University of Miami School of Law CourseLink Course Description - Online System
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Spring 2020

Course Description
We will ground our discussion in an expansive definition of “gender violence” to include violence that is the result of gender hierarchies, intended to maintain gender hierarchies, or intended to or has the effect of policing and punishing gender non-conformity. Our focus will be on law, policy, and activism related to domestic violence /intimate partner violence (DV/IPV), sexual assault (SA), sexual harassment (SH), and sex trafficking.

We will examine the impact on experiences of gender violence of structural inequalities related to sex, race, class, immigration status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. This requires an examination of law and policy in the areas of immigration, economics, child welfare, civil law, civil rights, and criminal legal systems. The course will examine the large policy debates in the field including the centrality of criminal law response (and mandatory arrest/no drop DV policies) compared to less punitive responses and community-based responses; decriminalization of prostitution versus abolition; the various positions on appropriate campus responses to sexual harm. We will also examine “alternative” responses including restorative justice.

We will examine gender violence perpetrated by state actors (e.g., law enforcement, prison guards) as well as by private individuals. We will examine growing feminist concerns about the ways in which work to end gender violence is centered on criminal legal system responses. Alliances between anti-violence activists and racial justice organizations such as Black Lives Matter highlight the problems of racialized state violence against poor people of color and in particular, the lack of protection afforded poor women of color.

The course will move from discussions of policy and legal theory to practice oriented exercises. We will have occasional field trips, including a visit to Miami-Dade County’s Domestic Violence Court. Field trips are in lieu of a regularly scheduled class and will be announced well ahead of time.

The course will be of special interest to students who are interested in the following: criminal law practice; criminal legal system policy reform; economic justice law and policy; the operation of gender and race in legal outcomes; social justice lawyering; family law (with an emphasis on representing victims of domestic violence); crime victim advocacy; civil rights; feminist theory; LGBTQ advocacy and related law.

Course Schedule
Dates Day Time Room
01-13-2020 - 04-21-2020   R  3:30 PM-6:20 PM A110A

Course Frequency
This course is usually offered once every academic year

Course Information

Credits: 3
Pass/Fail Option: No
Grading: Graded
Method of Evaluation: (1) Three Short (2-3 page) and one medium length (6-7) page writing assignments requiring no outside research. (2) Class participation - Much of the course operates in a graduate seminar format. To create a successful learning experience requires the active participation of every student in the class. Regular attendance and thoughtful participation are therefore required and represent a portion of the final grade. (3) co-leading a portion of one class discussion. (4) Final Exam -- Take home, open book exam.
Graduation Requirements Fulfilled By Course:
Special Attributes: None
Course Delivery:

Special Restrictions:
Law Track(s):
Criminal Law - Specialized
Family & Personal - Related
Social Justice - Specialized
Bar Subject(s): None
Social Justice & Public Interest (Area of Focus)   More information
Social Justice & Public Interest (Concentration)   More information
Course Book(s):
Textbook Required:
Additional Materials:
No textbook required  
First Class Assignment(s):



Contact Information:
Phone: (305)284-3041
Office: G383