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Law and Literature Seminar, Georgetown University

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posted on 2022-07-06, 16:23 authored by Post Discipline AdminPost Discipline Admin
This course will examine literary texts that engage important questions related to justice theory, criminal law, and public policy decisions. These text range from canonical works (Antigone, Merchant of Venice) to contemporary writers exploring the effect of law on Outsider groups such as immigrants, drug addicts, and prisoners. Law and literature offers us the opportunity to consider the impact of law on those Othered by our society, to obtain an empathetic and vicarious understanding of how law affects those who are most marginalized. The authors range from those who are very well known (James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Margaret Atwood) to the first published, including works of fiction by recent immigrants and those who are still in prison. The course invites broader consideration of the purposes of justice: should societies prioritize utilitarian principles? What is the role of forgiveness when heinous crimes have been committed? Other texts invite students to apply a broad perspective to criminal policy questions, including the insanity defense, rape, and the death penalty. Readings include some speculative/dystopian fiction and recent stories bearing on epidemic and disease control. This information has been collected for the Post-Discipline Online Syllabus Database. The database explores the use of literature by schools of professional education in North America. It forms part of a larger project titled Post-Discipline: Literature, Professionalism, and the Crisis of the Humanities, led by Dr Merve Emre with the assistance of Dr Hayley G. Toth. You can find more information about the project at Data was collected and accurate in 2021/22.


Subject Area


Geographic Region

South Atlantic

University or College

Georgetown University

Funding Status


Endowment (according to NACUBO's U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change* in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20) ($1,000)


Annual Tuition and Mandatory Fees 2021-2022 ($) (Resident; Non-resident, where applicable)


Course Title

Law and Literature Seminar

Terminal Degree of Instructor(s)


Position of Instructor(s)

Adjunct Professor of Law

Academic Year(s) Active

2019/20, 2020/21

Course Enrolment


Primary Works on Reading List

Sophocles, Antigone; William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice; and works by James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and Margaret Atwood.

Usage metrics

    Post-Discipline: Literature, Professionalism, and the Crisis of the Humanities