Wayne Booth teaching a class in an undated photo

Our History

In the early 1970s, a small group of professors designed an experimental program within the College that aimed to prepare students to make significant contributions as citizens of their communities. The result was Politics, Economics, Rhetoric, and Law (PERL), which welcomed its first cohort in the autumn of 1973. Although the program trained undergraduates in all four disciplines, it placed a special emphasis on the concepts and methods of law in order to equip students for decision-making and action in a variety of institutional and social contexts. To this end, PERL fostered a novel collaboration between the University's Law School and the College. 

PERL was reviewed and reimagined in the early 1990s and ultimately became Law, Letters, and Society (LLSO) in 1992. Since its founding, LLSO has aimed to develop the analytical skills of students in the College and to enable their informed and critical examination of law broadly construed. The program's curriculum, which retains PERL's commitment to interdisciplinary inquiry, took its current shape during a period of revitalization that began in 2016.

An undated photo of Prof. Wayne Booth, one of the co-founders of PERL, teaching at the University of Chicago.
University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf1-09323, Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library