The Constitutional History of Anglo-American Empire

Interdisciplinary Summer Workshop in Constitutional History

July 8-13, 2018

Stanford, California


The Constitutional History of Anglo-American Empire

Sponsored by the Institute for Constitutional History with the Stanford Constitutional Law Center




Building on the literatures on constitutional development in the British Empire, the constitutional origins of the American Revolution, and settler constitutionalism, the seminar will focus on colonization and territorial expansion, the law of slavery, and geopolitics from first settlement to the era of “Manifest Destiny.”


Workshop Leaders:


Annette Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School, a professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, and formerly the Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at the Queen’s College, University of Oxford (2014-2015). Gordon-Reed won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2009 for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W.W. Norton, 2009), a subject she had previously written about in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (University Press of Virginia, 1997). She is also the author of Andrew Johnson (Times Books/Henry Holt, 2010). Her most recently published book (with Peter S. Onuf) is “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination (Liveright Publishing, 2016). Her honors include a fellowship from the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, a Guggenheim Fellowship in the humanities, a MacArthur Fellowship, the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Award, and the Woman of Power & Influence Award from the National Organization for Women in New York City. Gordon-Reed was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011 and is a member of the Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.


Peter S. Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor Emeritus in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia, Senior Research Fellow at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies (Monticello), and Mellon Distinguished Scholar in Residence, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts, 2017-2018. Onuf’s work on Thomas Jefferson’s political thought, culminating in Jefferson’s Empire: The Language of American Nationhood (University Press of Virginia, 2000) and The Mind of Thomas Jefferson (2007, also Virginia), grows out of earlier studies on the history of American federalism, foreign policy, and political economy. He and co-author Annette Gordon-Reed recently published Most Blessed of Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination (Liveright, 2016); his Jefferson and the Virginians: Democracy, Constitutions, and Empire is forthcoming (from Louisiana State University Press).


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, 2018. Applications should be sent via electronic mail to Successful applicants will be notified soon thereafter.