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					                                     Politics 322
                           POLITICS OF AMERICAN JUSTICE
                                     (Fall 2008)

University of San Francisco                                   Professor Robert Elias
Cowell Hall 414                                               TR 3:30-4:45 pm


                                    LEARNING OUTCOMES
Students will be able to:
(1) Understand and describe the role of political science in the social sciences
(2) Analyze the interdisciplinary literature on justice, law and American society,
emphasizing political questions and social science methods and theories
(3) Analyze explanations of human behavior, human relations or human institutions.
Students will be able to understand crime, victimization, and legal conflict, their causes and
remedies, and how can they be explained as forms of human interaction
(4) Understand the structure of the American legal system, including the court system, and
criminal and civil justice systems
(5) Employ social science knowledge to explore questions of economic & social justice
(including issues of equality, due process, and human rights), with an appreciation and
respect for human diversity (including issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality)
(6) Articulate a critical perspective for evaluating the American system, including its legal,
political and economic systems
(7) Recognize the interrelationship between legal and other justice at home and abroad,
with an appreciation of the rights of all peoples
(8) Understand and promote social responsibility. Students will examine historic case studies
of legal activists, groups and movements to promote justice, and will be encouraged to
champion social policies that serve the public interest
(9) Communicate social science knowledge by learning how to evaluating research findings,
policy initiatives, and the structural characteristics of the American legal system and its
supporting political economy


                                        READINGS

      Gerry SPENCE, With Justice for None
      Jeffrey REIMAN, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison
      Thom HARTMANN, Unequal Protection
      Chuck COLLINS, Economic Apartheid in America
      Naomi WOLF, The End of America
      Robert ELIAS, The Deadly Tools of Ignorance
      READER, Supplemental Readings (On reserve, all listed below)

      OPTIONAL: Jeffrey Toobin, The Nine
                                 COURSE OUTLINE

JUSTICE, DEMOCRACY & THE AMERICAN PROMISE (28 August)
     (A) Critical Perspectives: Questioning What We Know
     (B) What Is Justice?
      READ: SPENCE, With Justice for None, Starting, ch. 1


CONTEXT OF AMERICAN JUSTICE (2,4,9,11,16 September)
    (A) Structure of Justice: Political Economy of Power
           (1) Law, Politics and the Constitution
     READ: Parenti, "A Constitution for the Few" (READER)
             Spence, "New King: Tyranny of the Corporate Core" (READER)
           (2) Judges, Trials and the Supreme Court
     READ: Jacob, “The Supreme Court” (READER)
             SPENCE, With Justice for None, ch. 6
             Fuller, “Case of the Speluncean Explorers” (READER)
           (3) Lawyers, Law School & Legal Profession
     READ: SPENCE, With Justice for None, ch. 2-4


CASE STUDY TOPIC/BOOK PROPOSALS DUE (18 September)


CRIMINAL JUSTICE: A FAILURE TO PREVENT? (18,23,25,30 Sept., 2 Oct)
     (A) Social Reality: Defining Crime, Criminals & Victims
      READ: “The Criminal Justice System” (READER)
              REIMAN, The Rich Get Richer, Intro., ch. 1,2
              Elias, “Wars on Drugs as Wars on Victims” (READER)
              Chasin, “Interpersonal Violence and Race and Gender” (READER)
     (B) Law Enforcement: Crime Control or Social Control?
             READ: Michalowski, "Policing the Crime Problem" (READER)
     (C) Courts & Punishment: Management vs. Justice
             READ: Elias, “Adding Insult to Injury” (READER)
              Karmen, “Victims in 21st Century” (listed as ePC/Elias)(READER)
              REIMAN, The Rich Get Richer, ch. 4, Appendix
              NI, "You Are the Judge" (READER)
              ELIAS, Deadly Tools of Ignorance (COMPLETE)


TAKE-HOME ESSAY I DUE (9 October)
CIVIL JUSTICE: A FAILURE TO PROTECT? (7,9,14,16 October)

