THE CIRCUIT
CURRENT CONTENT

The Partisan Connection

22 Mar 2012 12:00am Russell Muirhead & Nancy L. Rosenblum 

The Private Sector’s Pivotal Role in Combating Human Trafficking

17 Feb 2012 04:20pm Jonathan Todres 

Law School for Poets

17 Feb 2012 04:19pm Melissa Murray 

This piece was written for a program held by the American Association of Law Schools Section  on Law and Humanities, "Excavating and Integrating Law and Humanities in the Core Curriculum," on January 5, 2012.

Like many who attend law school, I was an undergraduate history major. The humanities, my college pre-professional advisor assured me, were ideal preparation for the rigors of law school. I believed the hype. Three years later, on my first day of Contracts, my blind faith in the inherent compatibility of the humanities and legal education was rewarded with a sinking feeling that would, in time, give way to nausea. I had been duped. I had envisioned exuberant discussions led by a pipe-smoking, tweed-jacketed professor about the great moments in the history of contract law. Instead, the class began with the professor (sans pipe and tweed jacket) scrawling the Coase Theorem on the chalkboard. There were numbers. I felt the bile rising in my throat.

Although I learned to deal with the numbers, I could not help feeling that something was missing from the experience. Where was the social and historical context that could illuminate these doctrines? As we marched methodically through the substance of each course, we never stopped to dwell on the connections that linked cases that were thematically distinct, but connected contextually and chronologically.

Though it would have been easy to submit to this standard law school pedagogy, I did not swallow my misgivings and fall in line. I did not go gently into that good night! I became a law professor, and I vowed to find a way to reach my fellow poets, artists, and historians.

Teaching Property Law and What It Means to Be Human

17 Feb 2012 04:09pm Rose Cuison Villazor 

This piece was written for a program held by the American Association of Law Schools Section  on Law and Humanities, "Excavating and Integrating Law and Humanities in the Core Curriculum," on January 5, 2012.

Why do I include films, art and novels in the study of property law? The reason for this, as I argue in this Essay, is quite simple. I contend that deploying these materials in the classroom deepens my students' understanding of property law. The study of property law, as scholars have noted, is essentially what it means "to be human." Indeed, one of the established conceptual views of property is that it is a system of law that "concern relations among people regarding control of valued resources." Through the use of movies, books, and paintings, I am able to delve more deeply into people's lives and relationships and the various factors that influenced their competing claims to property. Specifically, through these cultural media, I emphasize the role that different factors-social, cultural, historical, economic and legal-play in shaping people's interactions with each other regarding things that each contends to be her own. In other words, films, novels, and art, among others, highlight the human stories behind the cases and provide context to the conflicting sense of entitlement to property in the cases that students are learning. This deeper understanding about the legal issues and the forces that led to the property conflict help to prompt more robust discussions about property law.

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