Skip to main content


Critical Race Theory

Law LAW - Law School

Course Description

Developed in the 1970s and 1980s, and for decades relevant only to law professors and activists, Critical Race Theory has recently become an object of criticism and controversy far beyond the legal academy. Some of the tenets of Critical Race Theory have made their way into other fields, including sociology, education, and cultural studies. Jurisdictions throughout the United States have passed laws banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory. In order to assess these developments, this course will examine the development and contemporary features of Critical Race Theory within the American legal academy. The course will trace the emergence of Critical Race Theory from the Legal Realism and Critical Legal Studies movements that preceded it, and contrast its approach with that of mainstream civil rights lawyers and analysts. The readings will be varied. They will include primarily law review articles and judicial opinions, and also articles drawn from the popular media. Throughout, the goal will be to understand the role of race and racism in American society and its intersection with law reform efforts, in the fields of education, employment, and criminal justice in particular. Special Instructions: Grades will be based on attendance, class participation and (1) a short research paper or (2) a long research paper with consent of the instructor. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. Elements used in grading: Attendance, class participation, final paper.



Grading Basis

L02 - Law Honors/Pass/Restricted credit/Fail





Course Repeatable for Degree Credit?


Course Component


Enrollment Optional?