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Spring 2025 Seminar

Race, Racism, and the Law

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: No Exam

This course examines the role of the law in perpetuating and alleviating racial inequality in the United States. Two primary questions animate this course. First, what is the constitutive relationship between race, law, and legal institutions? In other words, how have laws and legal institutions shaped racial identity, and, in turn, how have ideas about race shaped legal institutions? Second, why does racial inequality persist despite the organizing, activism, and legal transformations aimed at reducing racial hierarchy? Our readings will consider the scholarly debates on the topic of race and the law within and among a range of race scholars including the dominant school of race theory, Critical Race Theory. We will excavate the stakes of these debates and the consequences (intended and unintended) of various legal reform projects designed to address racial inequality.