This seminar explores the body of theoretical work on the law and politics of race which has come to be known as Critical Race Theory (CRT). The seminar will pursue two main, overlapping goals. The first is to introduce key concepts associated with CRT, and to examine the specific analytic strategies and forms of argument critical race theorists have deployed to investigate the uses and meanings of "race" in U.S. legal institutions and ideology. The second is to map the connections between CRT and broader national and transnational debates about race, racism and racial justice. Weekly seminar meetings will focus on close reading, viewing and discussion of a wide range of materials: case law, statutes and administrative regulations; scholarly writing in law, history, politics, and social and cultural theory; the performance arts, film, video and new media.
By the end of the semester, seminar members may expect to have a working grasp of the genealogy and development of CRT as a scholarly movement; to understand the main points of convergence and divergence between CRT and conservative, liberal and left discourses on race and rights in the "post-civil rights" era; and to appreciate the possible uses and limits of CRT as a theoretical framework for studying questions of race, racism and law in a critical comparative and global perspective.