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Course Details

Health, Disability, and Justice (Harris/Hoffman,A)

Spring 2024   LAW 981-001  

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Allison K. Hoffman

Professor of Law; Deputy Dean

Jasmine E. Harris

Professor of Law

Additional Information

Skills Training
Expository Writing

30% Participation,
70% Paper

Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement

With Permission of Instructor
If you want to write on a topic that directly relates to the content of this class, we will consider substituting a longer paper for the three shorter ones. Please email us with your proposed topic, and we will set up a time to discuss it with you.


Class meets in person.

Course Continuity
Students are encouraged to stay home if you are ill or experience flu-like symptoms. If you miss a class for any reason, it is still your responsibility to make up the work missed.

I offer the following to students who miss class due to illness:

- I will make PowerPoint slides or other class materials routinely available on the course site to everyone in the class.

- When you are better, please make an appointment to meet with me and I will review/answer questions about what you missed.

Meeting Times/Location
T 10:00AM - 12:00PM
Tanenbaum Hall 320



Health and disability often exist at opposite poles in law and culture. In health law, for example, the existence of disability can operate as evidence of poor health outcomes, inequities, and the need for interventions to mitigate or prevent disability. In disability law and theory, however, disability can operate as a social construction, a socio-legal identity, or a protected legal class under antidiscrimination laws. Yet both health law and disability law seek, at times, to address inequities and advance justice. One critical point of intersection between these two areas is the care economy and its design and implementation. What are the dominant theories of care underwriting legal regulation in these areas? How might we need to reshape our collective conceptions of justice or equity to better reflect the complexities of care, health, and disability? The specific content of the course is intentionally broad to allow students an opportunity to discuss and interrogate central tenets of these areas of law. It will address such topics as the role of the state in the provision of or payment for care; the meta goal(s) of healthcare regulation; and the role of ex post legal interventions versus ex ante statutory or policy initiatives.

This seminar has three main goals. First, the course will identify key intersections between health law and disability law to better understand purported tensions and opportunities for reframing and realignment. Second, students will learn to read and engage with legal scholars and their work through the assigned course materials and conversations with guest speakers. Third, students will develop their own scholarly voice through two shorter essays (1500-2000 words) and one longer essay (2000-3000 words) that seek to respond to topics discussed throughout the semester. Grades are based on these essays and regular class attendance and participation.

Course Concentrations

Health Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of health law and policy; Perform legal analysis in the context of health law and policy; Communicate effectively on topics related to health law and policy; Demonstrate an understanding of the interconnection among health law and policy and issues of access to services, public and private financing of health industries, and the political and economic issues surrounding issues of health law and health services.

Administrative and Regulatory Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of administrative and regulatory law and the administrative process, including the role of statutory authorization and work of administrative agencies; Perform legal analysis in the context of administrative and regulatory law; Communicate effectively on topics related to administrative and regulatory law; Demonstrate an understanding of the role administrative and regulatory law play in our legal system and in society as a whole.

Equity and Inclusion Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of the varied legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Perform legal analysis in the context of topics related to equity and inclusion; Communicate effectively on the legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Demonstrate an understanding of how equity and inclusion are connected to and affected by a wide variety of legal and regulatory structures and doctrines.


"Being Mortal Illness, Medicine, and What Matters in the End" by Atul Gawande
Edition: January 1, 2014
Publisher: Profile Books
ISBN: 9781781253946

"Care: The Highest Stage of Capitalism" by Premilla Nadasen
Edition: Oct 10, 2023
Publisher: Haymarket Books
ISBN: 9781642599664

"Fragmented Democracy: Medicaid, Federalism, and Unequal Politics " by Jamila Michener
Edition: (March 22, 2018)
Publisher: Cambridge
ISBN: 9781316510193

"The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America " by Gabriel Winant
Edition: April 1, 2023
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674292192

"We Walk: Life with Severe Autism (The Culture and Politics of Health Care Work)" by Amy S. F. Lutz
Edition: October 15, 2020
Publisher: ILR Press
ISBN: 9781501751394