Together we will explore four central themes this semester. First, we will examine the foundations
of law and government—what makes up our democratic system, how are laws made, and what
relationships exist between citizens and government. Second, we will study the diverse and rich
civil rights movements of the U.S. to learn from the legal tactics different communities have used to change the law to better serve its citizens. Third, we will examine our criminal justice system with a critical lens. From the “War on Drugs” to the “War on Terror,” students will learn how to identify racial bias within themselves and the law, and ultimately analyze structural changes proposed for the American legal system.
Lastly, students will take what they’ve learned in the first three themes to develop an understanding of present day social justice movements to recognize how law and democracy impact every citizen’s (your) life. On a weekly basis, the class will address these concepts and questions through lectures, short films, group discussion (debates), and readings. Students will be challenged to become critical thinkers, develop strong legal arguments, and become familiar with legal writing. By the end of the course, students should be able to communicate what they’ve learned in their own words to others and promote an increased awareness of the law. In this way, we can help foster a more accessible justice system.
War on Drugs War on Terror
Racism Sexism Homophobia
Democracy Personal & Political Agency
Criminal Justice Juvenile Justice
Community Based Perspectives on Public Safety
Youth Led Community Based Research
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