Contacts | Program of Study | Program Requirements | Honors | Reading and Research Courses | Grading | Advising | Courses

Program of Study

The program in Law, Letters, and Society is concerned with law in civilian and customary legal systems, both historically and contemporaneously. The program is designed to develop the student's analytical skills to enable informed and critical examination of law broadly construed. The organizing premise of the program is that law is a tool of social organization and control, not simply an expression of will or aspiration, and that it is best understood by careful study of both rhetorical artifacts and empirical consequences of its application. Program requirements are constructed to support the organizing premise, and, because of the nature of the requirements, transfer students are not eligible to register as Law, Letters, and Society majors.

The program requires course work in three areas, although there is a reasonably broad latitude both expected and permitted in satisfaction of the distributional requirement. There is a substantial writing requirement for all majors; majors are expected to produce substantial written work (sometimes called "the BA Paper") under the close supervision of a faculty member whose area of scholarly concern is related to the broad objectives of the program.

Application to the Program

Students must apply in Spring Quarter of their first year to enter the program in their second year. Application forms may be obtained from the Office of the New Collegiate Division in HM 235. Applications are available in HM 235 on Friday of tenth week of Winter Quarter and must be submitted to HM 235 by noon on Friday of first week of Spring Quarter. No applications will be distributed or accepted during spring break. Students are evaluated on the basis of the application statement and previous performance in the College. Because of the nature of the requirements of the program, no more than twenty-five students can be admitted per year.

Program Requirements

Course work is required in three areas. After successfully completing the Introductory Course, students must take two courses in Letters and two courses in Society. In addition, students must complete six other courses that, while not necessarily offered or listed formally under either rubric, are substantively supportive of the topics, areas, skills, or concerns of the two areas. Courses satisfying the additional requirement are identified on a quarterly basis, and final approval of additional required course work is made by consultation between the student and the program chairman.

The Introductory Course

The Introductory Course must precede all other course work in the major, because it establishes the intellectual moorings of the program. The importance of the Introductory Course lies not in its content (indeed, its precise focus and scope may be different from time to time) but on its approach to the nature of law. Recently, for example, the Introductory Course has been LLSO 24200 Legal Reasoning, a study, based primarily on cases, of the classic conventions of legal argument in the Anglo-American legal system. In other years, the Introductory Course might be Roman Law or Greek Law, Medieval Law, or a text-based course on ancient legal philosophy, or a comparison of modern legal categories and policies with those of former societies and cultures. The objective is not so much to establish a historical foundation for modern studies as to demonstrate that legal systems are culturally rooted; that urgent, present concerns may obscure important characteristics of legal ideas and behavior; and that many recurrent themes in Western legal thought are shaped or driven by both common and uncommon features. Unlike many legal studies programs that attempt to orient study of the law primarily in contemporary debates, usually in the field of American constitutional law, the program seeks to organize its exploration of law as a system rather than as a forum or an instrument.

Other Course Work

After completing the Introductory Course, students must take two courses each in the Letters and Society divisions of the program, plus six other courses complementary to the required work, as outlined previously (the other six courses may be ones cross listed in the program or may be from other disciplines). Letters and Society are not meant as fixed or self-defining fields, but instead as organizational categories emphasizing two fundamental modes of examining law in a systemic fashion. Courses under the rubric of Letters (whether based in the program or in English, philosophy, or political theory) tend to be based on the study of literary and historical artifacts, such as cases, tracts, conventional literature, or other texts, and emphasize the ways in which law formally constitutes itself. Questions of interpretative and normative theory, rhetorical strategy, and the like are central to such courses. Society serves to organize studies from a variety of different disciplines (including history, political science, economics, and sociology) that try to measure, with different techniques and at different times, the effect of law on society. The combined objective is to treat law as an intellectual activity and as a phenomenon, and to emphasize that both occur in contexts that help to shape them, whether ancient or modern.


In addition to satisfying the course requirements, each student in the program must produce evidence of sustained research in the form of a substantial research paper during either the junior or senior year and obtain approval of a member of the faculty, although not necessarily a member of the program faculty. Papers may be written in conjunction with Law, Letters, and Society courses, under the auspices of reading and research courses, or in a Research Seminar. (The paper is an independent requirement, however, and need not be accomplished in conjunction with enrollment in a specific course.) The scope, method, and objective of the paper, as well as its length, are subject to negotiation between the student and the instructor.

