Rhetoric of Law Seminar
Professor N. Goodman
J.D. Seminar 714
| 3 credit hours
This seminar, The Rhetoric of Law, will consider how Anglo-American law uses rhetoric to persuade, build character, offer proof, approximate the truth, establish legitimacy, and make things happen. It will also explore the ethics of rhetoric and note the relationship of rhetoric to other bodies of scholarship (e.g., law and literature, legal pragmatism, law and culture).
We begin by investigating the origins of classical rhetoric in the works of Cicero, Aristotle, and Quintilian, and move forward through time to the works of some of the greatest rhetoricians, including, John Winthrop, Thomas Paine, and Abraham Lincoln. We address the role played in the construction of the law by revisionist history (e.g., Johnson v. M’Intosh), racial vision (e.g., Plessy v. Ferguson), citizenship (e.g., Calvin’s Case), and testimony (e.g., Victim Impact Statements). Secondary readings will taken from a variety of disciplines and include works like “Antirrhesis: Polemical Structures of Common Law Thought,” by Peter Goodrich “Speech Acts,” from J.L. Austin’s How to Do Things with Words, and “Identity in Mashpee,” from Clifford Geertz’s Predicament and Culture.
||Room / Days / From-To
|This course is not currently scheduled.