Law and Society Highlights
The relationship between society and law is a complex and intriguing one, so it’s not surprising that at NYU Law, it is viewed through the lenses of multiple disciplines—sociology, criminology, anthropology and psychology, to name a few.
The Law School has several leading sociologists on faculty: Professors David Garland, James Jacobs and Jerome Skolnick. Garland, Arthur T. Vanderbilt Professor of Law and a professor of Sociology at NYU, is widely considered to be one of the world’s foremost sociologists focusing on crime and punishment. A recent Guggenheim Fellow, he is the founding editor of the interdisciplinary scholarly journal Punishment & Society, as well as the author of Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition, and the hugely influential book The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society.
Jacobs is Chief Justice Warren E. Burger Professor of Constitutional Law and the Courts and also director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice. He has written 15 books, most recently Mobsters, Unions and Feds: The Mafia and the American Labor Movement. Jacobs is an enthusiastic teacher whose courses have included Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Federal Criminal Law and Juvenile Justice. Skolnick, the codirector of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice, is also the Claire Clements Dean’s Chair Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. He has been honored for his scholarship by virtually every major criminal law and justice organization for his distinctive sociological work on crime and criminal justice administration. His seminar on the regulation of vice probes the history, sociology and politics that underlie the law; another, on policing, explores key dilemmas in police administration.
Professor Frank Upham’s law and society scholarship has focused on Japan, and his book Law and Social Change in Postwar Japan is generally viewed as the standard reference for discussions of Japanese law and its social and political role in contemporary Japan. Professor Sally Merry teaches the Anthropology of Human Rights, which studies the origins of human rights thinking in Europe and the United States and its contemporary elaboration and dissemination in the post-World War II period. University Professors Jerome Bruner and Tom Tyler bring psychology into the mix, teaching courses such as Psychology and the Design of Legal Institutions, which covers eyewitnesses, lie detection, jury decision making, the nature of excuses and dispute resolution procedures.