Docencia en Law and Literature 2014/2015, Dean Ezra Stiles College. Yale University





T/TH 9:00AM TO 12:15

Dean Camille Lizarríbar

Tel: 203-432-0563

Office: Ezra Stiles College Dean’s Office


Bodies are physical structures that inhabit multiple realms, including material, cultural, historical, and symbolic ones. Literature offers limitless explorations of the human body and our relationships to it, and in doing so speaks to the concerns of their historical moment. Legal opinions mediate these concerns within the boundaries of the legal actions they seek to enact. This seminar will study the representation of the human body in law and literature with the purpose of illuminating the complex nature of how we think about and give meaning to our bodies in relationship to ourselves and to others. In order to examine these representations more fully, it will draw on additional material from sources such as film, television, and journalism.



Each week students are expected to perform close, careful readings of the assigned texts. A close reading requires that you devote the time to the material that will allow you to summarize and describe it, ask sophisticated questions, make detailed observations and develop a coherent argument. I expect you to come to class prepared with a thoughtful point of view about all the material you will be reading.

Class participation/discussion

Students are expected to actively participate in discussion during section meetings and you must come to class prepared, having done, thought about, and prepared notes on the reading. Each student will also be responsible for an in-class presentation. Class discussions are meant to elicit questions, elaborate different interpretations, and generally guide students in analyzing the texts.


The essays in this course are meant to be an exploration of the course material, as well as an ongoing exercise in improving your writing skills. Therefore, there will be a focus on strengthening close reading, analytical and writing skills through supplemental writing material and exercises. During the summer session you will write two short essays (5 pages) and one longer essay (10 pages). Note: For the final essay, students are expected to hand in a full draft that you will receive comments on and will revise prior to submitting it in its final form. Dem Bones: Lizarríbar

Class Assignments

Bodies and Ownership

June 3


Render, M., “The Law of the Body.”

Patterson, O. “The Idiom of Power,” Slavery and Social Death.

Morrison, T., Beloved. (Part 1)

June 5

Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)

Epstein, J., “The Pregnant Imagination, Fetal rights, and Women’s Bodies.”

Martin, E., “How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles.”

Rubenfeld, J., “The Riddle of Rape-by-Deception and the Myth of Autonomy”

June 10 (First Essay Due)

Primorantz, I., Sexual Morality: Is Consent Enough?

Chamallas, M., “Equality, and the Legal Control of Sexual Conduct.”

Atwood, M., The Handmaid’s Tale.

Bodies and Science

June 12

Shelley, M., Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus. (excerpts)

Johnson, B., “My Monster/My Self.”

Martin, E., “How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles.”

June 17

Hyde, A., Bodies of law.

Nguyet Erni, J., “The Reconstituted Body in Law.”

Gold, E. R., “Body Parts: Property Rights and the Ownership of Human Biological Materials.”

Cantor, N., After We Die, “Do Corpses Have Rights?”

June 19 (Second Essay Due)

Haraway, D., A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology and Socialist-Feminism in the Late

Twentieth Century.

Andrews, L. and Nelkin, D., Body Bazaar: Market for Human Tissue.


Blade Runner (film)

Dem Bones: Lizarríbar

Bodies and Boundaries

June 24 (Draft of Final Essay Due)

Simpson, A. W. B., Cannibalism and the common law: the story of the tragic last voyage of the Mignonette

and the strange legal proceedings to which it gave rise.

Noble, L., Medical Cannibalism in Early Modern English Literature and Culture. (excerpts)

June 26

Read, P.P., Alive, The Story of The Andes Survivors

Documentary: “Stranded: I’ve Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains”

July 1

Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish (excerpts)

Miéville, China, Perdido Street Station (excerpts)

Sugg, R., Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires (excerpts)

July 3 Conclusions

Klosterman, C., “My Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead”

Wilentz, A., “A Zombie is a Slave Forever”

The Walking Dead (television, clips)

Additional readings TBA

July 4 (Final Essay Due)

*(Please note: additional materials may be supplemented to address class interests and discussions.)


Class participation and essays will all be taken into consideration when determining final grades.

Attendance is required and any absences will have an impact on the final grade.

Section Participation: 30%

Short essays: 40%

Final Essay: 30%

This course will focus directly on writing skills and directly address matters of academic honesty and responsibility. It will also review the mechanics of research, note-taking, and source citation through handouts, class discussion, and essay feedback.

Dean Ezra Stiles College

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