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Visual Persuasion in the Law - LAW830

2 Credits

This course will examine the developing role that visual persuasion (through photographs, charts, and videos) plays in the law. The first part of the course will focus on legal documentary videos, expressly made to call attention to a legal issue. This first half of the course will focus on video techniques, including preparation and editing, to help students to develop a basic visual literacy, that is, an understanding of issues relevant to video images. The second part of the class will focus on the use of extemporaneous visual images (e.g., surveillance footage and photos) and of planned videos (e.g., victim impact videos, clemency petition videos) that come to be used in court cases. This course should be useful to future litigators, not only in torts and criminal law but also in other areas, and to those interested in human rights and the education of the public on legal issues. While students will not create videos or other visual materials, they will produce various writings as to creation and analysis of videos and visual images to develop their critical skills regarding creation, use and interpretation of such images. Grading is based on several writing projects due during the course of the semester and on one final writing project due during or at the end of the exam period. (No prerequisite.)