Monday, August 29, 2011

Comparative Law Sylabus

Comparative Law. Political Science 3290, Professor David Baggins
California State University, East Bay

This document is the portal for this class. There is no other assigned text. You will need access to a well functioning computer with quality internet access to take this course.
There are many items listed below. Each is a core term or idea needed to relate the body of thought that creates an overview of the range and evolution of comparative law.
For most terms I have attached a link to take you to an open access source. If you find a better source, send it to me and I will evaluate it for further inclusion.
Comparative law is the study of how civilizations form themselves around law. Law, like family, religion, economics, government and art, is considered to be one of the core blocks essential to every civilization. We will look at some of the range of legal civilizations. That range can be bunched into families that present the story of the growth of influence of dominant civilizations. Finally, in the last two centuries there has developed a convergence called “Rule of Law” and “Legal Globalization”. We will consider that convergence and its consequences.

I.                   Indigenous Peoples: common civilization of.
There are commonalities in the rules of indigenous peoples. Land is not owned or transferred. The gods are celebrated through mandatory ritual. Punishment of human sin is essential to keep nature in balance. Human rules are intertwined with proper respect for divinity.
Emile Durkheim  and the origin of the study of legal sociology,

II.                  Jewish Law. Jews established an early and increasingly vast legal system. Over time increasingly many things were either made mandatory or prohibited.  By the 16th century all of the day’s actions were proscribed by law. This system was largely abandoned by most Jews in the 18th-20th centuries. Individual Jews wrote intellectually significant assessment of the theory of law.
Sigmund Freud Civilization and its Discontents,
Karl Marx on Law and oppression,
Emile Durkheim, author of the first sociological treatise on law.

III.                The Ancient World, Philosophy to Republic to Empire. The ancient world embarks on a philosophical inquiry into the nature of good law. Rome used law to set up the effective governance of a vast empire. This is law with little concern for justice. Fathers and husbands had total power over wives, children and slaves. Class division was enforced through law. Slavery was a legal status. Ultimately Christianity arises in rejection to the cruel class based law of Rome.  

Aristotle, Plato and Law, these two ancient luminaries defined original legal liberalism and conservatism.
12 tablets
Family Law
Code Justinian
The fall of Alexandria,

IV.             Rule of the Vatican. The Catholic Church replaces Rome as the central rule making forum for much of the world. It brings a vast body of divine law into sometimes brutal enforcement. Law was used to create divinely sanctioned order. King’s were understood to enjoy divine rights.
Malificius Malificorum (The Witches Hammer)

V.                Common law. Common Law is the basic legal civilization of England. It has spread over much of the world. It is law developed over time through precedent and trial. It gives rise to a legal order that is good for the rule of property owners.
The case of Seven Bishops,

VI.             Protestant Reformation; the rule of the church is questioned and often replaced. Law begins to favor the gentry.

Martin Luther and the denunciation Catholic Rule,
Church of England and the Divorce of Henry VIII
American fundamentalism as a source of conservative criminal law

VII.           America and the rise of Globalization. America’s success as the “first new nation” joins with the similar modernity of the French Revolution to begin a tidal wave of change that is still the greatest force in work affairs.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Legal Liberalism. This is the continuing search for greater rights. It is the ongoing story of America and many other civilizations. This is a transition of ideas from Jefferson to Lincoln, to FDR, to Warren, to Obama.

VIII.         Civil Law.   This is the historic modern competing form of legal organization to common law. It is statute based rather than precedent and court based. It is much less oriented around the trial as fair forum of conflict. It carries ideals of French modernity to the nations of the world.
Legal Orders by Nation,

IX. Spread of Democracy. French, British and especially American ideals of democracy spread to become the dominant global paradigm.
U.N. Declaration of Rights,
Japanese Constitution, the successful transplant of Rule of Law into a previously feudal nation,  http://en

X. Comparative reaction to modernity. The American and French ideals of modernity become the central force of state and commerce. Nearly every nation is forced to embrace or reject the rule of law as a development norm.


America’s position in the world

XI. Comparative Contemporary Social Law, the range of modern law.

China, the greatest exception to modernity consensus:
One child policy
Deterrence model of crime Li and Fa and Modern China as successful police state,

Middle East, the Other Exception: a region in motion from fundamentalism and tyranny to globalization, maybe.
Iranian Revolution

XI. Failed States and the Breakdown of Rule of Law.

America undermines the Rule of Law:
Iran Contra

XII. Evaluating Global Law and its Exceptions.
Is the world moving in a legal direction? What is that direction? What is the range of behavior that is not outside global norms? What behavior is outside global norms?

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