Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Citizenship: A Summer Research Seminar

The Graduate Institute for Constitutional History (formerly the Institute for Constitutional Studies) is pleased to announce its tenth annual residential summer research seminar for advanced graduate students and junior faculty. This year’s topic is “Citizenship.” Gerhard Casper, Professor of Law and President Emeritus, Stanford University, and Linda K. Kerber, Professor of History, The University of Iowa, will lead the seminar.

[The announcement continues:]

The political transformations of the late eighteenth century in America and in France reached back to Greek and Roman understandings of the responsible participant in the city-state, and transformed subjects into rights-bearing citizens. In our own time, citizenship is often treated as static, a description of an individual's fixed relationship to the nation. The absence of citizenship--“statelessness “--is now recognized as a situation of extreme vulnerability.

But the meanings of citizenship, even in a stable nation, are dynamic. The Constitution uses the word "citizen" sparingly--as a requirement for election as president, senator or representative; authorizing federal courts to adjudicate claims between citizens of different states; and, notably, in the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” But the ingredients of citizenship are not specified in the Constitution (which generally refers to “the people”) and remained to be developed in practice over time. The claims to citizenship of aboriginal peoples, of women, of men and women of minority races, ethnicities and sexualities, have all been fragile. We share a pressing need to understand citizenship--and claims to it by immigrants, refugees, and the stateless; men, women and children--in historical, sociological, economic, political and legal context. We welcome subjects that are comparative and transnational, as well as those that focus on the experience of a single nation.

We will conduct this seminar as a workshop; we welcome early career scholars and graduate students. We ask that participants identify their topics in advance and provide a short bibliography of suggested shared readings. Our regular meetings will be devoted to discussion of significant texts identified by the conveners and the presentation by participants of early work in progress for comment and refinement. Some time outside the scheduled meetings will be reserved for individual consultation with the seminar leaders.

The seminar will meet at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York City, from June 21 to June 26, 2009. The Graduate Institute for Constitutional History will reimburse participants for their travel expenses (up to $350), provide accommodation at The New School, and offer a modest stipend to cover food and additional expenses. Seminar enrollment is limited to fifteen participants.

Applicants for the seminar should send a copy of their curriculum vitae, a brief description (three to five pages) of the research project to be pursued during the seminar, and a short statement on how this seminar will be useful to them in their research, teaching, and/or professional development. Materials will be accepted until April 15, 2009, and only by email at Successful applicants will be notified soon thereafter.

For further information, please contact Maeva Marcus at (202) 994-6562 or send an email to

Hat tip: H-Law