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Course Descriptions
USC Gould School of Law

Critical Race Theory     LAW-746

This class focuses on an intellectual and political movement called Critical Race Theory, a radical left position on race and law that emerged in law schools in the late 1980s. Critical Race Theory scholarship is unified by two major intellectual and political commitments. First, CRT scholars argue that liberal legal approaches to race, even and especially laws that demand racial neutrality, serve to reproduce white supremacy and racial inequality. For example, the civil rights laws of the 1960s narrowly focused on intentional discrimination and took off the table any legal remedy for structural processes like residential segregation, labor market segmentation and disparate public school financing. Second, CRT scholars argue that law should be used to advance a political commitment to racial empowerment and anti-subordination (for example, by broadly reading the equal protection clause to require a remedy for structural inequality). We will spend much of our time tracing the intellectual history of the movement by reading the key writings that formed the center of the movement. The course will explore the movement's central commitments, as well as its political split-offs, renegades, and disgruntled fellow travelers. In addition, we will explore the trenchant critique of identity politics developed by liberal and conservative scholars in the legal academy, and the debate over the movement's critique of merit. In the context of theoretical argument, specific topics to be covered will include: police brutality, affirmative action in education, hate speech and immigration reform.

Units 2, 3, 4
Grading Options Numeric Only
Exam Type Paper
Writing Requirement Yes, with submission of the Upper Division Writing Requirement Form.
Skills/Experiential Requirement No
Recommended Preparation Not required, but students should have a basic understanding of equal protection in Constitutional Law.

Grading Options: vary with the professor

Professors Teaching This Course