Section Description Provided by Instructor
This course explores the history of law, slavery, and race in the United States, from the origins of New World slavery to its continuing legacies in the present day. Through a close analysis of original documents, including trial transcripts, appellate opinions, treatises, codes, and first-person narratives, students will investigate the relationship between law and the institution of slavery and the creation of racial identities, hierarchies, and ideologies of white supremacy. Topics include: different colonial legal regimes and the emergence of systems of race and slavery in the Americas; the place of slavery in the origins and development of the U.S. Constitution; the relationship between law and systems of labor, including reproductive labor; the relationship between law and the criminalization and policing of enslaved persons; the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality in the regulation of families, marriage, and sexual violence; the role of lawyers in the emergence of an anti-slavery movement; the constitutional debates surrounding the origins and conduct of the Civil War; the drafting and interpretation of the Reconstruction Amendments; post-Civil War violence and racial segregation; the emergence of twentieth-century civil rights movements; and contemporary debates surrounding reparations today.
Method of Evaluation
J.D. Writing Credit
Minor (automatic), Major (only upon consultation)
LLM Writing Project
(only upon consultation)