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Department of History

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Law, History, and Society

updated May 31, 2017

New Major through the Department of History!!

Program of Concentration in Law, History, and Society


As a human institution self-consciously aware of its past, "The Law" raises a complex set of issues that can be addressed historically. Legislation and jurisprudence, for example, allow historians a privileged perspective into how societies sought to define themselves, their values, and their membership. Constitutions provide maps of political power, and serve as sites of struggle over goods both real and symbolic. Records of legal practice are often well preserved, allowing access to the voices and actions of people who are usually left out of systems of political organization.

This major approaches law from both a historical and an interdisciplinary perspective. Emphasis will be placed on close reading of legal documents, research in legal archives, and analytical writing. Students will be encouraged to develop reading programs and research topics that stretch across national and chronological boundaries, and to think comparatively. Students may not major both in history and in law, history, and society. Students majoring in law, history, and society may apply to receive honors through the History Honors Program.

The major program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours in history; no more than 3 credit hours of AP or IB credit may count toward this total. Note: AP and IB credit will not count toward the 15 credit hours for the concentration. No more than 6 credit hours may be from courses outside the Department of History.

Course work is distributed as follows:

1. History Workshop. 3000W or 3980 (3 credit hours)
Note: 3000W should be taken as soon as possible and must be taken no later than the second semester of the junior year. 3000W is a prerequisite for the 4960 capstone course. 3980 is limited to second-semester juniors who have been admitted to the Honors Program. Students entering the Honors Program who have already taken 3000W will receive elective credit for that course.

2. Law, History, and Society: Five courses from the following:
1345, 1383, 1385W, 1430W, 1580, 1584W, 1667, 2130, 2155, 2190, 2238, 2290, 2293, 2450, 2590, 2610, 2662, 2690, 2760, 2855, 2860, 3170, and, as appropriate, 3890, 3980, 4960, 4980–4981, and 4999; Classics 3150, 3160; Economics 4210; English 3734; French 4232; Jewish Studies 2150; Medicine, Health, and Society 2320; Philosophy 1100, 3610, 3610W, 3623; Political Science 1103, 2208, 2226, 2262, 2265, 2266, 3260; RUSS 2485; Sociology 3605, 3611, 3613, 3621; 3624; WGS 3271, 3281; and other courses, as appropriate, with approval of the director of undergraduate studies of Law, History, and Society.
Note: First-Year Writing Seminars (1111) in history may be used to satisfy the relevant program concentration with approval of the director of undergraduate studies of Law, History, and Society.

3. Capstone course (3–6 credit hours)

One of the following, to be taken in the junior or senior year; all of the options will require the student to write a major paper, the topic of which must be approved by the director of undergraduate studies of law, history, and society. Any capstone course on a topic concerning law, history, and society will count toward the five-course requirement for the program concentration.

Option 1: 3883, Internship Research (3 credit hours).
Must be taken in conjunction with 3880 (internship training). Prerequisite: 3000W. Note: a student may take 3883 as an elective before completing 3000W but in this case 3883 will not count as a capstone course.

Option 2: 4960, Majors Seminar (3 credit hours).
Prerequisite: 3000W.

Option 3: 4980–4981, Senior Honors Seminar (6 credit hours).

Limited to seniors enrolled in the History Honors Program.
Note: At the discretion of the director of honors and the director of undergraduate studies in law, history, and society, a student who has taken 4980 but does not take 4981 may be considered to have fulfilled the capstone requirement for the major.

4. Electives (6–12 credit hours in history, depending on the nature of the capstone course)
Electives may include any courses, not used to satisfy any of the above requirements, offered by the Department of History or listed above in major requirement #2

To see the full catalog pages for the Department of History please link here.