Berlin, Germany

Law, Society and Politics in Comparative Perspective

when 19 July 2021 - 12 August 2021
language English
duration 4 weeks
credits 5 EC
fee EUR 1100

This course explores theoretical and historical perspectives on the intersection of law, society and politics, and aims to foster discussion of contemporary issues among students from different cultures and disciplines. After an introduction to comparative law and legal culture, we read some classical social theorists (Durkheim, Weber and Marx), and consider their relevance to contemporary debates about morality, (dis)obedience, conflict, and property. Next, we investigate the role and operation of law in totalitarian settings such as Nazi and Communist Germany. Finally, we consider the difficulties that such legacies pose for democracy, the rule of law, and the economy in post-totalitarian societies. In this context, we examine the need for ‘transitional justice’, the relationship between law and the market, and the challenges posed by freedom of speech.

Course leader

Prof. Helen E. Hartnell, J.D.

Target group

This course is designed for all students with an interest in social sciences – in particular, history, sociology or political science – or in law. It is conceived as an undergraduate class, but the variety of students taking this course typically ranges from first-year students to post-graduate students. This experiential diversity provides unique opportunities for students to learn from one another.

Credits info

5 EC


- 40 % Class attendance and participation
- 25 % Written protocol
- 35 % Final exam

Fee info

EUR 1100: course fee
EUR 250: program fee

Early registration discount: -50€ (until May 22, 2021)


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