Ohio University

Making and Breaking the Law Theme

CAS 2300 is a 1-credit course introduces students to the readings and campus activities relating to law and justice in the 21st century. The course is designed for freshmen to senior students from all majors.

A Curricular Theme at Ohio University

About This Theme

Making and Breaking the Law focuses on law and justice in relation to citizenship, global affairs, human rights, public health, and science and technology.

The dominant global forces that have defined the 21st century—globalization, technological revolutions, international human rights movements, neoliberal capitalism and its crises, the national security framework of never-ending war—have massively transformed law and legal frameworks, at both local and global levels.

Courses in Making and Breaking the Law examine questions about the work of law and justice at this critical historical juncture. What is the role of law in contemporary human societies, and how did this role develop across history? How do states assert power and enact violence through law, and how are these enactments resisted, challenged, and overcome? What does justice mean in relation to citizenship, political dissent, and political discourse in the U.S.? In relation to international human rights regimes and post-conflict justice mechanisms? In relation to global disparities in access to health care and other basic human goods? How are our understandings of our own bodies, lives, and futures shaped by law? What are the limits of legal intervention in human life, and what happens when those limits are transgressed? In other words, what are the possibilities of law and justice in this new global era?

Making and Breaking the Law leads students at all levels to grapple with these questions about the complexities of law and justice at a moment of intensified globalization, technological innovation, and political and economic interdependency. It is designed to meet the following objectives:

  • It addresses major challenges of the 21st century.
  • It incorporates interdisciplinary perspectives from the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities.
  • It provides thematic coherence to a cluster of General Education and College of Arts & Sciences Distribution Requirement courses.
  • It includes innovative and interdisciplinary first-year seminars and culminating (capstone) courses.

The thematic track provides a way for students to map their academic trajectory, from freshman to senior year. As they pursue the track, they first break down their assumptions about the naturalness and inevitability of the law, then consider a range of questions about law and justice, and ultimately explore ways of remaking the law in their disciplinary areas of expertise.

Contact Us

The theme curriculum committee for Making and Breaking the Law includes Kathleen Sullivan (Political Science), Kevin Uhalde (History), Bruce Hoffman (Sociology-Criminology) and Haley Duschinski (Anthropology).

Dr. Haley Duschinski is Director, Center for Law, Justice & Culture and Associate Professor, Department of Sociology & Anthropology.