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Connected Courses

Art of Revolution (English 378)

This course will focus on the art of politics and the politics of the literary imagination in Revolutionary America as a means of rethinking traditional accounts of both the literature and politics of the American Revolution. Radically utopian in its desire and vision, the American Revolution was also driven by feelings of loss, betrayal, anger, and fear, and haunted by the specter of ghosts, insurrection, and apocalypse. We will explore the affective, sensational, and specifically literary shaping of various founding documents as a means of illuminating some of the more visionary, terroristic, and contradictory aspects of the American Revolution; and we will consider the ways the imaginative writings of the time—poems, letters, autobiographies, novels of seduction, the gothic, and the terrors of Islam—reveal aspects of the "real" American Revolution that were repressed, silenced, or written out of the more official writings of the Revolution.

Faculty: Betsy Erkkila

Civic Engagement Certificate Program

Coordinated in conjunction with Northwestern's School of Education and Social Policy (SESP), the Civic Engagement Certificate Program gives students a deeper understanding of the forces that affect communities and a more thorough grasp of how to achieve positive change. The two-year, five-quarter program is open to all Northwestern freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Participants earn credit for their interest in community service and gain the skills to understand and improve communities socially and economically. The program incorporates both community service and classroom learning — including five credits of course work, 100 hours of community service and a Capstone Project relevant to a community organization.

This program requires an application. The application deadline is Sunday, November 20th. Students begin the certificate the following winter quarter. Read more about the program at

Contact: Nathan Frideres

Legal and Constitutional History of the United States (Legal Studies 318-1)

This course explores some of the major questions and problems of American legal history from the colonial era to 1850. First, we will examine how and why the colonies developed their laws and legal institutions, and how these evolved over time. Next, we will explore the legal, political, and social forces that led to the American Revolution, and we will look at how Americans drew on their legal experiences in drafting a constitution. We will then examine how judicial and legislative action guided and enabled explosive economic growth in the nineteenth century. Not everyone was able to participate in the new economy, however; we will explore how the law created separate categories for women, American Indians, and African Americans that limited their participation in law, politics, and society. By the end of this course, you should be able to: read, understand, and analyze different kinds of legal texts; understand a variety of legal concepts and doctrines and their meaning in historical context; understand the distinct roles played by different actors (judges, legislatures, lawyers, litigants, voters, etc.) within the constitutional system; and make cogent, evidence-based arguments about these core themes in law and legal history.

Faculty: Joanna Grisinger

Political Inequality (Political Science 101-6; First-Year Seminar)

"Political Inequality", Prof. Thurston, Fall 2017 This course examines various types of inequalities - in representation, in participation, and in resources - and their consequences for American politics and democracy. After surveying theoretical debates on the relationship of equality and democracy we will explore how social scientists have attempted to a variety of related questions: What are the consequences of the way electoral institutions are structured for representation and policy? Do policymakers weigh the concerns of their constituents equally? Do wealthier individuals or corporations have greater influence in the political system than ordinary voters?

Faculty: Chloe Thurston  

Politics, Media and The Republic (Journalism 352-0-20)

This seminar examines the most challenging period for American political journalism since Watergate and the Vietnam War. Few in the news media recognized the political forces that led to Donald Trump's election and energized Republican efforts to reshape the national landscape. At a time when facts themselves often seem up for grabs, the new president labeled the press an "enemy of the American people" and dismissed unfavorable reporting as "fake news." Expect to go beyond the news of the day to develop your own understandings of how the country reached this point, what role journalism plays and what happens next as Trump fights for his agenda, progressive Democrats resist and the 2018 midterm campaign gets underway.

Faculty: Peter Slevin


Winter 2018

LEGAL_ST 206-0-20 "Law & Society" (taught with SOCIOL 206)

This course introduces the relationship between social, cultural, political, and economic forces on the one hand, and legal rules, practices, and outcomes, on the other. We focus on several of the most important sociological questions about law including: 1) What is the purpose of law in a modern society? 2) How is the legal system and legal profession organized? 3) How does politics shape the law? 4) What does the law look like in action? And 5) how can law create or constrain social change? In order to explore these questions, it focuses on a few legal issues in modern U.S. society, including same-sex marriage and race and gender discrimination. It also introduces research methods for the study of law and society. PLEASE NOTE: This course is required for all students who want to declare the Legal Studies minor, and for all students who want to apply for the Legal Studies major! Major applications will open in early Winter 2018 – if you haven’t completed, or you’re not enrolled in “Law & Society”, your application will not be accepted.

Faculty: Heather Schoenfeld

LEGAL_ST 305-0-20 "American Immigration" (taught with HISTORY 305)

This course introduces students to the social, political, legal, and cultural history of immigration in the United States. In addition to exploring the history of southern and eastern European immigrants, it uses a comparative framework to integrate Latin American and Asian migrants into our understanding of immigration since the late nineteenth century. The course is an exploration of major themes in immigration history rather than a comprehensive examination. Issues students will consider include immigration law, acculturation, community, racial formation, victimization vs. agency, the transnational and international context of immigration, and competing notions of citizenship, among others.

Faculty: Shana Bernstein

LEGAL_ST 308-0-20 "Sociology of Law" (taught with SOCIOL 318)

This course examines the relationship between law and the distribution of power in society, with a particular emphasis on law and social change in the United States. Readings will be drawn from the social sciences and history, as well as selected court cases that raise critical questions about the role of race, gender, and sexual orientation in American society. Among the material we will examine are the documents made public in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Students should be aware that some of this material is graphic and disturbing.

