Halliday, Paul D.

Introductory Seminar in History

Law's Empire:Crime Brit Empire
HIEU
1501
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

What is a crime? Who gets to define and punish crimes? How have answers to these questions fluctuated across time and across the globe as English law went to new places—to North America, South Asia, Australia, and beyond? How did criminal law define relations between Britons and indigenous peoples around the world?

We will think about these questions by focusing largely on the period 1600 to 1850 or so. Doing so will help us think about problems we face today: mass incarceration, capital punishment, the origins and function of prisons, connections between the crime and slavery, changing procedures in criminal law, and challenges in ensuring criminal prosecutions produce just results. We will begin by looking closely at crime and law in England, especially in London, then look outward.

We will read the works of selected historians. But we will concentrate our efforts on sources that shed light on past ideas and practices: case reports, newspapers, court records, maps and building plans, legal treatises, and paintings and engravings. As a seminar, students are expected to be active participants by producing short writing in response to our readings and by engaging in lively discussion of the assigned materials during our meetings. Students may be asked to produce and present small research projects.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
15
Course Type: 

English Legal History to 1776

HIEU
3471
Undergraduate
Spring
2018

This course surveys English law from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. In class, we will consider how social and political forces transformed law. Because this is a history course, law will be understood more as a variety of social experience and as a manifestation of cultural change than as an autonomous zone of thought and practice. We will look at competition among jurisdictions and the development of the legal profession. We will examine the development of some of the modern categories of legal practice: property, trespass and contracts, and crime. We will conclude by considering what happened to English law as it moved beyond England’s shores. Assignments include two essays (approximately 2000 words each), a midterm, and a final exam.

Students will read an array of court cases, treatises, and other sources from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries. These readings are dense and difficult but also fascinating. Most students will only grasp their meaning by paying very close attention to language, reading with a dictionary, and re-reading.

Assigned books may include:

J.H. Baker, An Introduction to English Legal History (4th ed.)


Mary Bilder, The Transatlantic Constitution: Colonial Legal Culture and the Empire

Amy Louise Erickson, Women and Property in Early Modern England


John Langbein, Torture and the Law of Proof: Europe and England in the Ancien Regime

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
30
Course Type: 
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Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904

  

Contact:
(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
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