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 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.
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