Course Descriptions

List of Courses

Socio–Legal Studies 6000 3.0: Law and Social Theory (Required).
This course offers an overview of the major contemporary theoretical perspectives on law and society. Among the different approaches we consider are those that define law as a source of social and moral regulation, as ideology, and as discourse.

Socio–Legal Studies 6005 3.0: Advanced Research Strategies in Socio-Legal Methods (Required).
This course surveys the various ways in which data are conceptualized, collected and analyzed in research in socio–legal studies. It aims to ensure that all students on the degree program have mastered social science methodology including historical and documentary research methods, survey methods and questionnaire design, interview techniques, observational methods, and the interpretation of official statistics. A distinctive feature of this course will be the emphasis on the dynamic relationships between problems, theories, methods, and politics.

Socio–Legal Studies 6100 3.0: MA Major Research Seminar (Required).
This will consist of a series of meetings in the second term in which students will be provided with advice on how to write their major research papers, and required to briefly present their MRP proposals to their fellow students as well as faculty. Beyond experience in presenting their work, the seminar is seen as an important mechanism for ensuring that students are kept on track and have clear expectations for the MRP.

Socio–Legal Studies 6110 0.0: MA Major Research Paper (Required).
Candidates must produce a piece of original research that represents a sustained exploration of a theoretical or empirical question, under the direction and supervision of a faculty member of the Graduate Program in Socio–Legal Studies. No course credit.

Socio–Legal Studies 6010 3.0: Advanced Critical Issues in Indigenous Peoples and Law.
This course provides an in-depth critical analysis of litigation and negotiation procedures, intercultural dispute management, self-determination, treaty rights, land claims and community controlled justice processes in Indigenous communities in Canada.
Same as GS/SOAN 5245 3.0

Socio–Legal Studies 6015 3.0: Law, Narrative, Responsibility.
This course examines the narrative qualities of law and the concept of legal responsibility. Students engage in a close, critical, reading of law "texts" in order to understand the effects of shifting socio–political and cultural accounts of the (ir)responsible subject.
Same as GS/SPTH 6676 3.0

Socio–Legal Studies 6018 3.0: Theories of Cosmopolitanism
This course critically examines the idea of cosmopolitanism, as contained in some key theoretical writings. It covers the main dimensions of cosmopolitan thought: moral and ethical (universal human equality); socio–cultural (pluralism); economic (redistribution); and political (cosmopolitics and global civil society).
Same as GS/SOCI 6196 3.0, GS/POLS 6005 3.0, GS/SPTH 6669 3.0

Socio–Legal Studies 6020 3.0: Legal Pluralism.
This course examines the socio–legal tradition of legal pluralism — or the study of normative orders that impact on social behavior. State law is one such normative order that interacts with and competes with other non–state orders. And state law can have its own pluralism as well, with customary, religious, common, and civil laws applying in one jurisdiction. This course will introduce students to the rich literature in North America and Europe as well as the debates within legal pluralism.

Socio–Legal Studies 6025 3.0: Regulatory Institutions in Theory and Practice.
This course examines selected themes regarding the enterprise of governing behavior through rules, processes and institutions. Current developments in regulatory theory and practice will be explored through selected themes including: private authority, compliance, soft law, negotiated justice, and transnational law.

Socio–Legal Studies 6025 3.0: Regulatory Institutions in Theory and Practice.
This course examines selected themes regarding the enterprise of governing behavior through rules, processes and institutions. Current developments in regulatory theory and practice will be explored through selected themes including: private authority, compliance, soft law, negotiated justice, and transnational law.

Socio–Legal Studies 6028 3.0: Neoliberalism: Governmentality in Theory and Practice.
What is neoliberalism? The word is everywhere, but what does it mean? Is it just a new word for capitalism or does it indicate a specific kind of capitalism? This course will start with the proposition that neoliberalism involves a fundamental reconfiguration of the field of regulation that entails a reengineering of the state and a transnational field of market-oriented 'regulatory transfer'. Regulation is shaped by law and state initiatives, but it is also "a social activity that includes persuasion, influence, voluntary compliance and self-regulation" (Braithwaite 2006: 19). This is especially the case under contemporary conditions of neoliberal 'governmentality', in which non-state actors (international institutions, NGOs, public-private partnerships, religious institutions, and corporations) increasingly engage in activities which govern populations and encourage people to adopt new forms of self-regulation.

