HIS 306N • Western Legal Tradition to 1500-W
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
This undergraduate writing-intensive course will tell the story of the development of Western law from its roots in antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages. We will examine the basic philosophy of law and the questions of right and responsibility in enforcement, and then turn to how these ideas played out and changed in various societies at various times. Well look at Hammurabi, Leviticus and early Roman legal structures in the ancient world. Then, well examine how the competing European forms of procedure developed and were practiced, the Common Law of England and the Civil Law of the European Continent. Well also take time to examine in some detail the roots of contested issues of law in our own time, including homosexuality, race, and womens rights. This will be a small class, so discussion will play a large role in it.
Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.
Although there will be a few short quizzes over the readings, the grading for this course rests primarily on the completion of a 10-15 page term paper on some historical question in the law. The aim of the term paper is to show students how historians look at the past and to help students construct coherent arguments based on competing evidence. Students will be given both guidance and latitude in the selection of a specific topic. They will also be responsible for editing the rough drafts of the papers of two of their peers, and then writing a one-page review of each of the papers they edit. Percentages: Quizzes 10% Rough Draft of term paper 30% Peer reviews 20% Final Draft of term paper 40%
(tentative): Glanville, The treatise on the laws and customs of the realm of England (selections) Golding, Philosophy of Law Stein, Roman Law in European History Pollack and Maitland, The History of English Law (selections)