Rakoviad: A Conference in Honor of Jack Rakove

Event Sponsor
Department of History, Department of Political Science, Program in American Studies, Stanford Law School, Stanford Constitutional Law Center, Stanford Humanities Center, and Stanford School of Humanities & Sciences
Stanford Humanities Center, Levinthal Hall
Admission Information

Open to Stanford faculty, students, staff

RSVP requested: https://forms.gle/BpxjBQxPVpd8Qgxp6

The Origins & Afterlives of the American Founding 

Bringing together prominent scholars of the U.S. legal history, this conference will reflect on Emeritus Professor Jack Rakove's research, teaching, and service in the field.

Conference Participants: Liz Borgwardt (University of Washington in St. Louis), Jud Campbell (University of Richmond), Saul Cornell (Fordham University), Valerie Deisinger (Monmouth College), John Ferejohn (NYU), Malick Ghachem (MIT), Jonathan Gienapp (Stanford University), Sarah Gordon (University of Pennsylvania), David Holland (Harvard University), David Kennedy (Stanford University), Alexander Keyssar (Harvard University), Larry Kramer (Stanford University), Alison LaCroix (University of Chicago), Sanford Levinson (University of Texas, Austin), Jane Manners (Temple University), Michael McConnell (Stanford University), Peter Onuf (Harvard University), Pasquale Pasquino (NYU), Rachel Shelden (Pennsylvania State University), Jed Shugerman (Fordham University), Eric Slauter (University of Chicago), Eric Stephen (Harvard University), Amanda Tyler (University of California, Berkeley).

Conference Planning Committee: Malick Ghachem (MIT), Jonathan Gienapp (Stanford University), David Holland (Harvard University)

Click here to RSVP for this event.

Friday, February 24

  • 1:30 - 1:45pm - Welcome and introduction
  • 1:45 - 3:30pm - Constitutional Structure and Rights
    • Chair: Amalia Kessler 
    • Jud Campbell: “​​Reassessing Jefferson's Influence on the Bill of Rights”
    • Sanford Levinson: “What Remains Canonical within The Federalist?”
    • Pasquale Pasquino (via Zoom): ““Madison and Polybius: The Separation of Powers and the Equilibrium of the Constitutional Order”
    • Eric Slauter: “The Pocket Constitution: A Revolutionary History of America’s ‘Political Bible’”
  • 3:30 - 3:45pm - Coffee Break
  • 3:45 - 5:15pm - Slavery and Freedom
    • Chair: Anne Twitty
    • Elizabeth Borgwardt: “‘A Proposition which Shocks Humanity’ – The Zong Massacre of 1781”
    • Valerie Deisinger: “Legal Specialists and the Judicial Abolition of Slavery in Illinois.”
    • Sarah Barringer Gordon: “Unlikely Freedom: Slavery, Race, and Law in Antebellum California”
  • 5:15 - 5:30pm - Coffee Break
  • 5:30 - 6:30pm - Reminiscences and Tributes (aka, the “Champagne” panel)
    • Chair: James Fishkin
    • David Kennedy
    • Alexander Keyssar
    • Larry Kramer
    • Amanda Tyler
  • 6:45 - 8:45pm - Dinner for conference participants in Palo Alto

Saturday, February 25

  • 8:15 - 8:45am - Continental Breakfast (for conference participants)
  • 8:45 - 10:15am - (Not So) Foreign Affairs
    • Chair: Robert Rakove
    • Greg Ablavsky: “We the (Native) People?: How Indigenous Peoples Debated the U.S. Constitution”
    • John Ferejohn: “The Settlers’ Politics of Mid-Nineteenth-Century California”
    • Malick Ghachem, “An Original Meaning Abroad: The American Constitutions and the Haitian Revolution”
    • Peter Onuf (via Zoom): “America and the World: The Federal Moment”
  • 10:15 - 10:30am - Coffee Break
  • 10:30 - 12:00pm - Originalism
    • Chair: Jonathan Gienapp
    • Saul Cornell: “Originalism: A Recipe for Constitutional Disaster”
    • Larry Kramer: “It’s Amazing How Often Smart People Latch Onto Dumb Ideas”
    • Jed Shugerman: “Vénalité: ‘Offices of Profit’ and Why Article II ‘Executive Power’ Did Not Include Removal”
  • 12:00 - 1:00pm - Lunch on-site (for conference participants)
  • 1:00 - 2:30pm - Religion
    • Chair: James Campbell
    • Michael McConnell: “Conscience and Free Exercise”
    • Eric Stephen: “Neo-Gelasian Free Exercise and the Problem of Sherbert for the Roberts Court”
    • David Holland: “The Volatility of the Secular and the Question of Separation: An Adventist Case”
  • 2:30 - 2:45pm - Coffee Break
  • 2:45 - 4:15pm - Federalism
    • Chair: Paul Brest
    • Alison LaCroix: “Roasting the Judicial Department: The Brig, the Commerce Power, and Marshallian Federalism Before Gibbons
    • Jane Manners: “‘A Remuneration for Damages Incurred’: Officer Liability and Legislative Indemnification in the Early Republic”
    • Rachel Shelden: “Judicial Representation and the Federal Courts in Early America”
  • 4:15 - 4:30pm - Coffee Break
  • 4:30 - 5:30pm - Finale
    • Introduction of #14, the Ernie Banks of Constitutional History
    • Remarks by Jack Rakove
  • 5:30 - 6:30pm - Free time/optional walk around the Stanford Dish Loop
  • 6:30 - 8:30pm - Dinner for conference participants in Palo Alto