Kaisa_2012_3_photo by Veikko Somerpuro



This course is aimed at students in the Master's Programme in International Business Law (IBL). Other law degree students and law exchange students are welcome to attend this course as well if there is space.

Students from other faculties must first apply for the right to take this course before they can register for this course.

No prior knowledge is required.

In contrast to the classic doctrinal legal studies, critical legal theories assert that the law is not an objective truth but rather is inherently biased and political and tends to favour those in power at the expense of those less privileged.

With this in mind, the purpose of this course is to encourage students to critically engage with a specific area of the law as well as develop their short essay writing and presentation skills.

III-IV teaching period

The first session will be split into two parts: first, key critical legal theories will be introduced (e.g. critical legal studies, feminist legal theory and critical race theory); and, secondly, requirements and tips for academic writing will be discussed. During this session, students will also pick the topic of their seminar paper.

The students will then be required to present their papers at the seminar meetings that follow.

Required reading prior to the first class:

· Roberto Mangabeira Unger, “The Critical Legal Studies Movement” (1982) 96 Harvard Law Review 561-675

· Duncan Kennedy, “Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy” (1983) 32 Journal of Legal Education 591

Some other potential reading:

· Alan Hunt, “The Theory of Critical Legal Studies” (1986) 6 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 1

· Duncan Kennedy, A Critique of Adjudication: Fin de Siècle (1997 Harvard University Press)

· David Kairys, The Politics of Law: A Progressive Critique (1982 Pantheon Books)

· Mark V Tushnet, “Perspectives on Critical Legal Studies” (1983) 52 George Washington Law Review 239

· Catharine MacKinnon, Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989 Harvard University Press)

· “Minority Critiques of the Critical Legal Studies Movement” (1987) 22 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review

· Susan B Boyd (ed), Challenging the Public/Private Divide: Feminism, Law, and Public Policy (1997 University of Toronto Press)

· Susan B Boyd, “Can Law Challenge the Public/Private Divide? Women, Work, and Family” (1996) Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 161

· David Kennedy, A World of Struggle: How Power, Law, and Expertise Shape Global Political Economy (2018 Princeton University Press)

· Martha L Fineman, “Challenging Law, Establishing Differences: The Future of Feminist Legal Scholarship” (1990) 42 Florida Law Review 25

· James E Herget, “Unearthing the Origins of a Radical Idea: The Case of Legal Indeterminacy” (1995) 39 American Journal of Legal History 59

· Andrew Altman, Critical Legal Studies: A Liberal Critique (1993 Princeton University Press)

· Katherine O’Donovan, “Engendering Justice: Women’s Perspectives and the Rule of Law” (1989) 39 University of Toronto Law Journal 127

· Jennifer Wriggins, “Rape, Racism and the Law” (1983) 6 Harvard Women’s Law Journal 103

· Lester Mazor, “The Crisis of Liberal Legalism” (1972) 81 Yale Law Journal 1032 (Book Review)

Dorothy E Chunn, Susan B Boyd and Hester Lessard, Reaction and Resistance: Feminism, Law and Social Change (2007 UBC Press)

Suggestions for additional materials for the seminar paper will also be discussed at the first meeting.

The grade is based on the quality of seminar paper and presentation as well as the active participation in class discussions.

Unfortunately the writing seminar has been cancelled for AY 2019-20

Writing and presenting a seminar paper (15-20 pages) as well as acting as opposition to another student’s paper. Active participation in all seminar meetings is required.