Program in Law & Humanities
Program in Law & Humanities

Law school teaches students to "think like lawyers," but what exactly does that mean? Presumably, it at least means learning to make and respond to arguments within the constraints of the law. But which materials count as legitimate sources of law, what values does the law embody and what methods are appropriate to the task of discerning its meaning are always questions open to debate. In other words, the law is an essentially interpretive intellectual and social practice..

The Program in Law and Humanities is dedicated to deepening and broadening our understanding of this practice. It does so largely by exploring connections between law and such "humanistic" disciplines as philosophy, literature and politics. Like law, these disciplines wrestle with difficult questions of interpretation, evidence and value in their respective domains. Cross-disciplinary teaching and research in these fields both facilitates better understanding of the law and also points to ways in which the study of law may contribute to the humanities.

Contact: Deborah Hellman

Legal Theory Workshops, 2016-17

Noon, Faculty Lounge

Oct. 17
Gregg Strauss – UVA Law
Oct. 31
Tarun Khaitan – Oxford University, Law
Nov. 21
Hallie Liberto – University of Connecticut, Philosophy
Feb. 20
Maggie Little – Georgetown University, Philosophy
April 3
Matt Adler – Duke University, Law
April 17
Sarah Conly – Bowdoin College, Philosophy


The program is committed to offering courses each year that reflect an interdisciplinary law and humanities perspective. Students can also find relevant courses in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Students who are interested in pursuing a formal dual-degree program may apply for the J.D.-M.A. programs in English, philosophy or history.

The following is a list of courses offered during the current and two previous academic years. Numbers in parentheses indicate which academic year(s) the courses were offered, i.e., 2011-12 is coded (12), 2012-13 is coded (13) and 2013-14 is coded (14).


Advanced Topics in the First Amendment (Religion Clauses) (12,13,14)
African-American Lawyers from the Civil War to the Present (12,13,14)
American Legal History (12)
American Legal Realism (13)
An American Half-Century (12,13,14)
Applied Methodologies in Law and Literature (SC) (12)
Bioethics and the Law (12,13,14)
Citizenship and Group Identity (12,13)
Comparative Constitutional Law (12,13,14)
Constitutionalism: History and Jurisprudence (12,13,14)
Constitutional History I: American Revolution to 1865 (12,13)
Constitutional History II: The 20th Century (12)
Constitutional Law II: Freedom of Speech and Press (12,14)
Constitutional Law II: Law and Theory of Equal Protection (12,14)
Constitutional Law II: Parents, Children and Reproduction (14)
Constitutional Law II: Religious Liberty (12,13,14)
Constitutional Law and the Scholarly Process (14)
Constitutional Theory (12,13,14)
Constitutionalism: History and Jurisprudence (12,13,14)
Contemporary Debates in Criminal Law (13,14)
Contemporary Political Theory (12,13)
Crime and Punishment in American History (13,14)
Duty to Obey (14)
European Legal Systems (12)
First Amendment and the Scholarly Process (14)
First Amendment Theory (12)
Gender and Legal Theory (12)
Gender, Justice and State Responsibility (14)
Genetics and the Law (12,13,14)
Historic Preservation Law (12,13,14)
International Human Rights Law (12,13,14)
Israeli Health Law and Bioethics (12,13,14)
Issues in Criminal Law Theory (12)
Judicial Philosophy in Theory and Practice (12,13,14)
Judicial Role in American History (12,14)
Jurisprudence (12,13,14)
Law and Ethics of Human Subject Research (13,14)
Law and Literature (13)
Law and the Humanities (13)
Law, Literature and the Family (13)
Law of War (12,13,14)
Laws of War: Contemporary Debates (13)
Lawyers and the Civil Rights Movement (13)
Legal History Colloquium (14)
Legal History: Transnational and Imperial Contexts to 1850 (13)
Legal Theory (13)
Legal Theory in Europe and the United States: A Comparative Analysis (13,14)
Literature, Law and the Environment (12,14)
Media and the Courts (12)
Medical Malpractice And Health Care Quality (12,13)
Mental Health Law (12,13)
Monetary Constitution (13,14)
Money and Rights (12)
Moral Dimensions of Policymaking in the United States (13,14)
Privacy and Surveillance (12)
Profiling (13,14)
Property Theory (12,13)
Poverty and the Constitution (12)
Psychiatry And Criminal Law (12,13)
Race and Law (12,13,14)
Regulating Public Space in Historical and Theoretical Perspective (12)
Religion, Democracy, and Law (12)
Rule of Law: Controlling Government (12)
Rescue, Charity, and Justice (13)
Rights (14)
Rhetoric (12,13,14)
Sexuality and the Law (13)

Work and Family in Law and Culture (14)