2020-2021 Undergraduate Bulletin

History and Law Minor

Description. Students in this minor will explore legal history, a vital and exciting field that historicizes the study of law while using legal sources to enrich our understanding of the past.  The minor acquaints students with key arguments and concepts in the field as well as major personalities, institutions, and debates in the legal histories of the United States, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.  It also introduces students to international topics such as slavery, genocide, human rights, and legal pluralism, and to international institutions like the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC) and International Criminal Court (ICC) in a historical context.

Learning Outcomes. Students will:

  • Identify and explain basic theories, concepts, principles, and norms in legal history from the premodern world up to the present.
  • Explain the contribution of the discipline of history to the study of law, and of the analysis of legal sources to the understanding of history.
  • Identify, contextualize, and evaluate the usefulness of different forms of primary source evidence relevant to legal history.
  • Effectively read scholarly texts by accurately identifying the thesis, source base, organizational structure, and conclusions of academic texts.
  • Construct a historical argument grounded in evidence from primary and secondary sources and be able to provide a coherent written defense of this thesis.

Credits. 18

Minor coordinator. Professor David Munns, Department of History (646.557.4496, dmunns@jjay.cuny.edu)

Requirements. Students complete two required courses and choose four elective courses.  A maximum of two courses can overlap with a student’s major, other minors or programs. Students who earn a BA in Global History cannot earn this minor. Students cannot earn both this minor and the Minor in History.

Part One. Required Courses


HIS 277American Legal History


HIS 344Topics in Legal History


Total Credit Hours: 6

Part Two. Electives

Choose four

HIS 224A History of Crime in New York City


HIS 323History of Lynching and Collective Violence


HIS 325Criminal Justice in European Society, 1750 to the Present


HIS 352History & Justice in Wider World


HIS 354Law and Society in Ancient Athens and Rome


HIS 359History of Islamic Law


HIS 368Law and Society in the Ancient Near East


HIS 374Premodern Punishment


HIS 375Female Felons in the Premodern World


Total Credit Hours: 12

Total Credit Hours: 18