Law in Contemporary Society

Professor Eben Moglen
Columbia Law School, Spring 2022


All timely-submitted work has now been edited at least once. You have until 7 June at 5pm EDT to complete revisions. Grades for all work complete by 7 June will be available on or before 15 June. If you need an extension beyond 7 June to complete your work, please email me.


People have expressed interest now in reading the brief amicus curiae that Pam Karlan and I filed on behalf of 178 organizations in Planned Parenthood v. Casey thirty years ago, and which I assigned for 1 February.


My office hours in spring 2022 will be Wednesdays 12:30-2:30pm and 4:50-5:50pm; and Thursdays 10:30-12n and 3-5pm (usually reserved for 1L students). If you need to see me but cannot make office hours, please email moglen@columbia.edu for an appointment, or consult my assistant, Jerrica Sosa, at 212-461-1905.


On the Radar

Hadley Freeman, The Rosenbergs were executed for spying in 1953. Can their sons reveal the truth?, The Guardian, June 19. 2021

Libby Brooks, Report urges Scottish government to introduce misogyny act, The Guardian, March 8, 2022

Musa al-Gharbi.No, America is not on the cusp of a civil war, The Guardian, January 27, 2022

Jiayang Fan, The Atlanta Shooting and the Dehumanizing of Asian Women, The New Yorker, March 19, 2021

Davey Alba, How Anti-Asian Activity Online Set the Stage for Real-World Violence, New York Times, March 19, 2021

Marie Solis, 'A specific kind of racism': Atlanta shootings fuel fears over anti-sex-work ideology, The Guardian, March 18, 2021

Dan Davies, Less regulation means more business for the City, right? It's not that simple, The Guardian, March 9, 2021

Mishi Choudhary and Eben Moglen, Social Media is Flawed by Design, Times of India, February 16, 2021

Peter Brannen, The Terrifying Warning Lurking in the Earth’s Ancient Rock Record, The Atlantic, March 2021

Murray Waas, Jeff Sessions impeded inquiry into role in Trump’s family separation policy, The Guardian, January 22, 2021

Ed Pilkington and Ankita Rao, A tale of two New Yorks: pandemic lays bare a city's shocking inequities, The Guardian, April 10, 2020

Shaun Nichols, Yeah, that Zoom app you're trusting with work chatter? It lives with 'vampires feeding on the blood of human data', The Register, March 27, 2020


A Word on Technology Old and New About the Word

This course is centered in the experience of classroom dialogue. Everything we read and write will be intended to help us understand better what we learn from listening to one another. I say "listening," because in a conversation with so many voices, we're all going to be listening much more than we are talking. So this is an extended exercise in active listening.

It turns out that wiki is a very good medium for active listeners. Below you will find an introduction to this particular wiki, or TWiki, where you can learn as much or as little about how this technology works as you want.

For now, the most important thing is just that any page of the wiki has an edit button, and your work in the course consists of writings that we will collaboratively produce here. You can make new pages, edit existing pages, attach files to any page, add links, leave comments in the comment boxes--whatever in your opinion adds to a richer dialog. During the semester I will assign writing exercises, which will also be posted here. All of everyone's work contributes to a larger and more informative whole, which is what our conversation is informed by, and helps us to understand. This is a law school course, so one cannot prevent altogether the stupidity of grades.

Please begin by registering. I look forward to seeing you at our first meeting.

Introduction to the LawContempSoc Web

The LawContempSoc site is a collaborative class space built on Twiki [twiki.org], a free software wiki system. If this is your first time using a wiki for a long term project, or first time using a wiki at all, you might want to take a minute and look around this site. Every page has a history: all the versions it has accumulated through each person's edits. Use the "History" button at the top of each page to explore that history. When we edit a page, using the "Edit" button, the old version is still part of the history, so editing is additive, not destructive. If you see something on the page that you don't know how to create in a wiki, take a look at the text that produced it using the "Raw" button at the top of each page, and feel free to try anything out in the Sandbox.

All of the Twiki documentation is also right at hand. Follow the TWiki link in the sidebar. There are a number of good tutorials and helpful FAQs there explaining the basics of what a wiki does, how to use Twiki, and how to format text.

From TWiki's point of view, this course, Law in Contemporary Society, is one "web." There are other webs here: the sandbox for trying wiki experiments, for example, and my other courses, etc. You're welcome to look around in those webs too, of course. Below are some useful tools for dealing with this particular web of ours. You can see the list of recent changes, and you can arrange to be notified of changes, either by email or by RSS feed. I would strongly recommend that you sign up for one or another form of notification; if not, it is your responsibility to keep abreast of the changes yourself.

LawContempSoc Web Utilities