readability. Please do not read it in the midst of your other classes. Some instructors have complained of this.
We realize that both of the required texts touch on crime and criminal justice. Given recent outbreaks of violence that have captured the public's attention, given that we incarcerate a greater percentage of our people than any other developed nation, we consider such an emphasis acceptable. These issues of violence and crime will not evaporate. They are an important factor in how we are going to establish social justice in the next millennium.
Habermas is one of the leading thinkers of the Twentieth Century. Habermas is hard to read. He sometimes thinks concepts through, from one book to the next, and so he may change his position over time. But we will point you toward interpretive discussions, and guide you as well as we can. Our students like having the original text, and they like struggling with Habermas' concepts as he expresses them. That's where Dear Habermas came from. We strongly recommend this text. If you miss such an opportunity now, when will you find the time and the occasion to read such important thinkers?
The handbook offers excerpts from a variety of sources on social justice and the concept of law and the legal system. It also offers a broad array of discussion questions and lecture notes on the concepts and topics covered.
Expected in accord with university policy.
A series of exercises, with accompanying lecture notes designed to clarify what we were thinking of when we asked the question, must be answered by e-mail. The lecture notes will apprise you of at least one plausible way to answer the question, and you should reflect in your answer that you recognize our response, though you are welcome to disagree with it.
Answers to concept exercises shall be kept to no more than 50 words.
You shall recognize any author whose work you quote with quotation marks; and some of your answer must be rephrased into your own words.
You may work in groups on any or all of these exercises. Cooperative groups are strongly encouraged. Permission to work with more than one group, and to work with different groups. All names of active group members should be recorded as indicated on the exercise material.
You are required to submit 10 concept exercises, your choice of which concepts, but the concepts must cover at least three of the topic sections.
These exercises will be recorded, but not corrected, since the lecture notes have already provided satisfactory responses.
Discussion questions, along with accompanying lecture notes, are provided with each topic section.
You are required to submit 3 discussion exercises. Please try to limit them to 50 words.
For the actual experience, you may wish to visit a court, interview someone with an experience to share, visit a "battered women's" shelter, visit a local school and talk to young people about their experience with the law, or any of a variety of other activities.
You are strongly encouraged to work in collaborative groups. You may work with a variety of different groups.
You are required to submit one debriefing of a shared experience. Please keep your analysis brief, and be sure to link it to theory, to policy, to course discussions. A form for the debriefing that you may use as a guide will be available.
Successful and timely submission of all exercises will earn a C for the course.
For a B or an A, your discussion and debriefing submissions must show scholarly discipline in conceptually linking your material to theory, policy, and course discussions, with appropriate citations to academic sources, and should show some creative thought on the issue.