Seminar in Law & Social Change
This course will investigate the dynamic relationship between law and social change in three periods of American history: the late colonial period, the early nineteenth century, and the Progressive Era. Relying on case law, contemporary commentary, and scholarly critiques related to each of the three periods, we will investigate how the law, both common and statutory, can be seen to simultaneously reflect and contribute to social change. In particular, we will focus on the law/social change relationship pertaining to real property, family and domestic relations, and economic or commercial activities. In addition to active and thoughtful participation in class discussion students will be expected to prepare a seminar paper on a topic they select from the modern era (post-World War I to the present) that allows for a rich and fruitful investigation of this law/social change dynamic.