Dr. Susan Longfield Karr

This course explores the origins, sources, and nature of the so-called modern ‘western legal tradition’ from the fall of Rome to the formation of a new international legal order in the early 20th century. As such, this course will provide a broad overview of the development of the ‘western legal tradition’, including theories and practices of just governance through political institutions, legislative bodies, and courts of law as well as informal and formal arrangements between states and empires designed to mediate relations of war and peace.

Throughout this course, students will develop an understanding as to how and why fundamental aspects of western legal tradition initially emerged from the need to solve local problems of authority within Europe as well as how the tradition was spread—and transformed by—European expansion, conquest colonization, and war across the globe from the mid-sixteenth century onward.

The course will conclude with the transformation of the western legal tradition into an international and global regime that shape modern questions of law, justice, and authority.