02.106 Crime & Punishment: Introduction to Law & Literature

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This course addresses such crucial law-related issues as human rights, vigilante justice, capital punishment and legal formalism, as well as race, class and gender aspects of law. Students are presented with insights into the nature of law and social justice through the prism of art. Literary and cinematic works that concern legal conflict, crime and punishment will be analyzed as examples of manifold critical and creative thinking about law. Students will be invited to regard legal problems in this way and to embrace their ambiguities and ambivalences. The course’s focus will not be only on sociopolitical and ethical but also on aesthetic issues. Along with examining the search for justice and questions arising from it, the class will be encouraged to apply deductive method and legal metaphors such as the “reader as detective or judge” to the analysis of literary and cinematic texts. The material for this course varies from world literary and cinematic classics to popular texts and includes some fundamental theoretical readings on law and justice, as well as academic works from the field of Law and Literature.