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Kluge Chair in American Law and Governance

Previous Chairs

The Kluge Chair in American Law and Governance at the Kluge Center has supported scholars from a wide range of academic backgrounds. The following materials and presentations will guide you in getting to know their scholarly work.

Seth Masket is professor of political science and director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver. He teaches and researches on political parties, state legislatures, and campaigns and elections. 

As a scholar-in-residence at the Kluge Center he gathered historical evidence of national parties’ reactions to losing campaigns.


Featured Videos

May 21, 2018

The U.S. has a growing number of citizens who do not identify with either of the parties that comprise our two-party political system. This panel discussion explored the potential impacts that this phenomenon will have on the future of political parties and American politics in general. The event was co-hosted by the University of Denver.

 

September 28, 2018

A distinguished panel of scholars, including former Kluge Chair in American Law and Governance Seth Masket and former chair in Modern Culture Henry Jenkins discuss how American politics and culture relate to themes within the Star Wars universe.


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The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are provided when available.

T.H. Breen is William Smith Mason Professor of American History at Northwestern University and is a distinguished Early American historian interested in the history of political thought, material culture, and cultural anthropology.

As a scholar-in-residence at the Kluge Center, Breen worked on a project titled, “Enforcing the American Revolution: Law and Disorder During the War for Independence.”


Featured Video

April 20, 2017

This lecture challenged our traditional assumptions about the chronology of the American Revolution. T.H. Breen rejected a familiar story that begins in the early 1760s with the coronation of George III and then traces a slow buildup of grievances until the colonists declare independence and set the country on the road to the Constitution. This talk introduced a radically different timeline that reinterprets the beginning and end of the Revolution and, in the process, restores the ordinary American people to the events that shaped the nation.


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The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are provided when available.

John Sexton is former president of New York University, a legal scholar, and the Benjamin Butler Professor of Law at the NYU School of Law. Before NYU, Sexton served as law clerk to Chief Justice Warren Burger of the United States Supreme Court (1980-1981), and to Judges David Bazelon and Harold Leventhal of the United States Court of Appeals (1979-1980). 

As a scholar-in-residence at the Kluge Center, Sexton worked on a collection of essays about the place and promise of higher education.


Featured Video

May 26, 2016

John Sexton offers his perspective on the future of American higher education. The university has been one of American society's most durable institutions for more than a century—and the modern research university its most sophisticated presentation. Yet globalization, technology and market forces are likely to reshape the form and function of the research university in the coming decades. Sexton explores the relevant forces and their likely effects.


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The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are provided when available.

Mary Dudziak is Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law at Emory University. Duziak is an expert in constitutional law, legal history, diplomatic history, and civil rights history. She has written extensively about the impact of foreign affairs on U.S. civil rights policy during the Cold War.

As a scholar-in-residence at the Kluge Center, Dudziak used the Library’s collections to research and write her book War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences (Oxford University Press, 2012).


Featured Videos

June 08, 2017

The Library sponsored a symposium examining the effects of World War I on civil liberties in the United States. Mary Dudziak was among the featured panelists.

 

September 25, 2015

As members of Congress gathered in April 1917 to decide whether to declare war on Germany, some legislators arrived with battle scars from a previous conflict—the Civil War, which informed their understanding of the new conflict. Historian Mary Dudziak explored what it would take to generate sufficient support to enter a new, faraway war: a politics of catastrophe.


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The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are provided when available.

William Julius Wilson is the Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University. Wilson has remained one of America’s most distinguished thinkers on issues of urban poverty, race, and class relations, and social inequality. His 1987 book, The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, The Underclass and Public Policy, is a staple in American college courses that address issues of race, class, and poverty.

As a scholar-in-residence at the Kluge Center, Wilson revisited his research on race and inequality through the lens of recent events. In particular, Wilson continued to refine theories laid out in his seminal work The Declining Significance of Race, where he suggested that economic class was more critical than race in determining life outcomes.


Featured Videos

May 21, 2015

In his book, The Declining Significance of Race (1978), William Julius Wilson featured two major themes: the effect of fundamental economic and political shifts on the changing relative importance of race and class as a determinant of a black person's life trajectory, and the swing in the concentration of racial conflict from the economic sector to the sociopolitical order. Wilson reflects on these themes and their application to more recent developments in American race and ethnic relations involving not only African Americans but also other groups, including whites and Latinos.

 

June 11, 2015

As the finale to the 15th anniversary celebration of the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, six leading scholars, including William Julius Wilson, discuss why freedom of expression matters.


Blog Post

The following post appeared in the Library of Congress blog—Insights: Scholarly Work at the John W. Kluge Center.


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The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are provided when available.

Jennifer L. Hochschild is the Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government, Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard College Professor, and the former Chair of the Department of Government at Harvard University. Working at the intersection of American politics and political philosophy, Hochschild’s writings explore issues of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and immigration and their impact on political participation and political thought.

As a scholar-in-residence at the Kluge Center, Hochschild researched the politics and ideology of genomic science, specifically the links between genomics and governance.


Featured Videos

April 26, 2011

What is "human dignity"? How important is it? What is its origin? Six distinguished scholars, including Jennifer L. Hochschild, probe the meaning of human dignity from a variety of historical, philosophical, religious, medical and social perspectives.

 

July 07, 2011

Jennifer L. Hochschild discusses the rapid growth of genomic science, and its likely effect on our identities and on the criminal-justice system.


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The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are provided when available.

Gerhard Casper served as the ninth president of Stanford University and is a scholar of constitutional law, constitutional history, comparative law, and jurisprudence. Born in Germany, Casper studied law at the universities of Freiburg, Hamburg, and Yale. Casper’s writings tackle subjects including legal realism, the workload of the Supreme Court, and the separation of powers in the United States.

As a scholar-in-residence at the Kluge Center, Casper researched two separatetopics: the views of German sociologist Max Weber on democratic governance and the 1795 U.S. Naturalization Act.


Featured Video

March 22, 2007

Gerhard Casper talks about Caesarism (political absolutism or dictatorship) in democratic politics, a concept that was of considerable importance to Max Weber, the German political economist and sociologist considered to be one of the founders of the modern study of sociology. "In reading Weber one cannot help but be struck by the relevance to our own historical situation. As we encounter Caesarist tendencies in contemporary politics, what Weber has to say about 'governance' is anything but theoretical," says Casper.


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The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are provided when available.

John Thomas Noonan was an accomplished jurist of the federal courts and philosopher, historian, theologian and a scholar of law. His writings on contraception, abortion, euthanasia, bribery, morality, and ethics impacted American elected officials and the Vatican. Noonan helped open a new line of thought about jurisprudence as a process of psychology, role play, value, and language akin to the process of literature. In October 1985, President Ronald Reagan appointed Noonan to the newly created 27th seat of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where he served until 1996.

As a scholar-in-residence at the Kluge Center, Noonan investigated the teachings of the Catholic Church on four different kinds of conduct over a period of 2,000 years through letters, notarial acts, biographies, histories, and treatises: the lending of money at a profit; the buying, selling and keeping of human beings as property; the persecution of heretics as the duty of Christian rulers; and the rules on marriage and remarriage.


Print Materials

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are provided when available.