Christopher Fennell : Courses and Seminars
Anthropology and Law
This seminar for law students and graduate students in the social sciences will provide an introduction to the field of legal anthropology. We will address anthropological theories of the nature of law and disputes, examine related studies of legal structures in non-Western cultures, and consider the uses of anthropology in studying facets of our own legal system. By examining individual legal institutions in the context of their particular cultural settings, we can begin to make cross-cultural comparisons and contrasts. In so doing, we confront the challenge of interpreting and understanding the legal rules and institutions of other cultures while assessing the impact of our own social norms and biases on the analysis. Thus, our analytic and interpretative approach will require us to examine the cultural assumptions that underpin various aspects of our own belief systems and the American legal system.
Racism, Law, and Social Sciences
This seminar will provide an in-depth study of theories and methods for analysis of racialization in past and present societies. Analyses of the social construction of racial and ethnic identities have facilitated studies of the ways in which social differences are created, maintained, and masked. Subjects to be addressed in this seminar include the interrelation of racializing ideologies with other cultural and social dimensions, such as class, ethnicity, gender, political and legal structures, and economic influences. We will also consider the related histories of biological and genetic concepts of different races within the human species as part of the context of our study of racism operating within social processes. The seminar includes a major writing project in the form of a seminar paper.