Law, Violence, and Sacrifice (20661). 3 units. To the popular understanding it often appears as if the object of law is the prevention of violence. Liberal political theory gives expressilp[hlon to this idea when it imagines the legal order as a successor to a violent state of nature. Yet, political and legal theorists have long been interested in the way in which law not only prohibits, but also relies upon and deploys violence. A legal system inevitably legitimates some forms of violence, while prohibiting others. This is immediately evident with respect to punishment, but it is broadly familiar in practices of policing. The courtroom, too, has been described as a site of violence, not just because of the punishment that follows judgment, but because of law’s role in shaping social practices. A legal decision inevitably eliminates some voices in a competition among interpretations – that too is a form of violence. Law also has a necessary relationship to sacrificial violence. While liberal thought tends to imagine a social contract as the origin of law, an alternative view places law’s origin in sacrifice. Whatever we might make of these claims of origins, we are deeply familiar with the idea that the force of law depends upon the willingness to sacrifice for the sake of the state whose law it is. Punishment, policing, judging, sacrifice, and defense are all sites of law’s violence. This course will take a broadly interdisciplinary approach to the question of law’s relationship to violence, reading texts in philosophy, theology, jurisprudence, and anthropology. Paper required. P.W. Kahn and M. Halbertal.