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HISTORY

HIST-449
Topics in U.S. History (3)

Course Level: Undergraduate

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic. Rotating topics include labor and workers, espionage and national security, radical tradition, political movements, science and technologies, film and history, and families and childhood. Some background in U.S. history is recommended. Meets with HIST-649.

HIST-449
001
HISTORY
FALL 2015

Course Level: Undergraduate

Topics in U.S. History (3)

US Legal History

This course introduces students to some of the main themes in the long and complicated historical interaction between the law and society in American history. Students examine articles, books, magazines, and even some digital media to understand how this interaction between law and society has shaped topics ranging from sex, slavery, labor, espionage, and terrorism. Just as important, students try to understand how these stories created many of the conditions of our own times-why can government peek in our homes? Why can the law control the way we use our bodies? Is there a place in the law for skin color? And finally, how do laws change? Law typically conjures up familiar images of grand courts, deliberative juries, and stodgy judges. These occupy much of the course's time. But throughout U.S. history, law and lawmakers have also come in different shapes. Indeed, churches in Puritan Massachusetts, slave patrols in the old south, charity organizations in turn-of-the-century Chicago, and the World Bank today, have each wielded power over persons and their property. The goal is to identify how law has shaped society, how society has shaped the law, and how this tangled history-perhaps the ultimate chicken-and-the-egg problem-has established the central foundations and boundaries of our society. Meets with HIST-649 001.