Summary of Requirements

LLSO 24200Legal Reasoning (Introductory Course)100
Two Letters courses200
Two Society courses200
Six Complementary courses600
Total Units1100


Students who wish to be considered for honors must notify the program chairman and their faculty supervisor in writing no later than two quarters before the quarter in which they expect to receive their degree. Eligible students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.50 both overall and in the major, and they must write a distinguished research paper. The paper must be submitted by noon on Friday of fifth week in the quarter of proposed graduation (other papers must be submitted by noon on Friday of seventh week), and the student's faculty supervisor and a second reader must agree that honors are merited. It should be noted that honors are awarded sparingly.

Reading and Research Courses

For students with a legitimate interest in pursuing study that cannot be met by means of regular courses, there is an option of devising a reading and research course to be supervised by a member of the faculty and taken for a quality grade. Such courses may not be used to satisfy the requirements of either the two-course Letters or two-course Society requirements, but may be used to satisfy part of the other six required courses, with the written permission of the program chairman obtained in advance of initiation of the work. Only two research courses may be used within the major. LLSO 29400 Research Seminar may also be used as one of the six Complementary Courses.


Two of the six complementary courses required in the program may, with consent of instructor, be taken for P/F grading. Students who enroll in LLSO 29400 Research Seminar, offered annually, are graded on a P/F basis, and the seminar counts as one of the two P/F-graded complementary courses.


Students who wish to major in Law, Letters, and Society must register for LLSO 24200 Legal Reasoning in Autumn Quarter of their second year. This requirement is not negotiable. Students should note that, as an interdisciplinary major, the program has a strictly limited enrollment and that registration for the Introductory Course is determined during the preceding Spring Quarter. Upon deciding to major in Law, Letters, and Society, students should arrange to consult with the program chairman on their course of study in the program. Students should continue to consult with their College advisers on general education degree requirements.


I. The Introductory Course

LLSO 24200. Legal Reasoning. 100 Units.

This course introduces legal reasoning in a customary legal system. The first part examines the analytical conventions that lawyers and judges purport to use. The second part examines fundamental tenets of constitutional interpretation. Both judicial decisions and commentary are used, although the case method is emphasized.

Instructor(s): D. Hutchinson     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Open only to second-year students who are beginning the LLSO major.

II. Letters

LLSO 20601. American Revolution, 1763 to 1789. 100 Units.

This lecture and discussion course explores the background of the American Revolution and the problem of organizing a new nation. The first half of the course uses the theory of revolutionary stages to organize a framework for the events of the 1760s and 1770s, and the second half of the course examines the period of constitution-making (1776–1789) for evidence on the ways in which the Revolution was truly revolutionary.

Instructor(s): E. Cook     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 25300,HIST 35300

LLSO 20802. Machiavelli's Literary Works. 100 Units.

A reading of Machiavelli’s plays, stories, and poems both as literary works and for what light they shed on his political thought. Familiarity with The Prince is presumed. (A)

Instructor(s): N. Tarcov     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor required.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 32101,FNDL 20801,PLSC 20801

LLSO 21710. Machiavelli: The Prince and Discourses. 100 Units.

This course is a reading and discussion of The Prince and the Discourses on Livy, supplemented by portions of Livy's History of Rome. Themes include the roles of princes, peoples, and elites; the merits of republics and principalities; the political roles of pagan and Christian religion and morality; war and empire; founding and reform; virtue, corruption, and fortune; the relevance of ancient history to modern experience; reading and writing; and theory and practice.(A)

Instructor(s): N. Tarcov     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 29300,PLSC 32100,SCTH 31710,PLSC 20800

LLSO 22612. Introduction to Political Philosophy. 100 Units.

In this class we will investigate what it is for a society to be just. In what sense are the members of a just society equal? What freedoms does a just society protect? Must a just society be a democracy? What economic arrangements are compatible with justice? In the second portion of the class we will consider one pressing injustice in our society in light of our previous philosophical conclusions. Possible candidates include, but are not limited to, racial inequality, economic inequality, and gender hierarchy. Here our goal will be to combine our philosophical theories with empirical evidence in order to identify, diagnose, and effectively respond to actual injustice. (A)

Instructor(s): B. Laurence     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 21600,GNSE 21601,PLSC 22600

LLSO 23501. History of Information. 100 Units.

