Complementary, Multi-Disciplinary, and Cross-Listed Courses

Professor Brian Leiter

The courses listed below provide a taste of the complementary, multi-disciplinary, and cross-listed courses offered. This list includes the courses taught in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. Not all of these courses are offered every year, but this list will give you a representative sample of the variety of courses we might offer over any two-year period. Other new courses will likely be offered during your time at the Law School.

PLEASE NOTE: This page does not include courses for the current academic year. To browse current course offerings, visit my.UChicago.

Advanced Industrial Organization III

Spring 2019, Dennis Carlton

This course will complement the other courses in the Ph.D. sequence for industrial organization and will focus on topics closely related to antitrust economics and regulation. Topics will include optimal price discrimination, bundling, tie in sales, price fixing, two sided markets including credit cards, the theory of optimal regulation, and the empirical facts of regulation. The course is primarily for PhDs in economics and business, but advanced law students interested in antitrust and regulation plus advanced and interested MBAs are welcome.

Advanced Topics in Moral, Political, and Legal Philosophy:  Nietzsche on Morality, Suffering, and the Value of Life

Winter 2019, Michael Forster and Brian Leiter

Nietzsche objects to Judeo-Christian morality (and its 'ascetic' analogues in non-Western traditions) because he argues it is a fatal obstacle to certain kinds of human flourishing and cultural excellence. This is closely connected to his opposition to Schopenhauer's pessimistic view that the inescapable fact of suffering renders life without value (a life without human excellence would, on Nietzsche's view, lack value). These issues (and others, e.g., the nature of philosophy and tragedy, the conception of Dionysus) have antecedents in his early work as a scholar of antiquity and the influence of his Basel colleague, the important historian Jacob Burckhardt. Roughly the first five sessions will be devoted to reconstructing the "mature" Nietzsche's view, as represented by the Genealogy, but also excerpts from Daybreak, Beyond Good and Evil, Twilight of the Idols, and Ecce Homo. The remaining four sessions of the seminar will explore the historical background, in Greek literature and philosophy, the reception of Greek culture in German philosophy, and in the seminal work of his colleague Burckhardt. The ultimate goal is to reconstruct Nietzsche's view from a philosophical point of view and, as importantly, in light of the historical context. Open to philosophy PhD students without permission and to others with permission; those seeking permission should e-mail Leiter with a resume and a detailed description of their background in philosophy (not necessarily in the study of Nietzsche). In the event of demand, preference will be given to J.D. students with the requisite philosophy background. (I) and (III) M. Forster; B. LeiterThis class requires a major paper of 20-25 pages.

Anthropology and Law

Winter 2019, Christopher Fennell

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. Requirements for this seminar course include preparation of a research paper of 20-25 pages and thoughtful class participation. Writing for this seminar may be used as partial fulfillment of the JD writing requirement (SRP or WP).

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Christopher Fennell

Behavioral Law and Economics

Spring 2019, Jonathan Masur

This seminar will explore a set of frontier issues at the intersection of law and human behavior, including people's conduct under risk and uncertainty; the commitment to fairness; social influences and peer pressure; extremism; adaptation; happiness; discrimination; and judicial behavior. Some discussion will be devoted to the uses and limits of paternalism. Grades will be based on class participation and a series of short papers of 20-25 pages.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Jonathan Masur
  • Autumn 2018, Jonathan Masur

Big Problems

Spring 2019, David A. Weisbach, Anup Malani, Robert Topel, and Kevin Murphy

The Big Problems course will use multidisciplinary approaches to try to understand and tackle the most important problems facing our country or the world. The first 8 weeks will be taught by the instructors and outside experts, focusing on problems such as the Zika virus, Syrian migration to Europe, cybersecurity, nuclear waste storage, opioid addiction, sex trafficking, and policing and race relations. Students will work in teams of 2 business and 2 law students to develop feasible policy or private sector solutions to a problem of their choosing and make a presentation in the last 2 weeks. Presentations will be made to instructors, outside experts and fellow students. Class participation may be considered in final grading. Final grade will be based on a major paper (20-25 pages).

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, David A. Weisbach, Anup Malani, Robert Topel, and Kevin Murphy

Business Planning

Winter 2018, Keith Crow and Anthony Sexton

This seminar develops and applies the student's knowledge of taxation and corporate and securities law in the solution of a series of transactional problems involving typical steps in business formation and rearrangement. The problems include the formation of a closely held company; the transition to public ownership of the corporation; executive compensation arrangements; the purchase and sale of a business; and mergers, tender offers, and other types of combination transactions. Small-group discussions and lectures are employed. The student's grade is based on a final examination; students may earn an additional credit by writing a paper on a topic approved by the instructors.The student must have taken (or be taking concurrently) Business Organizations and Corporate Tax I or receive instructor approval.

Business Strategy

Autumn 2017, Emir Kamenica

This course applies tools from microeconomics, game theory, industrial organization, and theory of the firm to analyze decisions facing firms in a competitive environment.  The specific focus is on strategic decisions where each firm's profits depend critically on the actions chosen by its competitors.  Classes combine case analysis and discussions with lectures.  Topics include pricing, positioning, strategic commitment, firm structure, and entry and exit.

Capital Markets Transactions

Winter 2018, Carol Anne Huff

This seminar examines selected legal issues and documents in connection with capital raisingtransactions by companies and investment banks in the U.S., including initial public offeringsand offerings of investment grade and high yield debt securities. The seminar will review the keyaspects of offering equity and debt securities, including relevant offering documents andcontractual agreements (such as prospectuses, underwriting agreements and indentures),applicable SEC and stock exchange regulation and disclosure issues. Topics will also include theissuance of securities in the context of out-of-court restructuring transactions, as well as relateddisclosure issues, and alternative means of "going public" in the U.S., including spin-offs. Theseminar will include analysis of deal-related issues and case studies.Securities Regulation is a prerequisite.Final grade will be based on: substantial out of classroom work, class participation.

