The law is all around us. We interact with it every day in ways we may not even realise. In this course, we will critically examine the variety of ways (both overt and hidden) that we encounter and engage with the law in everyday life. We will learn how legal principles, constraints and ideas influence the films we watch, the books we read, and the art and music we experience. We will analyse how law forms an essential dimension of our history, how it is written into our language and ideas, and how it shapes even the structures of the city in which we live. The course draws on ideas from many disciplines. It is divided into a series of short topics, each of which introduces a different aspect of the law in everyday life. Over the course of the semester, we will consider how the law can act as an agent and an instrument, a human construction and a social superstructure, and we will discover the profound impact of law on the everyday world in which we live.
Part 1 – Introduction and Overview (1 week)
Part 2 – Law and Narrative (2 weeks)
Part 3 – Law and the City (2 weeks)
Part 4 - Law and History (2 weeks)
Part 5 – Law and Language (2 weeks)
Part 6 – Law and Popular Culture (2 weeks)
Part 7 – Conclusion and Writing Workshop (1 week)
- Students will develop an understanding of historical and contemporary theories and ideas about the role of law in society, art and culture.
- Students will learn to evaluate how different individuals and groups view the law, and how the law differently impacts individuals’ lives—including their own.
- Student will develop the ability to discuss and analyse how the law can produce and be influenced by:
i. social change and social control (including issues of compliance and deterrence),
ii. artistic and literary change and reproduction,
iii. language and linguistic structures, and iv. equality or inequality.
- Students will develop confidence in deploying the elements of good analysis, creative production and reflection.
- Students will develop their own writing and presentation style and organization, achieving coherence and clarity of argument, and will build skills in oral, visual and written literacy.
2-hour weekly lectures will introduce the required ideas and frameworks, including methods for engaging in research and video production. 1-hour weekly tutorials will provide opportunities to engage in writing exercises and feedback, examine specific texts and case studies and engage in reflection and discussion.
Essay – 50%
Video production – 30%
Tutorial participation (including draft sharing) – 20%
Required readings (in the form of articles and book chapters) will be provided; there is no required textbook purchase.