About the Center
Experience and scholarship tell us that the role of law in society and culture is best understood through interdisciplinary analysis. Culture, power, politics, globalization, information technology, biotechnology, literary criticism, environmental science, economics — these and many other disciplines and phenomena create a rich context for the study of law, a context that is critical to gaining an understanding of our society. There is simply no one discipline or field of professional study, domestic or global, that can impart a comprehensive understanding of law's impact and meaning.
The fundamental mission of the Center for Law, Society, and Culture is to promote and disseminate a multidisciplinary understanding of law through scholarship, teaching, and discussion. The Center produces, presents, and coordinates research conducted by exceptional scholars in schools and departments across Indiana University on the subject of law and legal problems. The Center supports research related to the law in a broad sense, including cultural aspects of law expressed through political theory and the humanities, and scientific aspects of law expressed through technological advance in biotechnology, environmental science, and information technology.
Recognizing that a vital democratic culture requires an informed citizenry that is comfortable talking about and thinking about the law, the Center for Law, Society & Culture inspires collaboration among scholars and serves as a catalyst for curricular innovation and enhancement. The Center advocates and invigorates the study of law and its relationship to society and culture among all students at Indiana University.
To engage students at the Maurer School of Law in particular, the Center oversees two innovative programs: the Access-to-Justice Service Learning Program and the Bradley Fellows in Criminal Law and Procedure.
To engage students at the Maurer School of Law in particular, the Center oversees two innovative programs. Through the Access to Justice service learning project, 1L students engage in conducting legal needs studies in Southern Indiana (specifically Monroe and Lawrence Counties) and in service learning projects with community partners to enhance effectiveness in legal aid delivery. Additionally, 2L and 3L students can participate in a Project Management course in which teams of students learn the necessary skills by working on actual access-to-justice service learning projects. The five projects that the teams seek to accomplish before graduation are:
- Creating an online form bank for unrepresented litigants in family law cases, integrating them with easy-to-use software, and making instructional videos for their use;
- Collaborating with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana’s pro bono office to create a web-based software platform for counsel recruited to represent indigent prisoners with meritorious medical malpractice claims;
- Working with IU’s Title IX office to design a restorative justice program for resolving campus sexual assaults;
- Partnering with the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic to extend its Project GRACE expungement help desk to Bloomington
- Partnering with Thriving Connections to design easily understood materials that will advise and counsel Bloomington residents on debt collection and debt management.
The Center also is home to the Bradley Fellows in Criminal Law and Procedure. The Bradley Fellows Program, named after the late Professor Craig M. Bradley, includes a full range of curricular, extra-curricular, and experiential learning opportunities designed to prepare Indiana Law students for a successful and rewarding career in criminal justice – as a prosecutor, public defender, private criminal defense attorney, policy-maker, or researcher. Read more about the Program.
The Indiana University Maurer School of Law’s Center for Law, Society & Culture Fellows Program is designed for graduate and professional students at Indiana University who have an interest in law and society, the study of how law and legal institutions impact society and social processes, and are in turn influenced by them. Students will engage with faculty and visiting scholars about the intersection of legal actors, institutions, and processes with disciplines such as sociology, psychology, philosophy, religion, history, economics, and others, often through the use of quantitative and qualitative empirical methodologies.
The Center for Law, Society & Culture Fellows program will allow fellows to understand law and legal problems from very different vantage points than in courses. It can also provide useful opportunities for students to meet and network with other scholars and graduate students across campus. Fellows will discuss readings prior to each CLSC speakers' visit, and as well as attend the speakers’ presentations themselves. Students may also sign up to join speakers for a meal or coffee. Students may also research and write papers under the supervision of CLSC-associated faculty (potentially for credit).