Communications and Advocacy for Lawyers

Winter 2019, Marsha Nagorsky

No skill is more important for a lawyer than communication, and this is especially true when lawyers are engaged in public advocacy. Students in this hands-on seminar will develop skills in writing, analysis, and presentation geared toward advocacy. Students will take on the role of a spokesperson for an organization (non-profit, business, or law firm) and learn to advocate for that organization though writing op-eds, press releases, blog posts, and communications plans; preparing and delivering a presentation and slide decks; and engaging through media interviews and crisis communications. Topics covered will include creating and adjusting communications based on audience and medium; writing persuasively, especially for non-legal audiences; communications plan development, media training, and public speaking with and without preparation. Students will be expected to speak before the class and outsiders, write on a weekly basis, and edit each other's work. Students will be graded on quality of work product, participation in class, and improvement over the class time, with the majority of the grade coming from a final presentation and slide deck and a capstone communications plan.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Marsha Nagorsky

The Constitutional Rights of Minors from the Minors' Point of View

Autumn 2018, Emily Buss

In this seminar, a small number of law students will collaborate with Professor Buss in teaching a course to high school students from the Woodlawn Charter School and the Laboratory Schools on students' constitutional rights in school. Each class will focus on a different case and related doctrine, and will engage the high school students in a discussion of a scenario that asks them to apply the doctrine to new facts. Topics will include student speech and religious exercise, drug testing and locker searches, procedural rights in the context of disciplinary actions, and race and gender discrimination, among others. Before each class students will read an edited version of a Supreme Court case and will prepare to discuss a case study. After each class the high school students will write a brief reflection piece. Each law student will be paired with two high school students, and will interact with those students in and out of class. Law students will check in with the high school students to assist with class preparation, and will review and comment on the students' reflection pieces. During class, law students will help facilitate the small group discussions. Law students will also submit brief weekly reports of their students' class participation and their out-of-class interactions. At some point in or after the quarter (the timing will be at the law students' discretion, within the time frame permitted under the Law School's paper policy), Law Student's will write a paper that discusses one of the topics we have covered, and that particularly draws on the high school students' perspective, shared in and out of class, to develop a theme relevant to the doctrine in question. Students interested in applying for this class should send a note of interest to Professor Buss ebussdos@uchicago.edu.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Emily Buss

Critical Legal Studies vs. Law and Economics

Spring 2019, William Hubbard

This seminar will explore two kindred (!) schools of legal thought: critical legal studies (including critical race theory and critical legal studies scholarship on gender and status) and law and economics. We will read canonical and representative works from both schools, with special attention to their critiques of each other. We will attempt to identify the ways in which these critiques have influenced, or should influence, current research and teaching in law. Grades will be based on class participation and a series of short reaction papers (2 credits). Students may earn 3 credits with instructor approval to write an additional 10-12 page paper.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, William Hubbard

Emotion, Reason, and Law

Spring 2018, Martha C. Nussbaum

Emotions figure in many areas of the law, and many legal doctrines (from reasonable provocation in homicide to mercy in criminal sentencing) invite us to think about emotions and their relationship to reason.  In addition, some prominent theories of the limits of law make reference to emotions: thus Lord Devlin and, more recently, Leon Kass have argued that the disgust of the average member of society is a sufficient reason for rendering a practice illegal, even though it does no harm to others. Emotions, however, are all too rarely studied closely, with the result that both theory and doctrine are often confused.   The first part of this course will study major theories of emotion, asking about the relationship between emotion and cognition, focusing on philosophical accounts, but also learning from anthropology and psychology. We will ask how far emotions embody cognitions, and of what type, and then we will ask whether there is reason to consider some or all emotions "irrational" in a normative sense.  We then turn to the criminal law, asking how specific emotions figure in doctrine and theory: anger, fear, compassion, disgust, guilt, and shame. Legal areas considered will include self-defense, reasonable provocation, mercy, victim impact statements, sodomy laws, sexual harassment, shame-based punishments. Next, we turn to the role played by emotions in constitutional law and in thought about just institutions - a topic that seems initially unpromising, but one that will turn out to be full of interest.  Other topics will be included as time permits. Law students and Ph.D. students may register without permission. All others need instructor's permission.

Empirical Legal Studies

Spring 2019, Kyle Rozema

 Lawyers constantly evaluate and make legal arguments based on facts about the world. Often, these "facts" are not universally accepted. These facts usually stem from empirical research, and the debate over the facts is usually about the debate over the empirical research. Empirical research can be difficult to understand, but a lot of today's empirical research uses only a handful of methods. In this seminar, you will learn about these methods and the main legal questions that they have been applied to address. The goal of this seminar is not to become a producer of empirical research, and students will not attempt to conduct any empirical analysis. There will be no coding in the seminar. Rather, the goal of the seminar is to become a better consumer of empirical research. Class time each week will be devoted to understanding the intuition of empirical methods. There will be no math in class, and students are encouraged to skip over all the math in the readings. With better intuition about the common empirical methods, students will be able to ask the right questions if presented with arguments based on empirical research. The method of evaluation will be a series of short reaction papers.

Evolution of Legal Doctrine

Autumn 2017, Frank Easterbrook

Legal doctrines have life cycles. They are born and mature. Many doctrines fade and die. There is a form of natural selection among doctrines, with several candidates offering to serve the same function in different ways. This seminar looks at the maturation and replacement of doctrines, posing the question why some die and others survive. Scope is eclectic: the doctrines range from "separate but equal" under the equal protection clause to the "original package doctrine" under the commerce clause, from the appointment of counsel under the Sixth Amendment to the understanding of the Rules of Decision Act (that is, why Swift gave way to Erie). The premise of the seminar is that those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.Final grade will be based on: a series of short research papers and class participation.

Feminist Economics and Public Policy

Spring 2019, Diana Strassmann

This seminar will explore advances in feminist economics and the implications for public policy in local and global communities. Drawing from feminist economics research, the seminar will address the persistence of gender inequality in societies around the world and proposed policy solutions. Topics will include gender relations and the organization of domestic and market work, violence against women, workplace and pay equality, gendered access to resources, education, and healthcare, and gender and property rights. Evaluation will be based on class participation, and short research/response papers. Non-law students must have instructor consent to enroll.

