Literary Evidence and Legal Aesthetics
Teaching Literature and Law (MLA Approaches to Teaching Series), Austin Sarat, Matthew Anderson, & Cathrine Frank, eds. (New York: Modern Language Association, 2011), 244-52
5 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2009 Last revised: 1 Nov 2017
Date Written: April 13, 2009
This short essay considers the different ways in which law professors and English professors teach courses in Law and Literature -- particularly the differences in the course materials and the analytic approaches used in understanding those materials. Courses taught on law faculties generally include fewer readings drawn from case law and legal theory. On the other hand, courses taught in English departments are more likely to emphasize similarities between the legal readings and works of fiction or drama. I discuss some of the disciplinary habits that make it difficult for faculty members in each area to come to terms with materials taken from another discipline, but I end by arguing that these barriers are not insurmountable and can even be addressed, to some extent, by focusing on analytical habits already available in the home discipline.
Keywords: law and literature, pedagogy
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