The course offers a historical perspective on the development of the legal doctrines, professions and institutions that define criminal justice in Canada and the broader common law world today. Topics include the shift from medieval trial by ordeal and torture to the modern reliance on expert witnesses and forensic science; the emergence of the adversarial trial; the growth of the legal profession; the birth of policing; the rise of the penitentiary; and the changing fortunes of the death penalty. The course focuses primarily on the period from the eighteenth century to the present. Students will be introduced to historical debates and ways of thinking and writing about law and crime. We will explore how culture, politics, economics and social life are essential to how we understand the foundational elements of criminal justice, including concepts of truth, guilt, legitimacy, fairness and violence.