Feminist Philosophy

Spring 2019, Martha C. Nussbaum

The course is an introduction to the major varieties of philosophical feminism.  After studying some key historical texts in the Western tradition (Wollstonecraft, Rousseau, J. S. Mill), we examine four types of contemporary philosophical feminism: Liberal Feminism (Susan Moller Okin, Martha Nussbaum), Radical Feminism (Catharine MacKinnon, Andrea Dworkin), Difference Feminism (Carol Gilligan, Annette Baier, Nel Noddings), and Postmodern "Queer" Gender Theory and trans femism (Judith Butler, Michael Warner and others).  After studying each of these approaches, we will focus on political and ethical problems of contemporary international feminism, asking how well each of the approaches addresses these problems. Undergraduates may enroll only with the permission of the instructor. This class has an 8 hour take-home final exam or major paper of 20-25 pages.

Greenberg Seminar: Artificial Intelligence

Spring 2018, Anthony Casey and Erin Casey

This seminar will explore a series of works on the ethical and legal issues posed by the promise of artificial intelligence and autonomous machines. Covered works will include Nick Bostrom's "Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies;" Kurt Vonnegut's "The Player Piano;" the films "Ex Machina" and "Blade Runner;" and the television series "West World."  We use these works to examine ethical and legal issues such as the consciousness, personhood, and culpability of autonomous machines as well as questions about how artificial intelligence may disrupt existing institutions in society. The seminar will meet twice each quarter at the professors' home in Naperville on Sunday afternoons.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Anthony Casey and Erin Casey
  • Winter 2018, Anthony Casey and Erin Casey

Greenberg Seminar: Black Lives Matter, Why?

Spring 2018, Herschella G. Conyers, Amy Hermalik, and Xiaorong Wu

#BlackLivesMatter, why? In this class, we will examine Black Lives Matter, its meteoric leap from hashtag to rights movement, and where it goes from here. We will explore the roots of the movement, criticisms and pushback, intersectionality, and the questions it raises for the nation's future. We will read articles and essays, and also draw on a number of podcasts and movies to round out our discussion and come to a clearer understanding of Black Lives Matter. The class will meet twice in the fall, once in the winter, and twice in the spring.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Herschella G. Conyers, Amy Hermalik, and Xiaorong Wu
  • Winter 2018, Herschella G. Conyers, Amy Hermalik, and Xiaorong Wu

Greenberg Seminar: British Novels of Law and Social Upheaval

Spring 2018, Martha C. Nussbaum and William Birdthistle

The period between 1860 and 1914 saw huge economic and social transformations in British society. Novelists captured this ferment, often reflecting on the role of law.  We will think about how economic change, law, and the literary imagination all interact, reading a group of novels that deal with economic and social unrest:  Thomas Hardy's TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES (1891) (dealing with class conflict and sexual vulnerability) Thomas Hardy, JUDE THE OBSCURE (1895) (dealing with class and education) Wilkie Collins's NO NAME (1862) (dealing with illegitimacy and inheritance law) Lewis Carroll's ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND (1865) (a scathing satire of British politics) Anthony Trollope's THE WAY WE LIVE NOW (1875) (a dark study of the rise of new monied interests) and E. M. Forster's HOWARDS END (1910) (dealing with tradition and change, working class aspirations, and changing sexual mores)

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Martha C. Nussbaum and William Birdthistle
  • Winter 2018, Martha C. Nussbaum and William Birdthistle

Greenberg Seminar: Classics in Law and Development

Spring 2018, Thomas Ginsburg and James Robinson

This Greenberg will focus on some of the early literature on the relationship of law and economic development. Readings will be drawn from early anthropology and social sciences, starting in the 19th and early 20th centuries, to try to answer an enduring question: why are some countries poor and other countries rich?

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Thomas Ginsburg and James Robinson
  • Winter 2018, Thomas Ginsburg and James Robinson

Greenberg Seminar: Crime and Politics in Charm City: A Portrait of the Urban Drug War

Spring 2018, Jonathan Masur and Richard McAdams

We will explore a series of works on urban crime, politics, and policing, with an emphasis on the City of Baltimore: David Simon, "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets," Sudhir Venkatesh, "Gang Leader for a Day," Jill Loevy, "Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America," and all of "The Wire." We will focus particularly on the drug war - the economics and violence of the trade; the culture of the police bureaucracy; alternative law enforcement strategies such as informants and wiretapping; the politics of race, crime rates, and legalization; and the effects of addiction. But these works also examine the effects of declining blue collar jobs and weakening labor unions; the effects of race, incumbency, and corruption on local politics; the challenges and failures of urban education and child welfare agencies; and the role of the city newspaper in self-governance. Preference is given to 3L students. Graded Pass/Fail.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Jonathan Masur and Richard McAdams
  • Winter 2018, Jonathan Masur and Richard McAdams

Greenberg Seminar: Law and Psychology in Popular Media

Spring 2018, Omri Ben-Shahar and Boaz Keysar

The seminar explores legal problems that lie in the intersection of ethics and psychology. The co-instructor, Boaz Keysar, is a Professor of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Chicago. In preparation to each meeting, students will be asked to watch a movie that raises a set of specific ethical/psychological problems . The movies include The Stanford Prison Experiment, A Few Good Men, Inside Job, and others. Graded Pass/Fail.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Omri Ben-Shahar and Boaz Keysar
  • Winter 2018, Omri Ben-Shahar and Boaz Keysar

Greenberg Seminar: The Complacent Class and Other Tyler Cowen Ideas

Winter 2018, Saul Levmore and Julie Roin

This Greenberg Seminar will read and discuss books by Tyler Cowen, a provocative and wide-ranging economist. Likely books include: The Complacent Class (the failure of the American Dream and why our society is static); , Average is Over, (ideas about income inequality and jobs in the New Economy);  Good and Plenty (arts funding); Creative Destruction (cultural appropriation and globalization); and What Price Fame (fame versus merit). [Books will be provided.]