"Information" in all its forms is perhaps the defining phenomenon of our age. But although we tend to think of it as something distinctively modern, in fact it came into being through a long history of thought, practice, and technology. This course will therefore suggest how to think historically about information. Using examples that range from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century, we shall explore how different societies have conceptualized the subject, and how they have sought to control it. We shall address how information has been collected, classified, circulated, contested, and destroyed. The aim is to provide a different kind of understanding of information practices—one that can be put to use in other historical inquiries, as well as casting an unfamiliar light on our own everyday lives.

Instructor(s): A. Johns     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CHSS 35415,HIST 35415,HIPS 25415,HIST 25415

LLSO 23915. Plato's Republic. 100 Units.

This course is devoted to reading and discussion of Plato’s Republic and some secondary work with attention to justice in the city and the soul, war and warriors, psychology, education, theology, poetry, gender, eros, and cities in speech and actually existing cities. (A)

Instructor(s): N. Tarcov     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor required.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 23915,PLSC 33915,CLAS 34216,CLCV 24216,PLSC 23915

LLSO 24300. American Law and the Rhetoric of Race. 100 Units.

This course examines the ways American law has treated legal issues involving race. Two episodes are studied in detail: the criminal law of slavery during the antebellum period and the constitutional attack on state‐imposed segregation in the twentieth century. The case method is used, although close attention is paid to litigation strategy and judicial opinion.

Instructor(s): D. Hutchinson     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LAWS 59800,LAWS 49801

LLSO 24711. Lincoln: Slavery, War, and the Constitution. 100 Units.

This course is a study of Abraham Lincoln’s view of the Constitution, based on close readings of his writings, plus comparisons to judicial responses to Lincoln’s policies.

Instructor(s): D. Hutchinson     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 24711,HIST 27102

LLSO 25606. Lucretius and Marx. 100 Units.

Lucretius was a follower of Epicurus, whom Marx called "the greatest representative of Greek enlightenment." In his poem On the Nature of Things, Lucretius seeks to convert his fellow Romans to an Epicurean way of life. He explains in detail what the world is made of (atoms) and that there is no reason to fear the gods or death. Marx wrote his doctoral dissertation on Epicurus and Lucretius. He was especially enthusiastic about the idea, which was developed by Lucretius, that humans are free to shape their own lives.

Instructor(s): E. Asmis     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor is required.
Equivalent Course(s): CLCV 25606,CLAS 35606,FNDL 24211

LLSO 27202. Dante's Divine Comedy 2: Purgatorio and Vita Nova. 100 Units.

This course is an intense study of the middle cantica of the Divine Comedy and its relationship with Dante’s early masterpiece, the Vita Nuova. The very middleness of the Purgatorio provides Dante the opportunity to explore a variety of problems dealing with our life here, now, on earth: contemporary politics, the relationship between body and soul, poetry and the literary canon, art and imagination, the nature of dreams, and, of course, love and desire. The Purgatorio is also Dante’s most original contribution to the imagination of the underworld, equally influenced by new conceptualizations of “merchant time” and by contemporary travel writing and fantastic voyages.

Instructor(s): J. Steinberg     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ITAL 32200,FNDL 27202,ITAL 22000

LLSO 27725. Machiavelli's Florentine Histories. 100 Units.

This course is devoted to a close reading of what is perhaps Niccolò Machiavelli's most difficult work, the Florentine Histories. We will explore the extent to which the lessons of Machiavelli's history of his native city conform with those that he earlier set forth in more famous works like The Prince and the Discourses. We will also examine the interpretive debates over the Histories that pervade the scholarly literature. Themes pertaining to the Florentine Republic to be considered include: liberty, patriotism, civic foundings, social conflict, partisan strife, religion and politics, tyranny, revolution, and corruption. (A)

Instructor(s): J. McCormick     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Advanced consent of instructor required.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 37725,FNDL 27725,PLSC 27725

LLSO 28233. Machiavelli's Political Thought. 100 Units.

