The idea of this seminar is to look at a variety of different legal systems in order to make sense of how they work and understand the different ways in which different systems have handled problems common to all. Unlike the usual course in comparative law, we are not going to be looking at systems close to ours such as modern Civil Law or Japanese law. Instead we will be examining systems from the distant past (Athens, Imperial China), from radically different societies (Plains Indians, saga period Iceland, Sharia), or contemporary systems independent of government law (gypsy law, Amish).
If you have suggestions for additional legal systems we ought to be covering, tell me and they may get included.
The main requirements for the course are class
participation and a paper due at the end of the semester. Students are
expected to hand in a draft several weeks before the end of the course
and invited but not required to present it in class for discussion.
The two books that I
intended to make required reading appear to be out of print. You can
either try to see if you can find a second hand copy at a reasonable
price online, or use the copies I will have on reserve in the library.
The books are:
Bodde and Clarence Morris, Law
in Imperial China, Harvard University Press 1967
K.N. Llewellyn and E. Adamson Hoebel, The Cheyenne Way, U of Oklahoma Press 1941.
to relevant material online (students are invited to contribute
from past years.
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