Taboo Trades & Forbidden Exchanges

This class examines exchanges and transactions that are traditionally taboo, and sometimes illegal. Importantly, what constitutes a taboo trade is culturally dependent, changing over time and across cultures. For example, typical taboo trades in modern western societies include organs, blood, babies, sexual relations, votes for money, and a wide range of other issues. In other cultures and other times, however, humans were sold as a matter of course, whereas land was considered inalienable.

Students will discuss reading selections from law, economics, anthropology, psychology, and sociology. During most class meetings, we will host speakers (generally visiting faculty from other law schools) who will discuss current projects related to taboo trades.

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