Law and Public Policy

Law, Human Rights, and Social Justice in Israel-Palestine

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2023
This reading group offers a thoughtful and nuanced exploration of questions of human rights and social justice in the context of Israel-Palestine. We will discuss a range of themes and controversies, including the right to self-determination; Israeli and Palestinian nationhood and statehood; refugees and migration; Israel’s control of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem; economic and social justice; and gender justice. We will ground our discussion in a human rights framework,...
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Law and American Society

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2023
At a time when the rule of law is imperiled, our democracy and equal rights of every kind under assault by multiple forces, the importance of understanding our constitutional system of rights and laws as essential to the fabric of the nation cannot be overstated. The course will examine law as a vehicle of political conflict and a defining force in American society in four dimensions: 1.) as it establishes individual rights, liberties, and the limits of toleration; 2.) as it attempts to resolve differences among competing constituencies; 3.) as it sets out terms of punishment and social...
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Queer Nation: LGBTQ Protest, Politics, and Policy in the United States

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2023
In this course, we will explore the political and politicized lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer peoples living in the United States, focusing on the period from World War II to the present. Centering both an intersectional analysis and historical critique of “progress,” we will focus our attention on the interrelationship between protest (how LGBTQ people have organized themselves and expressed their demands in the face of systemic oppression), politics (how...
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Leadership from the Inside Out: The Capacity to Lead and Stay Alive-Self, Identity, and Freedom-with a Focus on Anti-Black Racism and Sexism

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2023
Leadership can be exercised from many locations in a society–from authority positions and from the streets–yet in general, to lead is to live with danger. It often requires putting yourself on the line, disturbing the status quo, and working with conflict. Those who lead take risks and sometimes get silenced, marginalized, or killed. To lead through the dangers of change demands diagnostic integrity and skill. Many Kennedy School courses strengthen diagnostic skills by analyzing...
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Prison Law

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2023
While courses in criminal law tend to focus on the “front end” of the criminal legal process (investigation, prosecution, and verdict), this course focuses on the back end: the law of incarceration. What legal obligations does the state have toward those it incarcerates? Topics to be covered include: the evolution of prison rights litigation; the scope of constitutional rights in prison; the prison disciplinary process; the interaction of prison law and remedies; conditions of...
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Mass Incarceration and Sentencing Law

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2023

This course will first put 20th century sentencing law in sociological and historical context. It will examine the history, philosophy, and administration of the criminal sentencing process, the causes of growth in the US penal population, the historical roots of that grown from the mid 20th century to the present, and the impact of those policies on communities of color and the crime rate. We will then examine more closely the legal framework that enabled those policies, including the war on drugs, emphasis on retribution over rehabilitation, the changes in sentencing law and the...

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Reproductive Rights and Justice

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2023

The course materials and discussions span constitutional law, the political and legislative processes, and health law. Course topics include abortion, contraception, pregnancy exclusion laws, rape and statutory rape laws, personhood and feticide laws, artificial reproduction, surrogacy, civil and criminal prosecution for fetal endangerment, and reproductive rights of incarcerated and detained populations. This course is historically grounded, spanning early matrilineality and hypodescent laws to the eugenics era, and concluding with contemporary debates related sex equality, racial...

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Poverty Law Workshop: A Toolkit for Addressing Inequity and Homelessness

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2023

Low-income Americans, especially those experiencing homelessness, must contend with a vast patchwork of federal and state public benefits programs. This course will provide an essential grounding in these safety net programs for law students interested in public interest law careers, including future legal aid attorneys, public defenders, policy advocates, government leaders, and attorneys engaging in pro bono work.

The primary objective of this course is to examine the unique legal issues of the most economically vulnerable and marginalized populations – those experiencing...

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Dangerous Words: Feminist Debates on Speech, Harm, and Representation

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

What does it mean to strike a balance between the democratic foundations of freedom of speech and rights of marginalized peoples to resist the subordinating words of the privileged? This course examines key debates in feminism, speech, and representation. Topics include pornography, cancel culture, trigger warnings, hate speech, slurs, and cultural appropriation. We will begin by orienting ourselves to the legal frameworks in the North America and Europe context around freedom of speech before turning to intersectional feminist, philosophical and critical theories analyzing the impacts...

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Human Rights, Law and Advocacy

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022
Human rights practitioners confront numerous ethical, strategic, and legal dilemmas in their struggles for social justice. This freshman seminar explores the underlying legal framework in which human rights advocates operate, and then uses specific case studies to consider the various challenges they must grapple with in their work. The seminar is designed to encourage students to critically evaluate the human rights movement while offering an introduction to some of the essential...
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Implicit Bias: Science and Society

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

We coined the term implicit bias in 1995 to capture the idea that bias, i.e., a deviation from accuracy or values can be implicit, i.e., operate without conscious awareness or conscious control. The idea emerged from basic research on implicit social cognition (ISC), an area of scientific psychology that explores the hidden aspects of mental representations of self, other, and social groups. Today, 25 years later, the term implicit bias has transcended academic psychology and permeated contemporary culture where it is used and contested every day. In this seminar, we will study the...

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Qualitative Research Lab: Immigration, Citizenship, and Belonging

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022
What does citizenship mean to the millions of people who immigrate to the United States? How do immigrants and their families experience the process, the complexities, and the challenges of immigration, integration, and naturalization? And how do undocumented and DACAmented immigrants describe the paradoxes of being a vital part of US society while being excluded from many formal categories of citizenship and belonging?
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Continuing Conflict: Old Challenges and New Debates

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022
The course focuses on two theaters of continuing conflict: Afghanistan and the Sahel region in Africa, the world’s most conflict heavy region. Collaborating with UN Security Council non-permanent members, this class will examine these recent conflicts, its impact on women, and the role of women as peace builders. From the denial of women's and girl's education in the recent Taliban takeover in Afghanistan to Africa’s Sahel region’s climate collapse which has impacted a gathering...
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