     (A) Civil Law Process: Who Wins?
      READ: Baum, “Trial Courts: Civil Cases” (READER)
               SPENCE, With Justice for None, ch. 5,7,9
     (B) Illegal But Not Criminal: Crimes By Any Other Name
      READ: REIMAN, The Rich Get Richer, ch. 3
               SPENCE, With Justice for None, ch. 10


ECONOMIC & SOCIAL JUSTICE: A FAILURE TO PROVIDE? (21,23,28,30 October)

     (A) Corporate Power & Human Rights
      READ: HARTMANN, Unequal Protection (COMPLETE)
     (B) Class & American Society
      READ: COLLINS, Economic Apartheid in America, Intro., ch. 1-3
             SPENCE, With Justice for None, ch. 8
     (C) Race, Gender & Sex in America
      READ: Lawrence, “Race and Affirmative Action” (READER)
             Taub & Schneider, "Women's Subordination in the Law” (READER)
              Copelon, "Crime Not Fit to Be Named" (READER)


POLITICAL JUSTICE: A FAILURE TO RESTRAIN? (4,6,11,13 November)

     (A) Civil Liberties: Whose Rights?
      READ: Parenti, "The Supremely Political Court" (READER)
               Kairys, "Freedom of Speech" (READER)
     (B) Domestic Repression
      READ: Parenti, "Political Repression & National Insecurity" (READER)
               WOLF, The End of America (COMPLETE)
     (C) Exporting Repression
               Chasin, “Militarism: The Circle of Violence” (READER)
               Zepezauer, "The CIA's Greatest Hits" (READER)
               "America’s Allies:Friendly Dictators" and "Drug Wars" (READER)


PROGRESSIVE LAWYERING: CASE STUDIES (STUDENT ORAL REPORTS)
                              (18,20,25 November, 2 December)

     (A) Presentations on Legal Activists, Groups & Movements
      READ: Book/Theme Chosen with Approval of Professor
ALTERNATIVE JUSTICE: PATHS TO SOCIAL CHANGE? (4,9 December)
     (A) Law, Social Change and the Just Society
      READ: SPENCE, With Justice for None, ch. 11-16, Ending
             West, "Role of Law in Progressive Politics" (READER)
             REIMAN, The Rich Get Richer, Conclusion
             COLLINS, Economic Apartheid in America, ch. 4,5, Conclusion

TERM PAPERS DUE (12 December)

TAKE-HOME ESSAYS DUE (18 December)


COMMUNICATIONS
(1) Office Location: 276 Kalmanovitz Hall
(2) Office Contact: Email: eliasr@usfca.edu (best way to contact me);
                    Phone: x6349
(3) Office Hours: M 11:00-12:00; Th 12:00-1:00, or by appt. (Please feel welcome to visit
my office. If you cannot make my hours, let me know and we'll make other arrangements)


BLACKBOARD
Blackboard, the online course shell, will be used for this course. By enrolling in the course,
you should have automatically been connected to our Blackboard site. Please visit it
regularly for updates, announcements, and assignments


RESOURCES
(1) Readings
        (A) Books - six books are REQUIRED (see top of Course Outline) for the course,
which you should purchase immediately at the campus bookstore.
        (B) Course Reader - collection of REQUIRED course readings, which can be
accessed (hard copy) at Gleeson Reserve Desk, or ONLINE: http://www.usfca.edu/library/
(At "Course Reserves," type in “Elias” next to the "Instructor" and hit "Search." Click on
"Politics of American Justice." All readings listed by article title).

