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SOC 120D: From ICE Detention to #MeToo: Sociology of Law and Social Inequality

What does mass incarceration have in common with ICE detention? What role do little-known legal doctrines from the previous century play in making courts inaccessible to survivors of sexual assault and trans people fighting discrimination? In this class we will answer those questions by examining how the seemingly objective nature of the law makes it a potent social tool to promote the interests of the powerful at the expense of the powerless while appearing neutral. This obfuscating power of the law has long been used to reinforce and perpetuate forms of social inequality. In this class we will analyze a few notable examples of such usage of the law and their role as pillars of current social inequality: We will examine how the high burden of proof courts have placed on complainants claiming gender discrimination has blocked most targets of such discrimination from seeking legal remedy; We will examine how redlining and mass incarceration have resulted in the current rates of racial inequality; and how immigration law has resulted in a seemingly objective yet deeply racist system of detention by ICE.
| UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI
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