Law 950 Seminar: Law and Popular Culture
This seminar provides students with a critical analysis of representations of the law in popular culture. The seminar will usually focus on representations of law in film. Using film as analytical tools, the seminar examines two questions: (1) the difference between the filmatic depiction and the reality of the American legal system; and (2) the various strains of legal and political theory that treat films as texts to be subjected to close reading and interpretation. This course explores important themes in the study of law and politics by contrasting scholarly work against representations of these themes in movies. The seminar will allow for consideration of questions about the relationship between law and justice, the practice of law, and the role of courts and trials in a political system; however, many other issues will arise in the course of these discussions — race/class/gender and the law, legal ethics, legal education, the adversarial system, the relationship between law and popular culture, among others.