Faculty: Robert Nelson

LEGAL_ST 332-0-20 "Constitutional Law II" (taught with POLI_SCI 332)

This course investigates the civil rights and civil liberties protected by the Constitution and defined by the U.S. Supreme Court. It will also examine the many controversies over what, exactly, the Constitution means, who gets to decide, and how. We will discuss, among other topics, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, privacy, equality, and voting rights.

Faculty: Joanna Grisinger

LEGAL_ST 376-0-20 "From Colonists to Capitalists: Law and the American Economy, 1700-Present"

In the United States the legal profession exerts tremendous economic and political power, and there are more lawyers per capita than in any other country. This seminar examines the roots of the relationship between law, lawyers, and American commerce. It will explore the law of debt, slavery, injury, and intellectual property, and examine how the law and the lawyers who applied it structured the American economy. The seminar will also explore what a law-driven economy meant for its participants, from debtors and slaves to inventors and CEOs. The seminar will give students a new, critical perspective on debates over the role of finance, corporations, and regulation in American economic life.

Faculty: Justin Simard

LEGAL_ST 376-0-21 "Constitutional Revolution: The Fourteenth Amendment" (taught with HISTORY 300-0-44)

Passed by Congress in 1866 and ratified in 1868, the 14th Amendment revolutionized citizenship and equal rights in the United States. The amendment continues to shape how Americans understand hot-button issues like affirmative action, birthright citizenship, and same-sex marriage. This class explores the history and impact of the amendment - from its origins in the abolitionist movement and the Civil War and Reconstruction to major Supreme Court cases of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. The quarter concludes with an exploration of the possibilities but also the limitations of rights claims in the present.

Faculty: Joanna Grisinger & Kate Masur

LEGAL_ST 394-0-20 "Lawyering: Education and Practice"

Attorneys are central to American life and popular culture, but the profession is undergoing dramatic change. For years, the supply of lawyers has vastly outstripped the demand for legal jobs and the resulting lawyer bubble has grown. Meanwhile, those who land law jobs have different challenges: recent surveys report many attorneys' growing disenchantment with their work and dissatisfaction with their lives. This seminar will examine the profession’s multidimensional crisis. What changes occur in attorneys, both individually and systemically, emerging from law schools and finding their roles in the legal realm? Why is working within the most lucrative big firms now regarded by many as the pinnacle of private practice? What other options are available? It will explore life after law school, examining the disparate places law graduates might find themselves. The course invites prospective law students to consider their potential places, as individual lawyers, in what remains a noble profession. It also invites those students in other undergraduate disciplines who may be curious about trajectories open to them in this post-graduate academic and, ultimately, career field. Not available for Pre-registration

Faculty: Seth Meyer

LEGAL_ST 398-2-20 "Advanced Research Seminar II"

MAJORS/ADJUNCT MAJORS ONLY: Legal Studies 398 is a two-quarter sequence (398-1 and 398-2) required for all Legal Studies majors. This seminar will expose students to a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to law and legal institutions; over two quarters, students will develop their own research paper on a topic of interest. During winter quarter, students will complete their research projects and present their projects to the class. Students will meet to discuss shared readings, will workshop their paper drafts with one another, will prepare oral presentations based on their research, and will meet individually with the professor and with the Graduate Teaching Fellows. Not available for Pre-registration

Faculty: Laura Beth Nielsen

Additional Courses


Age of American Revolutions (History 395-0-26)

Faculty: Caitlin Fitz

American Immigration (History 305-0)

Faculty: Shana Bernstein

Background of the Establishment of the State of Israel (History 300-0-26)

Faculty: Elie Rekhess

Constitutional Revolution: The Fourteenth Amendment, Past and Present (History 300-0-44)

Faculty: Joanna Grisinger & Kate Masur

Development of the Modern American City since 1879 (History 322-2)

Faculty: Henry Binford

Global Legal History and Empires (History 103-6-20)

Faculty: Helen Tilley

Go Directly to Jail: The Punitive Turn in American Life (History 300-0-32)

Faculty: Michael Sherry

Hamilton’s America (History 300/Latino 391)

Faculty: Geraldo Cadava & Caitlin Fitz

Latino Politics (Latino 392)

Faculty: Jaime Dominguez

Race and American Political Development (History 300-0-36)

Faculty: Brett Gadsden

Racial and Ethnic Politics (Political Science 390)

Description coming Winter 2018

Faculty: Julie Merseth

Revolution (History 405-0-20)

Faculty: Paul Gillingham

The End of Consensus and the Rise of Polarized Politics (History 102-6-20)

Faculty: Michael Allen


Critical Education & Praxis (Latino 392)

Faculty: Alejandro Carrion

Debating the Age of Reason (History 200-0-20)

Faculty: Sarah Maza

Film, Literature and Revolution in Mexico (History 300-0-24)

Faculty: Paul Gillingham

Global Asians (History 216-0-1)

Faculty: Ji-Yeon Yuh

History of U.S. Foreign Relations (History 319-0)

Faculty: Kyle Burke

Indigenous Resistance to U.S. Colonialism (History 393-0-20)

Faculty: Doug Kiel

Latino History (History 218)

Faculty: Geraldo Cadava

Marxism (History 405-0-20)

Faculty: John Bushnell

Native American History (History 492-0-20)

Faculty: Doug Kiel

The Civil Rights Movement (History 300-0-32)

Faculty: Kevin Boyle

U.S. Pre-Colonial to Civil War (History 210-1)

Faculty: Caitlin Fitz

Immigration Politics and Policy (Political Science 395)

Description coming Spring 2018

Faculty: Julie Merseth