Course Catalog

01:988:307 Women and the Law


This course will provide an interdisciplinary learning experience in which students consider the unique and dynamic relationship between law, gender, and race. We will begin with a discussion of key frameworks for understanding women and the law. We will discuss the basic elements of an intersectional approach to identity, as well as competing definitions for assessing women’s equality in society in general and before the law more specifically. After this foundational segment, we will conduct an in depth review of cases, commentary, and theory related to employment discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment, and rape. The course will end with a hands-on educational experience in which students learn the basic mechanics of trial advocacy and participate in a mock civil trial.


By the end of this course, students should:

(1)  Be able to define racism and sexism and explain how they function in their individual and institutional dynamics;

(2)  Be aware of key feminist theories and concepts regarding equality, justice, and the operation of race and gender in the legal system;

(3)  Be conversant with key contemporary debates and issues concerning gender, race, and the law such as rape, sexual harassment, and bullying; and

(4)  Be familiar with basic legal concepts regarding trial functioning, including, but not limited to, trial psychology/the psychology of persuasion, burdens of proof, and legal epistemology and techniques (e.g., opening and closing statements and direct and cross-examinations).