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Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

American Legal History

Course Description:

This course explores the history of American law from 1607 to the present.  Among the most important topics examined in depth are: the reception of the English common law in the original thirteen colonies; constitutionalism and the American revolution; the Federalist era; the law’s role during the antebellum period in promoting industrialization and slavery; the …

Conflict of Laws

Course Description:

Courts are often required to adjudicate cases that involve multi-state elements. For example, a contract may be made between an entity from New York and one from California to be performed in Ohio. A tort might occur involving citizens from different states, possibly in a third state. The course in conflict of laws explores how …

Critical Race Theory Seminar

Course Description:

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a dynamic and growing movement in the law, spirited by writers who challenge the prevailing racial orthodoxy and question comfortable liberal premises, in search of a new way of thinking about race and law. CRT begins with the insight that racism is a normal and ingrained feature of American society. …

Critical Theory/Critical Lawyering Seminar

Course Description:

This course introduces students to important strands of contemporary legal theory. Focused on “critical legal theory,” students will be introduced to different ways to think about law, legal problems, and legal solutions from the perspective of a range of theoretical and practical concerns. Among other things, materials deal with questions of rights, equality, justice, progress, …

Gender and the Law

Course Description:

This course explores the legal significance of gender in a wide variety of contexts, including employment, criminal and civil law, and laws governing family and sexuality. It is a survey course covering major state and federal cases and including some discussion of gender in comparative and international contexts. We will examine such topics as rape, …


Course Description:

Examination of fundamental questions structuring our legal system, including:how do we know what the law is? What are the proper sources and purposes of law? What is the relationship between law and justice?  What is the source of one’s duty to obey the law?  The readings and discussions examine multiple perspectives of legal theory, including natural law, …

Law and Economics

Course Description:

Why and when should property be privately owned? How can a legal system minimize the social costs of accidents? Should the state regulate pollution? If so, how? What is the socially appropriate punishment for a crime? Why do we even need the law of contract? What are the purposes of default rules? This course examines …

Law, History, & Philosophy Seminar

Course Description:

This course examines the historical and philosophical background impacting law and legal institutions from early Greek and Roman sources to the Bible to American legal movements to current issues with technology.

Progressive Era and its Contemporary Relevance Seminar

Course Description:

The Progressive Era, roughly 1890-1920, produced the most significant reform of American democracy of any period in US history. Women’s suffrage. Direct election of US Senators. Primary elections. Referenda & ballot initiatives. The secret ballot. And more. This seminar will study the Progressive Era’s successes (& failures), to see their relevance today. Students will write …

The Rule of Law in the Age of Legal Change

Course Description:

This is a course in the rule of law and the legal and policy changes presently being rolled out by the new Trump Administration at the national (sometimes implicating the local) level. Students will be introduced to important ideas about the rule of law before spending a substantial part of the course reading about and …

What’s International Law For? Purposes and Values of the International Legal Order Seminar

Course Description:

All laws and institutions in any legal system pursue particular policy purposes and promote certain social values. International Law is no different. This seminar invites students to engage in a conversation about the policy purposes and values underlying and animating the international legal order.