Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Conference on Comparative Constitutional History

Jason Mazzone

I am helping to organize a conference on comparative constitutional history that will take place in Bologna, Italy on October 6 & 7, 2014. We have space available for a small number of additional papers. I have posted the relevant information below the break. Scholars interested in presenting should contact me by e-mail (mazzonej at The conference (the first in what is hoped will be a series) is a collaboration among the University of Illinois College of Law, the University of Bologna School of Law, the Johns Hopkins SAIS Bologna Center, and the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development. The goal of the conference is to jumpstart work in a neglected area of constitutional study: comparative analysis of constitutional history. There is no better place to initiate this enterprise than in Bologna, where the study of law began in the 11th century.

Constitutional History: Comparative Perspectives
Bologna, Italy
October 6 & 7, 2014

Sponsored by the University of Illinois College of Law, the University of Bologna School of Law, the Johns Hopkins SAIS Bologna Center, and the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development.

Accompanying the spread of constitutional government around the world has been a profound interest in the comparative aspects of constitutional law. Scholars have catalogued the differing features of national constitutions and examined how different constitutional systems resolve common legal issues. So, too, judges faced with legal questions have sought guidance in the decisions of constitutional courts of other nations. While comparative constitutional law is therefore a well-established field, less attention has been paid so far to the comparative dimensions of constitutional history. This international conference aims to address that shortcoming by energizing the study and analysis of constitutional history from comparative perspectives. The conference has several interrelated goals. It will provide a forum for presentation and discussion of current research on issues of constitutional history that crosses national boundaries. Relevant topics in this regard include such things as the origins of constitutional governments in different nations, changes in constitutional structures over time, comparative studies of the shifting roles of constitutional actors, the development of individual rights in different systems, and the legitimacy and longevity of constitutions in various nations. The conference will also bring together scholars who, at present, are working on constitutional histories of single jurisdictions—with the expectation that conversations among these scholars will allow for sharing of methodologies and point also to fresh areas of research that may transcend national boundaries. In addition, the conference has relevance to the task of judging. In some nations, notably the United States, constitutional history plays an important and sometimes decisive role in the resolution by courts of questions of constitutional law. The conference will take up the place of constitutional history in constitutional adjudication. By comparing the practices of courts around the world, the conference will trace the movement (or not) of constitutional history from the academy to the courthouse and examine the risks and benefits of modern practices.

Scholars interested in presenting a paper at the conference should e-mail a title and brief summary of the proposed paper to Professor Jason Mazzone at mazzonej[@] Proposals received by June 20, 2014 will receive priority. After that date, submitted proposals will be considered only if space remains. Conference participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses.

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