The Institute for Constitutional History sponsors or co-sponsors a variety of events during the academic year. Here is a partial list of upcoming and recent events:
The Jordan Saunders Seminar in Constitutional History Interdisciplinary Summer Workshop
July 13-18, 2014
EMBEDDED HISTORIES IN CONSTITUTIONAL ARGUMENT
Sponsored by the Institute for Constitutional History with the Stanford Constitutional Law Center
In judicial opinions, oral advocacy and briefs arguing cases before courts, and in articles and treatises, lawyers use history to connect the past to the present, to show how law and society have evolved from past enactments or cases to the present day. Sometimes these histories are explicit, such as those exploring "original" public meanings of constitutional text, sometimes implicit stories of changing interpretations and social circumstances. This seminar will examine selected fragments of such embedded histories in several areas of constitutional law, including (tentatively): the history of the "ancient [English] constitution" in the legal arguments of American revolutionaries; the history of regulation in constitutional arguments over the police power; the history of the right to bear arms in arguments over the Second Amendment; the history of racial segregation in recent arguments over civil rights; and the history of church-state separation in arguments over the religion clauses.
Robert W. Gordon is Professor of Law at Stanford University. He has previously taught at SUNY/Buffalo and the University of Wisconsin, and at Yale University, where he is Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History, and Professor of History, Emeritus. He is a past President of the American Society for Legal History. Most of his writing is on the history of legal professions and of legal thought, and on contract law and legal ethics. His book on embedded histories in legal argument, TAMING THE DRAGON: LAW IN HISTORY AND HISTORY IN LAW, will appear next year.
STIPENDS AND SUPPORT
Participants will receive accommodation at the Munger Graduate Residence on the campus of Stanford Law School and a modest stipend for meals. Participants will also receive a travel reimbursement up to $250. Workshop participants are expected to attend all sessions and engage in all program activities.
ELIGIBILITY AND APPLICATION PROCEDURE
The summer workshop is designed for university instructors who now teach or plan to teach courses in constitutional studies, including constitutional history, constitutional law, and related subjects. Instructors who would like to devote a unit of a survey course to constitutional history are also welcome to apply. All university-level instructors are encouraged to apply, including adjuncts and part-time faculty members, and post-doctoral fellows from any academic discipline associated with constitutional studies (history, political science, law, anthropology, sociology, literary criticism, etc.).
To apply, please submit the following materials: a detailed résumé or curriculum vitae with contact information; syllabi from any undergraduate course(s) in constitutional studies you currently teach; a 500- word statement describing your interest in both constitutional studies and this workshop; and a letter of recommendation from your department chair or other professional reference (sent separately by e-mail or post). The application statement should address your professional background, any special perspectives or experiences you might bring to the workshop, and how the workshop will enhance your teaching in constitutional studies.
THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS MAY 1, 2014. Applications should be sent via electronic mail to MMarcus@nyhistory.org. Successful applicants will be notified soon thereafter.
The Jordan Saunders Seminar in Constitutional History for advanced graduate students and junior faculty
September 19, 26, October 10 and 24, 2014
SLAVERY AND THE LAWS OF WAR
Sponsored by the Institute for Constitutional History
James Oakes is Distinguished Professor of History and Graduate School Humanities Professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His most recent books are Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865 and The Scorpion's Sting: Antislavery and the Coming of the Civil War.
John Fabian Witt is Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law at Yale Law School. His most recent book Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History was awarded the 2013 Bancroft Prize, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, was selected for the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award, and was a New York Times Notable Book for 2012. Previous writing includes Patriots and Cosmopolitans: Hidden Histories of American Law (Harvard University Press, 2007), and The Accidental Republic: Crippled Workingmen, Destitute Widows, and the Remaking of American Law (Harvard University Press, 2004), as well as articles in the American Historical Review, the Columbia Law Review, the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, and other scholarly journals. In 2010 he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for his project on the laws of war in American history.
The abolition of slavery and the advent of humanitarian limits in war have long been viewed as two of the great moral accomplishments of modern history. But we are only recently beginning to see how interconnected these two developments really were. How did Enlightenment laws of war affect the way Americans dealt with slavery in wartime? Or is that the wrong question? Should we ask, instead: How did the way Americans dealt with slavery and emancipation in wartime shape their understanding of the laws of war? Do the successes of antislavery help us understand the character of humanitarian constraints in war? And do the considerable failings of those humanitarian constraints in wartime shed light on the limits of Emancipation? Readings and discussions take up these questions by examining early American wars, beginning with the War of Independence and ending with the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Friday afternoons, 2–5 pm., September 19, 26, October 10, and 24. The seminar will meet at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York City.
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@nyhistory.org until May 1, 2014. Successful applicants will be notified soon thereafter.
There is no tuition or other charge for this seminar, though participants will be expected to acquire the assigned books on their own.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT
Director, Institute for Constitutional History
New-York Historical Society and The George Washington University Law School
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.
The Graduate Institute for Constitutional History is supported, in part, by the Saunders Endowment for Constitutional History and a
“We the People” challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.