New Fall Courses Illuminate Big Issues of the Day
Columbia Law School Students Choose from Innovative Curriculum that Reflects Changing Times
New York, September 1, 2016—The noted German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “There are no facts, only interpretations,” and this semester, Columbia Law School students will consider both as they grapple with global issues, new and old.
Nietzsche himself is among the course topics students will engage with this fall. Also featured among the many new course offerings are international hot-button issues such as the Zika virus, the FIFA corruption scandal, and the EU’s rift with international arbitral regime. Closer to home, students will learn about the role of federal judges, racial justice and policing, and the legal history of national security.
The Law School’s evolving curriculum was featured recently in an article on Law.com which quoted Dean Gillian Lester describing one of Columbia’s main goals as imparting “a mindset that will give our students versatility and adaptability—an ability to seize opportunities as they navigate their careers.”
Here is a preview of some of the new courses available this semester:
Overview: This seminar considers the complex role assigned to federal judges in the American justice system. Students will assess the historical and cultural underpinnings of the judicial branch, as well as the proper role for judges in fact finding, sentencing, and administering the third branch of government.
Taught by: Richard Sullivan, United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York
Overview: How does society legislate fear? Public health responses to the Zika virus, Ebola crisis, and HIV/AIDS epidemic will be used to highlight how disaster narratives of invasion by contagious bodies can inflect immigration policy, educational access, and employment opportunity. Students will study how the imagination of disaster may or may not prepare a society for actual disaster; and how ideologies of calamity, contamination, and cleanliness operate at the intersection of law, politics, and the regulation of public health.
Taught by: Patricia J. Williams, James L. Dohr Professor of Law
Overview: Students will contrast Nietzschean critical thought with Marxian or Freudian traditions, and proceed through close readings of the writings on or influenced by Nietzsche of thirteen contemporary thinkers from the 20th century. In excavating critical thoughts on law, the humanities, and other disciplines, students will seek to formulate a coherent Nietzschean strand of contemporary critical thought.
Taught by: Bernard Harcourt, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, and Jesús Rodríguez-Velasco, professor in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures
Overview: Students will be provided an understanding of key legal concepts needed to advise digital innovators on issues faced in bringing their products and services to market. Expert guest speakers will offer balanced views on a wide range of topics from how to be an effective digital lawyer to labor issues in the digital economy.
Taught by: Lecturers in Law John Halvey and Blake Reese
Overview: This seminar discusses major corruption issues in the world of sports, such as doping, match fixing, and daily fantasy sports betting controversies, with a focus on how sports organizations can learn from other areas of governance that have dealt with similar problems.
Taught by: Petros Mavroidis, Edwin B. Parker Professor of Foreign & Comparative Law, and Jennifer Rodgers, executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School (CAPI)
Overview: The emergence of a dramatic set of clashes between the international arbitral regime and the European Union prompted this new seminar. Students will explore how the regime’s conflicting positions reflect the most basic and contradictory assumptions underlying each.
Taught by: George A. Bermann, Gellhorn Professor of Law & Monnet Professor in European Union Law
Overview: Students will learn skills at the intersection of criminal law and neuropsychiatric illnesses that are fundamental to lawyers practicing criminal defense. Substantive and procedural criminal law issues will be illuminated by real world examples drawn from the lecturers’ criminal defense experience.
Taught by: Lecturers in Law Sean Bolser and David Freedman
Overview: Renowned experts will discuss challenges posed to the trade and investment regime by the emergence of state owned enterprises, public and private in nature.
Taught by: Merit Janow ’88, dean of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and Professor of Professional Practice, International Economic Law and International Affairs, and Petros Mavroidis
Overview: This seminar will examine the legal history and theory of the “national security state” from the Spanish-American War to the War on Terror. Students will learn about the rise of the national security state as a pivotal event in the longer history of the American administrative state via historical case studies.
Taught by: Jeremy Kessler, Associate Professor of Law
Overview: A hands-on examination of psychological, legal, and policy issues related to racial justice and policing will allow students to explore gaps in research literature that can inform departments actively engaged in police reform.
Taught by: Lecturer in Law Phillip Goff