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Fall-Spring 2020 Course

Law and Political Economy?

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam
Evaluation is a final take home essay.

Around the world, questions of “political economy” are back on the agenda, arrangements long taken for granted open to question, often in the name of “inequality.” This two credit year long course will consider left liberal and more radical intellectual traditions for thinking about political economy and what law has to do with it. Along the way, we will contrast alternative ideas about how the great disparities in wealth, status and authority arise, are reproduced and might be reduced. Is “inequality” the right frame? Or something more like subordination, exploitation or expropriation? Is law primarily a reformer’s tool – or something more fundamental to the reproduction of hierarchies? What would it mean to rethink or remake the foundations for political and economic life, either nationally or globally?

Emeritus Professor Duncan Kennedy will participate in course discussions.

Note: This course will meet for six sessions in each semester; exact dates TBD.



  • Nancy Fraser, Rahel Jaeggi, Capitalism: A Conversation in Critical Theory (2018)


  • Daniel Markovits, The Meritocracy Trap: How America’s Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class and Devours the Elite (Penguin Press, 2019)
  • Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014)
  • Thomas Piketty, Capital and Ideology (Harvard University Press, 2020)