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Saul Levmore and Julie Roin

Greenberg Seminar: The McCarthy Era and the Writers

Spring 2019, William Birdthistle and Martha C. Nussbaum

During the McCarthy era from the late 1940s through the 1950s, many prominent writers and other artists were hounded by the House Un-American Activities Committee, and some were blacklisted from working in media.  This Greenberg looks at a group of distinguished left-wing writers who testified before HUAC and who dealt with the challenge in a variety of ways: Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller, Clifford Odets, and Howard Fast. We will read Hellman's SCOUNDREL TIME to examine the hearings, and then we'll look at a group of works to see how they express themes of anti-capitalism and/or anti-authoritarianism: Miller's DEATH OF A SALESMAN, THE CRUCIBLE, and ALL MY SONS; Hellman's THE LITTLE FOXES and WATCH ON THE RHINE; Odets's WAITING FOR LEFTY and GOLDEN BOY (as well as DARKNESS AT NOON by Arthur Koestler as an international example); and Fast's SPARTACUS.  Does the political analysis stand up today, and what else helps make these works lasting parts of literary history?

Previously:

  • Autumn 2018, William Birdthistle and Martha C. Nussbaum
  • Winter 2019, William Birdthistle and Martha C. Nussbaum

Greenberg Seminar: The Trump Presidency

Spring 2018, Eric Posner and William Howell

Donald Trump is the most divisive president of the modern era. After a tempestuous electoral campaign, he entered office with weak public support, and was immediately embroiled in a series of scandals. Does his presidency change American politics and constitutional understandings, or is he a "normal" president, appearances to the contrary? We will read recent books on the Trump presidency, focusing on his election, his early tenure, and his legal and political battles.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Eric Posner and William Howell
  • Winter 2018, Eric Posner and William Howell

Greenberg Seminar: Tribes

Spring 2018, Todd Henderson and Salen Churi

We are all members of various tribes, from the human tribe to religious tribes to sports tribes to the digital tribe. Tribes were once a source of biological necessity, while today they are often associated with negative qualities. Tribalism is viewed as against progress, although sometimes this is thought to be a good thing (e.g., preserving the tribalism of Native Americans, the Amish, Orthodox Jews, or the like). In this Greenberg, we will read widely on the subject of tribes and tribalism of various kinds, trying to understand the topology of modern tribes, the reasons for their persistence, whether they represent a good or bad feature of human society, and what the future of tribalism looks like. We will read non-fiction (e.g., "True Believer" by Eric Hoffer) and fiction (e.g., "Hominids" by Robert Sawyer) and watch a film or two (e.g., "Ex Machina").

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Todd Henderson and Salen Churi
  • Winter 2018, Todd Henderson and Salen Churi

Greenberg Seminar: What is Racism?

Spring 2018, Daniel Abebe and Aziz Huq

This seminar explores the historical, sociological, and cultural roots of racism and racial ideologies.  It examines the relationship of racism and racial ideologies with different forms of political governance, including segregation and apartheid, and explores the legal mechanisms that have both permitted and prohibited racism in various settings.  The seminar will mainly focus on the meaning of racism most prevalent in the United States but will also, where appropriate, consider comparative examples.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Daniel Abebe and Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2018, Daniel Abebe and Aziz Huq

Greenberg Seminar: Why I don't like to talk about race (and gender)

Spring 2019, Herschella G. Conyers and Amy Hermalik

In this class we will explore why it is so difficult for people to have conversations about race and gender. Our quest throughout the seminar will be to develop a better understanding of the unique historical and cultural underpinnings that make modern discussions about race and gender fraught with blame, denial, fear and discomfort, and we will do so primarily through materials focused on race. We will explore the history of racism in the U.S. by reading portions of Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi. We will also explore how whiteness interacts with this history by reading White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo.  We will watch the TedX talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that was the basis for her book We Should All Be Feminists and may watch an additional movie or read a supplemental article. While there are significant differences in what underpins discussions about race and gender, there is also significant overlap and conversations about either are incomplete when they don't acknowledge that both matter. In developing a better understanding of why modern discussions about race and gender are so difficult, we intend for participants to walk away from the seminar with a better understanding of their own relationship with the issue and how to navigate it in social and political contexts.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2018, Herschella G. Conyers and Amy Hermalik
  • Winter 2019, Herschella G. Conyers and Amy Hermalik

Hellenistic Ethics

Autumn 2018, Martha C. Nussbaum

The three leading schools of the Hellenistic era (starting in Greece in  the late fourth century B. C. E. and extending through the second century C. E. in Rome) - Epicureans, Skeptics, and Stoics - produced philosophical work of lasting value, frequently neglected because of the fragmentary nature of the Greek evidence and people's (unjustified) contempt for Roman philosophy.  We will study in a detailed and philosophically careful way the major ethical arguments of all three schools.  Topics to be addressed include: the nature and role of pleasure; the role of the fear of death in human life; other sources of disturbance (such as having definite ethical beliefs?); the nature of the emotions and their role in a moral life; the nature of appropriate action; the meaning of the injunction to "live in accordance with nature".  If time permits we will say something about Stoic political philosophy and its idea of global duty.  Major sources (read in English) will include the three surviving letters of Epicurus and other fragments; the skeptical writings of Sextus Empiricus; the presentation of Stoic ideas in the Greek biographer Diogenes Laertius and the Roman philosophers Cicero and Seneca. This course complements the Latin course on Stoic Ethics in the winter quarter, and many will enjoy doing both. Admission by permission of the instructor.  Permission must be sought in writing by September 15. Prerequisite: An undergraduate major in philosophy or some equivalent solid philosophy preparation, plus my permission.  This is a 500 level course.  Ph.D. students in Philosophy, Classics, and Political Theory may enroll without permission.

