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Law and Society

Politics, Policy and Law (PPL) scholars choosing the Law and Society track will examine the role of law in relation to social, political, and economic institutions. The complex relation of law and justice, broadly conceived, is the central consideration in this program of study. Drawing on the social sciences and humanities, this curriculum offers an historical and international perspective on legal issues.

Sample Law & Society Courses

The courses below are a sample of required courses or electives you may choose as a PPL Law and Society major. Browse the University Catalog to learn more about the courses offered in the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology as well as other elective courses offered across the university.

JLC-110 Western Legal Tradition

From the biblical era to the American experiment, the Western legal tradition encompasses primitive, divine, natural, canon, secular, and common law. This course examines the key legal documents and issues of the tradition including the Code of Hammurabi, the Ten Commandments, the trials of Socrates and Jesus, the Magna Carta, the Rule of Law, and Common law.

JLC-201 Philosophical Problems in the Law

This course provides an introduction to the philosophical perspective of the law. Issues discussed include the nature of law and judicial decision making, criminal responsibility, the justification of punishment, and the moral basis of property rights. The course emphasizes analytical reading and writing.

JLC-225 American Legal Culture

The law has become one of the most important regulators in American culture. How did this happen? This course explores the transformation of American legal culture from the colonial era to the present, considering such issues as the challenges of crime, the Cold War and civil rights, the rise of the surveillance state, and images of law in popular culture.

JLC-307 Justice, Law and the Constitution

The historical development, theory, principles, and content of criminal and civil law and their interrelationships; exploration of due process, rule of law, and the role of the Constitution in protecting rights and limiting the actions of both civil and criminal justice agencies.

GOVT-321 Congress and Legislative Behavior

Congressional behavior, Congress as an institution, and the role of Congress in policymaking. Includes field research on Capitol Hill.

JLC-530 Concepts of Punishment

The philosophical issues associated with criminal punishment, particularly the moral justification for punishment. The relationship between theories of punishment and theories of the state, theories of ethics, and broader philosophical issues such as free will versus determinism.