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Spring 2022 Reading Group

Thinking like Yourself: Poetry, Law, and Social Justice

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam

It’s often said that law school teaches us to “think like a lawyer,” which suggests that there is a single way that lawyers think. What are the consequences of that assumption for us as individuals, and for the pursuit of social justice in our profession? This reading group will use poetry as a tool to explode and explore how we think about topics like governance, disputes, criminal justice, and emerging technology, as well as how we understand ourselves as lawyers and advocates.

Readings for the first three sessions will be assigned, with sessions focused on lawyer-poets (Monica Youn, Evie Shockley, Wallace Stevens); poetry that navigates dispute, conflict, and their consequences (The Cloud Corporation by Timothy Donnelly, The Ghost Soldiers by James Tate); and poets who directly confront the biggest challenges we face (Claudia Rankine and Terrance Hayes on racial justice for Black Americans, Joy Harjo and Dorianne Laux on the climate crisis). The readings for the remaining sessions will be set dynamically and collaboratively by the instructor and the participants, based on avenues of inquiry we establish together.

Note: This reading group will meet on the following dates: 2/1, 2/15, 3/1, 3/22, 4/5, and 4/19.