LJST 162: Law and Disorder

Offered next: Fall 2019

Law takes many forms. Traversing social norms, statutory controls, constitutional provisions, international covenants, and enforcement mechanisms, law suffuses countless arenas simultaneously. Where there is law, order and disorder also thrive in unpleasant company. But what order does law ensure? And what kinds of disorder does law generate? Employing a global approach to the study of law in society, this course examines five domains of human experience (caste, revolution, desire, war, and indigeneity) that law organizes as well as five figures (the convert, the revolutionary, the queer, the terrorist, and the native) that challenge its regulatory logic. The course addresses the ways social actors harness law’s organizational power. We will examine the social life of law in postcolonial, neocolonial, and imperial contexts.


LJST/ASLC 277: Islamic Constitutionalism

Offered next: Spring 2020

Islamic constitutionalism is now a global phenomenon. References to Islam or Islamic law have been incorporated into more than two dozen constitutions. Many states that are constitutionally Islamic also espouse commitments to liberal rights such as religious freedom, freedom of speech, and nondiscrimination. Rather than rehearse common binarisms that assess the compatibility of Islam and liberalism, this course considers the dilemmas that emerge in societies where individuals are subject to multiple normative orders. We will consider how classical Islamic law varies from its modern codification, as well as how colonial inheritances such as British common law and French civil law shape legal systems in post-independence states. Drawing on an array of case studies, we will address issues like religious liberty, criminal sentencing, and personal status. How do judges adjudicate between various and often competing sources of authority? What discursive resources become available to complainants, litigators, and jurists living under these hybrid legal regimes? How does Islamic constitutionalism compare with other varieties of religious establishment?


LJST 382: Law, Religion, and Politics

Offered next: Fall 2019

(Analytic Seminar) Constitutional democracies have not been immune to pervasive and recurring debates over the so-called global resurgence of religion in public life. Though states across the political spectrum regulate religion in some way, this course asks: Why have constitutional democracies in particular encountered so much difficulty regulating religion? What explains their increased regulatory activity and constitutional litigation in this area? To answer these questions, the course foregrounds and evaluates three assumptions that undergird the regulation of religion in liberal democratic states: 1) law, religion, and politics are distinct spheres of human activity and ought to be separated in the name of political secularism; 2) political secularism renders states neutral toward religion in order to maximize citizens' religious freedom; and 3) adoption of secular law enables states to delineate and maintain clear barriers between the private world of religion and the public worlds of law and politics. We will track how these assumptions materialize in new and consolidated democracies, paying particular attention to social anxieties around religious difference that typically precede law's mobilization. The course concludes with a re-evaluation of the promises of secular law.