Research Group on Constitutional Studies events

Upcoming events


Ryan Griffiths, "Adam Smith's 'Coarse Clay' Political Realism"

Response by Shal Marriott
September 14, 2023, 4:30- 6 pm Eastern

Leacock 232, McGill University, reception to follow

A "Smith Around the World" lecture in association with the Adam Smith Tercentenary programs of the University of Glasgow. Reception cosponsored by the Scottish Government Office in Canada.

Kevin Vallier (Bowling Green State University): "From Counter-Reformation to Counter-Revolution: The Early Modern Roots of Radical Anti-liberalism"

October 26, 4:30-6 pm, reception to follow

Thomson House Ballroom


Emily Nacol (Political Science, University of Toronto):"A 'More Onerous Citizenship': Political Theory in Plague Time"

January 18, 4:30-6 pm, reception to follow

Thomson House Ballroom


Kevin Elliott, (Ethics Politics & Economics, Yale): "Democracy for Busy People"

March 14, 4:30-6 pm, reception to follow

Thomson House Ballroom


Michele Moody-Adams, Joseph Straus Professor of Political Philosophy and Legal Theory at Columbia University

Third annual GRIPP Charles Taylor Lectures in Political Thought, February 8-11, 2024


see also the GRIPP calendar of events at and the Yan P. Lin Centre events calendar at 


Past RGCS events


RGCS Lecture Series and Debates

Most events in this series can be seen online at 

Ryan Muldoon, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University at Buffalo: "Harnessing Diversity, Dynamism, and Discovery.” April 6, 2023.

Asha Rangappa, Assistant Dean and Senior Lecturer, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale University, “Presidential Paradox: Reconciling Executive Accountability with Prosecutorial Independence.” January 26, 2023

Jonathan Rodden, Professor of Political Science, Stanford University. “Political Geography, Polarization, and Representation” October 20, 2022.

Sharon Krause, William R. Kenan, Jr. University Professor of Political Science, Brown University, "Montesquieu, Arendt, and the Constitutio Libertatis: Relational Power, Plural Freedom." October 13, 2022.

Robert Sparling, Associate Professor of Politics, University of Ottawa, “Between Corruption and Integrity: State Identity and the Paradox of National Debt” April 14, 2022

Dale Turner, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto, '“Words are Deeds”, Indigenous spirituality and the limits of language' March 17, 2022


All of the events in 2021 were delivered remotely due to COVID restrictions

Melissa Schwartzberg, Silver Professor of Politics, New York University "Constitutionalism and Local Knowledge: From the Black Death to COVID" April 29, 2021

Richard Garnett, Paul J. Schierl/ Fort Howard Corporation Professor of Law and Concurrent Professor of Political Science, and Chiara Codelli, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago, debating "Must Churches Be Democratic?" March 25, 2021

Michelle Schwarze, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison: "Sympathetic Resentment and Injustice in Liberal Societies" March 11, 2021

Anthony Appiah, Professor of Philosophy and Law, New York University, and "The Ethicist" columnist, New York Times Magazine: "What About The Workers?" February 25, 2021

Teresa Bejan, Associate Professor of Political Theory, Oriel College, Oxford and Visiting Fulbright Chair, McGill: "Equality Before Egalitarianism" February 4, 2021

Michael C. Munger, Professor of Political Science, Duke University: "Is Capitalism Sustainable?", January 21, 2021


Helena Rosenblatt, Graduate Center of the City University of New York. “Germaine de Staël, Benjamin Constant, and the foundations of liberalism.” November 7, 2019.

Kimberly Clausing, Reed College. "The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital," October 24, 2019

Teresa Bejan, Oriel College, Oxford University. "Equal Speech (In Public)." March 14, 2019

Turkuler Isiksel, Columbia University. "What Rights Do Corporations Have, And Why?" November 8, 2018

Henry Farrell, Professor of Political Science, George Washington University, and Steven Teles, Professor of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University, debate "Market Liberalism and Social Democracy: How Big Is The Gap?" April 5, 2018

Abner Greene, Leonard F. Manning Professor of Law, Fordham University. "The Dilemma of Liberal Pluralism." March 22, 2018

David Ciepley, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Denver. "The Chartered Corporation as a Governance Technology: Colonial Empire, Constitutional State, and Business Firm"

John Ferejohn, Samuel Tilden Professor of Law, New York University. "Democratic Constitutionalism: A Deliberative Theory." March 23, 2017

Leigh Jenco, Associate Professor in Political Theory, London School of Economics. "Chinese Colonial Discourse in Comparative Perspective." February 16, 2017

Jack Jackson, Assistant Professor of Politics, Whitman College. "Law Without Future." November 17, 2016.

