Politics and Law

Many students begin to learn history through stories of the political past: presidents and kings, Congress and parliament, revolutions and wars. History courses at Yale cover all of these subjects in depth, from the imperial rule of Alexander the Great through the presidency of Barack Obama. But they also take a more expansive view of “politics and law,” exploring how a wide range of ideologies, institutional structures, social movements, and political cultures have shaped the global political past. How have different societies, in different moments, conceived of what it means to be a “citizen”? How have different political ideologies—communism, fascism, liberalism, conservatism—both emerged from and produced different political cultures in different regions of the world? How have ordinary people sought to challenge and influence the governing structures of their own societies, and how have governments in turn responded? How does the ground-level process of politics work?  What ideals, rhetoric, and rituals do people value? How do courts, government agencies, and political parties operate as social institutions? We cannot understand today’s headlines—from the revolutions and crackdowns in the Middle East, to the rise of China as a global power, to political gridlock in Washington—without knowing how they emerged out of political and legal conflicts in the past.
Faculty advisers: Jennifer Allen, Abbas Amanat, Sergei Antonov, Ned Blackhawk, Daniel Botsman, Rohit De, Carolyn Dean, Marcela Echeverri, Crystal Feimster, Joanne Freeman, Beverly Gage, Glenda Gilmore, Jay Gitlin, Denise Ho, Matthew Jacobson, Gilbert Joseph, Jennifer Klein, Noel Lenski, Daniel Magaziner, John Merriman, Isaac Nakhimovsky, Steven Pincus, Terence Renaud, Naomi Rogers, Edward Rugemer, Paul Sabin, Timothy Snyder, David Sorkin, Francesca Trivellato, Anders Winroth, John Witt
Specialist Track requirements: Students specializing in this region must complete at least five of the courses listed below. For additional requirements of the major, see Requirements of the Major.
Course numbers: History course numbers denote region of the world rather than degree of difficulty. 100-level courses are U.S. history; 200-level are European history; 300-level include courses from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America; 400-level courses are global, covering many regions of the world.
Course numbers also convey information about the type of course being offered. Courses beginning with “0” (i.e. HIST 012) are freshman seminars; courses with a three-digit number (i.e. HIST 113) are lectures, open to all students; courses with a “J” suffix (i.e. HIST 136J) are departmental seminars.
Students may petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies to include other HIST courses within a pathway if their written work for the course is directly relevant to the pathway.