Humanities & Law
Term: Spring 2021 - Full Term (02/01/2021 - 05/11/2021)
Grade Mode: Letter Grading
Times & Locations
|Start Date||End Date||Days||Time||Location|
|2/1/2021||5/11/2021||MW||2:10pm - 3:30pm||MURK 104|
Humanities and the Law: Law and War
Description: This course focuses on the relationship between law and war. Can law regulate war? Should it? And why? – to reduce suffering? Achieve justice? Improve efficiency? To justify violence? Where do such ideas come from, and how have they changed over time? Should we call this “law”? When does it and doesn’t it apply? For centuries, people in a variety of places have wrestled with these questions—not only through legal treatises, but through literature, art, and philosophy as well, and in the practice of war and diplomacy. This course uses such works to explore the complex relationship between law and war. While our perspective is historical—emphasizing changing ideas and practices in Christian and Muslim societies since the Middle Ages—we will also consider philosophical and artistic perspectives. These questions are more relevant than ever today, as the US war on terrorism approaches its twentieth birthday and conflicts continue in Ukraine and Syria.
The course is structured around seven units. Each unit, while building on those that came before, will examine a different ethical or practical question in the relationship between law and war, by emphasizing a particular historical period or moment. Each unit will combine a study of primary sources, fiction, film, and modern scholarly writing. The units will focus on medieval Christianity and Muslim ideas; new concepts in Early Modern Europe; humanitarianism in modern Europe; Imperialism and colonialism; World War Two; the postwar world; and terrorism and counter-terrorism in the present day.
Grading is based on 2 papers, 2 tests, and class participation.
Writing Intensive; Historical Perspectives Discovery.