This course explores how the law in America has defined and regulated gender and sexuality. We will evaluate how the law has dictated different roles for men and women, how sexual acts have been designated as legal or illegal, and the ways that race, class, and nationality have complicated the definition and regulation of gender and sexuality. We will examine how assumptions about gender and sexuality have informed the creation and development of American law, contested interpretations of the Constitution, and the changing meanings of citizenship; We will consider how seemingly gender neutral laws have yielded varied effects for men and women across race and class divides, challenging some differences while naturalizing others. Finally, we will examine the power and shortcomings of appeals to formal legal equality waged by diverse groups and individuals. Throughout the course, we will consider the various methodologies and approaches of the interdisciplinary field of legal history. Topics to be covered will include the Constitution, slavery, marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance, immigration, sexual violence, reproduction, abortion, privacy, suffrage, jury duty, work, and military service.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
four papers, including three 4- to 6-page papers, and one final paper of 8-10 pages
History majors, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies majors
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course fulfills the DPE requirement because it examines the legal, social, and political constructions and theorizations of difference, power, and equity. It examines the ways that individuals and groups have organized across various axes of difference to fight for legal equality, and explores how those individuals and groups have experienced legal equality and legal inequality in varied ways.
HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada
JLST Interdepartmental Electives