Vanderbilt Law School Background Image

Course Information

Law and the Emotions Seminar

The emerging interdisciplinary field of law and emotion challenges the long-held belief that law either is or should be about "reason" alone, with reason defined as emotion's antithesis. This seminar will introduce students to the fundamentals of contemporary emotion theory as it has emerged from other disciplines, including philosophy, psychology, and cognitive neuroscience. It then will draw on those insights to explore the role that emotions play, don"t play, and ought to play in the practice and theory of law. Students will explore a range of issues in both criminal law and civil law"for example, the role of emotion in judging"as well as a range of potentially law-relevant emotions, from shame and disgust to love and empathy. Students will formulate, research, and write original research papers, give an oral presentation, and critique one another's work. Enrollment limited.