Introduction to the Rhetoric of Legal Discourse
160 | CCN: 77932
The objective of this course is to introduce students to substantive issues in law and government through rhetorical analysis. We will explore concepts such as “citizenship,” “rights,” “punishment,” “liberty,” and “equality” through close examination of legal texts (case law, statutes, and regulations) as well as texts of political philosophy, history, and social science. We will learn to pay particular attention to relationships between law and language. Instead of asking how to solve particular problems through law, we will ask, “What do the ‘problems of citizenship, rights, punishment, liberty or equality’ reveal about the limits and possibilities of law in particular historical moments and/or particular contexts?” While we will draw most of our examples from U.S. law, we will also draw selectively on international law and the laws of other nation-states.
No prior familiarity with law is required or desired. Course requirements will include attendance, active participation in discussions, a short paper, a longer paper, and a final exam.