HIST 4716

HIST 4716

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2020-2021.

European empires used the law to justify colonialism and project sovereign authority over distant territories. But the legal regimes imposed by imperial centers on colonial peripheries were jurisdictionally complex, overlapping, and contested by colonial actors on the ground. This course explores the role of law in the context of colonialism and imperialism in the Americas, ca. 1490 to 1800. We will consider the transmission and transformation of legal thought and practice throughout the Atlantic world, with a specific focus on the role of law in shaping racial identities, gender norms, imperial competition, and the ultimate unraveling of empires in the Americas. The course will examine the different legal regimes, from Roman civil law to English common law, that shaped societies in the Americas. And we will pay particular attention to actors in colonial spaces—from self-liberated Africans to European smugglers—who manipulated the complexity of imperial legal regimes to suit their own needs, shaping the trajectory of American history from the bottom-up in the process.

When Offered Spring.

Breadth Requirement (HB)
Distribution Category (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Course Subfield (HPE, HGS)

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Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session.  Combined with: AMST 4716AMST 6716HIST 6716

  • 4 Credits Graded

  • 18924 HIST 4716   SEM 101

    • R Online Meeting
    • Feb 8 - May 14, 2021
    • Schmitt, C

  • Instruction Mode: Online