CWRU Law faculty members to offer seminar examining race, law and society

Aerial photo of the law school

Starting this fall, CWRU Law is offering a one-credit elective, “Race, Law and Society,” in response to recent anti-Black violence that has illuminated existing structural and institutional racism.

“Earlier this year, we pledged to integrate race and justice into our curriculum as just one step in our school’s efforts to effect positive change,” said School of Law Co-Dean Jessica Berg. “We are excited to add this unique course to our offerings as we continue to find new ways to engage our students and the legal community in this crucial dialogue,” added Co-Dean Michael Scharf. 

The two-semester course, which was the idea of Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion Bryan Adamson, enables students and faculty to explore the ways race and racism are intertwined in U.S. legal, social, economic, political and cultural institutions. More than a dozen Case Law faculty members are conducting a Race, Law & Society seminar and each has chosen to lead conversations on the work of noted authors, such as Jesmyn Ward, Michelle Alexander, Alex Vitale, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Dorothy Roberts, Ibram X. Kendi, Frederick Douglass, Bryan Stevenson and Pauli Murray. As a foundation, students will read a seminal literary work that examines race in American society. The seminar meets once a month and is open to all law students.  

“As part of this new course, faculty and other visiting experts will also lead a series of student-centered discussions on laws that have given shape to or perpetuated racial inequities in law enforcement, courts, housing, banking, health care, employment and media,” explains Associate Dean Adamson. ”These discussions will amplify the themes emerging out of the readings and will be structured to allow students to question specific institutions’ structures, benefits, faults and reform opportunities.”