(2) Films - I have a library of videotapes and audiotapes on American justice themes, and
on legal activists and groups, some of which will be played in class during the semester. I
encourage you to make use of tapes not played in class, either to satisfy your curiosity or to
help you prepare your papers or presentations. A list of the available tapes will be sent to
you via email (please provide me with your correct address).
        (A) In addition, there will be a REQUIRED Film Series (see below)

(3) Alternative Media - Aside from the required readings, you owe it to yourself to break the
habit of relying on conventional American media for how you understand the world.
Contrary to the commercials ("Read Time and Understand"), if you rely on Time (or twins
such as Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, the Times, (either one), the Chronicle,
etc.), you probably won't really understand at all. For periodicals that provide an alternative
perspective on the U.S. and the world, I recommend Peace Review (published at USF; see
me for a subscription), The Nation, The Progressive, Z Magazine, The Utne Reader, Ode,
Mother Jones, Yes! EXTRA!, Social Justice, New Political Science, World Policy Journal,
The Humanist, Catholic Reporter, In These Times, Ms. Magazine, Tikkun, Sojourners,
Dissent, Dollars & Sense, Multinational Monitor, and the New Internationalist (all available
in libraries and various SF, Marin, and Berkeley bookstores). Also, listen to KPFA radio (FM
94.1) and Green Radio (AM 96) for alternative news and political affairs.

(4) Us - We need to help each other keep abreast of law and justice developments. We
might want to begin some of our classes with a short discussion of some current issue;
please take some responsibility for raising these issues.


REQUIREMENTS
The reading is challenging but it explores an active, engaging subject matter: does the
American system (including the legal process) promote justice? It addresses some of the
most pressing issues of our time, with important consequences for ourselves and our
society. The readings provide a critical perspective: they will challenge and provoke you.
They do not emphasize facts and figures, but rather several major themes. They should be
completed accordingly: not by poring over every word and statistic, but rather by reading for
general ideas.
       There will be no "blind" examinations to grill you on your grasp of the "details," and
thus you should read to understand the broad themes. Nevertheless, assignments must be
completed in a timely manner (each class, I'll update what's due next), and used to
generate comments and questions during class. Some of the readings will be specifically
reviewed in my lectures but much of it will not: you are nevertheless responsible for all of it.
       FAIR WARNING: You will not do well in this course unless you demonstrate that you
have completed and understood all the readings.

Besides completing the readings, the requirements are as follows:

Class Participation                10%    (Oral/Written Questions)(Each Class)
Film Attendance/Reports (10)       15%    (See Dates on Video Schedule)
Case Study Proposal (Sign-Up)       0%    (Due 18 September)
Take-Home Essay I                  10%    (Due 9 October)
Case Study Presentation            15%    (Oral Reports: 18 Nov – 2 Dec)
Term Paper                         20%    (Due 12 December)
Take-Home Essays II                30%    (Due 18 December)

 (1) Class Participation
        (A) Attendance/Participation: Students are REQUIRED to attend EACH class.
Before class, you should read and think about the assignments so you can make some
contribution during class time. We'll try to create a setting where participation is informal
and non-threatening. There are no "right" answers, so don't be afraid to speak out. I'd
appreciate talking to anyone who feels uncomfortable participating; perhaps your fears can
be alleviated (as mine needed to be when I was an undergraduate)
       (B) Written Comments/Observations: To stimulate participation (and to indicate that
you've prepared for class even if you don't get a chance to speak), you should WRITE
down, for EACH class (with the exception of the Class Presentation classes), 5 (FIVE)
comments or observations you have about the course readings for that class. Use them for
class, and TURN THEM IN at the end of EACH class.

(2) Film Attendance/Reports
        (A) Attendance: Students are REQUIRED to attend the Film Series, which
accompanies the Course. The Videos will EACH run TWICE each week, on Monday and
Tuesday evenings, beginning at 6:45 pm. A specific schedule of film showings will be
provided. The Films will also be available for check out at Gleeson Library Reserve, and
most of them can be rented at Video Rental Stores or borrowed from the Politics
Department Office (Kalmanovitz 213).
        (B) Reports: Students are REQUIRED to complete a 1-page report (on a form I will
provide) for 10 of the videos in the Series (Two of the ten MUST be on the films Roger &
Me and The Corporation).

(3) Take-Home Essays I - choosing from a set of several questions, which will be
distributed beforehand and which will examine some of the course’s early themes, you will
be asked to answer 1 question of your choice with a well-written essay of 5-6 typed pages.
The essay should be based on the relevant course readings (which you MUST use
specifically in your answers) and discussions, and your own ideas; outside sources are
unnecessary. Since you'll be given plenty of time (at least a couple of weeks) to complete
this essay, you're expected to submit it ON TIME (DUE 9 OCTOBER).