Henry Sidgwick

Autumn 2017, Martha C. Nussbaum

The most philosophically explicit and rigorous of the British Utilitarians, Henry Sidgwick made important contributions to normative ethics, political philosophy, and metaethics.  His work also has important implication for law.  His great work The Methods of Ethics, which will be the primary focus of this seminar, has been greatly admired even by those who deeply disagree with it - for example John Rawls, for whom Sidgwick was important both as a source and as a foil, and Bernard Williams, who wrote about him with particular hostility.  Sidgwick provides the best defense of Utilitarianism we have, allowing us to see what it really looks like as a normative ethical and social theory. Sidgwick was also a practical philosopher and activist, writing on many topics, but especially on women's higher education, which he did much to pioneer at Cambridge University, founding Newnham College with his wife Eleanor.  A rationalist who helped to found the Society for Psychical Research, an ardent feminist who defended the ostracism of the "fallen woman," a closeted gay man who attempted to justify the proscriptions of Victorian morality, Sidgwick is a philosopher full of deep tensions and fascinating contradictions, which work their way into his arguments.  So we will also read the work in the context of Sidgwick's contorted relationship with his era.Admission by permission of the instructor.  Permission must be sought in writing by September 15.  This class will meet at the Law School.Prerequisite: An undergraduate major in philosophy or some equivalent solid philosophy preparation.  This is a 500 level course.  Ph.D. students in Philosophy and Political Theory may enroll without permission.

Human Rights: Alien and Citizen

Winter 2018, Susan R. Gzesh

The basic notion of international human rights is that rights are inherent in the identity of human beings, regardless of their citizenship, nationality, or immigration status. This course will address how international human rights doctrines, conventions, and mechanisms can be used to understand the situation of the "alien" (or foreigner) who has left his or her country of origin to work, seek safe haven, or simply reside in another country. How native or resident populations and governments respond to new arrivals has varied tremendously in the past and present. In some situations, humanitarian impulses or political interests have dictated a warm welcome and full acceptance into the national community. In other cases, alien populations have become targets of suspicion and repression. In some extreme cases, states have "denationalized" resident populations who previously enjoyed national citizenship. We will use an interdisciplinary approach to address such questions as (1) Why do human beings migrate? What might human rights as a measuring instrument tell us about conditions that promote refugee flows and other forms of forced migration? (2) What is the meaning of citizenship? How is it acquired or lost? What rights may societies and nation-states grant only to citizens, but withhold from others? (3) Are human rights truly universal? Are rights necessarily dependent on citizenship? (4) How do differences in rights between citizens and aliens become more important during national security crises? (5) What are the principal categories used by nation states to classify foreign visitors and residents? How do these categorizations affect the rights of foreigners? (6) How do international human rights doctrines limit actions by states with respect to certain categories of foreigners such as refugees, asylum applicants, and migratory workers? (7) Given the non-voting status of foreign populations in almost all countries, how are the rights of aliens represented in societies of settlement? How do home country governments regard their expatriate communities? The student's grade is based on attendance, participation, and a major paper.

Human Rights: Contemporary Issues

Autumn 2018, Susan R. Gzesh

This interdisciplinary course presents an overview of several major contemporary human rights problems as a means to explore the use of human rights norms and mechanisms. The course addresses the roles of states, inter-governmental bodies, national courts, civil society actors including NGOs, victims, and their families, and other non-state actors. Topics are likely to include universalism, enforceability of human rights norms, the prohibition against torture, U.S. exceptionalism, and the rights of women, racial minorities, and non-citizens.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Susan R. Gzesh, Matthew Furlong, and Kai Parker

Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations

Spring 2019, Ben Laurence

Human rights are claims of justice that hold merely in virtue of our shared humanity. In this course we will explore philosophical theories of this elementary and crucial form of justice. Among topics to be considered are the role that dignity and humanity play in grounding such rights, their relation to political and economic institutions, and the distinction between duties of justice and claims of charity or humanitarian aid. Finally we will consider the application of such theories to concrete, problematic and pressing problems, such as global poverty, torture and genocide.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Ben Laurence, Joshua Fox, Claudia Hogg-Blake, and Agatha Slupek

Introduction to Law and Economics

Winter 2019, Dhammika Dharmapala

This class is an introduction to the economic analysis of law, an approach that has grown rapidly in the last thirty years and now exerts a profound influence on how law is taught and on how courts make decisions. The class will provide you with a set of tools for analyzing transactions and how they are shaped by legal rules, through systematic exposure to the economic way of thinking about law across a variety of legal contexts. These tools are intended to complement, not to challenge, the traditional doctrinal approach to law. The objective is to equip you to use economic reasoning in an informed and critical spirit to analyze cases and transactions of the sort you may encounter in practice. More generally, you should be able to understand and critically evaluate the use of economic analysis in legal scholarship, judicial opinions, and other legal contexts.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Anup Malani
  • Winter 2018, Dhammika Dharmapala

Islamic Law: Foundations and Contemporary Issues

Autumn 2018, Kamran Bajwa

Since its inception, Islamic Law has grown from a set of rules governing life in 6th century Arabia to a global body of law developed across time and place with application to religious, civil, criminal, constitutional, commercial, and international law. The primary objective of the seminar will be to give students a basic understanding of Islamic Law and the issues faced in applying Islamic Law in the modern context. The seminar will cover the origins and historical development of Islamic Law, Islamic legal theory, scope and application of Islamic Law, and selected current issues such as Islamic Finance. Modern constitutional law issues regarding sources of law, religious freedom, public interest, and related issues in Muslim majority countries will be reviewed as well as the debates around the application of Islamic Law for Muslim minorities living in secular states. Special attention will be paid to comparative law aspects of Western legal theory and Islamic legal theory in light of the historical introduction of Western legal systems to the Muslim world through Colonial and post-Colonial experiences. Current political debates around Shari'ah law and the concept of a Caliphate will be assessed against Islamic legal theory and constitutional law, specifically in light of the Arab Spring revolutions and the phenomenon of violent extremism. As such, in addition to a theoretical understanding of Islamic Law in the modern context, students will also develop an understanding of the practical impact of legal theory on political, social, and economic realities in the Muslim world and beyond. This is a one semester seminar for 2L and 3L students. There are no pre-requisite courses required in Islam. Weekly readings will be assigned in English language source materials. The seminar will draw on the lecturer's extensive personal experience with the subject matter and knowledge of the legal systems of Muslim majority states such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, Pakistan, Egypt, Malaysia, and elsewhere. Professor Kamran Bajwa studied classical Islamic Law and Islamic Theology at the Al-Azhar seminary in Cairo, Egypt prior to attending the University of Michigan Law School where he also took advanced courses in Islamic Law. After graduating from law school, Professor Bajwa trained as a corporate transactional lawyer at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis and then moved to the Middle East and practiced law in that region for 8 years. During his time working in the Middle East, Professor Bajwa continued his studies in Islamic Law and served as an advisor to major Islamic scholars and political leaders throughout the Muslim world involved in legal reform and intellectual projects. Professor Bajwa currently heads the Middle East regional practice for Kirkland & Ellis and travels regularly to the region. Grading will be based on student participation and a collaborative student presentation on a sub-topic of the student's choice. Non-law students who seek to enroll in this class should email Professor Bajwa at: Kamran.bajwa@kirkland.com.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Kamran Bajwa

