Friday, August 5, 2022

American Bureaucracy and the Constitution: An ICH Seminar

[We have word that Fall 2022 seminar for advanced graduate students and junior faculty, sponsored by the Bonnie and Richard Reiss Graduate Institute for Constitutional History at the New-York Historical Society, which is not to be confused with the OG seminar still being conducted by the Institute for Constitutional Studies at the George Washington University Law School. DRE.]

American Bureaucracy and the Constitution, from the Founding Era to the Post New Deal

Gillian Metzger and Nicholas R. Parrillo

How has the role of government in everyday life changed throughout our nation's history? Today, a deep and historically inflected debate is raging over the legitimacy of American bureaucracy. As context for that controversy, this seminar will trace the constitutional history of the U.S. administrative state, starting with the Founding and the early Republic and moving through the Civil War and Reconstruction; the Progressive Era; and the rise and fall of the New Deal order.  The seminar will trace evolution in the separation of powers, focusing on the development of federal regulatory power, legislative delegations of authority to the bureaucracy, and struggles over political control of administrators.

Gillian Metzger is the Harlan Fiske Stone Professor of Constitutional Law at Columbia Law School, where she is also faculty co-director of Columbia’s Center for Constitutional Governance. In 2021, she served as a senior counsel in the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice. Nicholas R. Parrillo is Townsend Professor of Law at Yale, with a secondary appointment as professor of history. His research and teaching focus on administrative law and government bureaucracy, both past and present.

The seminar will be presented in person at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, on the following dates:

    Friday, November 18, 2022 | 2–5 pm ET
    Friday, December 2, 2022 | 2–5 pm ET
    Friday, December 9, 2022 | 2–5 pm ET
    Friday, December 16, 2022 | 3–6 pm ET

(Although we encourage students to attend the class in person, livestream participation will be offered to admitted students who do not live in the New York Metropolitan Area or who are unable to attend a class in person. If you are interested in attending some or all of the class sessions virtually, please indicate this in your application statement.)

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. To apply, please submit the following material to by October 7, 2022:
(1) Your C.V.; (2) A short statement on how this seminar will be useful to you in your research, teaching, or professional development.

Successful applicants will be notified soon thereafter. For further information, please email Alexander Kassl at

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