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Interdisciplinary Summer Workshop for College Instructors August 3-7, 2009 Santa Barbara, California THE CONSTITUTIONAL LEGACY OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION Sponsored by the Institute for Constitutional Studies with the University of California, Santa Barbara DESCRIPTION: Anyone who teaches the American Revolution, the formation of the federal Constitution (or early state constitution-making), or any of the many political controversies arising before the Civil War may find this workshop helpful. It will examine the life of an idea from the Revolution that continued to have an impact on America?s history. In considering the people as the sovereign in America, a focus on issues of constitutionalism, rather than the usual focus on constitutional questions, can enrich our historical understanding. The old chestnuts of American history, such as the Shays, Whiskey and Dorr ?rebellions? or difficult-to-understand moments, such as the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, the Hartford Convention, or the Nullification Crisis, can take on a new vitality. Our workshop hopes to draw upon the perspectives and insights of its participants to flesh out different iterations of the authority attributed to ?the people.? The workshop explores America?s constitutionalism from its birth during the Revolution through its development into the 20th Century. Many constitutional studies assert that the federal Constitution?s adoption should be the exclusive focus of any study of America?s constitutionalism. They present the federal Constitution as the culmination of constitutional thought from which a straight line can be traced to the constitutionalism of today. Gordon Wood?s The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (1969) is invoked to justify this approach even though Wood?s analysis ends with the Constitution?s ratification. Others have extrapolated Wood?s findings far beyond the scope of his study, assuming that today?s constitutional ideas were the same ones that ?swept the field? in 1787. In challenging this assumption, our workshop traces American views about constitutionalism both before and after the federal Constitution. It will explore how constitutional ideas that supposedly died in 1787 were not buried. In fact, those ideas retained their utility to Americans well into the 1840s and beyond. In addition, the state constitutions of the 1770s?under which Americans fought and defeated the powerful British Empire?were not mere ?experiments.? Americans continued to act on the ideas in those constitutions despite the different approach taken by the federal Constitution. In this light, the 1787 constitution was not a natural culmination, but a competing view of constitutionalism. One basis of American constitutionalism, both before and after 1787, rested on a lesson from the Revolution: that a collective sovereign -- the people -- was the only legitimate basis for government. That idea captivated Americans after they achieved independence, and it was the central teaching of a distinct constitutional tradition that the Revolution inaugurated. At this early stage of American constitutionalism, lawyers and courts were not the primary or even natural custodians of constitutional meaning. Rather, for much of America?s history before the Civil War, ordinary Americans as well as their political leaders wrestled with the idea of how the people as the sovereign, like a king, could exercise that sovereign will. Long after they framed the federal Constitution, Americans fought over the implications of what it meant that in America ?the people? ruled. This is the story our workshop will explore. Ultimately, constitutionalism provides only one means of tracing the emerging role of ?the people? during the revolutionary era. Changing notions of the economic role ordinary Americans were beginning to assume as consumers and the liberating effects of a ?democratization? of Christianity are only two examples of different lenses through which the expansive role of the people might be explored. By broadening the questions we can ask as social scientists, it is possible to deepen our understanding of the constitutional legacy of the American Revolution beyond what we might gain from adhering to the ?straight-line? theory of our constitutional history. WORKSHOP LEADER: Christian Fritz is Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law. The author of American Sovereigns: The People and America?s Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War (2008) and Federal Justice in California: The Court of Ogden Hoffman, 1851-1891 (1991), Professor Fritz specializes in U.S. constitutional and legal history. STIPENDS AND SUPPORT: Participants will receive free room and board in dormitory space provided by UC Santa Barbara. (All sessions will be held on the campus of UC Santa Barbara, within walking distance of the dorms.) 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 college-level instructors who now teach or plan to teach undergraduate 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 college-level instructors are encouraged to apply, including adjuncts and part-time faculty members, from any academic discipline associated with constitutional studies (history, political science, law, anthropology, sociology, literary criticism, etc.). Preference will be given, however, to applicants from the Western region of the United States, who teach at liberal arts colleges. Foreign nationals teaching outside the United States are not eligible to apply. 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 15, 2009. Applications should be sent via electronic mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Successful applicants will be notified by June 15 and have until June 30 to accept or decline the offer. For further information contact: Maeva Marcus, Director Institute for Constitutional Studies George Washington University Law School 2000 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20052 (202) 994-6562 email@example.com http://www.law.gwu.edu/ics/ This workshop is made possible by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Institute for Constitutional Studies is supported, in part, by a ?We the People? challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. ------------------------------------------ The Institute for Constitutional Studies (202) 994-6562 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.law.gwu.edu/ics