Students walking past academic building.

As many of you may know, I am a double major in Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought Intro to Legal Theory & Latinx/Latin American Studies. I have taken courses in other departments, such as American Studies, English, Music, etc. What I love most about the education I am receiving at Amherst is the liberty to explore intellectual curiosities and openness so connecting more than one class together. How I think about it and describe it is like a web of knowledge I am creating here. This semester, I have decided to double on the major courses to complete my major and possibly study abroad. Anyway, I would like to give you a quick rundown of my courses.

Intro to Legal Theory (LJST 110 ) is taught by Professor Sitze. I have taken different courses with him previously, but am interested in how the shift from essays to exams will play out. This course introduces basic concepts and central problems of modern legal theory. So far, we have begun reading Hobbes’ On the Citizen, which discusses the concept of “war of all against all.” One of the things this class focuses on is analyzing what times the person is thinking and what solutions and reasonings they provide. One of the questions we ask is how morality and religion are tied to the thinkers and how we can interpret the language they use to create and produce questions about them. I am excited to see how the other thinkers we will read connect to one another and how I can think about them in other class settings. This course and professor have taught me clarity and finding the purpose in what knowledge and law produce. 

Police Power ( LJST 228) is taught by Professor Brangan. A couple of my friends took this course as a first-year student and decided to take it because of how close it resonates with part of my life. This course covers the long history of demands to reform, defund, or abolish the police. Some questions we ask are: What is the relationship between the police and what jurists name “police power”? 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? 

El Desierto (LLAS 381 ) is taught by Professor Ferrari. I absolutely enjoy the teaching style and integration of previous thinkers like Foucault and how it is connected to Art History. ‘El Desierto’ translates to the desert in English, therefore, this class focuses on how the desert has been the place of insurrection, barbarism, and lawlessness. Historically, the desert has been opposed to the city and its civilized order, so how do we see these depictions in film, art, books. Some of what we have learned about so far is the toxic legacy of uranium extractivism in the Diné Bikeyah (Navajo Reservation) during WWII and the Cold War as well as current activist groups fighting against the perpetuation of mining in the area. The rest of the course will examine  In recent times the desert has also become a land of surveillance, militarism, and drug trafficking. 

Latinx Religion and Immigration (LLAS 333) is taught by Professor Lloyd Barba. I have an odd relationship with my upbringing in religion. One of the reasons I wanted to take this course is to examine the intersections between migration and religion. How are both interconnected? Is it a bridge or a barrier?  The class will investigate historical and sociological perspectives to answer how and why religion continues to be a cornerstone for developing Latin American migrant communities and neighborhoods in the US. This is my first seminar-style class that meets two and a half hours. I hope to answer how religion impacts community formation across the U.S. More specific, how indigenous communities in Latin America form in the U.S.