Associate Dean’s welcome
Dear web visitor,
Thank you for visiting the website of the Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP) Program. JSP is a unique doctoral program that is housed within the Law School at the University of California. However, unlike most graduate law programs, the JSP program is an Arts & Sciences PhD (organized under UC Berkeley’s Graduate Division). Established in 1978, it was the first PhD program focused on law in the country and continues to lead the field.
JSP seeks to integrate the study of law with the humanities and social sciences, as well as to provide a broad basis for understanding and developing legal policy. While there are many productive ways to link law to the research tools of the disciplines, we are committed to pursuing the broadest interdisciplinary approach that includes the analytical methods of cutting-edge social scientific and humanistic scholarship. Our students generally specialize in some portion of this spectrum, having benefited from being exposed to teachers and peers with incredibly diverse research interests. Because of our unique location in the Law School, our students take classes in the traditional law school curriculum as well as the interdisciplinary courses offered by JSP and other Berkeley Law faculty. JSP faculty and alumni note with excitement the growth of the field we helped to pioneer. Our JSP program has become a model for a number of other outstanding national graduate programs in interdisciplinary legal studies, many of which have turned to our alumni for their faculties.
JSP faculty (http://www.law.berkeley.edu/644.htm) come from a variety of disciplines (including political science, sociology, economics, history, philosophy, psychology) and interdisciplinary backgrounds, and are leading scholars in their fields. Our faculty offers state of the art scholarship in law and society; law and economics; and moral and political philosophy. We offer courses in quantitative and qualitative research methods and research design that are specially oriented to the study of law. Beginning with the JSP Orientation Seminar and through a range of course offerings in the humanities and social sciences, we aim to offer students training in both empirical and normative analysis of law.
JSP is closely integrated with the Center for the Study of Law and Society, (http://www.law.berkeley.edu/csls.htm) which attracts visiting scholars from all over the world, hosts one of the most renowned speaker series on campus, and provides an intellectual center for top notch research on law, legal actors, and legal institutions. Many other Centers at Berkeley Law provide expertise and exciting programs in issues ranging from environmental justice to law and business to morality and public affairs. (http://www.law.berkeley.edu/centers.htm)
My own excitement about the JSP program goes back almost to the time of its founding. As a graduate student in sociology at Stanford in the 1980s, I sought a more interdisciplinary approach to the study of law and traveled to Berkeley weekly to take the introductory course in Jurisprudence and Social Policy. From 1983-1986, I was enrolled in the JD program at Berkeley as well as the PhD program at Stanford, but I thought of JSP as my natural intellectual home and took a number of JSP courses. After teaching for 10 years in the Sociology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I was delighted to return to Berkeley in 1996 to join the JSP faculty. Having viewed the JSP Program from the perspective of both student and professor, as a former president of the Law and Society Association, and now as Associate Dean (Chair) for JSP, I have seen how the JSP degree opens doors to teaching and scholarship in law schools, interdisciplinary legal studies programs, disciplinary departments, and social policy research institutions and advocacy groups.
I believe this is an extraordinarily promising time for scholars and students with interdisciplinary training in the empirical and normative study of law for careers in the academy, social policy research, and public policy advocacy. Whether you are contemplating this field of study, or simply an interested reader, I encourage you to spend some time visiting this website where you can learn about our current students and our distinguished faculty, and get a sense of the program by viewing recent course offerings and upcoming conferences. You can also check out faculty blogs, find out about current job openings, and find out which of our advanced graduate students are seeking academic jobs. I especially urge you to learn more about our alumni, browsing their JSP dissertations and reading about their current activities. Nothing else reflects the unique qualities of our program so much as graduates and what they have accomplished with their degrees.
If you have questions about the JSP Program, please contact our Student Affairs Officer, Margo Rodriguez (firstname.lastname@example.org)], our Graduate Advisor, Christopher Kutz (email@example.com), or me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Lauren Edelman, Associate Dean
Jurisprudence and Social Policy