Working Group on Law and Democracy

Gary Jacobsohn Book Celebration with Commentary by Beau Breslin and Rogers Smith

Fri, March 23, 2012 | Sheffield Room (TNH) 2.111, UT School of Law

11:30 AM - 5:00 AM

Gary Jacobsohn Book Celebration with Commentary by Beau Breslin and Rogers Smith

You are invited to attend a colloquium-celebration for Gary Jacobsohn’s new Harvard University Press book Constitutional IdentityRan Hirschl describes it as “an important, thought-provoking, comparative work filled with brilliant, original ideas alongside fascinating examples.” As is the tradition in our “book events,” the lunch (beginning at 11:30 with barbecue, and vegetarian options), will feature comments on the book by two guests, Rogers Smith of the University of Pennsylvania and Beau Breslin of Skidmore College.  Afterward, we will have two seminars, from around 1:45-3:15  and then 3:30-5:00), on some recent work by Professors Smith and Breslin.  

Beau Breslin is Professor and Former Chair of the Department of Government at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. He is currently the Assistant Dean of the Faculty and Director, First-Year Experience. A nationally recognized specialist in constitutional law and civil liberties, he published The Communitarian Constitution in 2004 and From Words to Worlds: Examining Constitutional Functionality in 2009. The fisrt book examines the tensions between individual rights and the good of the community. In the second book Breslin lays out and explains the basic functions of a modern constitution-including creating a new citizenry, structuring the institutions of government, regulating conflict between layers and branches of government, and limiting the power of the sovereign. He also discusses the theoretical concepts behind the fundamentals of written constitutions and examines in depth some of the most important constitutional charters from around the world. In assaying how states put structural ideas into practice, Breslin asks probing questions about why-and if-constitutions matter.He also is the author of numerous articles and papers on the Constitution and the judiciary. Professor Breslin received his bachelor's degree from Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y. and his master's degree and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Saratoga Springs.

Rogers Smith is an American political scientist and author noted for his research and writing on American constitutional and political development and political thought, with a focus on issues of citizenship and racial, gender, and class inequalities. Born in Spartanburg, South Carolina and raised in Springfield, Illinois, Smith graduated with a B.A. in political science from James Madison College, Michigan State University in 1974, including study abroad at the University of Kent in England. He attended graduate school at Harvard University, completing his 1978 and his PhD degree in government in 1980. Smith taught at Yale University from 1980 to 2001, when he moved to the University of Pennsylvania, where he is presently the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science. Smith's writings have received numerous awards. Civic Ideals (1997) was a finalist for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in history, and won several awards from theAmerican Political Science Association (APSA), the Organization of American Historians, and the Social Science History Association. Smith currently chairs the Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism. He was president of the Politics and History section of APSA for 2001–2002 and served on the APSA Council in 2005 and 2006. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004.

Sponsored by: Department of Government

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