This course is devoted to the political writings of Niccolò Machiavelli. Readings include The Prince, Discourses on Livy's history of Rome, selections from the Florentine Histories, and Machiavelli's proposal for reforming Florence's republic, "Discourses on Florentine Affairs." Topics include the relationship between the person and the polity; the compatibility of moral and political virtue; the utility of class conflict; the advantages of mixed institutions; the principles of self-government, deliberation, and participation; the meaning of liberty; and the question of military conquest. (A)

Instructor(s): J. McCormick     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior consent of instructor.

LLSO 28702. Ludwig Wittgenstein's "Philosophical Investigations" 100 Units.

Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations is one of the most important works of philosophy written in the twentieth century. Its influence has reached far and wide beyond the limits of philosophy. Yet its meaning remains deeply controversial. This is in part because Wittgenstein broke radically with some of the most common assumptions human beings, especially educated human beings, like to make about themselves, their minds, and the world. It is also because Wittgenstein's philosophical method made it a point of principle to propose no theories of any kind. The purpose of this course is to make the Philosophical Investigations intellectually accessible to students with no professional training or interest in philosophy. The format will consist of a mixture of lecture and commentary, with some room for discussion of selected passages and points of special interest.

Instructor(s): C. Fasolt     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 28702,FNDL 24301

III. Society

LLSO 22209. Introduction to Black Chicago, 1893 to 2010. 100 Units.

This course surveys the history of African Americans in Chicago, from before the twentieth century to the present. In referring to that history, we treat a variety of themes, including migration and its impact, origins and effects of class stratification, relation of culture and cultural endeavor to collective consciousness, rise of institutionalized religions, facts and fictions of political empowerment, and the correspondence of Black lives and living to indices of city wellness (service, schools, safety, general civic feeling). This is a history class that situates itself within a robust interdisciplinary conversation. Students can expect to engage works of autobiography and poetry, sociology, documentary photography, and political science as well as more straightforward historical analysis. By the end of the class, students should have grounding in Black Chicago's history, as well as an appreciation of how this history outlines and anticipates Black life and racial politics in the modern United States.

Instructor(s): A. Green
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 27705,HIST 27705

LLSO 23100. Environmental Law. 100 Units.

This lecture/discussion course examines the development of laws and legal institutions that address environmental problems and advance environmental policies. Topics include the common law background to traditional environmental regulation, the explosive growth and impact of federal environmental laws in the second half of the twentieth century, regulations and the urban environment, and the evolution of local and national legal structures in response to environmental challenges.

Instructor(s): R. Lodato     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing, or consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 23100,PBPL 23100

LLSO 24011. The Political Nature of the American Judicial System. 100 Units.

This course aims to introduce students to the political nature of the American legal system. In examining foundational parts of the political science literature on courts conceived of as political institutions, the course will focus on the relationship between the courts and other political institutions. The sorts of questions to be asked include: Are there interests that courts are particularly prone to support? What effect does congressional or executive action have on court decisions? What impact do court decisions have? While the answers will not always be clear, students should complete the course with an awareness of and sensitivity to the political nature of the American legal system. (B)

Instructor(s): G. Rosenberg     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 22515,PLSC 42515

LLSO 24901. U.S. Environmental Policy. 100 Units.

Making environmental policy is a diverse and complex process. Environmental advocacy engages different governmental agencies, congressional committees, and courts, depending on the issue. This course examines how such differentiation has affected policy making over the last several decades.

Instructor(s): R. Lodato     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 24701,ENST 24701

LLSO 25100. Human Rights I: Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. 100 Units.

Human rights are claims of justice that hold merely in virtue of our shared humanity. In this course we will explore philosophical theories of this elementary and crucial form of justice. Among topics to be considered are the role that dignity and humanity play in grounding such rights, their relation to political and economic institutions, and the distinction between duties of justice and claims of charity or humanitarian aid. Finally we will consider the application of such theories to concrete, problematic and pressing problems, such as global poverty, torture and genocide. (A) (I)

Instructor(s): B. Laurence     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 30100,PHIL 21700,PHIL 31600,HIST 29301,HIST 39301,INRE 31600,LAWS 41200,MAPH 40000,HMRT 20100

LLSO 25902. Contemporary African American Politics. 100 Units.

