RGCS Student Fellowship application


Published: 28Aug2019

The McGill Research Group on Constitutional Studies ( http://www.mcgill.ca/rgcs/

https://www.facebook.com/RGCSMcGill ) is accepting applications for its 2019-20 Student Fellowship.

RGCS brings together the study of political theory, political and legal philosophy, constitutional and public law, and empirical political science about constitutional institutions (the judiciary, federalism, separation of powers, etc.) It aims to unify these within an overarching research agenda on the foundations, institutions, and principles of political societies. "Constitutional" is construed broadly. It encompasses both the modern sense of the word (the fundamental institutions of a society's formal political and legal order, including institutional and legal norms limiting and directing political decisions) and the ancient (concerned with the match between political regimes and the societies they govern, and so concerned with the norms and rules governing family life, economic relations, and social orders). It includes some fifteen faculty researchers in Political Science, Philosophy, and Law; postdoctoral fellows; a group of Ph.D. students; and this Student Fellowship of undergraduates and Master's students. RGCS is a unit of the Yan P. Lin Centre for the Study of Freedom and Global Orders in the Ancient and Modern Worlds.

Eligibility: Most of the Fellowship's membership will be Arts undergraduates (U2 or later) studying political theory and related fields (including political science, philosophy, intellectual history, and the other social sciences, but background preparation in political theory and philosophy is a primary consideration). Pursuing an Honours course of study is an advantage but not a requirement. A limited number of Fellows will be admitted from the MA programs in political science and philosophy and/or from the BCL/ LL.B program in Law. 18-20 Fellows will be selected.

Award: $500, plus free copies of the books. Students graduating in December are eligible for membership in the fellowship, but will not receive the full stipend or the full allotment of books. For everyone except returning undergraduate fellows, a strong preference is given to students who will be able to take part in the full year of activities.



The RGCS Student Fellowship meets 3-4 Thursdays per month 4:30-6 pm (and so Fellows should protect that block of time every week), for two kinds of activities.

1) The first, and primary, activity is a reading group with members of the RGCS faculty. The reading group is not a for-credit reading course and cannot be taken as one. Fellows are expected to do the agreed-upon reading, to take an active part in discussion, and (of course) to attend. They will receive the appropriate books as part of the fellowship.

Fellows are expected to attend the reading group regularly, to do the reading in a timely fashion, and to take an active part in discussion. The group works as a sustained conversation over months, and can't succeed without continuity from week to week.

In 2019-20 the readings are likely to begin with Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments and Sophie de Grouchy's Letters on Sympathy.



The second activity is linked to the RGCS Lecture Series, which will feature speakers on the values, institutions, and principles of a free society a few times over the course of the year. They take place in the same time slot, Thursdays 4:30-6 pm.

Fellows are expected to attend all of the lectures, and will be invited to take part in small group meetings with the speakers as well (normally a dedicated dinner). The first question at the lectures is reserved for a member of the Fellowship. (And this is worth thinking about during the lecture!)

The 2019-20 lecture series will include Michael Munger (Duke), Kimberly Clausing (Reed), Helena Rosenblatt (CUNY), and Fernando Teson (FSU).


Other activities

Fellows will also be occasionally invited to other talks, seminars, and conferences in political theory, political philosophy, constitutional law, and the history of political thought; unlike attendance at the lectures, participation in these is optional. There are sometimes small group meetings with visiting speakers outside the RGCS Lecture Series, in recent years including Saskia Sassen, Timur Kuran, and Charles Taylor. This year there will be such an event with Philip Pettit.

Sometimes RGCS is able to secure space in the audience for Fellows at other kinds of events; in recent years these have included lectures by UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, essayist Roxane Gay, novelist Margaret Atwood, Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, and Templeton Prize winner Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

When possible, RGCS supports other academic opportunities for Student Fellows, including ARIA research assistanceships with members of the RGCS faculty, and support for travel to academic conferences, seminars, and workshops.



To apply, please e-mail rgcs.mcgill [at] gmail.com by 5 pm on August 27. The e-mail should contain:

1) Your year and program (e.g. "U3, Joint Honours Political Science and Philosophy," "MA1, Political Science")

2) the courses you have taken in political theory, political philosophy, the history of political thought, constitutional law, jurisprudence, or related fields (e.g. the history of economic thought), including instructor's name and term/year, and the grades you received in them;

3) a brief (1-2 sentence) description of your educational/ career goals after graduating from your current program;


4) copied-and-pasted at the bottom of the e-mail (not as an attachment), your "unofficial transcript" from Minerva. (Not applicable to MA1 students.)

You may also include 5) mention of any exposure you have had to political theory and related fields outside of formal coursework, such as conferences and workshops you've attended.

Please put all of this in the body of the e-mail, not an attachment.

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