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The Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy

Welcome to the Clough Center


I am delighted to welcome you to the website of the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy at Boston College.

The Clough Center was started five years ago with an ambitious mandate from our visionary benefactors, Gloria and Chuck Clough. The Center aims to make available unparalleled and life-changing educational opportunities to students at Boston College and to create a nurturing and vibrant intellectual environment for the entire academic community. We strive to establish a trusted presence in the larger public sphere. At a time when the public debate is too often distorted by the spin-room mentality, the fate of political communities committed to the ideals of freedom, dignity and equality depends in large measure on learning the skills of civic engagement and thoughtful dialogue.

The Center also aims to reinvigorate and reimagine the study of constitutional democracy in the twenty-first century. By taking a holistic, global, and interdisciplinary approach to constitutional democracy, we seek to foster original research and thoughtful reflection on the promise and challenges of constitutional government in the United States and around the world.

In the 2013-14 academic year, the the Center welcomed some of the world’s most distinguished scholars and organized events that explored topics ranging from Confucian constitutionalism to the ethics of economic incentives and from the future of journalism to the legacy of James Madison. We led three major conferences that covered a wide range of topics and have or will result in landmark publications. These included a symposium in partnership with BC's Institute for Liberal Arts, exploring the connected histories of Early Modern France and the Americas. A celebration of the creation of the New England Pole of the Institut des Amériques at Boston College, this conference featured some of the leading scholars of the French and American revolutions.

The Center continued this year its flagship initiative in jurisprudence, under the coordination of series director Paulo Barrozo. This year’s Clough Distinguished Lecturers included leading philosopher Jurgen Habermas, who lectured on “Transnationalizing Democracy: The Example of the European Union.” Other lecturers in this series included Cristina Lafont (Philosophy, Northwestern), Mattias Kumm (Law, Berlin and NYU), Tommie Shelby (Social Theory, Harvard), Kim Lane Scheppele (Sociology and Law, Princeton), John Finnis (Law, Oxford and Notre Dame), Robert Frost (Philosophy, Frankfurt), and Robert Pippin (Philosophy, Chicago).

Finally, and most importantly, the Center has continued to fund Boston College students and faculty to facilitate their research and participation. We are especially proud to support the work of our outstanding student fellows, providing an interdisciplinary milieu for their intellectual explorations. The undergraduate Junior Fellows received competitive Civic Internship Grants for their uncompensated work at government, non-profit, and other civic institutions and have sole editorial control of the Clough Undergraduate Journal of Constitutional Democracy, which has now finished its fourth year. Our Graduate Fellows are a group of doctoral students in history, political science, economics, sociology, theology, law, and philosophy. They participate in writing workshops and brainstorm about the Center’s programmatic direction. The Clough Public Interest Law Scholars are first- and second-year law students who received grants to support their uncompensated public interest work in the United States or abroad.

I hope that you will enjoy visiting our website and learning more about our vibrant institution.

Vlad Perju

Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy