GOV 312L • Issues and Policies in American Government
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
The purpose of this course is to understand how law shapes society and vice versa. Most of the materials will be on the United States, but we will also read about other countries, to put our own system in perspective. We will first explore the basic structure of the legal system, to understand its basic features. We will see which features our legal system shares with others, and which make it unique. We will then focus on specific ways in which the law shapes our society, and our society in turn, shapes the law. We will look at the impact of politics on law, and how we deal with crime, civil rights, the redistribution of wealth and the alleviation of poverty, for example. By the end of the course, we should have a clear grasp of the limits and possibilities of the function of the law and of the law as an agent of social change.
Evaluation: your grade in this course will be determined according to the following formula: 15% class participation (determined primarily by objective measures: your average score on a variety of in-class and homework assignments administered throughout the semester; the quality of your oral participation in discussion will be a factor in assigning a final grade in borderline cases) 10% each, two short quizzes 30% mid-term exam 35% final exam