Law and Society Core Course LASO 204

All students in the Law and Society Minor must complete the 200-level core course, Introduction to Law and Society (LASO 204).  This course will be taught by current members of the Faculty of Arts from a variety of disciplines.  In its initial year, it was taught by Dr. Renisa Mawani (Sociology), but it is expected that over time, responsibility for teaching the course will be rotated amongst professors in different units involved.  Faculty can, and are expected to, adapt the course to their own interests and expertise within the broader field of Law and Society.  In addition to the sample course outline, various other electronic and written resources will be available to course faculty, including a list of available textbooks, other sample outlines, supplemental readings.  In addition, a list of UBC faculty willing to serve as potential guest lecturers for the course will also be included with the relevant course materials.  Faculty lectures in the core course are intended to stimulate student interest in third and fourth year cross-listed classes.

The core course seeks to move beyond the study of legal rules, to examining what we know about the law and how it works in our society. Students will acquire knowledge of the underlying dynamics of law and legal studies, including an in-depth understanding of its rules, agents, institutions, and power structures. The course is organized into three inter-related parts.  In the first part, the class will explore various conceptions of law, paying close attention to different definitions and understandings of the role of law in society as well as the many ways in which law shapes individual subjects and identities.  In the second part, the course will focus on how law works and where it derives its authority.  The class will consider the main components of the Canadian legal system as well as alternative systems of law.  This section will also examine the techniques of law, with an emphasis on legal reasoning, case analysis, and statutory interpretation.  In the final part, the course will explore in greater depth contemporary issues in law and society, comparing and contrasting understandings of law with concepts of custom, morality, and justice.  The Law and Society core course will consists of two lectures/ discussions each week.  Throughout the term, lectures will also be presented by several guest speakers from the UBC community who will discuss the role of law in society through their own disciplinary perspectives (Anthropology, History, Law, Philosophy, Political Science, etc).