European Legal History


Course Code:
LAW 441
Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail


This seminar will explore major topics in European legal history from ancient Rome through the present: Roman law, canon law, feudalism, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century constitutionalism, modern natural law, the age of absolutism and the rise of the centralized, administrative state, the structure of Old Regime law and society and the radical changes brought about by revolution, the German historical school of jurisprudence, and the rise of the European Union and a new culture of international human rights. In exploring these topics, we will focus on certain core, recurring themes that continue profoundly to shape the world in which we live. These include the sources and nature of law (positive law vs. custom), the relationship between law and society, and the relationship between law and history. Classroom discussion will focus on selected primary- and secondary-source texts that we will read as a group. The course will be limited to 12 SLS students with 10 additional slots held for students enrolling in HISTORY 238E/338E. Elements used in grading: Brief analytical paper (6-8 pages, worth 35% of the total course grade) and final exam (worth 65% of the total course grade). Cross-listed with History (HISTORY 238E & HISTORY 338E).

Past Offerings

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