Law has a social life. Actually it has multiple social lives. First law is itself the product of social forces. It is shaped by what people fight about what is taken for granted and what can and cannot be said. But law is also an institution that makes other social institutions possible. From contracts to borders citizenship to marriage law consists of concepts and categories institutions and processes that enforce the rules of multiple games. As we discuss in this class law tells us both the history and the perceived future of a social phenomenon. We interrogate the relationship between law and inequality with particular attention to race and racialization space and mobility policing and security in the colonial past and present. Connected empirical examples from North America the Middle East South and East Asia and Africa serve as vantage points from which we can learn to identify analyze and explain these social phenomena.
Harvard Division of Continuing Education