ANR Programme 2009-2012
|A Joint Programme on Justice and Governance in India and South Asia
(Hosted by Centre for Himalayan Studies)
Teaching Anthropology of Law at LUMS - Fall 2009
In the Fall semester 2009 I had a class of 22 undergraduate students with no previous knowledge of fieldwork or social sciences. I designed this course of anthropology of law in order to provide students with basic methodological knowledge to be elaborated while exploring the anthropological study of law through analysis and discussion of the following themes in a variety of fieldwork sites: 1) law and custom, law and social organization, law and social order, law and religion, law as a process, 2) legal pluralism and plurality of laws, state law and organized
crime, lawyers and professional ethics, 3) human rights and local identities, local and transnational praxis, alternative dispute resolution.
The goal was to teach students to apply and experiment with the methods and the ideas of leading socio-legal scholarship in order to generate self-elaboration of acquired knowledge. Greater attention was spent on the modalities of access to the field but collection of data was also experimented on a variety of settings. Before fieldwork, students were lead to reflect and to design strategies on how theoretical approaches can concretize in the field. In the field, students tested fieldwork techniques either as single- fieldworker or in a participatory setting but always in close touch with me and with the class. Back from the field outcomes were discussed through informal presentation of raw data and strategies were refined progressively. Each class meeting included a slideshow focusing on the core concepts and definitions of the session, a screening of extracts of documentary-films, and updates from students on their off campus experiential learning together with collaborative design of strategies for progress.
8 Mini-fieldworks were carried out on the following sites in Punjab:
8. The daily routine of corporate lawyers in Lahore
A class fieldwork session was organized at Lahore High Court where students watched trials, interviewed lawyers … and had tea at the judges’ library.