This course explores the issues, actions, and arguments that comprise black politics today. Our specific task is to explore the question of how do African Americans currently engage in politics and political struggles in the United States. This analysis is rooted in a discussion of contemporary issues, ranging from the election and reelection of Barack Obama, to the killing of black people such as Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Renisha McBride, to the exponential incarceration of black Americans, to the role of hip-hop among black youth. Throughout the quarter we attempt to situate the politics of African Americans into the larger design we call American politics. Is there still such a thing as black politics? If there is, what does it tell us more generally about American politics? (B)

Instructor(s): C. Cohen     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 22150,CRES 22150

LLSO 25904. America in the Twentieth Century. 100 Units.

This lecture course provides an introductory survey of major developments in American history in the twentieth century. It is structured around a political history narrative, but we will examine events from a wide range of perspectives: legal, intellectual, social, economic, diplomatic, military, religious. The course is neither encyclopedic nor focused on mastering facts (although this is not discouraged). It is rather concerned with "big" questions about American history since circa 1900, including the role and scope of government and the rights and obligations of citizens. Course readings consist of novels and nonfiction writings from the period.

Instructor(s): J. Dailey     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 17805,AMER 17805

LLSO 26201. Economics and Environmental Policy. 100 Units.

This course combines basic microeconomic theory and tools with contemporary environmental and resources issues and controversies to examine and analyze public policy decisions. Theoretical points include externalities, public goods, common-property resources, valuing resources, benefit/cost analysis, and risk assessment. Topics include pollution, global climate change, energy use and conservation, recycling and waste management, endangered species and biodiversity, nonrenewable resources, congestion, economic growth and the environment, and equity impacts of public policies.

Instructor(s): S. Shaikh     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): ECON 19800 or higher, or PBPL 20000
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 21800,PBPL 21800

LLSO 26202. Economics of Urban Policies. 100 Units.

This course covers tools needed to analyze urban economics and address urban policy problems. Topics include a basic model of residential location and rents; income, amenities, and neighborhoods; homelessness and urban poverty; decisions on housing purchase versus rental (e.g., housing taxation, housing finance, landlord monitoring); models of commuting mode choice and congestion and transportation pricing and policy; urban growth; and Third World cities.

Instructor(s): G. Tolley, K. Ierulli     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): ECON 20100
Equivalent Course(s): ECON 26600,GEOG 26600,GEOG 36600,PBPL 24500

LLSO 26500. History of Mexico, 1876 to Present. 100 Units.

From the Porfiriato and the Revolution to the present, a survey of Mexican society and politics, with emphasis on the connections between economic developments, social justice, and political organization. Topics include fin de siècle modernization and the agrarian problem; causes and consequences of the Revolution of 1910; the making of the modern Mexican state; relations with the United States; industrialism and land reform; urbanization and migration; ethnicity, culture, and nationalism; economic crises, neoliberalism and social inequality; political reforms and electoral democracy; the zapatista rebellion in Chiapas; and the end of PRI rule.

Instructor(s): E. Kourí      Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 26500,HIST 36500,LACS 26500,LACS 36500,CRES 36500,HIST 26500

LLSO 26802. Public Opinion. 100 Units.

What is the relationship between the mass citizenry and government in the U.S.? Does the public meet the conditions for a functioning democratic polity? This course considers the origins of mass opinion about politics and public policy, including the role of core values and beliefs, information, expectations about political actors, the mass media, economic self-interest, and racial attitudes. This course also examines problems of political representation, from the level of political elites communicating with constituents, and from the possibility of aggregate representation. (B)

Instructor(s): J. Brehm     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 22400

LLSO 26804. Insurgency, Terrorism, and Civil War. 100 Units.

This course provides an introduction to asymmetric and irregular warfare. From Colombia to Afghanistan, non-state armed organizations are crucially important actors. We will study how they organize themselves, extract resources, deploy violence, attract recruits, and both fight and negotiate with states. We will also examine government counterinsurgency and counterterrorism policies, peace-building after conflict, and international involvement in internal wars. Case materials will be drawn from a variety of conflicts and cover a number of distinct topics. This course has a heavy reading load, and both attendance and substantial participation in weekly discussion sections are required. (D)

Instructor(s): P. Staniland     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 26800

LLSO 27101. Democracy and the Information Technology Revolution. 100 Units.

