Criminal Law Theory: Coercive Indoctrination (Robinson)
M 4:30PM - 6:30PM
Golkin Hall 238
Professor Robinson Seminar in Criminal Law Theory, Fall 2019
COERCIVE INDOCTRINATION, SOCIAL INFLUENCE, AND THE CRIMINAL LAW LAW948-001-19C
Are we responsible for who we are? The coercive indoctrination of prisoners of war makes clear that a person’s belief and value system can be forcibly altered against the person’s will. Coercively indoctrinated views might be “inauthentic” in one sense but in another they do represent who that person is at the present. While such “brainwashing” is quite dramatic and unusual, the evidence suggests that there are other mechanisms of influence, short of the forcible brainwashing of a captive, that can also have a powerful effect in influencing who a person is.
This year’s Seminar in Criminal Law Theory explores the legal, moral, social, and psychological issues raised by coercive indoctrination and related processes. Each week, the seminar will examine two real-world cases as well as readings from the legal and social science literature in order to develop an understanding of how a person’s influence by such processes ought to affect their criminal liability, if at all.
Students will write a weekly paper of no more than two single-spaced pages in which they comment on the readings. At the end of the semester, students will submit a thought paper of no more than 10 pages on a topic of their choosing related to the seminar approved by the instructor.
The seminar is open to nonlaw students. A tentative syllabus is available from Professor Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Criminal Law and Procedure Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of criminal law and procedure; Perform legal analysis in the context of criminal law and procedure; Communicate effectively on topics related to criminal law and procedure; Demonstrate an understanding of the role criminal law and procedure play in society and their impact on other areas of law and society.