Comparative Law and Society


Course Code:
LAW 697
Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail


By the mid 20th century, the legal map of the world recognized four main traditions: civil law, common law, socialist, and Islamic law. In early 21st century, the main socialist countries have disappeared and globalization has produced a pronounced convergence between common law and civil law. We also became aware that comparative law has to compare more than law and has to include the social and political context of the law. The comparative method is important, but the substance to be compared has changed. This course introduces students to the main historical experiences of law using the comparative method and law and society materials. They will find a new way of looking at Roman, medieval, or 19th century law because its "monuments" are placed in social perspective. The method will be used to reconstruct the contemporary ideas of human rights and rule of law in the context of specific countries. Students will have two writing obligations: (1) brief reflective essays on assigned readings and (2) a research paper. Starting in session 2, students will prepare brief reflective essays on the required reading (or readings) for the session and submit them to the professors and other students 24 hours prior to the beginning of the session. Assigned readings will all be in English. Additional readings may be in other languages. For the research paper the student will, with professorial approval, choose a country and a topic and discuss the work in progress with the professors at least twice during the quarter. It should not exceed 5.000 words. Special Instructions: After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. Elements used in grading: The short essays or article presentations will be one leg of the students' evaluation (50%). The other leg will be the final research essay (50%). Writing (W) credit is for students entering prior to Autumn 2012.

Past Offerings

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