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Designing Real Utopias

Noah Zatz
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This seminar imagines the legal realization of radical hope. Contemporary social movements are insisting that another world is possible, and necessary. Complementing urgent efforts to resist or mitigate intense injustice in the present, bold visions for the future are on the table, if not yet around the corner: abolishing police and prisons, universal basic income, a decarbonized economy, open borders, reparations, a jobs guarantee, the decolonization of North America, and more. Rather than centering the critique of existing institutions and the limits or dangers of law, this seminar will embrace the affirmative project of designing the legal frameworks—unfamiliar as they might need to be—that would help instantiate a hopeful future. Due attention will be paid to the serious challenges such transformations would face, but we will treat these as problems to be solved rather than as reasons to accept the status quo.