About the center

Experience and scholarship tell us that the role of law in society and culture is best understood through interdisciplinary analysis. Culture, power, politics, globalization, information technology, biotechnology, literary criticism, environmental science, economics — these and many other disciplines and phenomena create a rich context for the study of law, a context that is critical to gaining an understanding of our society. There is simply no one discipline or field of professional study, domestic or global, that can impart a comprehensive understanding of law's impact and meaning. 

The fundamental mission of the Center for Law, Society, and Culture is to promote and disseminate a multidisciplinary understanding of law through scholarship, teaching, and discussion. The Center produces, presents, and coordinates research conducted by exceptional scholars in schools and departments across Indiana University on the subject of law and legal problems. The Center supports research related to the law in a broad sense, including cultural aspects of law expressed through political theory and the humanities, and scientific aspects of law expressed through technological advance in biotechnology, environmental science, and information technology. 

Recognizing that a vital democratic culture requires an informed citizenry that is comfortable talking about and thinking about the law, the Center for Law, Society, and Culture inspires collaboration among scholars and serves as a catalyst for curricular innovation and enhancement. The Center advocates and invigorates the study of law and its relationship to society and culture among all students at Indiana University.

To engage students at the Maurer School of Law in particular, the Center oversees two innovative programs: the Access-to-Justice Service Learning Program and the Bradley Fellows in Criminal Law and Procedure. 

The Access-to-Justice Service Learning Program

To engage students at the Maurer School of Law in particular, the Center oversees two innovative programs. Through the Access to Justice service learning project, 1L students engage in conducting legal needs studies in Southern Indiana (specifically Monroe and Lawrence Counties) and in service learning projects with community partners to enhance effectiveness in legal aid delivery. Additionally, 2L and 3L students can participate in a Project Management course in which teams of students learn the necessary skills by working on actual access-to-justice service learning projects. The five projects that the teams seek to accomplish before graduation are:

  1. Creating an online form bank for unrepresented litigants in family law cases, integrating them with easy-to-use software, and making instructional videos for their use;
  2. Collaborating with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana’s pro bono office to create a web-based software platform for counsel recruited to represent indigent prisoners with meritorious medical malpractice claims;
  3. Working with IU’s Title IX office to design a restorative justice program for resolving campus sexual assaults;
  4. Partnering with the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic to extend its Project GRACE expungement help desk to Bloomington
  5. Partnering with Thriving Connections to design easily understood materials that will advise and counsel Bloomington residents on debt collection and debt management.

The Bradley Fellows in Criminal Law and Procedure

The Center also is home to the Bradley Fellows in Criminal Law and Procedure. The Bradley Fellows Program, named after the late Professor Craig M. Bradley, includes a full range of curricular, extra-curricular, and experiential learning opportunities designed to prepare Indiana Law students for a successful and rewarding career in criminal justice – as a prosecutor, public defender, private criminal defense attorney, policy-maker, or researcher.

CLSC Affiliate Faculty

The Center is looking to form an affiliate faculty group with an interest in law and society who would be interested in engaging more actively with the Center. This group is open to all faculty. Affiliate faculty will be listed on the CLSC website and will be included in the Center’s mailing list, receive e-mails about CLSC activities, research opportunities, grants, conferences, and other law and society news.

Friday Research Roundtables

Friday Research Roundtables, informal Friday afternoon sessions where scholars and students interested in law and society can come and talk through research and methodology issues, workshop projects and papers in development, or hold “research autopsies,” dissecting research projects so that others might learn from successful and not-so-successful strategies. The Roundtables are held in the Henderson House Conference Room on Friday afternoons from 2:00-3:00 p.m. beginning August 30. Convenient parking is available in the Henderson Garage directly behind the house.

The Center for Law, Society & Culture Fellows Program

The Indiana University Maurer School of Law’s Center for Law, Society & Culture Fellows Program is designed for graduate and professional students at Indiana University who have an interest in law and society, the study of how law and legal institutions impact society and social processes, and are in turn influenced by them. Students will engage with faculty and visiting scholars about the intersection of legal actors, institutions, and processes with disciplines such as sociology, psychology, philosophy, religion, history, economics, and others, often through the use of quantitative and qualitative empirical methodologies.

