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The purpose of this paper is to get you to expand on a concept or theory presented in class and to apply it to some current event of the last 6 months (you must turn in a link to at least one newspaper article about the event) so as to shed light on that event.ALL TOPICS MUST BE APPROVED BY THE PROFESSOR by APRIL 5th. The aim is for you to show that you understand the material and can apply it.The paper should be approximately 5 pages, no more than 6. While this is not a research paper you must include a bibliography (which does not count towards total page count) with at minimum a link to the newspaper article you are discussing. Further make sure to properly cite the course material. ALL papers must be 12 point font, double spaced, times new roman, with 1-inch margins. Any paper with more than 3 proofreading errors will not be graded and will receive a 0 as a grade, so please PROOFREAD.

*** Criminalization of the Poor cannot be the central concept you apply, you can use it as a supporting concept ***

Things to remember:

  • You CANNOT use an opinion piece.
  • ALL papers must be 12 point font, double spaces, times new roman, with 1-inch margins.
  • Any paper with more than 3 proofreading errors will not be graded and will receive a 0 as a grade, so please PROOFREAD.
  • Make sure to include a link to the article in your bibliography.
  • You MUST get your topic APPROVED by the Professor.
  • You can turn this paper in any time AFTER the first midterm.
  • Keep it simple – apply 1-3 concepts from class to the issue you are writing about.
  • Event must have occurred in the past 6 months. NO EXCEPTIONS.

The structure of the paper may vary according to your topic, but typically I expect that the paper might follow this general pattern.

1.Introduction:All papers must include this.The introduction should provide a clear statement of purpose (i.e. what concept or theory will you be applying to the issue discussed in the article), and a brief road-map of what is to follow. (1-2 paragraphs)

  • Example of statement of purpose and road map: “In this paper Marx’s concept of historical materialism, in which the economic form dominates and shapes law creation, is used to understand the recent US Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United. In addition, this decision is further explored in terms of the conflict based theory of the state known as instrumentalism. In the following pages….”

2.Describe:the current event or phenomenon you are interested in explaining/discussing. This should be a BRIEF overview of the event, do NOT get bogged down in details. (no more than 1 paragraph)

3.Discuss the concept: or theory drawn from lecture or readings that you will be applying to this current event. This means define the concept(s) you are applying. (about 1 paragraph)

4.Make your argument:Show how the current event or phenomenon can be explained or analyzed from the perspective of the theory or concept from the course.This is the main point of your paper.Don’t scrimp here. (2-3 pages)

5.Conclusion:All papers must include this.It may be merely a summary of your argument. (1 paragraph)


This is NOT a research paper but please have enough respect for me, each other, and yourselves, not to cheat or plagiarize. You may discuss your papers with each other, but the wording and ideas of your paper must be yours and yours alone. I will be checking for plagiarism. The penalty for cheating or plagiarizing is a ZERO on the paper and administrative action.

Here are two guidelines:

1. If you use the exact words of others, even if they are interspersed with your own words, they must be quoted, or cited with a reference to the book or article or internet site, and the page numbers they came from.

2. If you paraphrase the ideas of others, even if you use your own words, the ideas must be referenced. You must also reference the source of public facts, unless they are so well-known they have become public knowledge. For example, you would not have to reference a statement that there was a great depression in the U.S. in the 1930s, but you probably would have to reference a statement that the depression of the 1870s was as bad as that of the 1930s.

The rule of thumb is, when in doubt, cite your sources.

Required Reading:

Chambliss and Zatz, Making Law (Bookstore)

Delgado and Stefanic, Critical Race Theory 2nd ed. (bookstore)

Articles on electronic reserve – Moodle

Calavita on Immigration.pdfCalavita on Immigration.pdf
Ch. 1 Making Law On lawmaking.pdfCh. 1 Making Law On lawmaking.pdf
Ch. 2 Making Law.pdfCh. 2 Making Law.pdf
Chambliss on vagrancy.pdfChambliss on vagrancy.pdf
Kairys freedom of speech.pdfKairys freedom of speech.pdf
Kendi Stamped from the Beginning.pdfKendi Stamped from the Beginning.pdf
mensch history of legal thought.pdfmensch history of legal thought.pdf
Rise of Neoliberal Paternalism.pdfRise of Neoliberal Paternalism.pdf
rusche and kirchheimer.pdfrusche and kirchheimer.pdf
Taub and schneider.pdfTaub and schneider.pdf
torts Abel.pdftorts Abel.pdf

When Affirmative Action was White.pdfWhen Affirmative Action was White.pdf

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