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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

The Groupe de recherche en philosophie politique de Montréal (GRIPP) is pleased to announce that it has, exceptionally this year, made a joint nomination for the 2015 Annual Montreal Political Theory Manuscript Workshop Award. The 2015 will be shared by Lea Ypi of the Department of Government, LSE, for her manuscript “The Meaning of Partisanship” (co-authored with Jonathan White), and Magali Bessone of the UFR de Philosophie, Université de Rennes 1, for her manuscript "Réparer les injustices coloniales: Propositions néo-républicaines pour une justice réparatrice." The workshop with Bessone will held in Montreal on May 4, 2015; the workshop with Ypi will held in the fall.

Le Groupe de recherche en philosophie politique de Montréal (GRIPP) a le plaisir d’annoncer qu’il a décidé, exceptionnellement cette année, de nommer deux lauréates pour le Prix annuel de l’atelier de manuscrit de Montréal de 2015. Le prix sera partagé par Magali Bessone de l’UFR de Philosophie, à l’Université de Rennes 1, pour son manuscrit « Réparer les injustices coloniales: Propositions néo-républicaines pour une justice réparatrice », et Lea Ypi du Department of Government, LSE, pour son manuscrit « The Meaning of Partisanship »  (co-rédigé avec Jonathan White). L’atelier avec Bessone aura lieu à Montréal le 4 mai, 2015; celui avec Ypi aura lieu en automne.

Upcoming events



Visiting Scholars

The holder of the Visiting Fulbright Chair in the Theory and Practice of Constitutionalism in the fall of 2014 was Erin F. DelaneyAssistant Professor of Law and by courtesy Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University.

Caleb Yong (D.Phil, Oxford) is an RGCS Postdoctoral Fellow in 2014-15.  

Yann Allard-Tremblay (Ph.D., University of St. Andrews) is an FRQSC Postdoctoral Fellow at RGCS in 2014-15.



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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






Posted in Ferrier 422
Judith Shklar '49, Charles Taylor '52, G.A. Cohen '61