S. The Theater of Change: Reimagining Justice through Abolition
- Course Number
- Curriculum Level
- Areas of Study
- Interdisciplinary Legal Studies, Lawyering
- Additional Attributes
- Experiential Credit
Section 001 Information
Reimagining Justice through Abolition: Constructing Theaters of Change
This course and practicum, the first of its kind, will enable participants to blend law, policy, artistry, and community engagement, and in this way produce narratives with powerful impact in policy spaces where change can happen. The course will focus concretely on strategies and practices that center the leadership of people and communities directly impacted by incarceration In policy making, advocacy, and storytelling. Amidst resounding calls to abolish the current state of the country's criminal legal system, notably prisons and the police, the theater of change provides a critical space to build relationships, imagine alternatives to the criminal legal system, and to promote those envisionings as achievable realities. The course will equip law students to tell powerful stories--themselves and in collaboration with artists and community members--and use legal knowledge and skills to amplify artists' and community activists' impact in venues where laws are made and power is exercised. In the process all the participants will work with community members to amplify the power of their stories informed by legal and policy research. With criminal justice as the policy focal point, the workshop will enable participants to craft and enact compelling stories about justice and injustice in theaters for change where they can shift hearts and minds of thought leaders and policy makers. A background and/or interest in theater is not necessary to participate, though certainly welcome.
The course grows out of a collaboration between the Broadway Advocacy Coalition (BAC) and the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School. BAC is a Tony Award Winning arts based organization dedicated to bridging the worlds of arts, justice and education for the purpose of building new collaborative methods for solving today's most pressing social justice issues. The course and practicum will be offered to a strategically selected group of law students, professional artists, and directly affected activists on the front lines of change work in the areas of public safety, defunding the police, violence prevention, prison abolition, reentry, and restorative and criminal justice. It will create a space in which its participants can cross-train; to learn from each other's toolkits, build collaborative capacity, and advance concrete policy change.
Participants will emerge from the course with the ability to practice ARTIVISM: connecting effective storytelling through the arts with community mobilization, activism, and policy change. The course will (1) build capacity to communicate effectively through high-impact storytelling, (2) generate original pieces of work, informed by policy research and narratives gathered using the methodologies of both theater and law, (3) construct change strategies that can be used to mobilize short and long term impact and (4) foster relationships among law students, advocates directly impacted by incarceration, and artists with varying stakes in and perspectives on reimagining justice.
Students enrolled in the course will earn two experiential learning credits, which may be either graded or ungraded. They may also enroll in an additional one-credit group supervised research project, focused on exploring how law can support transformative change. If you have questions about the course or want to apply, please email [email protected]. Admission to the course is by application, which can be accessed at https://forms.gle/YF9sLbbU1UZgsZA86.
- School Year & Semester
- Spring 2022
- JGA Greene Annex Lounge
Class meets on
- Method of Evaluation
- J.D Writing Credit?
- Minor (upon consultation)
- Writing Credit Note
- Students may enroll in an addition 1 credit supervised research project.
- build capacity to communicate effectively through high-impact storytelling,
- generate original pieces of work, informed by policy research and narratives gathered using the methodologies of both theater and law,
- construct change strategies that can be used to mobilize short and long term impact,
- foster relationships among law students, advocates directly impacted by incarceration, and artists with varying stakes in and perspectives on reimagining justice.
- At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in a specific body of law, including major policy concerns
- At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in ethical and professional issues
- At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in values-based considerations in law-making
- At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in the influences of political institutions in law
- At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in various lawyering skills, for example, oral advocacy, legal writing and drafting, legal research, negotiation, and client communication
- Instructor Pre-requisites
- Instructor Co-Requisites
- Recommended Courses
- Other Limitations
- Students must apply for enrollment to this course. The application may be accessed at https://forms.gle/YF9sLbbU1UZgsZA86.