The revolution in information technologies has serious implications for democratic societies. We concentrate, though not exclusively, on the United States. We look at which populations have the most access to technology-based information sources (the digital divide), and how individual and group identities are being forged online. We ask how is the responsiveness of government being affected, and how representative is the online community. Severe conflict over the tension between national security and individual privacy rights in the U.S., United Kingdom and Ireland will be explored as well. We analyze both modern works (such as those by Turkle and Gilder) and the work of modern democratic theorists (such as Habermas). (B)

Instructor(s): M. Dawson     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 23100

LLSO 27200. Human Rights III: Contemporary Issues in Human Rights. 100 Units.

This interdisciplinary course presents a practitioner’s overview of several major contemporary human rights problems as a means to explore the utility of human rights norms and mechanisms, as well as the advocacy roles of civil society organizations, legal and medical professionals, traditional and new media, and social movements. Topics may include the prohibition against torture, women's rights as human rights, problems of universalism versus cultural relativism, and the human right to health.

Instructor(s): S. Gzesh     Terms Offered: Autumn 2015
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 20300,HMRT 30300,HIST 29303,HIST 39303,INRE 31800,LAWS 78201

LLSO 27307. Drugs, Guns, and Money: The Politics of Criminal Conflict. 100 Units.

This course examines armed conflict between states and criminal groups, with a focus on Latin America’s militarized drug wars. Why do states decide to crack down on cartels, and why do cartels decide to fight back? Are drug wars “insurgencies”? If so, can they be won? Why does drug violence vary over time, over space, and between market sector? We will study these issues from historical, economic, criminological, and cultural perspectives. Throughout, we focus on the interplay of domestic and international politics in formulating and enforcing drug policy. (C)

Instructor(s): B. Lessing     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 29500

LLSO 27704. Political Leadership: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. 100 Units.

This course will examine both classical and contemporary analyses of leadership, with a particular focus on the relationship between executive authority and democratic politics. We will read traditional authors such as Cicero, Livy, Plutarch, and Machiavelli, as well as contemporary analyses of modern political leadership, especially of the American presidency. (A)

Instructor(s): W. Howell, J. Patty     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Limited enrollment.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 37702,PLSC 27702

LLSO 27801. Media Ecology: Embodiment and Software. 100 Units.

Media ecology examines how the structure and content of our media environments—online and offline, in words, images, sounds, and textures—affect human perception, understanding, feeling, and value; or alternatively, media ecology investigates the massive and dynamic interrelation of processes and objects, beings and things, patterns and matter. At stake are issues about agency—human or material—and about determinism—how does society or culture interact with or shape its technologies, or vice versa? This course investigates theories of media ecology by exploring systems of meanings that humans embody (cultural, social, ecological) in conjunction with the emerging field of software studies about the cultural, political, social, and aesthetic impacts of software (e.g., code, interaction, interface). In our actual and virtual environments, how do we understand performing our multiple human embodiments in relation to other bodies (organism or machine) in pursuit of social or political goals?

Instructor(s): M. Browning     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HUMA 25202,CMST 25204,HIPS 25203,TAPS 28452

LLSO 28000. United States Labor History. 100 Units.

This course will explore the history of labor and laboring people in the United States. The significance of work will be considered from the vantage points of political economy, culture, and law. Key topics will include working-class life, industrialization and corporate capitalism, slavery and emancipation, the role of the state and trade unions, race and sex difference in the workplace.

Instructor(s): A. Stanley     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 18600,HMRT 28600

LLSO 28010. United States Legal History. 100 Units.

This course focuses on the connections between law and society in modern America. It explores how legal doctrines and constitutional rules have defined individual rights and social relations in both the public and private spheres. It also examines political struggles that have transformed American law. Topics to be addressed include the meaning of rights; the regulation of property, work, race, and sexual relations; civil disobedience; and legal theory as cultural history. Readings include legal cases, judicial rulings, short stories, and legal and historical scholarship.

Instructor(s): A. Stanley     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): AMER 27605,CRES 27605,GNSE 27605,HMRT 27061,HIST 37605,CRES 37605,GNSE 37605,HMRT 37605,HIST 27605

LLSO 28100. Law and Society. 100 Units.

