LAW 661

Latinos and the Law

Public Interest Law

This seminar considers the historic and contemporary position of Latin American groups (Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans and other groups in the U.S. who descend from Latin America) in relation to the American legal system. The primary goal is to provide the historical and sociological context from which to understand and critically evaluate how these groups have been, willingly and unwillingly, subject to legal doctrine and legal processes.  Through reading a mix of state and federal cases, treaties, and statutes, as well as academic articles, popular media, and interdisciplinary texts, students will gain an understanding of how Latin American groups of have been both constructed and understood within the U.S. legal system. The course will cover a broad swath of topics, from colonization and imperial expansion, to school and residential segregation, to A central focus of the course is to comparatively situate different Latin American groups in relation to other U.S. racial and ethnic groups, including Blacks, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Whites, and exploring how these categories have diverged and overlapped throughout U.S. legal doctrine. 

Readings will be drawn from the newest edition of the Latinos and the Law casebook, as well as additional outside readings, with an emphasis on works drawn from Critical Race Theory, LatCrit, Decolonial and Postcolonial Theory.

This course has a heavy reading load, and students will be expected to keep up with the reading in order to participate actively in class discussion.  Grades will be based on class participation (30%), weekly response papers (35%), and a final paper (35%). Students may request to use the course to complete a SAW Paper in lieu of the final paper, but they must receive instructor approval before the first day of class, and the number of SAW Papers completed in the course will be limited to ensure that students can receive adequate guidance and substantive feedback throughout the semester.

This seminar will be limited to 16 students, with priority enrollment given to students enrolled in the Critical Race Studies specialization.

See Full Course Details