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Family Law differs from the other subjects under discussion today in at least two respects. As a matter of curricular location, it is not always considered a core course. I am therefore grateful for Melissa Murray’s public recognition of the “coreness” of Family Law within a legal education. Second, if one purpose of integrating humanities into the core curriculum is to humanize the law, it is probably safe to say that Family Law is already humanized enough. The subject comes fully loaded with all too human conflict and suffering: cruelty, anger, sex, disappointed expectations, and all of these play out along one or another gender matrix. Indeed, it’s hard to think of any subject in Family Law – maybe jurisdiction? – that doesn’t have at least a flash of pain below the surface. Students don’t need to watch Kramer vs. Kramer, to use an ancient example, in order to understand the aftermath of divorce. A fair few of them will have experienced both the run-up and the aftermath themselves. The problem in Family Law is more often tamping down classroom emotions than expanding them.


Family Law | Law and Society