Cecile Fabre, Oxford, and Eric Mack, Tulane. "Debate: Individualism, Liberty, and Self-Ownership." March 31, 2016.

Jenna Bednar, University of Michigan. "Bottom-Up Federalism: How the States are Changing the Tenor of American Public Policy and Rights." February 4, 2016.

Phillip Lagassé, University of Ottawa.  "The Drifting Canadian Crown: Institutional Change and Judicial Interpretations of the Monarchy." November 26, 2015.

Richard Boyd, Georgetown University. "Immigration and Justice: Citizenship, Capabilities, and the Pitfalls of Exclusion." November 12, 2015. 

Laurel Weldon, Purdue University.  "The Logic of Gender Justice:A Global Analysis of Women's Rights."October 29, 2015.

Jennifer Rubenstein, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Virginia: "Between Samaritans and States: The Political Ethics of Humanitarian INGOs."  March 19, 2015.

Erin Delaney, Assistant Professor of Law and Political Science, Northwestern University: "Precarious Power: Judicial Legitimacy in Comparative Perspective."  November 6, 2014.

Donald L. Horowitz, "Federalism for Severely Divided Societies: Possibilities and Pathologies."  Thursday September 18, 2014.

Debate: Chandran Kukathas, Political Theory, London School of Economics, and Kit Wellman, Philosophy, Washington University in St. Louis.  Debate: "Should Borders Be Open?" Thursday April 3, 2014 

Ilya Somin, Law, George Mason University: “Democracy and Political Ignorance.” Thursday January 9, 2014. 

Naomi Lamoreaux, Economics and History, Yale University:  “Civil Society and Organizational History.” Thursday, November 14, 2013.

Gerald Gaus, Philosophy, University of Arizona: "Liberalism's Unsuccessful Attempt to Insulate the Religious from the Secular." Thursday, October 24, 2013.

Debra Satz, Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society, Stanford University, and Matt Zwolinski, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of San Diego. Debate: "Where are the Moral Limits of Markets?" April 11, 2013.

James Gardner, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and Joseph W. Belluck and Laura L. Aswad SUNY Distinguished Professor of Civil Justice, SUNY-Buffalo Law School: "“Subnational Constitutions and the Struggle over Constitutional Meaning."  November 15, 2012.

RGCS Lecture: John Tomasi, Professor of Political Science, Brown University: "Free Market Fairness."  November 1, 2012.

Marrett Lecture/ RGCS Lecture: Leif Wenar, Chair of Ethics, King's College London:  "Oil, Dictators & Civil Wars: Our Contributions, Our Solutions."  October 11, 2012.

Inaugural RGCS Lecture:  Jeremy Waldron, Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, All Souls College, Oxford University: "Constitutionalism: A Skeptical View."  October 4, 2012.


Other past RGCS Events

Manuscript workshop, Teresa Bejan (Oriel), First Among Equals, May 24, 2023 

Second annual Charles Taylor Lectures, delivered by Céline Spector (Sorbonne), April 3-4, 2023 

Annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Montreal, September 2023, RGCS and Political theory in/ and/ as political science reception; and see schedule of participation.

"Power and domination" workshop (a joint manuscript workshop on Arash Abizadeh, Power, Subjection, and Democracy, and William Clare Roberts, A Radical Politics of Freedom, August 15-17, 2022

"Transcending Settler Colonialism" conference, May 26-27, 2022 

First annual Charles Taylor Lectures, delivered by Philip Pettit (Princeton), September 19-20, 2019 

Sigal Ben-Porath (University of Pennsylvania), "Free Speech on Campus," February 7, 2019

Political theory in/ and/ as political science, May 10-12, 2018

Wirth Institute for Austrian Economics workshop. March 24-25, 2017. 

