Religion and the Law Seminar
Rigorous writing credit available
This seminar explores one central question: How should government treat the religious beliefs and conduct of society? Emphasis will be placed on doctrine created by federal courts as they wrestle with contentious issues such as prayer in public schools, religious exemptions from neutral laws, governmental funding of religious education, and religious monuments on public land. Students will look at these topics not just from a U.S. perspective, but also from an international and a comparative law perspective. Taking advantage of the unique setting in Santa Fe, this course will also address the concept of “sacred property”: land or objects with religious or spiritual significance, particularly for Native Americans. Students will study what rights exist – or should exist – when land or objects are considered “sacred,” and how those interests should be balanced against the broader rights of society. As a part of this inquiry, students will study and visit the Petroglyph National Monument outside Albuquerque, N.M. This national monument, which includes over 20,000 ancient carved images, has been a sacred ceremonial and medicinal site for thousands of years to local indigenous peoples. Recently this monument was threatened by a highway expansion projects to support a 19,000-home development in the area.
This course will count for rigorous writing credit. Subject to approval by the instructor, students may complete their seminar paper on any topic generally related to the intersection of law and religion.
Prerequisites: One year of law school in the full-time program or two years in the part-time program.
Legal Aspects of Entertainment, Arts, and Culture
This course will provide an opportunity for students to explore the legal aspects of entertainment, arts, and culture, including their historical, ethical, and substantive foundations in both domestic and international contexts. The topics to be addressed include issues relevant to indigenous, immigrant, and dominant cultures.
Santa Fe is particularly suited to a study of these topics. In the world of entertainment, New Mexico is the location for many film shoots, and Santa Fe is the home of a world-class opera as well as many classical and contemporary music and dance groups. Santa Fe is the third largest art market in the United States—outranked only by Los Angeles and New York—and it is home to many famous and fascinating galleries, museums, and artists. And New Mexico is, of course, the home of many Native American tribes who, trying to protect their ancient cultures, sometimes clash with the modern world.
Prerequisites: One year of law school in either a full-time or part-time program.