English 178A

Literature and Law

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2021 Wagner, Bryan
MWF 1-2 222 Wheeler

Book List

Chesnutt, Charles W.: The Marrow of Tradition; Douglass, Frederick: Narrative of the Life; Ellison, Ralph: Invisible Man; Morrison, Toni: Beloved

Other Readings and Media


Dred Scott v. Sanford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857)

Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896)

Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)

Bakke v. Regents of the University of California, 483 U.S. 265 (1978)




This course is an introduction to the field of law and literature. It begins with a survey of foundational work by H. L. A. Hart, Robert Cover, Cheryl Harris, Martha Nussbaum, and others before turning to a series of United States Supreme Court cases read in tandem with contemporaneous literary works addressing matters of slavery, citizenship, and equity. The course concludes with a three-week collaborative research and writing workshop that will allow students the opportunity to pursue questions of their own design in a 15-page essay. 

This course satisfies the Philosophy & Values Breadth requirement. 


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