Bernard J. Hibbitts; Assoc. Dean for 

Comm. & Info. Tech.; U. Pgh. School of Law
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Courses: English Legal History
This seminar introduces students to central topics in the history of English law from the Norman Conquest to the nineteenth century. This page contains a full course description and hyperlinks.

English common law has historically served as the foundation of American jurisprudence; the record of its development is a fascinating interplay of ideas, personalities and conflicts. This seminar will explore the history of English common law from its twelfth-century beginnings in the reigns of Henry II and Richard the Lion-Heart to its intellectual culmination in the writings of late nineteenth-century Oxford academics. The focus of the course will be strongly inter-disciplinary; course materials and topics will encourage students to think about English legal history in political, religious, social, economic, psychological and scientific--as well as strictly legal--terms. Some tentative topics are: The Problem of Proof: Ordeals, Oath-Helpers and the Jury in the Early Middle Ages; Mens Rea and the Medieval Discovery of the Self; The Origins of the Legal Profession; The Place of Women in Medieval English Law; Law and Religion in the Reformation; The English Law of Witchcraft; Law in Shakespeare's Plays; Print Culture and Intellectual Revolution in Seventeenth Century Legal Thought; Crime and Class in the Eighteenth Century; Lord Mansfield and the Law of Commerce; The Law of Nuisance in the Industrial Revoluation; Oxford Law School and the Making of the Textbook Tradition. Evaluation will be based on submission of a paper. Enrollment limited to 15 students.

The following links provide connections to Internet resources pertinent to this class.

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