David Papke

Professor of Law
(414) 288-1905
Areas of Law:

Areas of Law::

Other Courses Taught: 
Family Law, Legal History, Property, Jurisprudence


David Papke joined the Marquette University Law School faculty in 2002 after serving on the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis faculty for eighteen years. Professor Papke worked earlier as Dean of Yale University's Davenport College, and he has been a visiting professor at the University of Illinois and Indiana University-Bloomington. In 1986-87, he was a Fulbright professor at Tamkang University, Taipei, and he has lectured in Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, St. Kitts, Uganda, and Vietnam. Professor Papke teaches Property, Family Law, Jurisprudence, Legal History, and a range of courses and seminars in law and the humanities. He has a special scholarly interest in the role of law in American culture. He is the author or editor of Framing the Criminal: Crime, Cultural Work, and the Loss of Critical Perspective (1987), Narrative and the Legal Discourse: Storytelling and the Law (1991), Heretics in the Temple: Americans Who Reject the Nation's Legal Faith (1998), The Pullman Case: The Clash of Labor and Capital in Industrial America (1999), Law and Popular Cultre: Text, Notes, and Questions (2007; 2nd Edition, 2012), and Law and Popular Culture: International Perspectives (2014). His most recent book is Containment and Condemnation: Law and the Oppression of the Urban Poor (2019).

Recent Lectures, Papers, and Presentations:

"The Limits of Law: Neoliberalism and Health Law Reform," International Society for the Semiotics of Law; Coimbra, Portugal; May, 2019.

"Criminal Voices in American Popular Music," International Society for the Semiotics of Law; Orebro, Sweden; May, 2018. 

"John Grisham's View of Legal Education," Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities; Washington, D.C; March, 2018.

"Addressing Health Inequities: Law and Social Justice for the American Urban Poor," International and Comparative Urban Law Conference, Hong Kong, June, 2016. 

"The Communistic Inclinations of Sir Thoma More," Utopia 500 Lecture Series; McGeorge Law School; Sacramento, California; March, 2016.

"Postmodern Decline?  The American Belief in the Rule of Law," 12th Annual Conference on Law and Legal Scholarship; Athens, Greece; July, 2015.

"Law in the Hollywood Cinema," the University of Wollongong; Wollongong, Australia; July, 2014.

"The Adoption of Asian Children by American Whites," Third Biennial Interdisciplinary Conference on Race, Monmouth University; West Long Branch, New Jersey; April, 2013.

"Evolutionary Functionalism:  A Viable Approach to American Legal History?" Stawa University; Kampala, Uganda; August 2012.

"Transracial Adoption in the Contemporary United States," International Society of Family Law North American Conference; Nassau, The Bahamas; March, 2011.  

"Contain, Condemn, and Criminalize: The Functions of Law and Legal Institutions for the Underclass," Loyola Law School -New Orleans; New Orleans, Louisiana; November, 2010. 

"Muffled Message: Capital Punishment and Hollywood Films," Center for the Study of Film and History Annual Conference; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, November, 2010.

Recent Publications


"A Foe More Than a Friend: Law and the Health of the Urban Poor" (with Elise Papke), 44 FORDHAM URBAN LAW JOURNAL 1 (2017).

"The Communistic Inclinations of Sir Thomas More," 48 UNIV. OF THE PACIFIC LAW REVIEW 29 (2016).

"Cinematic Anti-Legalism: Recent Hollywood Movies' Rejection of the Belief in Law," 44 JOURNAL OF POPULAR FILM AND TELEVISION 68 (2016)

"Postmodern Decline? The Belief in the Rule of Law As a Tenet of American Ideology," 1 ATHENS JOURNAL OF LAW 221 (2015).

"All It Ever Does Is Rain: Bruce Springsteen and the Alienation of Labor," 4 JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATION 593 (2014).

"Perpetuating Poverty: Exploitative Businesses, the Urban Poor, and the Failure of Reform," 16 THE SCHOLAR 223 (2014).

INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON LAW & POPULAR CULTURE (ed. with Michael Asimow & Kathryn Brown (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2014).

"Oil and Water Do Not Mix: Constitutional Law and American Popular Culture," in LAW, CULTURE & VISUAL STUDIES (ed. Anne Wagner & Richard Sherwin) (Springer Publishing, 2014).

"Transracial Adoption in the United States: The Reflection and Reinforcement of Racial Hierarchy," 2013 UTAH LAW REVIEW 1041 (2013).