Peter Jaworski (Georgetown University), "The Ethics of Immigration", Thursday, March 9, 2017.

Workshop on "Representation, Bicameralism, and Sortition: With Application to the Canadian Senate". December 9, 2016. 

Annual Law and Religion Roundtable. June 20-21, 2016.

December 15, 2015: GRIPP manuscript workshop, cosponsored by RGCS and CRÉ: Arash Abizadeh, Hobbes and the Two Dimensions of Normativity

October 26, 2015: RGCS and the Yan P. Lin Centre present: John Dunn, Cambridge: "Democracy and Good Government: Geographical and Historical Disparities in Perspective and the Quality of Political Judgment", 3-4:30 pm, Arts 160

"PPE as a method and as a research agenda." August 12, 2015.  David Schmidtz (Arizona), Mark Pennington (King's College London), Carmen Pavel (King's College London), and Michael Munger (Duke).

Daniel Kapust (Wisconsin).   "A Tale of Two Fears: Lucretius, Hobbes, and the Political Psychology of Peace." May 29, 2015.

ConferenceL "Une éducation affective, morale et politique."  May 20-22, 2015.

Conference: Spinoza's Political Treatise: New Assessments.  April 24-25, 2015.

Book Launch for The Structure of Pluralism by Víctor M. Muñiz-Fraticell, Tuesday September 30, 2014, Librairie Paragraphe Bookstore, 2220 McGill College Avenue

GRIPP Annual Montreal Political Theory Manuscript Workshop, Paul Gowder, A Commitment to Equality: The Rule of Law in the Real World. May 19, 2014.

Conference: "Global Justice After Colonialism."  May 9-10, 2014, McGill.

Annual meeting of the Foucault Circle.  April 18-20, 2013.

Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago: "Rights in Constitutions: Origins and Spread." Legal Theory Workshop, cosponsored by RGCS.  March 1 2013, 12:30 - 2:00 pm, room 202, New Chancellor Day Hall.

History Department Graduate Student Speakers' Initiative: Karuna Mantena, Associate Professor of Political Science, Yale University: 'Gandhi and the Means-Ends Question in Politics', November 20, 2012, 5:30-7:00 pm, Arts W215, cosponsored by RGCS.

RGCS workshop, Detlef von Daniels, University of Witten: "How Plato Overcame the Cosmopolitans."  September 20, 2012, noon-1:30 pm, Ferrier 422.

Book launch, Hasana Sharp, Spinoza and the Politics of Renaturalization; Robert Sparling, Johann Georg Hamann and the Enlightenment Project.  April 19, 2012.

Conference in honour of Charles Taylor '52, Professor Emeritus.  Video podcasts available hereMarch 29-31, 2012.

International Studies Association workshop: isa-ethics-2012.pdf

ConferenceSpatiality and Justice: Interdisciplinary Investigations on the Political Philosophy of the City, May 5-7, 2011

Workshop: Security, Federalism, Democracy and the European Alternative, March 18, 2011

Workshop: Health Inequalities and Global Justice [in association with the Montreal meeting of the International Studies Association], March 15, 2011

Conference: Aristotle's Politics, March 11-12, 2011

Workshop on judicial review and democracy. December 3, 2010

Workshop with Mark Bevir, University of California, Berkeley: "Why Historical Distance Is Not A Problem." December 1 2010.

Dissertation-writing workshop, led by the RGCS' three winners of APSA's Leo Strauss Award for best dissertation in political philosophy: Arash Abizadeh, Christina Tarnopolsky, and Robert Sparling. November 26, 2010.

Workshop on Non-ideal and institutional theory, within the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association, June 1-3, 2010

Book launch for Christina Tarnopolsky, Prudes, Perverts, and Tyrants: Plato's Gorgias and the Politics of Shame, with remarks by Jill Frank, June 1, 2010

Hegel After Spinoza: A Symposium, April 15-15, 2010

Basic Income Group conference, March 15-16 2010

"Governance by the Principle of Subsidiarity: Successes and Challenges over 14 Years," Roberto Formigoni, President, Lombardy Region, Italy, May 15th, 2009

Alan Tarr, "Federalism and Subnational Constitutional Space," with commentaries by Erin Crandall and Filippo Sabetti, November 7, 2008


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