Law & Social Change: Critical Race Theory

Quick Info
(2750X.03)  Course
N. Simms; Adjunct Professor
3 credit(s)  3 hour(s);
This seminar augments coursework with research colloquia and community partnerships in order to integrate theory and practice. The seminar will be taught over 9 classes in an eleven-week period, beginning January 20, 2022. Each session will be 3 hours.
Upper Year Research & Writing Requirement

What steps should be taken to establish a more equitable society? In addition, what are the assumptions, beliefs, and practices that undermine fair treatment in a society and devalue particular groups? Critical race theories (CRTs) provide a framework for identifying, articulating, and proposing solutions to inequity within a society. Some of the defining features of CRTs are as follows:

1)Group identities: race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and other sociohistorical dimensions are constructed by societies.
2)Intersectionality: all individuals have multiple identities that interlock and are, therefore, experienced simultaneously.
3)Social systems: law, education and the media are mechanisms for conferring advantages to the political majority group and obscuring the unfair treatment of groups with less power.

The origin of critical race theories (CRTs) (e.g., AsianCrit, and DisCrit) can be traced to the works of Derrick Bell, Alan Freeman, and Richard Delgado. More specifically, Bell, Freeman, and Delgado took an interdisciplinary approach to building upon the American civil rights movement. This introduction to CRTs will focus on the applicability of said paradigms to the Canadian context within which legal practices shape and reinforce hierarchies of group identities. This course will explore race, racism and Canadian law in a manner that is anchored by the works of Richard Delgado, Jean Stephancic, Carol Aylward and Constance Backhouse; moreover, this course will be enriched by presentations from lawyers who utilize critical race theories in their practice.