Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Constitution: A Cosmopolitan Examination

Our friends at the Institute for Constitutional History send word that the registration deadline has been extended until September 1 for this fall's Robert H. Smith Seminar, “The Constitution: A Cosmopolitan Examination,” to be led by Thomas Bender and David Golove. Thomas Bender is University Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History at New York University; David Golove is the Hiller Family Foundation Professor of Law at New York University School of Law.

The seminar will meet Thursday afternoons, 3:00-5:00 p.m., October 6, 13, and 27 and November 3, 10, and 17, at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York City.
This seminar will examine the ways in which the Constitution and constitutional law have drawn upon international ideas, incorporated international law into our domestic legal order, and responded to international legal/political issues. These engagements and entanglements with the larger world have played a widely underappreciated role in the making and the development of constitutional law. Indeed, beginning with the Constitutional Convention, this cosmopolitan outlook has informed many important moments of constitutional invention, and it has frequently framed debates and argument about both domestic and international affairs. Class discussions will also include occasional international comparisons. The seminar will proceed by case studies, including the Revolution and the Eighteenth Century Constitution, slavery and the Constitution, the Civil War, the War of 1898 and Imperialism, and the constitutional issues raised by the League of Nations and the United Nations. Readings will include both legal texts and relevant general historical texts as well as relevant historiography.
The seminar is designed for graduate students and junior faculty in history, political science, law, and related disciplines. All participants will be expected to complete the assigned readings and participate in seminar discussions. Although the Institute cannot offer academic credit directly for the seminar, students may be able to earn graduate credit through their home departments by completing an independent research project in conjunction with the seminar. Please consult with your advisor and/or director of graduate studies about these possibilities. Space is limited, so applicants should send a copy of their c.v. and a short statement on how this seminar will be useful to them in their research, teaching, or professional development. Materials will be accepted only by email at MMarcus at until September 1, 2011. Successful applicants will be notified soon thereafter. For further information, please contact Maeva Marcus at (202) 994-6562 or send an email to MMarcus at