This seminar examines the myriad relationships between courts, laws, and lawyers in the United States. Issues covered range from legal consciousness to the role of rights to access to courts to implementation of decisions to professionalism.  (B)

Instructor(s): G. Rosenberg     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PLSC 28800 or equivalent and consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 22510

LLSO 28406. Nineteenth-Century Segment of the United States History Survey. 100 Units.

The nineteenth-century survey will examine the experiences and the conflicts that made up the history of modern American society, as it unfolded over the course of the 1800s. This is where modern America begins. Before there was a Great Recession or an Occupy Wall Street, there was the nineteenth-century roller coaster of prosperity and panic; the robber barons and newfound workers' unions of the Gilded Age; the passionate public debates over the central bank, monetary policy, and the national currency. Before the Tea Party, the Founders themselves debated the best ways to make their revolution realized, enduring, and meaningful in daily interactions as well as institutions. To understand the implications of Iraq War and its aftermath, we must return to the origins of American imperialism in the 1800s. To appreciate the significance and symbolism of the first African American president, we have to revisit the nation's long history of slavery, racism, and segregation. The immigration policy issues covered ad nauseam on the cable news channels have their roots in the ebbs and flows of global migrations that began over a century and a half ago. The American feminist movement for equal rights and opportunities began in the nineteenth century; yet in 2008, US women still earned only 77 cents on the male dollar, and in 2011, more than 40 percent of households headed by women lived in poverty. Returning to the contentious (and ongoing) history of Anglo-Indian relations is an essential component of contextualizing today’s sobering statistics, when some reservations face unemployment rates of up to 80 percent, and one quarter of all Native Americans live in poverty. Course equirements include careful reading, active and thoughtful participation, and written assignments.

Instructor(s): A. Lippert     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 28406,HIST 38406,AMER 28406,AMER 38406,CRES 28406,CRES 38406,GNSE 28406,GNSE 38406

LLSO 28613. Politics and Human Nature. 100 Units.

This course explores commonalities among psychoanalytic theory, Buddhism, and studies of emotions and brain physiology, particularly as they relate to questions of the self and political life. In addition to exploring each of these theories, we investigate particular questions (e.g., inevitability of conflict, dynamics of obedience and authority, emotional power of ideology, and non-Western understandings of human consciousness). (A)

Instructor(s): E. Oliver     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 28615

LLSO 28710. Democracy and the Politics of Wealth Redistribution. 100 Units.

How do political institutions affect the redistribution of wealth among members of a society? In most democracies, the distribution of wealth among citizens is unequal but the right to vote is universal. Why then have so many newly democratic states transitioned under conditions of high inequality yet failed to redistribute? This course explores this puzzle by analyzing the mechanisms through which individual and group preferences can be translated into pro-poor policies, and the role elites play in influencing a government's capacity or incentives to redistribute wealth. Topics include economic inequality and the demand for redistribution, the difference in redistribution between democracy and dictatorship, the role of globalization in policymaking, and the effects of redistribution on political stability and change. (C)

Instructor(s): M. Albertus     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 28710

LLSO 28902. Chicago Social Movements, 1954 to 2014. 100 Units.

This course will introduce students to key social movements in Chicago from the post–WW II years to the present. In part the class offers an introduction to dissent, oppositional organizing, and alternative approaches to social welfare, community building, and rights in a major modern American city. In part this class engages important ideas related to current study of social movement, including state/society tensions, intersectionality theory, and the impact of urban prosperity and austerity. While these are challenging and even complex concepts, they will be presented in basic and historically grounded form, enabling students beginning their study of history to usefully engage them. Occasional guest lecturers and off-campus trips may be organized and made available as cocurricular opportunities.

Instructor(s): A. Green     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 18902,CRES 18902,GNSE 18902

IV. Research and Reading

LLSO 29400. Research Seminar. 100 Units.

A seminar for students preparing B. A. Papers in LLSO.

Instructor(s): D. Hutchinson     Terms Offered: Autumn


Undergraduate Primary Contact

Program Chairman
Dennis J. Hutchinson


Administrative Contact

Administrative Assistant
Susan Rueth
HM 235