Link to What's New This Week Law and Social Change: CRMJ/SOCA 352, Spring 2009, UWP

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Law and Social Change
Syllabus for CRMJ/SOCA 352. Spring 2009

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: August 24, 2003
Latest update: April 30, 2009

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Index of Topics on Site Syllabus for Law & Social Change

Susan Takata
Office: 362 MOLN
Office Hours: WF 8:45-9:45am & by appointment
Phone: (262) 595-2116
FAX: (262) 595-2471
Class meets MWF 10-10:50 a.m.

Brief Description:

CRMJ/SOCA 352 will provide a broad theoretical background against which to explore policies in the system of law, in the definition and enforcement of the law, and to follow those policies as they have been and are presently affected by social change. Whatever position you take on law and justice, the readings in this course should challenge you to think about the theory and assumptions that underlie your position, and the many alternatives that have been and will continue to be presented in this new millennium.


  • Arrigo. Social Justice/Criminal Justice..
  • Mann, Zatz & Rodriguez. Images of Color, Images of Crime. 3rd edition.
  • Curran & Takata. The Sociology of Law Handbook. (on DH site).
  • other readings to be assigned.
  • Dear Habermas Website [refer to handout]
  • Johnson. Who Moved My Cheese? (optional)
  • Habermas. Between Facts and Norms. (optional)
  • Minow. Making All the Difference. (optional)


You must have:
  • a three-ring binder
  • an e-mail address (available through the university)
  • Internet access (access to PCs in microcomputing labs on campus)

Course Objectives

  • Answerability Objective: To master the concept of aesthetic processes of answerability and its role in creating an atmosphere of morality and ethics in our institutions and world systems, particularly the educational system. Outcomes: You will participate in class and online discussions, respecting the answerability of every member of the community, and the aesthetic process of collaborative creation. You are expected to demonstrate active and involved learning. Written expression is as important as dialog participation and other means of expression (such as art or photography). Silence will not be acceptable, though I am willing to consider a preference for interpassivity.

  • Technological Objective: To master the simple use of any computer that happens to be available. Our assignments and readings are on the Internet. Please be sure you know how to access them and to post ot the discussions. Outcomes: You will be expected to access class materials on the Dear Habermas website and to post the online discussions.

  • Theoretical Objective: To come away from this course with a deep understanding of the role that theory plays in our lives, particularly as it relates to law and social change. To use a vocabulary which permit discussion of theory: the tension between facts and norms, difference, the Other, structural violence, privileging subjectivity, unstated assumptions, relativism, tolerance of ambiguity, inequality, diversity, and so forth. Outcomes: Measured by inclusion of references in written and oral contributions to discourse. In your submissions to our online discussion group and during class discussions, you will consider the framing of the facts you cite, the illocutionary discourse in which you must engage to hear one another in good faith, and the importance of such a forum to in depth consideration of issues in the law and social change.

  • Visual Criminological Objective: To review and evaluate materials on law and social change by creating a visual presentation of your learning in this course. Outcomes: You will present at least two visual projects to the class (one at midterm and the other at the end of the semester). Visual projects should reflect your competence and creativity in this course.

  • Praxis Objective: To recognize differences between theory, factual knowledge and the application and synthesis of that knowledge in praxis. Outcomes: You will apply theoretical discussions to examples within your own institutions and life worlds, as they relate to the interrelationship between law and social change. Focus on conceptually linking critical theory to current events and personal narratives shared in face-to-face and Internet discussions.

Grades and Grading

Grades can be important feedback when they are collaborative and used as feedback to guide further learning. They are harmful when they become a reified end in their own right. Because we are required by the institution to give grades, there must be a means of your letting us know what you hae learned. We expect each of you to communicate with us, so that we come to know you and your learning. Meaningful learning comes when we stretch the corners of each other's mind by looking at these concepts from multiple perspectives that come from our myriad unique experiences. You are invited to choose the measures of learning that best fits your learning style best. More details will be provided in class.

The 6Cs - communication, courtesy, consistency, competency, creativity, and cooperation continue to represent our standards for evaluation. Refer to Grades on the Dear Habermas web site. Your coursework must show scholarly discipline in conceptually linking your learning to theory, policy, practice, and to course readings, class discussions, and other materials.

Ideally, four progress checks (meeting with the professor every four weeks) throughout the semester is recommended. A minimum of two progress checks with the professor is required (at midterm and at the end of the semester).

