This course will explore emerging themes within the growing literature of Critical Race Theory. Contrary to the traditional view of racial subordination as solely a deviation from the liberal legal ideal, this body of work recasts the role of law as historically central to and complicit in upholding racial hierarchy as well as other hierarchies of gender, class and sexual orientation. In other words, CRT is interested in the ways in which the law both creates and disrupts patterns of racial inequality. We will focus on the origins of the literature and the contrasts between critical race theory and liberal/conservative analytical frameworks on race and American Law and society, as those frameworks as manifested in specific legal doctrines. We will also examine some of the questions and criticisms raised about critical race theory, mostly though not entirely from inside the genre, as well as the impact of the work on political and legal discourse.
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