FYSM 1502 – Selected Topics in Legal Studies

Offered by Law.  Only counts as an elective.

Topic for 2015-2016:  Deviance and the Law – Transdisciplinary Perspectives

Misfit.  Rebel.  Deviant.  Black Sheep.  Criminal.  Eccentric.  Pervert.  Pioneer.  Pariah.  Free Spirit.  Freak.  Hero.  Sicko.  Weirdo….

Who decides how non-conformity will be defined, policed, pathologized or celebrated?

In this seminar, we delve into this question investigating how deviance has been constructed, contested and controlled from a transdisciplinary perspective.  We will consider various approaches to deviance, from essentialist perspectives to post-structuralist critiques.  We will further study how the etiology of deviance has been explained, from demonic possession to bad childhoods, and from inherent sickness to subjective labeling.  Drawing on multiple traditions and texts including sociology, psychology, critical legal theory, literature, pop culture and jurisprudence, the focus will be on which institutions and experts have the power to define deviant categories and what ideological purposes are advanced.  Particular attention will be paid to the ways certain kinds of “differences” (class, disability, age, race, gender and sexuality to name a few) are embedded in deviant categories.  Throughout the course, students will have a chance to self-reflect on the ways they engage with, resist and are implicated by notions of non/conformity.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc. or the B.G.In.S. program.
Seminar three hours a week.