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SOCIOL 4509:
Sociology of Law

Autumn 2023

Hello and Welcome

Hello! I'm Mary Lia Reiter and I will be your instructor for Sociol 4509. Please take a few minutes to review this syllabus and explore this site for information about your upcoming class. You may save this website as an icon on your cell phone or tablet by clicking the share button and saving to your home screen so that you can access it at any time.


This course will examine the relationship between law and social order emphasizing the structure of law, social origins of law, and law as a source of social change.

While the law influences nearly every aspect of our lives, few people think academically about the law. This course will introduce you to the academic study of the law. We will begin with an introduction to the early sociological perspectives on the law, beginning with an examination of how the classical theorists (Durkheim, Marx, and Weber) defined the field of legal sociological inquiry. Then, weaving together legal concepts and legal theories, we will turn to some of the major theoretical movements that arose out of these early sociological perspectives, including legal realism, critical legal studies, sociological jurisprudence, critical race and feminist jurisprudence, legal semiotics, and postmodernism.


Book Cover Photo

Purchase Optional

Milovanovic, Dragan. 2002. An Introduction to the Sociology of Law. 3rd ed. Lynne Rienner Publishers
ISBN 9781881798408
Redshelf E-book Link
Bookfinder Link

If you want a hard copy of the textbook, you should be able to find one for under $35. Let me know if you can't.

Additional readings will be available in Canvas


By the end of this semester, you should be able to:


Mode of delivery

This course meets in-person on Wednesdays and Fridays from 12:45pm to 2:05pm.  You will have readings and homework assignments available online in Canvas.


This course is divided into modules that will take approximately two weeks to cover.  During the first week, we will focus on a major legal theory.  During the second week, we will focus on current developments and empirical research.

Work Expectations

This is a 3-credit-hour course. That means you should expect around 3 hours per week of time spent on direct instruction in addition to 6 hours of homework (reading and assignment preparation, for example) to receive a grade of (C) average.



There will be seven (7) homework assignments during the semester of which you will complete five (5). You will have a number of options from which to choose. Choose those that are the most interesting to you. If you wish to develop your own alternative assignment, please talk to me about your ideas. If you complete all 7 homework assignments, your two lowest scores will be automatically dropped.


At the end of the semester, you will reflect on your work throughout the semester. Your reflection should include comments on each of the homework assignments and exams as well as and a summary of and reflection on the totality of your accomplishments during the semester.


There will be three exams covering lectures, readings and any other class material. The format of the exams will include multiple choice, matching, fill-in the blank, and short answer/essay.



5 at 10 points each
50 points total
50% of your grade


1 at 5 points each
5 points total
5% of your grade


3 at 15 points each
45 points total
45% of your grade

Total points possible = 100 points


This syllabus is © 2023, Reiter. All rights reserved.