Saint-Louis University - Bruxelles

DRAN1217 - Legal History


Credits : 6

Lecturer :
Mode of delivery :
Face-to-face , second term, 60 hours of theory.

Timetable :
Second term
Thursday from 08:30 to 10:30 at 43 Botanique 3
Friday from 15:45 to 17:45 at 43 Botanique 5

Language of instruction :

Learning outcomes :
The course aims to critically think about the laws that regulate our lives today as (inter)national citizens. It does so by looking into the complex historical processes of law-making. You will learn to analyse:

- The principal shifts in the legal orders of the 19th and 20th centuries;
- Fundamental concepts (such as codification, human rights, citizenship, equality, transitional justice, civil rights, suffrage) in their historical context;
- Interactions between socio-political and legal dynamics;
- The actors of legal change;
- The structure of international society;
- The construction of the laws of war;
- The developments and challenges of international justice.

Course material includes powerpoint slides and required texts and sources.

Prerequisites :

Co-requisites :

Course contents :
This course examines legal change in Belgium in an increasingly globalised world since the 19th century. It presents and confronts different genealogies and approaches to the law from a comparative perspective.
For each theme, it first presents founding legal texts in contemporary legal history. It then examines the social and political contexts of claims of rights. Finally, it addresses the causes and consequences of the transformation of legal institutions from a historical perspective.
The course puts particular emphasis on Europe, the United States and Africa during the 19th and the 20th centuries.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods :
This is a lecture course with compulsory readings and lectures by external speakers.
Student participation is also required through mandatory presentations and essays during the semester (see assessment methods).

Assessment methods and criteria :
The final grade is based on both mandatory regular assessments during the semester and a final evaluation. The criteria and details are given in the course description on Moodle.

Recommended or required reading :
The course includes several required texts, which are available on Moodle page and at the “reprographie”.

A supporting bibliography for the course is also available. The following background resources are available on Moodle or in the university library:
• Hobsbawm E., The Age of Revolution. 1789-1848. Vintage books. 1996 (1st ed. 1962).
• Halpérin, Jean-Louis. Histoire des droits en Europe de 1750 à nos jours, Flammarion, 2004.
• Stephenson D.G., “Race and Voting” and “Gender and Voting” in: The right to Vote. Rights and Liberties under the Law. ABC-Clio. 2004. p. 99-137.
• Bingham T., The Rule of law. Penguin Books. 2010.
• Burbank Jane and Cooper Frederick. “Empire, Nation, and Citizenship in a Revolutionary Age” in: Empires in world history: power and the politics of difference, Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 2010.
• Mazower M., “The Strange Triumph of Human Rights, 1933-1950”. The historical journal. 2004. p. 379-398.
• Kramer A., “The First Wave of International War Crimes Trials: Istanbul and Leipzig”. European Review. 2006. p. 441-455.
• Wittmann R., Beyond Justice. The Auschwitz Trial. Harvard University Press. 2005.
• Mazower, Mark. Governing the World. The History of an Idea. Penguin Books. 2012.
• Sands, Philippe. East West Street: On the Origins of “Genocide” and “Crimes against Humanity”. Vintage Books. 2016.
• Segesser, Daniel Marc and Gessler, Myriam. “Raphael Lemkin and the international debate on the punishment of war crimes (1919-1948)”, Journal of Genocide Research, 2005, p. 453-468.
• Morris V. and Scharf M., The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Transnational publishers. 1998.

Other information :