The minimum requirements for a course grade of "C" are: 1) the completion of all the weekly discussion questions, 2) participatory class attendance (not only attending but participating in class discussions), and 3) at least a "C average" on pop quizzes (to note "do not count" on the majority of pop quizzes is "below average"). Measures of Learning

  • First Half of the Semester (30%)
  • First Half Visual Project(s) (10%)
  • Second Half of the Semester (40%)
  • Second Half Visual Project(s) (20%)

    Grade Scale

    95-100 = A
    90-94 = A-
    88-89 = B+
    85-87 = B
    80-84 = B-
    78-79 = C+
    75-77 = C
    70-74 = C-
    68-69 = D+
    65-67 = D
    60-64 = D-
    59 and below = F

  • Statement on Plagiarism - DON'T DO IT!! Give credit to those whose ideas and words you use. Cooperation and sharing in this class will earn you a better grade. Adversarialism is not a part of our teaching. We believe that learning flowers in an environment that permits mutuality to flourish.

    Communication - It is your responsibility to communicate an emergency and other situations in a timely manner to the professor. Communicating your whereabouts is important. Don't be a field mouse.

    Students with Disabilities - Students with disabilities are encouraged to meet with me as soon as possible to discuss accommodations. Accommodations should be authorized through the Disability Services Office, WYLL D175. Dr. Renee' Sartin-Kirby - Coordinator can be reached at (262) 595-2610.

    Deadlines/Due Dates/Meeting Times - All due dates, meeting times, and deadlines are firm. Late assignments will not be accepted. A "no show" will result in an "F" for that particular task.

    Groupwork: You may work in groups on any or all exercises or assignments. Cooperative learning groups are strongly encouraged. You can work with more than one group, and with different groups. All names of active group members should be recorded as indicated on the exercise material. (Refer to Cooperative Learning on the Dear Habermas site ).



    WeekTopic and Class PreparationTextual Readings
    Week 1
    Introduction/Teaching/Learning Model Arrigo, intro
    MZR, Foreword & Intro
    Week 2
    Why Habermas? Who's Habermas?
    Learning/Teaching & Change
    ** Wednesday, 1/28 - 12 noon -- Optional Dear Habermas Workshop in the library microcomputing classroom
    Socio of Law Handbook Introduction ; Chapter 1, part 1 ; Chapter 1, part 2
    Week 3
    Difference and Privileging Subjectivity
    MZR, ch. 5 & 10
    Socio of Law Handbook Chapter 2
    Week 4
    Marxist Criminology & Socialist Feminism Arrigo, ch. 1-2
    Week 5
    Critical Race Theory & American Indians Arrigo, ch.9; MZR, ch. 1 & 6
    Week 6
    Peacemaking Criminology & American Indians
    **Midterm Meetings begin Wednesday, 2/25
    Arrigo, ch. 3; MZR, ch.11 & 16
    Week 7
    Prophetic Criticism & African Americans
    Arrigo, ch. 4; MZR, ch. 2 & 7
    Week 8
    Midterm Visual Projects
    **Monday, 3/9 Midterm Visual Projects due
    **Friday, 3/13 Last Day to Drop Course
    "everything" to date
    Week 9
    Spring Break
    ** Mon. 3/16, Wed. 3/18 & Fri. 3/20 -- No Class
    no readings
    Week 10
    Anarchist Criminology & African Americans
    Arrigo, ch. 5; MZR, ch. 12 & 17
    Week 11
    Semiotics & Latino/Latina Americans Arrigo, ch. 7; MZR ch. 3 & 8
    Week 12
    Constitutive Criminology & Latino/Latina AmericansArrigo, ch. 8; MZR ch. 13 & 18
    Week 13
    Chaos Theory & Asian Americans Arrigo, ch. 10; MZR, ch.4 & 9
    Week 14
    Queer Theory & Asian Americans
    Arrigo, ch. 12; MZR, ch. 14 & 19
    Week 15
    Postmodern Feminist Criminology & Euro AmericansArrigo, ch. 6; MZR, ch. 5, 10, 15 & 20
    Week 16
    Law, Social Change and the Future
    The Teaching/Learning Model Revisited

    **Monday, May 4th - Final Visual Projects due
    ** Friday, May 8th - Last Day of Class
    Arrigo, ch. 13; MZR, ch. 21 & conclusion

    Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, August 2003.
    "Fair use" encouraged.