Recent Courses
(Photo of lecture and discussion with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Minnesota 
Supreme 
Justice David Stras, and Timothy R. Johnson).

Undergraduate Courses Taught in the Past Two Academic Years (note that I had one course release during this time due to my editorship at the Law and Society Review. As editor, I also taught a year-long course, on how to edit a journal, each academic year from 2013 to 2016). Further, note that I earned a single semester leave for the Fall of 2016 to work on my newest NSF grant.

Summer 2016

POL 4310 Film and Politics (10 students)

Politics has always been a major theme for the American film industry.  This course will analyze several films, deliberately spanning the time period from the end of World War II to the present, to see what they tell us about the political culture of their time, and what messages (if any) they have for contemporary politics.  To that end, we will read about, watch, talk about, and write about films.  Our goal is to attempt to understand the political messages of the films we watch, but also to understand the place of the movie industry in American politics.

Spring 2016

POL 4502W Supreme Court and Civil Liberties (55 students)

This writing intensive course deals with civil liberties in the United States and how the United States Supreme Court decides which rights and liberties get which protections, at which times.  Specifically, the focus is on the First Amendment (speech, religion, press, and limits of the speech), and the Right to Privacy. Special emphasis is placed on how the Supreme Court defines, establishes, and protects these liberties through its interpretation of the Constitution. Cases come to life through the use of archival materials, audio of oral arguments and opinion announcements, and historical accounts of landmark cases. Discussion is key for this course and takes place in a Socratic-method format. Students write two 6-7 page papers for this course and produce 30 legal briefs of cases they read (although they are encouraged to write briefs for all cases).

Fall 2015

POL 4501W Constitutional Law (61 students)

This Course is designed to introduce students to constitutional law, with an emphasis on the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the powers of the national government in Article I (the legislature), Article II (the executive), and Article III (the judiciary). In addition, we will discuss the Court’s interpretation of how the national government relates with the states through the commerce clause and the concept of federalism. Finally, we will discuss one of the most controversial topics in the Court’s history – substantive due process. Cases come to life through the use of archival materials, audio of oral arguments and opinion announcements, and historical accounts of landmark cases. Discussion is key for this course and takes place in a Socratic-method format. Students write two 6-7 page papers for this course and produce 30 legal briefs of cases they read (although they are encouraged to write briefs for all cases).

Summer 2015

POL 4310 Film and Politics (20 students)

Politics has always been a major theme for the American film industry.  This course will analyze several films, deliberately spanning the time period from the end of World War II to the present, to see what they tell us about the political culture of their time, and what messages (if any) they have for contemporary politics.  To that end, we will read about, watch, talk about, and write about films.  Our goal is to attempt to understand the political messages of the films we watch, but also to understand the place of the movie industry in American politics.

Comments