Seminar: United States Territorial Possessions
LAW 6936 (2 credits)
Professor Pedro A. Malavet
Description. The United States is the largest overseas territorial power in the world today, with over four million subjects. It currently governs Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Marianas, and American Samoa, and has "special responsibilities" for the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau. This seminar will focus on the history of U.S. territorial acquisitions and the changing legal paradigms applied by the United States to its past and current territorial possessions. After an initial look at my personal perspective on the subject, and a brief introduction to Critical Race Theory, we will review the history or the U.S. territorial possessions; we will then ponder the legal, philosophical and moral implications of U.S. colonialism in the 21st Century.
Book: Pedro A. Malavet, America's Colony: The Political and Cultural Conflict between the United States and Puerto Rico (NYU Press 2004). Supplemental readings will come mostly from: Arnold H. Leibowitz, Defining Status: A Comprehensive Analysis of United States Territorial Possessions (1989). ISBN: 0-7923-0069-6.
Grade Requirements. Students will be required to write a substantial paper and to make several oral presentations to the class based thereon. I will provide a schedule for: (1) choosing a topic, (2) providing a proposed table of contents and preliminary bibliography, (3) making an oral presentation about the topic to the class, (4) submitting a first draft, (5) making a final presentation to the class, and (6) submitting a final draft.
Paper Topics. Your seminar papers have to relate to a U.S. territory, but not necessarily to a current U.S. territory. Accordingly, you may write about any of the 37 territories that eventually became States after the initial 13 colonies. You may also write about places such as Cuba the Philippines, which were U.S. territories prior to their independence (there are other possible examples as well).
Seminar GuidelinesThe Course: The United States is the largest overseas territorial power in the world today, with over four million subjects. It currently governs Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Marianas, and American Samoa, and has "special responsibilities" for the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau. This seminar will focus on the history of U.S. territorial acquisitions and the changing legal paradigms applied by the United States to its past and current territorial possessions. After reviewing the history, we will then ponder the legal, philosophical and moral implications of U.S. colonialism in the 21st Century.
Office Hours: I will have regular office hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 5 to 6 p.m. You may also see me after class or schedule appointments. If you feel lost, or if you have doubts that cannot be resolved during class or during the period immediately following it, please do not hesitate to come and see me. Office time is also a good opportunity to explore matters that are not directly related to the material being discussed in class. You may also e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paper: Students must write a paper for this course. The paper must be related to the substantive areas covered in the course. Each student must schedule a meeting with me to discuss and obtain approval for a topic before the January 31, class session. A preliminary table of contents and bibliography shall then be due on or before February 14. Thereafter, each student will make a short oral presentation of their topic and table of contents to the class. You must submit one draft and make a presentation based on it to the class. The draft will be due on or before March 21. The final paper will be due on or before May 2 , at 5:00 p.m. The paper must be at least 25, typed, letter-sized pages long, exclusive of cover pages, table of contents, index, bibliography and other attachments. The paper should be at most double-spaced and use a typeface of 12-14 point for text and 10-12 points for citations and footnotes. Footnotes should be used to identify references. A bibliography should also be included. The paper should be of good quality.
Basic Score. Your basic score will be determined as follows: (1) Paper, 70% of your score; (2) Draft and oral presentation of draft, 20% of your score; (3) Table of contents, oral Presentation of your topic, 10% of your score. Failure to submit the table of contents or draft on time will result in a deduction of 5% from your score for each day of delay. Not submitting the final draft on time will result in failing the course. EXTENSIONS WILL NOT BE GRANTED.
Final Grade: Class Participation: When determining your final grades, I will consider class conduct and participation, including attendance, to adjust your basic score. Because this is a small class, attendance and participation are essential. Therefore, a minimum of 30% of your final grade will be based on class attendance and participation. Quality of Participation. I will consider the quality of student participation and conduct to further adjust final grades, as I deem appropriate.
We will go over syllabus and requirements for the seminar, particularly the paper requirement.
America's Colony: Introduction
America's Colony: Chapter 1: An introduction to CRT
America's Colony: Chapter 2: The Legal Relationship Between the U.S. and Puerto Rico
(materials on CRT and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico).
Leibowitz, Chapter 1: The U.S. Territorial Experience
Leibowitz: Chapter 2: Alternative Legal Structures, Territoriality
Handout 1, pages 1-66.
Deadline: Topic Selection
Leibowitz, Chapter 3: Alternative Legal Structures: Statehood
Leibowitz, Chapter 4: Alternative Legal Structures: Special Schemes
Leibowitz, Chapter 5: Conclusions
Handout 1, pages 67-122
America's Colony, Chapter 3: Political Culture
America's Colony, Chapter 4: Cultural Identity
|February 14||Deadline: Bibliography and Preliminary Table of Contents
America's Colony, Chapter 5: Legal and Political Theory
|February 20-March 19
|No classes or office hours during this period.|
|March 21||Deadline: First Draft
America's Colony, Chapter 6: A framework for reform
America's Colony, Chapter 7: Mythology
As I instructed during our last class, I want you to re-read these two chapters for our first meeting after the break AND to bring with you two written questions suggested by this material and by the chapter on legal and political theory.
(Depending on the size of the class, this session may have to be dedicated to oral presentations.)
|April 11||Final Oral Presentations|
|April 18||Final Oral Presentations|
|May 2||Deadline: Final Papers Due before 5:00 p.m.|