Course Information

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Faces of the Law

This jointly taught seminar will explore how law has been understood in intellectual tradition. On one hand, we will examine major ways that lawyers and jurists have explained or challenged law's authority: tradition, natural-law theory, positivism, and the radical critique of law. On the other hand, we will consider how observers of law from outside – those concerned mainly with understanding other areas of life, such as politics, culture, or philosophy – have understood law's place in the larger field of human activity. This is not a specialized course in political theory, but rather a course for intellectually engaged lawyers; nonetheless, students should expect to read challenging texts with a high level of care and attention to detail.

Please note that course organization and content may vary substantially from semester to semester and descriptions are not necessarily professor specific. Please contact the instructor directly if you have particular course-related questions.


Jedediah Purdy, David F. Levi
President Richard Brodhead
Faces of the Law 595.01
Fall 2011
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This course will explore the place of law in the history of culture and ideas, with special emphasis on the American experience.