Law and Advances in Medicine

Spring 2018, Julie Palmer

This seminar will address the intersection of medicine, science, and law, focusing on issues related to human research, informed consent, genetic technologies, and other advances in biotechnology. Enrollment is limited to 10 students. Students will write a significant research paper, submitted in three stages, which can be used to satisfy the Writing Project requirement and which will count for 50 percent of the grade. A Writing Project paper can be submitted on the first day of the following quarter.  The other 50 percent of the grade will be based on class participation.

Law and Politics: U.S. Courts as Political Institutions

Winter 2019, Gerald Rosenberg

The seminar aims to introduce students to the political science literature on courts understood as political institutions. In examining foundational parts of this literature, the seminar will focus on the relationship between the courts and other political institutions. The sorts of questions to be asked include: Are there interests that courts are particularly prone to support? What factors influence judicial decision-making? What effect does congressional or executive action have on court decisions? What impact do court decisions have? While the answers will not always be clear, students should complete the seminar with an awareness of and sensitivity to the political nature of the American legal system. In addition, by critically assessing approaches to the study of the courts, the seminar seeks to highlight intelligent and sound approaches to the study of political institutions. Particular concern will focus on what assumptions students of courts have made, how evidence has been integrated into their studies, and what a good research design looks like.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Gerald Rosenberg

The Law and Psychology of Consumer Contracts

Spring 2019, Meirav Furth-Matzkin

We are all consumers, and we all sign or click through standardized form agreements, typically without reading, understanding, or negotiating their terms. This seminar will survey the law governing consumer transactions from a variety of empirical and theoretical perspectives, drawing largely on recent work in behavioral economics, psychology, and public policy.  Throughout the seminar we will explore a series of related questions: Do the rules and formal doctrines adequately protect unsophisticated parties or are consumers being failed by contract law? If consumers are being taken advantage of, is there anything the law can do to curb unfair or abusive market behavior? How do consumers perceive the contracts they sign and the rules governing their transactions, and how do the contract and the law affect sellers' and consumers' behavior? This seminar has three main goals: (1) to introduce students to the fascinating world of consumer protection and regulation and to the challenges that these contracts present to traditional contract law theories and doctrines; (2) to expose students to the important role of psychological and behavioral insights in legal scholarship and practice; and (3) to give students a taste of empirical research methods, including experiments and observational studies. A series of reaction papers is required.

Law and Society

Autumn 2018, Anna-Maria Marshall

This seminar offers an introduction to the central themes and major debates in the field of Law and Society. The field of sociolegal studies is an interdisciplinary one, and reflecting this, the course will emphasize research in sociology, political science, psychology, anthropology, and legal studies. We will explore classic readings from the Law and Society canon as well as more contemporary research and theory. We will analyze the readings for both their theoretical and empirical contributions, as well as for the methodologies the authors deploy. The themes we will consider over the course of the quarter include the tension between state or "official" law and nonlegal norms for ordering everyday life; the factors that influence who mobilizes the law (and who doesn't); and what it means to use law in contexts other than courtrooms, such as in families, neighborhoods, workplaces, social movements, and mass media. We will explore the debate about the value of rights and litigation strategies in efforts to produce social change, and we'll examine the ubiquitous role of law in popular culture. The course will conclude with a look forward at future directions in law and society research. Final grade will be based on a major paper.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Anna-Maria Marshall

Law, Social Work, and the Legal Regulation of the Social Work Profession

Winter 2018, Israel Doron

 In recent years, there has been a general shift towards integration and growing cooperation between lawyers and social workers, both professionally and ideologically. However, there are still tensions and gaps between the ways legal and social work professionals view their inter-relationships. This course will examine the different intersections between law and social work, and the ways the law attempts to regulate the social work profession. The analysis will use both American and Israeli legal examples, and will try to compare the different approaches to the legal regulation of social work in both countries.

Marketing Strategy

Winter 2019, Sanjay Dhar

I use a framework based approach to teach this course. The first half of the class is spent on building a structured approach using customer analysis (assessing how the firm could provide unique benefits to an attractive target market segment); company analysis (assessing strategic fit based on long-term strategy and core capabilities) and competitor analysis (ascertaining how to build sustainable competitive advantage). The second half of the class uses the strategic marketing analysis described above to identify issues and challenges the firm faces, and articulate marketing objectives that are used to develop the marketing plan (product development, positioning and product strategy; setting prices to capture value, determining potential channel or places of distribution and promotion & communication strategies to communicate benefits to the target market).I also try to use multiple pedagogical tools to help students comprehend and assimilate the material. This includes lectures that introduce tools, concepts and frameworks on each topic in the framework followed by a rigorous case analysis to illustrate application. In addition, I will discuss current events, recent industry examples, and ask you to play a real-world data based pricing simulation. I have also been working with firms applying these frameworks for the last 25 years and hope that students will also share their experiences in class discussions. Given the rigorous and highly interactive nature of class discussion, as well as framework based approach used, this class is helpful to students for case analysis preparation. Therefore, this class is helpful to students pursuing consulting careers, developing entrepreneurial businesses, or interested in understanding and analyzing growth and demand strategies of a corporation. Previous business experience is helpful for this course. Class participation may be considered in the student's grade.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Sanjay Dhar

