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Research Group on Constitutional Studies

The Research Group on Constitutional Studies encompasses scholars from the Departments of Political Science and Philosophy and the Faculty of Law. Constitutionalism as a field of inquiry includes the classical idea of a fit between governing regimes and the societies they govern, and associated questions about what kinds of bodies of citizens can support what kinds of government.  It also includes the modern idea of the basic rules and institutions that provide the fundamental framework of, and limits on, politics and government; constitutional law is a part (but only a part) of that idea.  Broadly speaking we understand the study of constitutionalism to be where the normative analysis of politics characteristic of political thory and philosophy overlaps with the empirical work done in parts of political science (studies of constitutional rules and design, federalism, judicial politics, the separation of powers) as well as the jurisprudential work characteristically done by legal scholars (constitutional law, philosophy of law, theories of rights).

In addition to the team of faculty researchers, RGCS includes postdoctoral fellows, visiting scholars such as the annual Visiting Fulbright Chair in Constitutional and Political Theory, nine Ph.D. fellows who are provided with office space, and a group of undergraduate and MA Fellows who take part in a reading group.  Regular RGCS activities include a works-in-progress workshop for the faculty and postdoctoral researchers and a public lecture series.

Many RGCS activities are cosponsored with the Montreal-wide Groupe de Recherche Interuniversitaire en Philosophie Politique (GRIPP).

RGCS is located on the 4th floor of Ferrier Hall, 840 Dr. Penfield.  

Announcements and news

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The Research Group on Constitutional Studies at McGill University invites applications for a postdoctoral fellowship for academic year 2014-15, renewable for 2015-16.  The Fellow will receive a stipend of $C 50,000 per year as well as a research fund and benefits.  
The Fellow will be expected to be in residence at McGill throughout the academic year, and to take an active part in workshops, conferences, and the intellectual life of RGCS and appropriate related research groups and centres (for political theorists, the Groupe de Recherche Interuniversitaire en Philosophie Politique, GRIPP).  The Fellow will also be expected to teach one course per year, most likely an upper-level undergraduate course on "Philosophy, Economics, and Society," though other matches between curricular needs and the Fellow's interests are possible.
The competition has a preference for political theorists, but is also open to those whose research in comparative politics or the public law field of political science falls within the theme of constitutional studies: constitutional design, constitutional law, and the operation of constitutional-level political institutions.  
Applicants should send a cover letter, CV, research statement (including a plan of the work to be pursued in the next two years), one writing sample of no more than 10,000 words, to RGCS [dot] McGill [at] gmail [dot] com by June 20, 2014, and should arrange for 2-3 letters of recommendation to be sent to the same address.  It is helpful and welcome if the cover letter specifies one or more political science members of RGCS' faculty roster ( http://www.mcgill.ca/rgcs/faculty ) who might be most appropriate as a research advisor, but the final match with an advisor or advisors may differ. 
The competition is open with respect to nationality; knowledge of French is an advantage but not required.  Other information on postdoctoral fellowships at McGill is available at http://www.mcgill.ca/gps/postdocs/fellows , including information on obtaining a Canadian work permit if necessary.  Ph.D. must have been awarded between January 1, 2010 and the date of application, or else the dissertation must have been successfully defended and all requirements for the degree completed by the date of application (i.e. with formal awarding of the degree still pending).
All e-mailed parts of an application including letters of recommendation should include the applicant's name in the subject line.  Applications submitted as one complete interfolio file are welcome. 


Recent books by RGCS faculty and fellows


Evan Fox-Decent, Sovereignty's Promise Jacob T. Levy and Iris Marion Young, eds., Colonialism and Its LegaciesFilippo Sabetti, Civilization and Self-GovernmentRobert Sparling, Johann Georg Hamann and the Enlightenment Project Christina Tarnopolsky, Prudes, Perverts, and Tyrants



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