Undergraduate Fields of Specialization: Politics, Law, and Government
Politics, Law, and Government
For millennia, humans have come together and established social order rooted in a collective need to survive. They have created governments and laws to structure their communities, and pursued various forms of politics to negotiate the terms of order. In this field of specialization, students can examine ideas underlying governments across a broad geography and chronology, efforts at social control and the implications of those efforts, and power relations linking people and governments. Courses in this field will allow students to consider such topics including the formation of nation-states and their connections across national borders; the legislation of equality and inequality and political struggles for justice and rights; pursuits of truth and reconciliation after historic atrocities; and the many means by which people use law and politics to shape their worlds.
Our department’s strength in Legal and Constitutional History also allows students to study the interaction of government, law, and politics in constitutional systems, the nature and purpose of constitutions and constitutionalism, and the relationship between constitutions and social forces and influences. Students also learn how law shapes--and is shaped by—societal conceptions of race, class, and gender, and by ideas about justice and the rule of law. Our courses show students how legal records can open unique windows onto the past that allow researchers to recover structures of power as well as subaltern voices, beliefs, and acts of resistance.