British Association for American Studies


States of Exception in American History, Conference (University of Cambridge)

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States of Exception in American History, Conference (University of Cambridge)

May 15, 2015 @ 8:00 am - May 16, 2015 @ 5:00 pm

States of Exception in American History. Clare College, University of Cambridge, 15-16 May 2015.

The purpose of the conference is to explore the role of ‘states of exception’ in American political development.  ‘Exceptions’ will be interpreted broadly to include both suspensions of the rule of law in the face of emergencies, and jurisdictional grey zones in which persons or territories have been denied the full range of rights and obligations provided for under the Constitution. The conference will aim to weave together the different strands of research of contributors from the UK, United States, Canada, and France and includes a public lecture by Geoffrey R. Stone, University of Chicago Law School.  His topic: Perilous Times: The View from Inside the NSA.

This conference launches the Consortium on the History of State and Society (CHOSAS), a multi-year initiative involving the American University of Paris, University of Cambridge, University of Chicago, and University of Michigan.

The conference programme appears below.

A link to the registration page can be found on the conference web page, accessible through this link:  States of Exception in American History

– – – – – – – – 
University of Cambridge
Latimer Room, Clare College
15-16 May 2015
Friday 15 May
 08.00-08.30 – Tea/coffee
08.30-08:45 – Introduction – Joel Isaac, University of Cambridge
08.45-10.45 – Session I: The Political Theory of Emergency
David Dyzenhaus, University of Toronto
Carl Schmitt in America

Nomi Claire Lazar, University of Ottawa
A Pox on Our Institutions? Quarantine and the Political Theory of Emergency
Chair and Commentator: Duncan Bell, University of Cambridge

10.45-11.00 – Tea/coffee
11.00-13.00 – Session II: States of Exception in the History of Political Thought
John Fabian Witt, Yale University
“To Save the Country”: A Lost Theory of Emergency Constitutionalism
Stephen Sawyer, American University of Paris
Representation Beyond Politics: Democratic Norms, Terror, and Exceptional Circumstances in Ralph W. Emerson, Thomas Carlyle, and Louis Blanc
Joel Isaac, University of Cambridge
Constitutional Dictatorship in American Political Thought, 1919-1950
Chair and Commentator: Duncan Kelly, University of Cambridge

13.00-14.30 – Lunch
14.30-16.30 – Session III: Geographies of Exception
Paul A. Kramer, Vanderbilt University
Black Site Blues: Borders, Bases, War Zones, and Other Spaces of Exception in Modern US History
Elisabeth S. Clemens, University of Chicago
Neither Public Nor Private:  Delegated Governance as a State of Exception
Chair and Commentator: Andrew Preston, University of Cambridge

16.30-18.00 – Free (Pub) Time
18.00-19.30 – Public Lecture
Geoffrey R. Stone, University of Chicago
Perilous Times: The View From Inside the NSA
Introduction: Gary Gerstle, University of Cambridge

Saturday 16 May

08.00-08.30 – Tea/coffee
08.30-10.30 – Session IV: Experiences of Persons Without Rights
Linda K. Kerber, University of Iowa
Three Americans and the UN Conventions on Refugees and the Stateless
Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Graduate Center, City University of New York
Within the Walls of America’s Prisons
Chair and Commentator: Nicholas Guyatt, University of Cambridge

10.30-11.00 – Tea/coffee
11.00-13.00 – Session V: Exceptions and Theories of State-Building
William J. Novak, University of Michigan; Steve Sawyer, American University of Paris; and James Sparrow, University of Chicago
Democratic States of Unexception:  Towards a New Genealogy of the American Political
Desmond King, University of Oxford, and Robert Lieberman, John Hopkins University
Facilitating Expansion or Enforcing Reversal? How States of Exception Shaped American Federal State Development
Chair and Commentator: Gary Gerstle, University of Cambridge

13.00-14.30 – Lunch
14.30-16.30 – Session VI: Reflections and Future Directions
Ira Katznelson, Columbia University and Social Science Research Council
David Runciman, University of Cambridge
Chair: Gareth Davies, University of Oxford

All inquiries should be directed to Jonathan Goodwin, jmg216@cam.ac.uk, 01223 335323.


May 15, 2015 @ 8:00 am
May 16, 2015 @ 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Jonathan Goodwin
01223 335323.


Clare College
Trinity Lane
Cambridge, CB2 1TL United Kingdom
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+44 1223 333200
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