This seminar provides a unique opportunity for Denver Law students to earn one credit by studying a significant topic related to the law and racial justice. The seminar allows students to begin to develop 1) a substantive understanding of the application of critical race theory to a variety of contemporary legal and social issues, and 2) a sense of professional identity through the examination of lawyering practice in the context of critical race theory.
Topics discussed may change each semester to respond to current events and pressing needs and interests. The first two semesters in which the class was taught (fall 2014 and spring 2015), the students considered issues of race and the criminal justice system by undertaking a systemic analysis of The New Jim Crow, by Prof. Michelle Alexander. Students explored these topics both in the classroom and, in one semester, through engaging in community experiences such as police ride-alongs and courtroom observations.
For spring 2016, the course topic is Race and the 2016 Elections. The course will discuss how issues of race are presented and analyzed on a variety of subjects (e.g. criminal justice, immigration, etc.) within the context of the upcoming presidential election. Readings for the class will likely include chapters from books and law review articles as well as shorter readings such as blog posts, newspaper articles, and other non-traditional legal texts.
This course is team-taught by several faculty members who lead various sessions and often features guest lectures from faculty and practitioners in other disciplines. Students thus have an opportunity to interact with an array of professors who have expertise and interest in critical race theory and practice. Students receive a letter grade based on their participation in class, the completion of reflective exercises, and a final paper.