Professor Mathias Möschel describes Critical Race Theory (CRT) and his course taught under the Legal Studies Department in the 2015/2016 Academic Year as encompassing the following*:
“Critical Race Theory emerged in American legal academia at the end of the 1980s as a critique of the limitations both of orthodox liberal civil rights scholarship and of the failure to address race by scholars belonging to Critical Legal Studies. Since then, critical race theorists have developed a rich body of scholarship and critique. This course will thus explore what hides behind the ideas and concepts of „interest convergence”, „intersectionality”, „unconscious racism” and „legal storytelling”. This will allow at the same time to better understand the legal developments concerning race issues in the United States from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to today’s „post-racial” articulations after the election of President Obama.”
Legal storytelling, or its attempt, is what we present to you today as former students of Professor Möschel’s Critical Race Theory course. Legal storytelling created a link between unique experiences often relating to personal and group-specific plights in the United States and the legal implications of these very personal and individual hardships. The goal of legal storytelling is not merely to add to the wealth of literature, but rather, to materialize the untold version of the law; a voice often silenced by the rigid parameters of law itself. This voice is particular and unique, it demystifies injustice, discrimination, sexism, and other forms of silent and often very loud oppression minorities in the United States experience every day. While CRT was born in a United States context involving a particular historical background and legal evolution, it can arguably be applied in the context of every birth of a nation and in every judicial system around the world. However, in his article, “Color Blindness Or Total Blindness? The Absence Of Critical Race Theory In Europe,” Professor Möschel addresses the virtual inexistence of CRT in Europe.
While this discourse has slowed down in its evolution, legal storytelling is still alive in the United States. Examples of spoken word artists like poet and educator Clint Smith in his TED Talk on “How To Raise A Black Son In America” from March 2015, or most recently 2016 Harvard’s graduate Donovan Livingston through his spoken-verse valedictorian speech, are emblems of CRT storytelling either directly or indirectly.
These short stories, shared voluntarily, are only a small representation of the vast forms legal storytelling can take form. Most of us, as students, firstly became directly introduced and explored this form of legal writing throughout the teachings of this course. While these are by no means perfected stories or experiences, they are our own representations of fictional or non-fictional experiences with CRT. The stories involving racism were written as a small, two-page maximum assignment tied together with legal issues. We share them with you with the hopes of sparking curiosity, and perhaps your own exploration of the topic in your own personal context.
*This short introduction is prepared by CEU students from the Department of Legal Studies. Read their stories in the attachments bellow.