Law & Society

 

Stream Overview

Exciting Announcement: Starting in September 2017, the Law & Society stream will begin a new initiative called “From Classroom to the Courtroom,” in which students will have the opportunity to work with a community organization in the legal non-profit sector through their ASTU 100 coursework.

Do you have an interest in law or community work? Have you ever wondered how our law both shapes and reflects societal behaviour? Perhaps you have a burning passion for studying law in the future? If so, join us in the Law & Society CAP stream, where we will look at various aspects of society that have shaped its law, and vice-versa, including but not limited to historical, literary, political, and anthropological factors. You will also have the opportunity to work with a community organisation in the legal non-profit sector. This initiative, as well as your coursework, seeks answers to questions such as:

  • How did certain nations, including Canada, arrive at their current social and political organization?
  • How do law and society connect to Canada’s colonial history? In what ways has the rise of nation states paralleled – or caused – the marginalization of Indigenous peoples and other populations around the world?
  • What is the relationship between individuals and states like Canada? What different experiences of human rights (and their violations) do individuals encounter and what can we learn from these different experiences?
  • How is law related to social justice, and to social justice movements against poverty, racism, homophobia or sexism?
  • How does the globalization of economies and the movement of people across borders change how we think about categories like “the individual” and “society” ?

If any of these questions interest you, consider joining the Law & Society stream!

Legal and political forces influence the everyday life of all citizens, whether they choose to abide by these institutionalized guidelines or not. With a focus on the Canadian context, this stream examines modern nation states and the political systems that govern them, and how these systems influence the social development of diverse populations.

Through the disciplinary lenses of Anthropology, History, English, Aboriginal Studies, Gender and Critical Race Studies, and Political Science, students will engage with issues like human rights, nationalism, globalization, discrimination, government, environment, knowledge, and war.

Beyond the Canadian context, this stream will introduce you to historical instances when ideas of legality and humanity come into conflict, such as social justice movements for gender, racial, and sexual equality. Students will be challenged to consider global and local perspectives associated with the breakdown and restoration of law and society in a variety of contexts. Students will also be encouraged to think about their own place within these larger stories and contexts.

This stream may be of particular interest to students who plan on majoring in History, Political Science, Cultural Anthropology, or Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice (GRSJ), or those who wish to complete the Law & Society Minor.


Courses

All course descriptions and information are subject to change.

In your first term, you will enroll in Arts Studies, Political Science, and History. By looking at the literary, political, and historical background surrounding our society-at-large, you will learn how the current relationship between law and society came about.

Arts Studies (ASTU) 100 Seminar

(6 credits/2 terms) – First Year CAP Seminar: Focuses on scholarly writing and reading, including both literature and introduction to academic scholarship. This course provides an interdisciplinary foundation for academic writing and related research communicative practices within an interactive learning environment.

Students will choose one out of four different sections (L01/L02/L03/L04), based on their scheduling needs and academic interests, and stay in the same section for both terms.

Timeslots:
L01: Mon, Wed, Fri 10:00-11:00
L02: Mon, Wed, Fri 10:00-11:00
L03: Mon, Wed, Fri 12:00-13:00
L04: Mon, Wed, Fri 13:00-14:00


  • ASTU 100 Section L01
    Dr. Sean McAlister
    sean.mcalister@ubc.ca

What kinds of relationships does law produce -- between groups of people, between people(s) and a nation, between people and the land?

Over the course of eight months, we will engage with literary and scholarly accounts of (some of) the forms of exclusion embedded in Canadian nation-building practices, including the dispossession of Indigenous peoples, and the restriction of Canadian citizenship through law. In addition to reading contemporary material, we will also consider earlier literature on law and (in)justice. As we practice reading and writing scholarly prose together, we will work to produce literary and cultural analyses informed by research in a range of disciplines


  • ASTU 100 Sections L02, L03, L04 -  The Law in/as Literature
    Dr. Heather Latimer
    heather.latimer@ubc.ca

ASTU 100 combines literature with academic research and writing through the study of a core research topic, which for this class is “The Law in/as Literature.” In this course, we will analyze novels, shorts stories, and films, as well as scholarly articles, on topics related to the articulation of law, society. Specifically, we will focus on reading and writing about legal “states of exception,” where the law is suspended for certain groups of people, and on examining forms of legal abandonment in connection to fictional representations of segregation, internment camps, residential schools, and “illegal” migration.

In our discussions we will also consider social movements such as civil rights movements, feminist movements, Indigenous rights movements, anti-racism and anti-homophobia movements, and other social justice movements, as we study texts written in response to or in relationship to the law.

This course will include a mandatory community-based learning project where students will have the opportunity to work with a community organization in the legal non-profit sector.

Political Science (POLI) 101

(3 credits/1 term)
Dr. Paul Kopas
paul.kopas@ubc.ca

The course introduces students to the basic principles, structures and practices of Canadian politics and government. The objective is to develop an understanding of the process of (mostly) national politics and of the relationship between the individual and the Canadian state. For students interested in further study of political science, it will provide a solid foundation on which to build. For those interested in a general knowledge of politics, it will reveal a full spectrum of the institutions and processes of politics thus enabling individuals to understand or engage their roles as citizens. Since this is an introductory course, some attention will be given to developing academic skills (such as research and writing) that are relevant across the university.

History (HIST) 104 – Topics in World History

(3 credits/1 term)
Dr. Arlene Sindelar
arlene.sindelar@ubc.ca

The Origins of World Legal Traditions focuses on social control and legal culture in the world's pre-modern and traditional societies. In civilizations ranging from the ancient Near East and the Greco-Roman world to Yuan China and Medieval Europe, students investigate the law, religion, and customs that regulated people's behavior and circumscribed their lives, and how legal cultures developed over time to influence modern legal systems. The course focuses on social and legal relationships such as those between husbands and wives, kings and subjects, parents and children, prostitutes and partners, merchants and customers, friends and enemies, conquerors and conquered, people and their gods, the righteous and the outcast, the dead and the living.

