Law and Love

What is the relationship between law and love? At first glance, law and love seem to be opposed. Whereas law governs through distant rules, love emerges in intimate and often surprising circumstances. Whereas law strives to present itself in the language of reason and utility, love communicates through affect and sentiment. Law prohibits, yet “love endures all things” St Paul tell us at the beginning of the Christian tradition. This course draws on both legal cases and literary and theoretical works on love to question the premise of this opposition. We explore both love’s place in law through an examination of the way courts and legislatures in the United States and Russia have defined and redefined love, as well as law’s place in love. Ultimately, we ask, what would it mean — and is it even possible — to say that law is somehow like love?

Zachary Reyna:

Zachary Reyna is a political theorist working in the environmental humanities and cultural study of law. He received his PhD in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University (USA), where his dissertation offered an ecological reading of the natural law tradition that rethought the concept of political obligation for contemporary environmentalist politics. He taught political theory and environmental thought at Johns Hopkins and Towson University, and is the assistant editor of the journal “Political Theory”. He is now professor in political theory at SAS.