(4) Case Study Presentation - As noted on the course outline, we'll have several classes
devoted to Student Presentations. Students will be asked to work in teams of two
(presentations made solo or by more than two presenters will not fit into the schedule, so
please find one partner), and each team will read a common book (from a list of appropriate
books I will provide or a book you discover on your own) and develop and present a short
talk (of 15 minutes)(with each teammate contributing about 7-8 minutes each) about their
book. Each student will then expand his/her oral presentation into a required Term Paper
(see below), due at the end of the semester. You must, by no later than 18 September
(preferably sooner), designate your team (of 2 students) and submit your
Presentation/Paper Topic proposal (IN WRITING: a 1-2 sentence description of your book
and theme) for my approval.
        To complete your presentation, you should choose ONE (1) of the following options:
        (a) Biographies/Autobiographies - investigations of notable legal activists (such as
the radical lawyers, Clarence Darrow and Ralph Nader), focusing on either contemporary
individuals or on people from U.S. (preferably 20th century) history. I'll provide you a list
(via email) of legal activists for whom there are available biographies or autobiographies.
Your team MUST choose someone from this list unless you propose a substitute (person)
who I approve. Your team should read the appropriate biography or autobiography, and
jointly prepare an oral report to present in class.
       (b) Legal Groups/Movements - investigations of progressive legal groups (such as
the National Lawyer's Guild or the NAACP Legal Defense Fund) or legal movements (such
as the Critical Legal Studies or Prisoner's Rights movements). I'll provide you a list (via
email, so please give me your correct address) of legal groups/movements. Your team
MUST choose a group or movement from this list unless you propose a substitute
(group/movement) that I approve. In some cases, there will be Bay Area offices for a group
or movement, whose resources you should visit and explore. Your team should read the
appropriate book or other materials on the subject, and jointly prepare an oral report to
present in class.

(5) Term Paper - Each student must prepare an essay paper of at least ten (10) typed
pages on the SAME SUBJECT as your Case Study Oral Presentation. If you choose a
Biography/Autobiography, then you must show a thorough knowledge (with documentation)
of the book and the life you've chosen. If you choose a Group/Movement, then you must
document the book you've used in your research. Whether you choose a Biography or a
Group/Movement, you must go beyond mere description, and also provide some analysis
or evaluation of your subject, and draw a clear, strong conclusion. I will provide you a list of
recommended guidelines for analyzing your chosen book. IMPORTANT NOTE: YOU
MUST WRITE YOUR OWN 10 PAGE PAPER; WHILE YOU’LL BE COLLABORATING
WITH YOUR TEAMMATE IN MAKING YOUR ORAL PRESENTATION, YOU EACH
MUST WRITE SEPARATE PAPERS IN YOUR OWN WORDS ON THE SUBJECT
YOU’VE CHOSEN. (DUE: 12 DECEMBER)

(6) Take-Home Essays II - choosing from a set of several questions, which will be
distributed beforehand and which will examine broad issues and themes in the course, you
will be asked to answer 3 questions of your choice with well-written essays of 5-6 typed
pages EACH. The essays should be based on the relevant course readings (which you
MUST use specifically in your answers) and discussions, and your own ideas; outside
sources are unnecessary. Since you'll be given plenty of time (at least a couple of weeks)
to complete these essays, you're expected to submit them ON TIME (DUE 18 DECEMBER

       We should view this course as a joint responsibility. I'm very happy to have you in
the class; I look forward to working with you throughout the semester. I'll contribute as
much as I can to making this both a thought-provoking and stimulating subject matter. This
will work best if you fulfill your own responsibility to take the course seriously and to
contribute as much as you can. Take advantage of this opportunity; be "active" learners.

            NOTE: INCOMPLETES ARE VERY STRONGLY DISCOURAGED

				
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