840069 :Introduction to Law and Humanities


Voertaal Engels
Werkvorm: Plenary lectures (3 x 45 minutes) (Geen informatie over collegetijden bekend)
Tentamenvorm: written exam (Tentamenrooster)
Studielast:6 ECTS credits
Inschrijving:Inschrijven via Blackboard voor aanvang colleges
Blackboard informatieniet beschikbaar in Blackboard


dr.mr. M.T.J. Bot

dr. D.J.M.S. Janssens

Doel van de cursus (alleen in het Engels beschikbaar)

After completing the course “Introduction to Law and Humanities”, the student is able:

1. To interpret major works at the intersection of law and the humanities (Sophocles’ Antigone; Plato’s Apology of Socrates and Crito, Aristotle’s Politics, Justinian’s Digest; I. Kant’s "On Perpetual Peace"; L. Fuller’s “King Rex”; H. Arendt's "Lying in Politics"; M. Foucault's "Panopticism" and "The Birth of Biopolitics");

2. To discuss the general themes and questions raised by these works (the human and the non-human/inhuman; human and natural/divine law; natural law, legal positivism and interactionism/legal realism; civil disobedience; the good life; the public and the private sphere; slavery and personhood; ancient and modern democracy; cosmopolitanism and international law; the Western legal tradition and the emergence of the legal order of the European Union; legal pluralism; morality and law; power relations);

3. To compare and to combine the different ways in which law and the humanities approach these themes;

4. To apply these diverging approaches to historical and contemporary cases (e.g., the desecration of corpses; sacrifice rituals; civil disobedience; slavery and exploitation; art and subversion …);

5. To interpret major primary (see 1) and secondary sources (e.g. S. Heaney, “Title Deeds”;  F. Kafka, “Before the Law”) in law and humanities.

Inhoud van de cursus (alleen in het Engels beschikbaar)

The main objective of this course is to provide first year students of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Bachelor with an introduction to two of the four major programs offered in this bachelor: Law in Europe and Humanities: European History and Culture. In these two major programs a number of academic disciplines are taught, often in an interdisciplinary way: law, social sciences, history, philosophy, religious studies, literary and cultural studies.

Obviously, it is impossible to provide systematic introductions into the basics of all of these academic disciplines separately in one course. Therefore, we will take an integrated and indirect approach. The course will focus on a small number of canonical works in literature and philosophy that address core questions in the fields of law and the humanities. These classical texts come from various historical eras and will be discussed in the context of their time, but also explored for contemporary meanings. A subsidiary objective of the course is to teach students how to read and interpret classical works and how to engage in meaningful discussion about their contemporary relevance.

Included in the canon taught in this course are the following authors and texts:

- Sophocles, Antigone (on the relationship between law and justice)

- Plato, Apology and Crito (on the practice of philosophy or science and its place in society)

- Aristotle, The Politics

- Sections from Justinian's Digest of Roman Law

- Immanuel Kant, On Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch (on Enlightenment and the European legal order)

- Lon Fuller, "King Rex" (on the art of lawmaking).

- Hannah Arendt, "Lying in Politics: Reflections on the Pentagon Papers" (on the relationship between truth and politics)

- Michel Foucault, "Panopticism" and "The Birth of Biopolitics" (on knowledge and power in disciplinary practices);

Each text is first approached in a session devoted to its interpretation and then as starting-point for the exploration of a related contemporary topic. In this way it will for instance be possible to gain insights into important aspects of law as it is now perceived, organized and practiced in Europe, as well as into relevance of the humanities for addressing contemporary issues.

Bijzonderheden (alleen in het Engels beschikbaar)

- The course is team-taught in plenary lectures, and regular group assignments will be given.


Verplichte literatuur

  1. Information on the reading materials will be provided on Blackboard.

Gewenste voorkennis

Verplicht voor

  • Liberal Arts and Sciences ( 2014, 2015 )
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Elective major Business and Management ( 2014, 2015 )
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Elective major Humanities: European History and Culture ( 2014, 2015 )
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Elective major Law in Europe ( 2014, 2015 )
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Elective major Social Sciences ( 2014, 2015 )