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Courses and Requirements

The goal of Hamilton's Jurisprudence, Law and Justice Studies Program is to provide students with the analytical and empirical foundation to understand how the theory, practice and meaning of law stimulates civic engagement.

Although their prominence in the curriculum has varied throughout the years, courses engaging jurisprudence, justice and the examination of law in social life have had a place at Hamilton since the 1830s. The minor concentration in Jurisprudence, Law and Justice Studies (JLJS) establishes a curricular home for such courses, in keeping with the College’s liberal arts mission and with the goal of advancing a number of pedagogic aims.

As Woodrow Wilson observed in 1894, “Every citizen should know what the law is, how it came into existence, what relation its form bears to its substance, and how it gives to society its fiber and strength and poise of frame."* Understanding the theory, practice and meaning of law stimulates civic engagement and provides students with the analytical and empirical foundation to engage subjects ranging from legal decision-making and dispute resolution; policing, criminal justice and incarceration; political speech and action; to the use and meaning of legal discourse in the making of social policy.

A minor in Jurisprudence, Law, and Justice Studies consists of five courses: no more than three can be counted from either of the two listings--in Analytic Perspectives and Theory, and Substantive Areas.

Analytic Perspectives and Theory:
LIT 143W Literature on Trials
COMM 103 Free Speech: Privacy & Advocacy
COMM 280 Conflict Resolution: Policies and Strategies
GOVT 365W Free Speech Theory
GOVT 356W, Political Theory of Personal Privacy
HIST/GOVT 229 The American Founding
LIT 129 Truth and Justice, The American Way
LIT 218 Literatures of Witness
LIT 342 Twentieth-Century American Prison Writing
LIT 341 Booked: Prison Writing (Previously LIT 442)

Substantive Areas:
BIO 223: Bioethics
COMM 314 Communication Law: Freedom of Speech
GOVT 418 International Law (Seminar)
GOVT 225 Courts and Judicial Process
GOVT 241 Survey of Constitutional Law
GOVT 273 S Law and Justice Laboratory (Seminar)
GOVT 274 S Law and Justice Laboratory (Internship & Observation)
GOVT 335W Seminar: Criminal Law
GOVT 359 American Policing
GOVT 376W: Government Failure?: The American Administrative State
HIST /GOVT 377W Violence, Law, and Society in the Middle Ages
PSYCH 324W Law and Human Behavior
PSYCH 367 Psychological Bias in the Justice System
RELST 239W Native Rituals and Religious Freedom
SOC 373 The Constitution and Social Policy
WMGST 225 Women, Law, Public Policy and Activism in the Contemporary United States

Previously Offered Courses
PHIL 460 Seminar in Ethics: Contemporary Theories of Justice
PHIL 125 Philosophy and Incarceration

Spring 2020 JLJS Offerings
GOVT 241
GOVT 365W
GOVT 418
LIT 341
RELST 239W
GOVT 273 & GOVT 274 (Law & Justice Lab)


* 1894 Address to the American Bar Association, noted in: Albert E. Harum (1960) "The Case for an Undergraduate Law Elective in Liberal Arts." Journal of Legal Education 12: 422.

(from the Hamilton Course Catalogue)

Contact Information


Jurisprudence, Law and Justice Studies Program

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
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