POL 370: Constitution Making & Constitutional Design

Semester: 

Between 1975 and 2003, nearly 200 new constitutions won approval in countries around the globe.  Internationally brokered peace accords entailed the development of constitutions not only in the Balkans but also in Cambodia, East Timor, Rwanda, Chad, Mozambique, and the Comoros. New fundamental laws featured in the adoption of multiparty systems from Albania to Zambia.  Afghanistan and Iraq took halting steps toward the creation of new polities. 

The study of constitution making and constitutional design dates back at least to Aristotle.  This course introduces some of the questions that have occupied ordinary citizens and politicians engaged in this enterprise.  It profiles some of the answers offered and weighs their pros and cons.  In pursuit of this ambition, participants read a wide variety of challenging books and articles, some drawn from political science and others, from history, economics, and political theory.  Documentary films and fictionalized re-enactments are also part of the required preparation for some of the course discussions. Reading selections include Tocqueville, Aristotle, Sunstein, Amar, Shugart, Lijphart, and others.  Usually offered in alternate years.