COMM ST 184 - Abortion, Gun Control, and the Death Penalty

Session A

Besides those listed in the course title (abortion, gun control, and the death penalty), topics will include bullying (e.g., in a controversial decision, a Massachusetts judge has just ruled that a 17-year-old girl who encouraged her 18-year-old boyfriend to kill himself via text message can be convicted of involuntary manslaughter); hate speech; physician-assisted suicide; affirmative action; transgender youth issues (including puberty blockers and transgender bathroom laws); the exclusionary rule; and pornography. Guest speakers may include a gun control expert and an American pornographic actress, producer, and sex columnist. The class will also include a presentation by the four-time national champion UCLA Mock Trial Team. The class is intended to teach you the law and fact necessary to understand the different sides of complex social issues. It will also test and improve your analytical and argumentative skills.


Mark Huppin

I am a constitutional law scholar and social scientist interested in First Amendment issues and effects of sexual and violent media.

I have taught in UCLA's Department of Communication Studies since 2007. I received my B.A. and my Ph.D. in Psychology from UCLA, and in between my J.D. from Stanford Law School. 

Also, while working for a big Silicon Valley law firm with one of those nice office views after law school (now the third largest law firm in the U.S. as measured by revenue), in my spare time I co-wrote, co-directed, and co-produced a feature film that debuted at the Seattle International Film Festival (and did music licensing for the film as well). See here for the Variety review: This led to a two-year contract with Writers & Artists Agency in Westwood. But a lunch with a UCLA professor soon led to a change of plans, namely a co-authored book on sexual rights. Months later I found myself a PhD student in Psychology at UCLA.

Reflecting my interdisciplinary background, my work spans issues of constitutional law, mass communication, psychology, and historical theory. Often, topics of sex and violence provide unifying themes across areas. Overall, I regularly combine legal and empirical analysis in a single work to suggest a foundation for sound public policy.