Seminar Law & Society: Work, Family, & the Law

L710 is taught by D. Widiss

This seminar uses law and society methods to explore the interaction between our work lives and our family lives. The class will discuss legal doctrine in a variety of areas (including tax, employment, and family law) that can affect the work choices families make; sociological, economic, and social psychological studies that relate to these issues; legal commentary; and proposals for reform. We will likely consider work-family balance issues, as experienced by both men and women, and as experienced by both professional and low-wage workers; issues that arise when work and family are either more intertwined or more disconnected than the typical work-family balance question assumes, as in migrant work, military work, or family-owned businesses; the intersection between domestic violence and employment; and the paid workforce such as child care and home health care workers that provides family care. We will probe the role that race, class, gender, religion, and sexual orientation may play in how families navigate these issues. Our focus will be on the United States, but we will explore how other countries policies differ from ours to enrich our understanding of our own policy and practical choices. Students will be expected to write short responses to the readings, as well as a final research paper.