The readings consist of primary documents such as the law codes of Hammurabi and the Franks, Hebrew scriptures, the Qu'ran, Antigone and other plays, novels and short stories, didactic literature, poetry, Roman law and Christian canons, Chinese treatises, constitutional documents such as Magna Carta, case records and coroner reports, images and other artifacts, as well as secondary scholarship and historical analyses.

The course consists of lectures twice a week and discussion sections once a week. The written assignments emphasize writing skills and constructing arguments based on critical analysis of sources to convey conclusions that reflect historical understanding. Evaluation is based on short written assignments and essays, two examinations, class discussions, and participation in all aspects of the course.

In your second term, you will continue your studies in Arts Studies, and be introduced to the studies of Anthropology and Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice. You will acquire a new perspective of our laws and society by studying it through the lens of anthropological and feminist frameworks.

Arts Studies (ASTU) 100 Seminar

(6 credits/2 terms) – First Year CAP Seminar: Focuses on scholarly writing and reading, including both literature and introduction to academic scholarship. This course provides an interdisciplinary foundation for academic writing and related research communicative practices within an interactive learning environment.

Students will choose one out of four different sections (L01/L02/L03/L04), based on their scheduling needs and academic interests, and stay in the same section for both terms.

Timeslots:
L01: Mon, Wed, Fri 10:00-11:00
L02: Mon, Wed, Fri 10:00-11:00
L03: Mon, Wed, Fri 12:00-13:00
L04: Mon, Wed, Fri 13:00-14:00


  • ASTU 100 Section L01
    Instructor TBA

What kinds of relationships does law produce -- between groups of people, between people(s) and a nation, between people and the land?

Over the course of eight months, we will engage with literary and scholarly accounts of (some of) the forms of exclusion embedded in Canadian nation-building practices, including the dispossession of Indigenous peoples, and the restriction of Canadian citizenship through law. In addition to reading contemporary material, we will also consider earlier literature on law and (in)justice. As we practice reading and writing scholarly prose together, we will work to produce literary and cultural analyses informed by research in a range of disciplines


  • ASTU 100 Sections L02, L03, L04 -  The Law in/as Literature
    Dr. Heather Latimer
    heather.latimer@ubc.ca

ASTU 100 combines literature with academic research and writing through the study of a core research topic, which for this class is “The Law in/as Literature.” In this course, we will analyze novels, shorts stories, and films, as well as scholarly articles, on topics related to the articulation of law, society. Specifically, we will focus on reading and writing about legal “states of exception,” where the law is suspended for certain groups of people, and on examining forms of legal abandonment in connection to fictional representations of segregation, internment camps, residential schools, and “illegal” migration.

In our discussions we will also consider social movements such as civil rights movements, feminist movements, Indigenous rights movements, anti-racism and anti-homophobia movements, and other social justice movements, as we study texts written in response to or in relationship to the law.

This course will include a mandatory community-based learning project where students will have the opportunity to work with a community organization in the legal non-profit sector.

Anthropology (ANTH) 100

(3 credits/1 term)
Instructor TBA

Socio-cultural anthropologists strive to understand the human condition and its diverse expressions around the world in contemporary and historically recent social contexts. Exploring both commonality and difference among communities, we participate in the wider endeavor of anthropology: the holistic understanding of the human experience in terms of biological evolution, the historic development of societies (archaeology), and the global reach of linguistic and cultural diversity. The sub-disciplines of legal and political anthropology offer deep insight into how regulatory structures are created, and how they shape human experience in local, national, regional and transnational contexts.

This course will introduce you to core concepts and questions in anthropology, and its methods for understanding human action and expression. How do people understand and forge family relationships? Why are some foods taboo? How do ritual action and religious belief shape lives? Why does gender matter? How are contemporary legal and political frameworks forged? What can local engagement with global forces can teach us about the range of possible responses to the international crises of inequality, poverty and environmental change? As well as reading case studies, participating in ethnographic exercises, and engaging with materials in UBC’s famed Museum of Anthropology, students will create their own online Hot Spots forums addressing current issues from anthropological perspectives.

Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice (GRSJ) 101

(3 credits/1 term)
Dr. Lori Macintosh
lbm@mail.ubc.ca

Gender, Race, Sex and Power: Using various feminist frameworks this course will examine representations of gender, race, sexuality in literature and media. In this course we will focus on reading and writing through popular culture, which offers opportunities to construct learning communities where students have a shared and varied experience of knowledge and language. Feminist theories add additional frameworks to the way we read these popular narratives. To that end, through a close examination of character development, plot, literary and social tensions, this course will assist students in understanding the complex nature of gender and sexuality and its racial, ethnic, national, and economic underpinnings. The intellectual operating space of this course promotes the development of writing skills, an understanding of the performance of identity, and an examination of power and its intersections as developed through narrative forms in both text and visual media.


Timetable

Please note that students will only register in one ASTU 100 section and one HIST 104 discussion section. This timetable is subject to change.

Please note that students will only register in one ASTU 100 section and one ANTH 100 discussion section. This timetable is subject to change.


Sample Projects

ASTU 100

Archival research in UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections: Students spend one week examining readers’ responses to Joy Kogawa’s Obasan, a semi-autobiographical novel about the treatment of Japanese-Canadians during and after World War II. Students analyze these readers’ responses in relation to an argument by a literary scholar, and present their research findings in the form of a short paper. This project helps students understand how academics conduct primary research to produce new knowledge.