Concepts of Constitution: Ancient, Modern, and Contemporary
General Catalog Course Title:
Junior Seminar
Terms Offered:
Spring 2016
Fall 2014
Course Thread: 
Law & Humanities
Instructor: 
Stimson, Shannon

This is an exploratory seminar in political theory and jurisprudence. We consider the question: “What is a constitution, and how might we conceptualize it?” In considering this question, we will also consider others, both normative and empirical: What purposes should (or do) constitutions serve? How are they (or should they) be crafted, maintained, enforced or changed? How do they (or should they) incorporate cultural differences and/or protect cosmopolitan or universalist conceptions of human/individual rights? How are they to be interpreted and by whom? Of course, none of these are new questions, and the literature exploring them is large, and of variable quality. A principal focus of the course will be the contemporary American constitution, but our approach will be comparative across both time and political (national) context. This is an exploratory seminar in political theory and jurisprudence. We consider the question: “What is a constitution, and how might we conceptualize it?” In considering this question, we will also consider others, both normative and empirical: What purposes should (or do) constitutions serve? How are they (or should they) be crafted, maintained, enforced or changed? How do they (or should they) incorporate cultural differences and/or protect cosmopolitan or universalist conceptions of human/individual rights? How are they to be interpreted and by whom? Of course, none of these are new questions, and the literature exploring them is large, and of variable quality. A principal focus of the course will be the contemporary American constitution, but our approach will be comparative across both time and political (national) context.

 

For more detailed information about classes, please visit the UC Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes.