Law, Literature and Ethics Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Law, Literature and Ethics "…one can learn a great deal of jurisprudence from the works of literature…."Richard Posner, Law & Literature (2009, 3rd ed.), p. 21This seminar aims to introduce students to the "Law and Literature" movement in contemporary legal scholarship.In the first part of the course, we will discuss the main directions of this field of study: "Law in Literature" (which explores the phenomenon of law as well as issues of legal philosophy in literary texts) and "Law as Literature" (which aims to contribute to the study of law in the form of a literary text). We will also discuss some critical reactions regarding these projects.In this part, we will learn about and examine the views of significant figures in the legal and literary movements (e.g., Benjamin Cardozo, Jane Baron, Martha Nussbaum, Richard Weisberg, James Boyd White), including famous legal philosophers (e.g., Ronald Dworkin, Richard Posner).Finally, several influential scholars in this movement argue that great literature may teach lawyers important ethical lessons (e.g., concerning justice; Weisberg, Nussbaum). We will, therefore, discuss moral philosophical issues underlying this debate.In the second part of the seminar, we will adopt the perspective of "Law in Literature" and "Law as Literature" to literary and legal texts, respectively. We will assume the "Law in Literature" perspective and discuss a selection of literary texts - novels and short stories concerning legal, legal-philosophical and ethical questions (e.g., William Shakespeare, Albert Camus, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Charles Dickens, Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabokov, Bernhard Schlink, Harper Lee, Bernhard Schlink, Juli Zeh, Ferdinand von Schirach). Furthermore, we will adopt the "Law as Literature" perspective to examine a selection of recent (sometimes curious) court decisions. Students are required to read whole books or their fragments for these classes.We will finalize the seminar with a general discussion of whether and how works of literary fiction (such as those discussed in the seminar) can contribute to legal thought and practice, and the potential of literary analysis of legal texts for jurisprudence.The seminar will be held in English.
Proficiency in English
You have to fulfill an attendance requirement of minimum 80% so that you will be eligible to submit an essay at the end of the course.
Online Course Requirement
Dr. Karolina Prochownik, Ms. Alina Wolski
Moodle Course Website and PasswordWill be available at a later date.Password: LawLitEt2022Zoom Meeting Link Will be available at a later date via Moodle.Programme: Law course
Site for Inquiry
Please inquire about the courses at the address below.
Email address: Alina Wolski Contact: Alina.Wolski@rub.de; Dr. Karolina Prochownik Contact: Karolina.Prochownik@rub.de