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Legal Studies

Recognizing that law, legal processes, and concepts are integrally involved in political, social, environmental, economic, scientific, and other issues, Hampshire College has given legal studies a significant place in its curriculum.

Our pioneering Law Program, established in 1970, was the first undergraduate legal studies program in the nation. It offers an innovative interdisciplinary approach to the study of law, as well as a number of exciting opportunities for engaging legal questions outside the classroom.

Some students choose to focus primarily on law, while others include legal perspectives as a secondary focus. Advanced students create concentrations in which law interacts with their interests in philosophy, international relations, environmental studies, or community organizing.

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Associated Faculty

Hampshire Professor Marlene Gerber Fried
Faculty Director of CLPP, Professor of Philosophy
Hampshire College Professor Jennifer Hamilton
Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Anthropology
Associate Professor of Law
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Political Theory

Student Project Titles

Sample First-Year Course

Law, Identity, and Bioscience

This course introduces students to the ways in which law shapes our lives and how society and culture effect how we interpret and experience law. In addition to reading materials from sociolegal studies, science and technology studies, anthropology, and women and gender studies, we will look at primary case materials that involve issues of law, identity, and bioscience. We will use case narratives as a point of entry to ask how scientific evidence, especially in the realm of genetics, has come to differently intervene in questions of law and identity. What can such analyses of law and its broader cultural contexts reveal about the legal encoding of norms of bioscience, processes of race and gender, and understandings of heredity and kin relations? Topics include the legal rights of animals; race, genetic identities, social justice; and sexuality, kinship, and property.

Sample Courses at Hampshire

Through the Consortium

Facilities and Resources

Hampshire College Law Program
The Law Program is not a pre-law program in the traditional sense of one that specifically prepares students for the study of law as a profession. Rather, it is an interdisciplinary one, deeply committed to the principles of liberal education and founded on the premise that an understanding of law as a social force ubiquitous at practically all levels—local, regional, national, and international—is basic to the exercise of the rights, privileges, and duties of today's citizens.

Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program (CLPP)
Founded in 1981, the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program (CLPP) was created to help organize women on issues of reproductive freedom and greater access to health and economic resources. Its companion program, Population and Development, was created in 1986 to respond to the increasing globalization of women's issues. The program offers courses, invites visiting scholars and activists, and organizes national conferences on reproductive rights issues on campus.

In addition, CLPP offers the Reproductive Rights Activist Service Corps (RRASC) to allow students to work as activists on reproductive rights issues across the globe at organizations including: The Center for Reproductive Rights, Choice USA, Justice NOW, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, Pro-Choice Public Education Project, Third Wave Foundation, and the Youth Gender Project.

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Office of the Dean of Faculty
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
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