Opera as Idea and as Performance

Spring 2018, Martha C. Nussbaum, Anthony Freud, and Devon Borowski

Is opera an archaic and exotic pageant for fanciers of overweight canaries, or a relevant art form of great subtlety and complexity that has the power to be revelatory? In this course of eight sessions, jointly taught by Professor Martha Nussbaum and Anthony Freud, General Director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, we explore the multi-disciplinary nature of this elusive and much-maligned art form, with its four hundred-year-old European roots, discussing both historic and philosophical contexts and the practicalities of interpretation and production in a very un-European, twenty-first century city. Anchoring each session around a different opera, we will be joined by a variety of guest experts, including a director, conductor, designer and singer, to enable us to explore different perspectives. The tentative list of operas to be discussed include Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea, Mozart's Don Giovanni, Rossini's La Cenerentola, Verdi's Don Carlos, Puccini's Madama Butterfly, Wagner's Ring, Strauss's Elektra, and Britten's Billy Budd.Remark: students do not need to be able to read music, but some antecedent familiarity with opera would be extremely helpful.  CD's and DVD's of the operas will be placed on reserve. Law Students and Ph.D. students in Philosophy and Music may register without permission. All others need to apply for permission, and will be part of a lottery.

Price Theory I

Autumn 2018, Antonio Gabriel, Agustin Gutierrez, Rafeal Duran, and Francisco Mena

Theory of consumer choice, including household production, indirect utility, and hedonic indices.  Models of the firm. Analysis of factor demand and product supply under competitive and monopolistic conditions.  Static and dynamic cost curves, including learning by doing and temporary changes.  Uncertainty applied to consumer and producer choices.  Property rights and the effects of laws.  Investment in human and physical capital.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Kevin Miles, Maxwell Kellogg, Jian Li, Mikayel, and Mary Stofcik

Racism, Law, and Social Sciences

Spring 2019, Christopher Fennell

The domains of racism, law, and the social sciences impact one another in myriad ways. At times, a system of racism is deployed through law, which in turn shapes questions asked in the social sciences. In other instances, the sciences articulate conceptual frameworks that lead to the creation of new forms of racism within society and law. Particular systems of racism have operated across a spectrum from incidents of overt violence to the daily impacts of implicit biases. Our readings and class discussions will consider a sample of case studies from across the globe in addition to past and present dynamics in the United States. 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 course include the interrelation of racial ideologies with other cultural and social dimensions, such as class, ethnicity, gender, political and legal structures, and economic influences. At an international scale, policy makers confront the challenge of balancing calls for multicultural tolerance with demands for fundamental human rights. We will also consider the related histories of biological, genetic, and epigenetic concepts of different races within the human species. Requirements for this course include thoughtful class participation and a final, take-home examination.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Christopher Fennell

Roman Law

Spring 2019, Richard A. Epstein

The seminar develops skill in analyzing legal problems according to the processes of the Roman civil law, in contrast with those of the common law, and does not purport to give a comprehensive treatment of its detailed workings. The material provides an outline of the sources and procedure of Roman private law, followed by an examination of the Roman institutional system, the basis of most modern civil law codes. Particular emphasis is given to property and to obligations (contracts and torts). No knowledge of Latin is required for the seminar.This class will be assessed via a series of short research papers.Because this is a 1L elective, it will be graded on the curve usually applied to courses (as all 1L electives are) and will not count against the seminar limit.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Richard A. Epstein

The Social and Legal Construction of Race

Spring 2018, LaToya Baldwin Clark

This seminar will examine the role of law in creating and recreating race in our decidedly non-post-racial society. Topics covered will include racial identity, reproduction, and criminal justice. Readings will include cases to understand the "law on the books;" law review articles to understand how legal academics interact the law and its implications; and social science research to understand "law in action."Final grade will be based on: a major paper (3 credits), a series of short reaction papers (2 credits), and class participation.

Stoic Ethics Through Roman Eyes

Winter 2019, Martha C. Nussbaum

The major ideas of the Stoic school about virtue, appropriate action, emotion, and how to live in harmony with the rational structure of the universe are preserved in Greek only in fragmentary texts and incomplete summaries. But the Roman philosophers give us much more, and we will study closely a group of key texts from Cicero and Seneca, including Cicero's De Finibus book III, his Tusculan Disputations book IV, a group of Seneca's letters, and, finally, a short extract from Cicero's De Officiis, to get a sense of Stoic political thought. For fun we will also read a few letters of Cicero's where he makes it clear that he is unable to follow the Stoics in the crises of his own life. We will try to understand why Stoicism had such deep and wide influence at Rome, influencing statesmen, poets, and many others, and becoming so to speak the religion of the Roman world. Prerequisite: ability to read the material in Latin at a sufficiently high level, usually about two-three years at the college level. Assignment will usually be about 8 Oxford Classical Text pages per week, and in-class translation will be the norm. Note: This class has a final exam that will be scheduled by the instructor.

