Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

212 sec. 001 - Critical Theory and Social Science Method (Fall 2020)

Instructor: Osagie Kingsley Obasogie  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 3
Grading Designation: Graded

Due to COVID-19, this class is remote for Fall 2020.
Mode of Instruction: Remote Instruction


Th 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: Internet/Online
From August 27, 2020
To November 20, 2020

Course Start: August 27, 2020
Course End: November 20, 2020
Class Number: 33612

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 2
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 2
As of: 12/07 09:41 AM


Social science research on identity and vulnerable populations is at a critical moment. For example, race is, on one hand, theorized as a social construction -- meaning that the social sciences have largely rejected claims that race reflects natural or biological differences and is instead thought to be a product of social, economic, and political forces. Yet, on the other hand, this theoretical approach is underutilized in social scientists’ empirical research on race, where race is often measured as if it is a ‘real’ or natural entity. This ‘mismatch’ between theory and methods produces substantial tension in social science research and limits scholars’ ability to offer clear insights into the role of race and other traits in understanding social and health outcomes.

This course will examine this tension, its adverse impact on social science research, and explore ways to develop methodological approaches to race and other markers of human difference that blend traditional empirical methods with critical theoretical traditions, e.g. critical race theory, feminist theory, disability theory, queer theory, and others. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the implications for research in the health sciences.

About the Instructor: Osagie K. Obasogie, J.D., Ph.D., is Haas Distinguished Chair and Professor of Bioethics at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Joint Medical Program and School of Public Health. Obasogie's scholarly interests include Constitutional law, bioethics, sociology of law, and reproductive and genetic technologies. His research also looks at the past and present roles of science in both constructing racial meanings and explaining racial disparities. He has a particular interest in developing legal mechanisms that can create the conditions for eliminating health disparities. An additional thread of Obasogie’s research uses novel theoretical and empirical interventions to explore the hidden ways in which racial thinking is central to law, medicine, and science. His first book, "Blinded By Sight: Seeing Race Through the Eyes of the Blind" (Stanford University Press) was awarded the Herbert Jacob Book Prize by the Law and Society Association. His second book, "Beyond Bioethics: Toward a New Biopolitics" (with Marcy Darnovsky), was published by the University of California Press. Obasogie's writings have appeared in scholarly journals such as the Law & Society Review, Cornell Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, and Stanford Technology Law Review as well as journalistic outlets such as the New York Times, Slate, and Scientific American.

Requirements Satisfaction:

This class may fulfill Option 2 of the J.D. writing requirement with instructor approval. In order to qualify for Option 2, all students in the class must be writing a paper of 30 or more pages. Those students who wish to use this paper for the writing requirement must get instructor approval and submit their drafts for comment and revision.

Option 2 form needed:

Exam Notes: (P) Final paper  
Course Category: Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP)
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Race and Law
Social Justice and Public Interest

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