Thursday, May 15, 2014

Teaching Legal History: The Book

Teaching Legal History: Comparative Perspectives, edited by Robert M. Jarvis, is now out from Wildy, Simmonds and Hill Publishing.  Although it originated as thirty essays in a special issue of the American Journal of Legal History, this volume includes thirty-three additional ones (including mine).  It also includes an introduction by Joan Howland on the history of legal history courses at ABA-approved law schools and the editor’s afterword on legal history courses non-ABA-approved law schools.

Saith the press:
Sixty-four leading legal historians ruminate on their own approaches to teaching legal history in nearly a third of the American law schools: what they teach, why they teach as they do, how they structure their courses, and what they expect their students and themselves to take away from the study of legal history.

The diversity of approaches to the teaching of legal history as demonstrated in this collection is impressive and fascinating, and at the same time quixotic, unsystematic, not integrated into the law curriculum, and not comprehensive or thorough.

The contributions are full of inspiration, creative imagination and resourcefulness, self-criticism, insight, and a shared conviction of the importance of a knowledge of legal history for the future of the law teacher and the legal practitioner. They address:

    legal history in the law school curriculum;
    legal history and the common law tradition;
    legal history and the United States Constitution;
    challenges of the legal history course;
    finding one’s voice as a legal history lecturer;
    teaching aids;
    locating and using legal history sources;
    local sources of legal history;
    legal history and the public, business community, and government;
    legal history and civil rights, the African-American experience, and women;
    transnational legal history;
    English legal history,
    Hispanic legal history;
    legal history and the American legal profession,
    judges, and the development of legal skills.