Fall 2020

Police Power

Listed in: Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, as LJST-228

Moodle site: Course


Michaela J. Brangan (Section 01)


Demands to reform, defund, or abolish the police have a long history, even as contemporary calls to curb law enforcement are hotly debated. Some worry that demands for radical changes to policing spell political doom. Others hope they toll the final bell for racism. And some think even minor cuts to police will trigger a Hobbesian “war of all against all.” What is the relationship between the police and what jurists name “police power”: the state's legal authority over public health and welfare? How did this relationship originate, and how has it changed? What does it look like outside of the US? What other social and economic factors intersect with law in debates over the redistribution and transformation of police power? Can the US continue without police as we know them? We will examine these questions using cases and statutory law, critical race and feminist scholarship, political theory, and literary and visual culture to guide our inquiry.

Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Visiting Assistant Professor Brangan

If Overenrolled: Priority given to LJST Majors


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Issues of Social Justice


2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022