The law has developed over time, from the time of the Magna Carta to the present, grounded in a set of principles in an attempt to order society. That history serves as an example and framework for the analysis of current challenges in the law.
How do the history and evolution of the law shape modern systems of justice, and what are the underlying philosophies that guide the development of the law?
Columbia Law School is a leading center for the study of legal history and theory. Scholarship and centers provide a critical lens with which to examine what the law is and what the law should be.
Study of specific areas of legal history, including English and Native American legal history, history of U.S. trade policy, and the legal history of slavery.
Take workshops in legal history that provide insight into current scholarship from leading academics at Columbia University and beyond.
Explore courses in jurisprudence and the philosophy of law. The Center for Contemporary Critical Thought examines the current state of critical theory and asks how contemporary critical thought and practice function. Workshops in critical race theory, feminist legal theory, and queer theory provide robust opportunities for students to reexamine the received wisdom of our time.
Access to Columbia University’s outstanding faculty in history and philosophy and the Law School’s centers on international law, for students pursuing a joint J.D./Ph.D. degree.