We will explore both ideologies and practices of neoliberal governmentality using the work of critical legal theorists and sociologists, geographers and ethnographers of neoliberal practice. Drawing upon work influenced by late Foucaultian theory, students will be introduced to key concepts and interdisciplinary debates that are common to explorations of neoliberalism in spheres as diverse as criminal corrections, cultural heritage management, environmental protection, international development, social work, and urban planning.

The course is global in terms of the discourses, institutions and relations of power it analyzes and the transnational networks with which it is concerned but puts emphasis on how these assemblages are locally experienced, understood, and rearticulated.

Socio–Legal Studies 6030 3.0: Politics of Security and Regulation.
A critical examination of security and regulation in contemporary and/or historical settings. Critical theoretical work on risk, dis/order, community and security assessed alongside practices and sociolegal policies that may include national security, economic regulation, private versus public policing.
Same as GS/SOCI 6885 3.0

Socio–Legal Studies 6035 3.0: Law and Governance.
This course examines various perspectives on law as a form of governance in contemporary societies. In critiquing formalistic and state–centered conceptions of law, emphasis will be placed on the diversity of legal forms, intersections with non–legal knowledge, and private forms of legal ordering.

Socio–Legal Studies 6040 3.0: Law, Crime and Exclusion.
This course critically examines current perspectives on law, crime and exclusion in terms of conceptual innovations, empirical research and theoretical debates within criminology, socio–legal studies and related fields.

Socio–Legal Studies 6045 3.0: Global Perspectives on Crime and Crime Control.
This course surveys contemporary issues in global crime and crime control in relation to contemporary theories about globalization and governance. The course provides an opportunity to critically examine the relationship between the various crime phenomena that are linked with ‘globalization’ and the institutions and practices of global governance.

Socio–Legal Studies 6050 3.0: Canadian Public Law.
The purpose of this course is to analyze the impact of judicial review on public policy and public administration in Canada. After a review of the current scholarly literature in Canadian constitutional and administrative law (including current human rights issues), the course analyzes the role of judicial decisions in shaping the public policy environment and the norms of public administration.
Same as GS/POLS 6120 3.0

Socio–Legal Studies 6055 3.0: Gender and International Human Rights: Law, Citizenships and Borders.
This course introduces students to the structure and the main mechanisms of international human rights law and its impact on women and gender relations. The focus of the course is on the United Nations, its agencies, and its system of international Conventions and Declarations designed to increase gender equality. (offered 2008–09)
Same as GS/GFWS 6133 3.0, GS/POLS 6705 3.0

Socio–Legal Studies 6060 3.0: Canadian Social Policy in Comparative Perspective.
The course analyses the design and implementation of social policy in Canada, seen in the context of social policy development in other Western societies, including the United States and Western Europe.

Socio–Legal Studies 6065 3.0: Colonialism, Race and the Law: Sociological Implications.
The objective of this course is to provide students with theoretical and methodological tools to critically examine and explore the relationship between race and processes of racialization and contemporary legal order.
Same as GS/SOSI 6893 3.00, GS/SPTH 6146 3.0

Socio–Legal Studies 6070 3.0: The Political Economy of Work and Welfare.
This course explores the political economy of work and welfare in industrialized countries through three strains of literature: the welfare state literature; writings in feminist political economy; and, scholarship in socio–legal studies concerned with the changing nature of employment. It examines how states, markets, "families," and social movements influence the development, consolidation, and restructuring (or retrenchment) of work and welfare regimes, with emphasis on the social relations of gender, race, and citizenship.
Same as GS/POLS 6775 3.00, GS/SOCI 6683 3.00, GS/GFWS 6207 3.0