Workshop: Law and Economics

Spring 2019, Todd Henderson and William Hubbard

This workshop, conducted over three sequential quarters, is devoted to the intensive examination of selected problems in the application of economic reasoning to a wide variety of legal questions. Workshop sessions will be devoted to the presentation and discussion of papers by faculty. In addition to workshop sessions, which occur approximately every other week, there will be discussion sessions, which will serve as opportunities for students to engage in in-depth, informal discussion of topics in law and economics with the instructor. This workshop does not require a research paper, but students interested in academic writing in law and economics are encouraged to use this workshop to develop their ideas. Grading is based on the completion of a series of reaction papers. Students enrolled in the workshop receive three credits; one in Autumn, one in Winter, and one in Spring.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Omri Ben-Shahar and William Hubbard
  • Winter 2018, Omri Ben-Shahar and William Hubbard
  • Spring 2018, Omri Ben-Shahar and William Hubbard
  • Autumn 2018, Todd Henderson and William Hubbard
  • Winter 2019, Todd Henderson and William Hubbard

Workshop: Law and Philosophy

Spring 2018, Martha C. Nussbaum and Nicolas Delon

The theme for 2017-18 is "Animal Rights and Environmental Ethics." About half of the sessions will discuss philosophical and legal issues related to animal rights, and the other half will discuss issues of environmental ethics, focusing on the ethics of climate change. This is a seminar/workshop many of whose participants are faculty from various related disciplines. It admits approximately ten students. Its aim is to study, each year, a topic that arises in both philosophy and the law and to ask how bringing the two fields together may yield mutual illumination. Most sessions are led by visiting speakers, from either outside institutions or our own faculty, who circulate their papers in advance. The session consists of a brief introduction by the speaker, followed by initial questioning by the two faculty coordinators, followed by general discussion, in which students are given priority. Several sessions involve students only, and are led by the instructors. Students write a 20-25 page seminar paper at the end of the year. The course satisfies the Law School Substantial Writing Requirement. Students must enroll for all three quarters to receive credit. Students are admitted by permission of the two instructors. Usual participants include graduate students in philosophy, political science, and divinity, and law students. For winter and spring, continuing students only.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Martha C. Nussbaum and Nicolas Delon
  • Winter 2018, Martha C. Nussbaum and Nicolas Delon

Workshop: Law and Philosophy: Enlightenment Liberalism and its Critics, Left and Right

Spring 2019, Nethanel Lipshitz and Brian Leiter

The topic for 2018-19 will be "Enlightenment liberalism and its critics," the critics coming from both the left and the right. Enlightenment liberalism was marked by its belief in human freedom and the need for justifications on any infringements of that freedom; by its commitment to individual rights (for example, rights to expression or to property); and by its faith in the rational and self-governing capacities of persons and their basic moral equality. The Workshop will begin in the fall with several classes just for students to discuss foundational readings from liberal thinkers like Locke, Kant and Mill (Jeremy Waldron and David Brink will also visit the Workshop to discuss, respectively, Locke and Mill). In the Winter quarter, we will consider critics from the left, notably Marx and Frankfurt School theorists like Herbert Marcuse. (Steven Lukes is a confirmed outside visitor.) In Spring, we will turn to critics from the "right" such as Nietzsche (who rejects the moral equality of persons) and Carl Schmitt. There will be sessions with the students discussing primary texts and then sessions with outside speakers (some still being scheduled) sometimes interpreting the primary texts, sometimes criticizing the critics of liberalism, and sometimes developing their ideas. Open to PhD students in philosophy, and to J.D. students and other graduate students who submit an application to Prof. Leiter detailing their background in philosophy. This class will require a major paper (20-25 pages). Only continuing students from winter will be registered.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2018, Nethanel Lipshitz and Brian Leiter
  • Winter 2019, Nethanel Lipshitz and Brian Leiter

Workshop: Legal Scholarship

Spring 2019, Lisa Bernstein

This workshop may be taken for a full year as a course (every other week in W and S) or only in the fall quarter as a seminar. It is open to all students, including JSDs and LLMs.  Students registered for the full year are required to either write a paper of publishable quality or revise a previously written paper for publication. The goal is to prepare students for the academic job market or continuing with SJD studies. Special attention is paid to topic selection, how to approach working on an original (not synthetic) project, and presentation skills. Students enrolled for the year will be expected to conduct themselves as they would if they were junior faculty members at a top law school, reading and commenting on the work of their peers. Optional lunches to discuss writing will be held throughout the year in the same format as the Faculty Round Table. The goal is to create a learning community that will provide students with the type of scholarly atmosphere the faculty here enjoys. There will be meetings on average every other week during Winter and Spring Quarters.The fall quarter only option is designed for several audiences: (1) students who want to decide if an academic career is for them; (2) students who wish to improve their skills as a public speaker; (3) students who want to improve their skills of critique while reading papers from a wide variety of subject areas; (4) and students who simply enjoy arguing about the law. Each week a young scholar present works-in progress and students play the role of the faculty in a faculty workshop. The class and the professor then provide feedback and suggestions to the presenter on aspects of both presentation style and the substance of the paper. The FALL ONLY version is graded on the basis of short reactions papers and class participation. The full year version may fulfill the WP or the SRP. Graduate students may register. College students will require instructor permission.Credits for this Workshop:Autumn quarter: 3Winter quarter: 1Spring quarter 2

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Lisa Bernstein
  • Winter 2018, Lisa Bernstein
  • Spring 2018, Lisa Bernstein
  • Autumn 2018, Lisa Bernstein
  • Winter 2019, Lisa Bernstein

Workshop: Regulation of Family, Sex, and Gender

Spring 2019, Mary Anne Case

This workshop exposes students to recent academic work in the regulation of family, sex, gender, and sexuality and in feminist theory. Workshop sessions are devoted to the presentation and discussion of papers from outside speakers and University faculty. The substance and methodological orientation of the papers will both be diverse. Students have the option of writing a major paper of 20-25 pages for SRP credit.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2018, Mary Anne Case
  • Autumn 2018, Mary Anne Case

Wrongful Discrimination: Legal and Philosophical Perspectives

Spring 2019, Nethanel Lipshitz

As human beings, we make distinctions all the time. We cannot get by in the world without discriminating. Yet, some forms of discrimination are wrongful, and when discrimination is wrongful, it is typically considered to be a central case of injustice and unfairness. The question of what makes an incidence of discrimination wrong is thus a topic of heated social debate. This is the main question we will take up in this seminar. We will read philosophical literature on discrimination, and use legal cases as our cases studies. We will look in more detail at one case of discrimination in particular - discrimination against the disabled - and discuss the contentious topic of affirmative action.A major paper of 20-25 pages is required for this class. Class participation may be considered in final grading.