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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2009

E 314J • Literature and the Law

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Please refer to the course schedule for course days, time, room location, prerequisites and possible cross-listings:

This is an introductory class that will look at the ways literature and the law intersect. Literary texts often help us to imagine how society ought to be. They also help us to understand the struggles individuals undergo when faced with injustice. In this class, we will consider several questions, such as: How does literature help us to think critically about the law? How are legal trials depicted in literary texts? What claims do authors make about the way the law functions in society? What claims do they make about the ways the law should function in society? In this course, we will consider these questions through close readings of texts that address historical and contemporary legal issues. Our texts will reach across time and place to reflect the struggles individuals face in dealing with both national and international law. Course includes computer-assisted instruction.

Grading Policy

Evaluation for this course will be conducted using the Learning Record Online. For more information, see: Your assignments will include posts to our class forum, five short response papers, two five-page essays, and multiple peer-review assignments. You will also contribute to your Learning Record with weekly, informal updates, and two three-page essays reflecting on your learning process.


Jonathan Swift. A Modest Proposal (1729), Sojourner Truth. Ain't I a Woman (1851), Arthur Miller. The Crucible (1953), Hannah Arendt. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (1963), United Nations Universal Declaration for Human Rights, Benjamin Zephaniah. Refugee Boy (2001), Paul Greengrass. Bloody Sunday (2002) [film], Victoria Brittain. Guantánamo: 'Honor Bound to Defend Freedom’ (2004), Terry George. Hotel Rwanda (2004) [film]


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