Socio–Legal Studies 6075 3.0 Low Law and Petty Justice: Inferior Courts and Tribunals in Western Societies.
Although "law" brings to mind images of the bewigged high court judge and professional attorney, in the British imperial tradition most law was (and is) dispensed by lay justices and minor officials whose sessions and tribunals existed outside or beneath the formal hierarchy of courts of record and were only occasionally supervised by them. This seminar explores the external and internal history of adjudication, regulation, and dispute resolution by such individuals and institutions, both within the state system and on its margins, and their interactions with the judiciary and the state. The emphasis is on Britain and North America, 18C–20C, with scope to examine other places and periods depending on the interests and knowledge of seminar participants. The approach is interdisciplinary and comparative.
Same as GS/HIST 5780 3.0

Socio–Legal Studies 6080 3.0: Western Legal Histories.
Particularly in common law countries, law is in constant and paradoxical dialogue with history as well as current issues. The seminar explores the deep roots of legal systems, precedent, the authority of ‘elders', custom and context, and a selection of substantive areas (from criminal, evidence, labor, contract, tort, family law) are emphasized in any given year. The approach is interdisciplinary and comparative. This course is designed for students in either law or history, bringing the perspectives of both disciplines to the seminar.
Same as GS/LAW 6601 3.00, GS/HIST 6060 3.00

Socio–Legal Studies 6085 3.0: Law, Politics and the Judiciary.
This course critically assesses scholarship in the area of law and politics. Its focus is on the role of courts as both an institution of governance and as an instrument of societal change. It compares and contrasts varying explanations of judicial behaviour by addressing a range of issues clustered around the nature, scope and impact of decision-making by courts.
Same as GS/SOCI 6886 3.0

Socio–Legal Studies 6090 3.0: Social Dimensions of Legal Discourse.
This course looks at how social categories that arrange persons in moral hierarchies are constructed in the legal forum. We will draw upon trials, judgements, and other documents to show how law incorporates other discourses (popular, psychiatric, and medical) in deciding upon culpability, voluntariness, and character–concepts that are central to the forming of legal narratives. The focus of our inquiry is on how events from everyday life and translated into the legal forum and how the legal forum in turn privileges some social representations and marginalizes others.

Socio–Legal Studies 6095 3.0: Selected Topics in Social and Moral Regulation.
This course looks at how social categories that arrange persons in moral hierarchies are constructed in the legal forum. We will draw upon trials, judgements, and other documents to show how law incorporates other discourses (popular, psychiatric, and medical) in deciding upon culpability, voluntariness, and character–concepts that are central to the forming of legal narratives. The focus of our inquiry is on how events from everyday life are translated into the legal forum and how the legal forum in turn privileges some social representations and marginalizes others.
Same as GS/SOCI 6890 3.0

External Courses

Electives may be drawn from the list of external courses below (please note these courses may not be offered every year):

Law 6600 3.0: Exploring the Political Economy of Comparative Corporate Governance.

Captures the emerging trends of regulation in different territorial and political contexts and on various levels of rule setting. In times of reassessing the dominion of the state, what we find is an increasingly complex political and legal field, as identities and competences of norm setters multiply. Borders and competences are difficult to ascertain. What is the proper nature of legal rules? In order to gain a rich comparative basis, the course explores the different approaches to the law and political economy of corporate governance in Canada, the US, selected countries in the EU (France, Germany, UK) and Japan. The course starts from the central premise that the law of corporate governance, commonly conceived as "company law", "corporate law" or, "business associations", is embedded in a larger regulatory field that also comprises fields such as securities regulation and labour law.

Law 6603 3.0: Legal Consciousness in Theory and Practice.
The purpose of this course is to introduce graduate students to very recent developments about how the idea of legal consciousness is conceptualized and to demonstrate the progressive potential of these innovations for thinking about race, class, gender and disability as sites of social injustices in law and politics.

Law 6630 3.0: Feminist Legal Theory.
This Seminar considers recent developments in feminist legal theory. Attention will be given to questions of diversity and anti-essentialism in feminist legal studies, the intersection of race and gender, and challenges from post-structural theory to feminist engagement with law.

Sociology 6181 3.0M: Studies in Sexual Regulation.
Sexual regulation is found in socio–legal relations, truth regimes, and normalizing discourses, but its effects extend throughout social processes. This course examines how sexual regulation is constituted through state activity, the production of ‘expert’ knowledge, the activities of social movements, and transnational politics.