General Course Descriptions for Terms: family law
This class provides a basic understanding of the internal workings of Islamic jurisprudence at its theoretical roots and as it has manifested in various historical and contemporary contexts. It engages students with the tools of ijtihad (the mechanism of Islamic legal reasoning) with an eye to the interpretive methodologies of the various schools of Islamic law. It also explores the relationship between Islamic law and government and surveys two selected areas of substantive law: family and criminal law. It concludes with a look at modern Islamic legal and political reform. In doing so, this course reviews the dominant tools of legal interpretation in Islam, such as those rules surrounding the reading of source texts (Qur’an and Hadith), as well as qiyas (analogical reasoning) and ijma’ (consensus). This is done with attention to the various rationales behind the jurists’ methodologies and the corresponding impact on Islamic law as a whole. Students are expected to use critical thinking skills to compare similarities and differences and offer their own critiques of various approaches. The class concludes with attention to specific doctrinal areas, such as family law and criminal law. Attentive students come away from the class with a working understanding of the various methodologies in classical Islamic jurisprudence, as well as an appreciation of the types of Islamic legal arguments that are employed in Muslim debates around the world today. Student Learning Outcomes: Students who successfully complete this class will be able to: 1. Recognize the difference between “sharia” and “fiqh” and thus critically analyze how the term “sharia” is used in modern discourses. 2. Describe the methodological differences between the different schools of classical Islamic law. 3. Demonstrate knowledge and use of the different tools of ijtihad. 4. Describe the key doctrines of Islamic marriage and divorce law. 5. Understand and explain the difference between “hudood” crimes, “ta’zir” crimes, and “qisas."
Family Law: Marriage and Divorce is a survey course that introduces students to the fundamental concepts of family law. The covered topics include competing conceptions of the family, marriage and its alternatives, including cohabitation,divorce and consequences of dissolution, including property, maintenance, child custody and child support. Although the course uses materials from a variety of jurisdictions, students are also exposed to Wisconsin laws, cases and materials to gain familiarity with this state's treatment of family law issues. A 4th credit (Law 950) is available for interested students: enrolling for the additional credit entails completing two short (5-page) writing exercises.
Adoption Law & Policy (Law 939) is a 2-credit in-person course. This course meets for one 2- hour class period each week over the spring semester and carries the expectation that students will work on course learning activities (reading, writing, assignments, studying, etc.) for at least about 4 hours out of classroom for every class period. Overall, the 2-credit standard for this course is met by an expectation of a total of 85 hours of student engagement with the course’s learning activities (at least 42.5 hours per credit), which include regularly scheduled class meeting times, reading, writing, and other assignments. This course addresses adoption law and policy in the United States. Topics include: (1) an overview of the history of adoption law and current trends in adoption policy and practice; (2) the adoption process including an examination of the differences between agency and independent adoption, the form, timing and revocability of parental consent to adoption, the selection of adoptive parents and stepparent adoption; (3) parental rights of nonmarital fathers; (4) adoption by gay and lesbian parents; (5) transracial adoption; (6) adoption of Native American children and the Indian Child Welfare Act; (7) open adoption practice; (8) international adoption; (9) and government law and policy on the adoption of children from foster care. Course requirements include engaged, consistent and constructive class participation, serving as class discussion leader and drafting Commentaries and Discussion Questions, and completion of a research paper. This course offers a discussion-based examination of the readings in which regular class attendance and participation is absolutely crucial.
This 1-credit module is available for students enrolled in Prof. Brito's Family Law: Marriage & Divorce in same semester. The module entails completing two short (5-page) writing exercises.