The idea of this seminar is to look at a variety of different legal systems in order to 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 (saga period Iceland, Islamic law), or contemporary systems independent of government law (Romani, Amish, prison gangs).The main requirements for the course are class participation and a paper whose final version is due at the end of the semester. A draft is due several weeks before the end of the course; the final weeks will be devoted mostly to discussions of the paper drafts.
The main reading for
the course is the draft of a book that grew out of this
course. The book chapters are of two
sorts—system chapters, each of which describes a legal system,
and thread chapters, each of which discusses some issue that
runs through a number of different legal systems. On the
syllabus, thread chapters are bolded.
For each of the
system chapters I will provide a list of readings, either webbed
or on reserve, that provide additional relevant information.
Has been revised
Systems Very Different From Ours: The Book
paper topics from past years
from past years
notes from a previous year
from this year's classes.
from a previous year's classes (will be replaced by current
recordings as the course proceeds)
My office is Bergin 204. Office hours Tuesday
12:00-1:00, Wednesday 1:00-2:00 and other hours by arrangement.
Virtual office hours, via email, 24/7. I can be reached at: