Interdisciplinary Summer Workshop in Constitutional Studies

Native Peoples, American Colonialism, and the U.S. Constitution

Sponsored by the Institute for Constitutional Studies with the NYU-Yale American Indian Sovereignty Project.

June 19–24, 2022
New Haven, Connecticut

This seminar will explore the burgeoning historical and legal literature on the centrality of the Native peoples of North America to the U.S. Constitution and the development of U.S. constitutional law. It will consider the role of Native peoples and “Indian affairs” in the Constitution’s initial drafting and ratification and the effects of American colonialism on the growth and structure of federal power. The seminar will also explore how centering Native peoples allows for a rethinking of United States constitutional history and American public law more broadly.

Workshop Leaders:
Gregory Ablavsky is a professor of law and the Helen L. Crocker Faculty Scholar at Stanford Law School and professor of history by courtesy at Stanford University. He is the author of Federal Ground: Governing Property and Violence in the First U.S. Territories (Oxford, 2021), as well as multiple articles in history journals and law reviews on the history of federal Indian law and early American legal history. His work has received the Preyer and Cromwell Prizes from the American Society for Legal History.

Maggie Blackhawk (Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe) is a professor of law at NYU School of Law. She was awarded the American Society for Legal History’s Cromwell Article prize, and her articles on constitutional law, constitutional history, and federal Indian law have been published in the Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal, among others. Her current book project, America’s Other Original Sin: Indians and the Constitution in the Shadow of American Empire (under contract, Harvard University Press), examines the centrality of Native nations, Native people, and American colonialism to the constitutional law and constitutional history of the United States.

Ned Blackhawk (Western Shoshone) is a professor of history and American Studies at Yale and was on the faculty from 1999 to 2009 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A graduate of McGill University, he holds graduate degrees in history from UCLA and the University of Washington and is the author of Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the early American West (Harvard, 2006), a study of the American Great Basin that garnered half a dozen professional prizes, including the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize from the Organization of American Historians. In addition to serving in professional associations and on the editorial boards of American Quarterly and Ethnohistory, Professor Blackhawk has led the establishment of two fellowships, one for American Indian Students to attend the Western History Association’s annual conference, the other for doctoral students working on American Indian Studies dissertations at Yale named after Henry Roe Cloud (Winnebago, Yale College Class of 1910).

Stipends and Support:
Participants will receive accommodation at The Study at Yale located on Chapel Street 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 graduate students and 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, Native studies, 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; and a 500- word statement describing your interest in both constitutional studies and this workshop. 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, 2022. Applications should be sent via electronic mail to Successful applicants will be notified soon thereafter.

For Further Information Please Contact:
Maeva Marcus
Director, Institute for Constitutional Studies
The George Washington University Law School
(202) 994-6562

About ICS:
The Institute for Constitutional Studies (ICS) is the nation’s premier institute dedicated to ensuring that future generations of Americans understand the substance and historical development of the U.S. Constitution. Located at the George Washington University Law School, the Institute is co-sponsored by the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the American Political Science Association. The Association of American Law Schools is a cooperating entity. ICS prepares junior scholars and college instructors to convey to their readers and students the important role the Constitution has played in shaping American society. ICS also provides a national forum for the preparation and dissemination of humanistic, interdisciplinary scholarship on American constitutional history.

Posted: April 18, 2022
Tagged: Meetings, Conferences, Symposia