Constitutionalism and the Free Society

Constitutionalism and the Free Society

Links to video in session titles


Wednesday, April 28

9 am

Welcoming remarks

Roundtable: Constitutionalism and constitutional backsliding in global perspective


Tom Ginsburg

Turkuler Isiksel

Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Chair: Jacob Levy



Wednesday, April 28

11 am

Panel: Constitutionalism and constitutional institutions (1)

Arash Abizadeh, Counter-majoritarian democracy: Persistent minorities, federalism, and the power of numbers

Yasmin Dawood, Effective Governance and the Two Faces of Constitutionalism

David Watkins, Democratic constitutionalism and non-domination: state actors and the perils and promise of bureaucratic discretion

Chair/ discussant: Evan Fox-Decent



Wednesday, April 28

2 pm

Roundtable: Canadian constitutionalism: prospects and challenges


Kelly Gordon

Phillipe Lagassé

Christopher Manfredi

chair/ discussant: Victor Muñiz-Fraticelli


Wednesday April 28

4 pm

Panel: The history of constitutional thought

Teresa Bejan, Levelling

Guillaume Bogiaris, The Limiting Conditions of Resident-to-State Obligation in the Crito

Daniel Lee, The science of right

chair/ discussant: William Clare Roberts



Thursday April 29

9 am

Roundtable: Indigenous constitutionalism and constitutional politics


Yann Allard-Tremblay

Aaron James Mills

Christa Scholtz

chair: Yves Winter



Thursday April 29

11 am

Panel: Constitutionalism in Latin America

Marcela Prieto Rudolphy and Sergio Verdugo, Chile's constitution-making process: Revolution, evolution, and pragmatism

Claudia Heiss, Chile's constitution-making process: Building institutions in a state of exception.

Javier Couso Salas. On the competing conceptions of 'constitucionalism' behind the Bolivarian and liberal-democratic constitution-building processes of Latin America (1988-2021)

chair/ discussant: Manuel Balán



Thursday April 29

2 pm

Panel: Constitutionalism and constitutional institutions (2)

Erin Crandall, Are Canadian cities entrenched in provincial constitutions? A question of political constitutionalism

Roberto Gargarella, Judicial review for defective democracies

Hoi Kong, What Is the Canadian Constitution? Institutional and Normative Reflections

chair/ discussant: Geoffrey Sigalet


Thursday April 29

4:30 pm

Keynote address and RGCS Lecture

Melissa Schwartzberg, Constitutionalism and Local Knowledge: From the Black Death to COVID



Friday April 30

9 am

Panel: Contestation in constitutional theory


Nomi Clare Lazar, Constitutional alchemy

Geoffrey Sigalet, On comity and contestation: Republicanism and the separation of powers

chair/ discussant: Daniel Weinstock



Friday April 30
11 am
Graduate student panel

Wenyang Gao, Feeling Free and Speaking with Authority: Republican Freedom as Status Freedom

Jimmy Lim, Taking Thrasymachus Seriously: The Political Psychology of John Rawls

Vertika, Democracy is a Mirage of Equality! A Tocquevillean Reading of Contemporary Populism Illustrated by the Cases of France and Italy

chair/ discussant: Teresa Bejan



Friday April 30
2 pm

Panel: Constitutional transformations

Samuel Bagg, The ideal of resisting state capture

Elizabeth Beaumont, The Promise and Peril of Popular Constitutionalism for Constitutional Democracy

chair/ discussant: Victor Muñiz-Fraticellii



Friday April 30

4 pm

Panel: The Boundaries of constitutional inclusion

Éléna Choquette, Enlarging the British settler state of Canada: A liberal policy

Vrinda Narain, Constitutionalizing Women’s Equality Rights in India

Mariah Zeisberg, Family-making as constitutional activism in 19th century antislavery politics

chair/ discussant: Catherine Lu



Saturday May 1

10 am: Closing remarks

Victor Muñiz-Fraticelli



11 am- 6 pm

Political theory in/ and/ as political science, Junior scholars workshop

by invitation; to preserve free discussion in the workshop, this part of the event will not be recorded.


11 am

Alice Baderin, Lucy Barnes, and Lindsey Richards, “Inequality: From Distribution to Relationships”

Discussant: Josiah Ober


Glory Liu, “What’s the Matter with Inequality? Evidence from Surveys”

Discussant: Melissa Schwartzberg


2 pm

Alexandru Marcoci and Alexandra Oprea, Free Speech, Liberal Character, and the Educational Mission of the University

Discussant: Alison McQueen


Tamar Malloy, Reading, Writing, Respectability: The Disproportionate Application and Effects of Respectability Requirements in U.S. Schools

Discussant: Rob Reich


4 pm

Agnes Tam, Do Liberals Have to Fear Identity-Expressive Populism?

Discussant: Jack Knight


Maxime Lepoutre, Political Understanding

Discussant: Jacob Levy




This conference marks the tenth anniversary of RGCS and caps a three-year grant to RGCS from the John Templeton Foundation for the support of the study of "Constitutionalism as the political theory and political science of a free society." It is also a part the celebration of McGill's 200th anniversary. Additional support provided by grants from the Institute for Liberal Studies and the John Dobson Foundation.


The Research Group on Constitutional Studies Student Fellowship is a vital part of RGCS' intellectual life, and is in a capital campaign to build an endowment to ensure that the fellowship and its opportunities remain available for students in future years. Please consider adding your support. 


Conference co-organizers: Jacob Levy and Victor Muñiz-Fraticelli.

Conference assistant: Jimmy Lim

Technical support: Shruti Predhep

Lin Centre administrative coordinator: Nina Ahrendt

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