Sunday, December 22, 2019

Law of Nations and the Early American Constitution: An ICH Seminar

[We're moving this up, as the deadline for applications (December 30, 2019) will soon be upon us.;  DRE]

The Law of Nations and the Early American Constitution: How Citizens, Aliens, Slaves, and Indians Struggled to Build a “Civilized Nation.”  A New-York Historical Society/Institute for Constitutional History Seminar.

Constitution-making in the United States originated in an international war and for decades remained a cosmopolitan drama in which Americans claimed to be constituting a “civilized nation.” In four sessions, David Golove and Daniel Hulsebosch will lead an exploration of the ways that early Americans invoked the law of nations to make sense of, for example, what it meant to be a revolutionary republic in a world of nations; statebuilders in the evening of Enlightenment; African-Americans in an “empire of liberty”; and Native Americans caught between encroaching settlers and a fragmented but powerful government. In these contests, the law of nations functioned as a dynamic field of principles, practices, and keywords through which diverse actors filled in constitutional meanings while arguing about how to structure their relationship with each other and the wider world.

Workshop leaders
David M. Golove (N.Y.U.) and Daniel J. Hulsebosch (N.Y.U.).  Professors Golove (Hiller Family Professor of Law) and Hulsebosch (Charles Seligson Professor of Law) have published separately and together about the international dimensions of early American constitutionalism, including in jointly-authored articles entitled “A Civilized Nation: The Early American Constitution, the Law of Nations, and the Pursuit of International Recognition” in the New York University Law Review (2010); “The Law of Nations and the Constitution: An Early Modern Perspective,” in the Georgetown Law Journal (2018), and “‘The Known Opinion of the Impartial World’: Foreign Relations and the Law of Nations,” forthcoming next year in The Cambridge Companion to The Federalist.

.  The seminar will be held at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York City on the following dates, January 31, February 14, 28, and March 13.

Application process
.  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 until December 30, 2019. Successful applicants will be notified soon thereafter. For further information, please contact Maeva Marcus at (202) 994-6562 or send an email to

Additional information
. There is no tuition or other charge for this seminar, though participants will be expected to acquire the assigned books on their own.

About ICH
:  The Institute for Constitutional History (ICH) is the nation’s premier institute dedicated to ensuring that future generations of Americans understand the substance and historical development of the U.S. Constitution. Located at the New York Historical Society and the George Washington University Law School, the Institute is co-sponsored by the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the American Political Science Association. The Association of American Law Schools is a cooperating entity. ICH prepares junior scholars and college instructors to convey to their readers and students the important role the Constitution has played in shaping American society. ICH also provides a national forum for the preparation and dissemination of humanistic, interdisciplinary scholarship on American constitutional history.