The Center for Law, Society & Culture Fellows program will allow fellows to understand law and legal problems from very different vantage points than in courses. It can also provide useful opportunities for students to meet and network with other scholars and graduate students across campus. Fellows will discuss readings prior to each CLSC speakers' visit, and as well as attend the speakers’ presentations themselves. Students may also sign up to join speakers for a meal or coffee. Students may also research and write papers under the supervision of CLSC-associated faculty (potentially for credit). Applications for the Center for Law, Society & Culture Fellows are due on July 26, 2019. To apply, please send a resume and a brief paragraph about why you would like to participate in the Fellow Program to Prof. Jody Madeira at jmadeira@indiana.edu.

The 2019-2020 Center for Law, Society & Culture Fellows

Julie Baffoe is a second-year law student from Tinley Park, Illinois, a suburb just southwest of Chicago. She holds a BA in English from the University of Dayton, with a minor in Women and Gender Studies, where she also studied adolescent education and visual art. After law school, Julie hopes to work in public interest, specifically in education law and the rights of children.

Samantha Feistritzer is a second-year law student at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Originally from Selma, Indiana, she graduated from Indiana University in 2018 with degrees in English and classics and a minor in political science. She is excited to study the law and its multidisciplinary intersections through this fellowship in a more discussion-based process of learning.

Dane Foster, is a 2L and a native Hoosier who graduated with honors from IU Bloomington and wrote his honors thesis on the morality of warfare. Dane is currently president of the Law School's Christian Legal Society and Vice President of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship at IU. His professional passions include conflict resolution and refugee policy, and his private passions include faith, philosophy, Arabic, and dancing.

Thalia Hobson, a 2L, was born in Indiana, went to South Carolina for her undergraduate studies, and then came back to Indiana for law school. In college, Thalia majored in marine science and economics, and her senior thesis was on the correlation between city demographics and police department budgets. She is interested in environmental and constitutional law and the solutions to the complex problems facing the world today.

Emma Kearney is a 2L from Atlanta, Georgia and is a graduate of Agnes Scott College. She is earning a dual JD and Master of Library Science. Her main legal interests include decriminalization of sex work and anti-carceral criminal remedies. This past summer, she worked at the Georgia Public Defender Council Appellate Division. Outside of law school, she enjoys watching classic films and racing triathlons.

India Peterson is from Grand Rapids, Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan in 2016 with a B.A. in psychology and French. Before attending Indiana Law, she spent a year teaching English in France. At the Law School, she is highly involved in academic and extracurricular activities, serving as executive symposium editor of the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies and a Career Services Office fellow. This past summer, she worked at Equip for Equality, Illinois’s Protection and Advocacy System.

William Stockdale, a native Hoosier, is dedicated to facilitating interdisciplinary communication for the benefit of law and society. After spending four years in the United States Army, William graduated summa cum laude from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. William’s research interests include professional ethics, economics, and the legislative process. In his free time, William enjoys chess, basketball, automotive repair, and spending time with family.

Kaitlin Willbanks is a 2L from Monticello, Indiana. She completed her undergraduate study at Centre College before serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Poplar, Montana with Fort Peck Community College. She spent her 1L summer clerking for Judges Robert Mrzlack and Jason Thompson as part of the Law School's inaugural class of Rural Justice Initiative externs. She is also an associate for the Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality.

Lin Ye is a second-year law student. She graduated cum laude from DePauw University in 2017 with a B.A in mathematics and a minor in economics. Lin is from Shenzhen, China and speaks Mandarin and Cantonese. She is interested in the topics of economics, government regulations, public policy, and international relations. Lin is also a candidate for an M.S. in Cybersecurity Risk Management at Indiana University.

Co-Directors:

Victor D. Quintanilla, Professor of Law, Adjunct Professor Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
Jody Lyneé Madeira, Professor of Law and Louis F. Niezer Faculty Fellow 

Advisory Board Members:

Pamela Foohey, Associate Professor of Law, Advisory Board Chair
Jeannine Bell, Richard S. Melvin Professor of Law
Joseph L. Hoffmann, Harry Pratter Professor of Law and Director, Bradley Fellows Program
Laura Foster, Assistant Professor of Gender Studies
Ilana Gershon, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
Michael Grossberg, Sally M. Reahard Professor, Department of History and Professor of Law
Gene Shreve, Richard S. Melvin Professor Emeritus, Indiana University Maurer School of Law