May 26, 2024  
Course Catalog 2017-2018 
Course Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Law and Society

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Arts and Sciences, Degree Programs and Requirements

Harry Hirsch, Professor of Politics

The Curricular Committee on Law and Society administers a cross-disciplinary Law and Society major, fosters the general study of issues regarding law and society throughout the college, and encourages public presentations by visiting scholars, jurists, and lawyers. The recommended core introductory and intermediate law and society courses, core research seminars, and law-related courses explore philosophical, political, economic, historical, sociological, ethical, scientific, and religious issues that are central to understanding the role of law and legal institutions in society.

Core introductory courses and intermediate law and society courses and seminars are selected with the following objectives in mind: 1) center on law and legal institutions directly; 2) explore the historical, philosophical, and ethical underpinnings of the development of law, thought, and institutions; and/or 3) provide the analytic skills necessary to understand the logic and bases of legal thinking as a language in legal institutions, the broader society, and the profession of law. Core research seminars and private reading/research courses provide to students forums to undertake research papers which meet the above objectives. Law-related courses have sections within them that meet at least one of the three objectives that are listed above or provide students an opportunity to write a term paper in which the scholarly issues of the course may be applied to legal institutions, thought, and/or the logic of legal inquiry.

Information About Declaration of a Major/Minor and Current Committee Members

Students wishing to discuss the Law and Society major, obtain a list of current curricular committee members, or to gain approval for major or minor, should contact Professor Ronald Kahn, Chair, Law and Society Curricular Committee, Department of Politics, Rice 232. Law and Society Majors must complete the Law and Society Major Registration Form (a copy of which stays in Committee files) as well as the College’s Major Declaration Form which can be picked up at the Registrar’s Office in Carnegie. Prof. Kahn can be reached at: Phone: 440-775-8495.  Email:

Special Note: The On-Line Oberlin College Catalog lists courses that are to be taught during the academic year of that catalog.  Unlike the On-Line Catalog, we list courses for the Law and Society major that have been offered during the prior three years or may be offered beyond the two-year window of the On-Line Catalog.


The major consists of at least 9 full courses, of which no more than 1  full course may be taken at the introductory level. Requirements include: a minimum of five core introductory and intermediate courses; at least 3 additional core and/or law-related courses; and at least one core research seminar. No more than 5 of the first 9 courses in the major may be taken in one department. Core courses and seminar(s) must be chosen from at least three departments, and no more than 3 full courses may be taken away from campus.

It is recommended that majors take a second core seminar or a private reading/research course which centers on law and society. 

Courses in which a student has earned a letter grade lower than a C-/P cannot be used to fulfill the requirements of the major.


Students may pursue a minor in Law and Society by completing at least 5 full courses. At least 3 core courses (in at least two departments) and 2 additional law-related and/or core courses must be completed as part of the minor.  At least 3 full courses must be completed at Oberlin College.


Core Introductory Courses

Chemistry (CHEM)

      ● CHEM 045/145 Chemistry and Crime 

First Year Seminar (FYSP)

FYSP 119   The First Amendment and the Internet

Politics (POLT)

  • POLT 103 - Political Change in America

Sociology (SOCI)

  • SOCI 123 - Deviance, Discord and Dismay

Core Intermediate Courses

Africana Studies

Comparative American Studies

  • CAST 316 - Equal Rights to Human Rights: Feminist Perspective on Social Justice


  • ECON 217 - Anti-Trust Economics
  • ECON 224 -Law and Economics


  • HIST 217 - Women and Gender in Islamic Law and Arab Legal Codes
  • HIST 259 - Revolutionary America and the Early Republic
  • HIST 303 - Seminar: Posession  and Property in Medieval Europe


Jewish Studies


  • POLT 201 - Constitutional Interpretation
  • POLT 202 - American Constitutional Law
  • POLT 204/275 - Criminal Law
  • POLT 207 - Political Change in America
  • POLT 233 - American Political Thought
  • POLT 270 - Law and Supreme Court in American Political Development


  • RELG 245 - Modern Moral Issues in Religious Perspective
  • RELG 249 - Issues in Medical Ethics


  • SOCI 215 - Sociology of Immigration and Race: Asian American Experience
  • SOCI 256 - Social Orders an Disorders
  • SOCI 258 - Security, Secrecy, & Spectacle
  • SOCI 271 - Sociology of Law and Legal Institutions

Core Research Seminars

Economics (ECON)

   ♦ ECON 404 - Seminar in Economics Analysis of Law

History (HIST)

  • HIST 442 - Democracy and Human Rights in China

Jewish Studies (JWST)

      ♦ JWST 353 - Moses Maimonides:Philosophy and Law


  • PHIL 345 - Law, Liberty, Privacy and Property: Libertarianism and its Critics

Politics (POLT)

  • POLT 301 - The First Amendment
  • POLT 302 - Seminar: American Democracy: Law and Policy
  • POLT 303 - Seminar: Equal Protection and Implied Fundamental Rights
  • POLT 308 - Constitutional Interpretation an Individual Rights
  • POLT 309 - Justice
  • POLT 334 - Theories of Justice and Democracy in Contemporary America

Religion (RELG)

    RELG 340 - Seminar: Ethical Issues in Death and Dying

    RELG 353 - Moses Maimonides: Philosophy and Law

Sociology (SOCI)

  • SOCI 304 - Loose Cannons: Constructing the Classics in Law and Society
  • SOCI 356 - Censorship and Silencing
  • SOCI 365 - Law, Literature and Society
  • SOCI 406-  Gender and the State in Middle East and North Africa
  • SOCI 426 - Alcohol and Culture: Social Control Under the Influence
  • SOCI 442 - Seminar on Censorship and Silencing (replaced by SOCI 365)
  • SOCI 446 - Seminar: The City the Social and Environmental Policy
  • SOCI 472 - Sociology of Law Seminar 

Law-Related Courses

Economics (ECON)

  • ECON 317 - Industrial Organization 
  • ECON 331 -  Natural Resource Economics

History (HIST)

  • HIST 263 - American Civil War and Reconstruction
  • HIST 267 - Nineteenth Century American Women

Philosophy (PHIL)

  •  PHIL 204 - Ethics
  •  PHIL 225 - Environmental Ethics

Psychology (PSYC)

  • PSYC 240 - Environmental Psychology

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Arts and Sciences, Degree Programs and Requirements