Pedagogy of the Suppressed: A Class on Race and the Death Penalty
George Washington University Law School
New York University Review of Law and Social Change, 2007
Boston College Law School Research Paper No. 129
What does it mean to contextualize legal doctrine and how does contextualization matter? This essay explores a general pedagogy of contextualization within the particular context of a class on race and the death penalty. Teaching the Supreme Court's infamous 1987 opinion in the case of McCleskey v. Kemp within its historical, doctrinal, cultural, and human contexts - rather than as a self-explanatory pronouncement - provides a deeper understanding of America's death penalty system, its connection to America's racial caste system, and the Supreme Court's role in each. These multiple contexts provide a foundation for comprehension and critique of values served by conventional legal methods. They also create conditions for progressive insights about what law enables and what it elides.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: McCleskey v. Kemp, death penalty, racial caste system, contextualization
Date posted: April 3, 2007