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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 2012-13 academic year, the Center hosted such scholars as Amartya Sen, Zygmunt Bauman, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Hilary Putnam, Annette Gordon-Reed, Francis Fukuyama, Nicola Lacey, and many others to discuss the central questions of political, social, and legal thought. We also hosted five conferences and symposia reflecting our diverse inquiry into the political and constitutional aspects of social organization, with keynote addresses by Sean Wilentz, Heather Gerken, Leo Damrosch, Vladimir Tismaneanu, and Dylan Penningroth. Lastly, with Boston College Law School, the Center launched our new Lectures on Jurisprudence with an Inaugural Lecture by Jeremy Waldron. You will find on this website video recordings of all our events.

We were also pleased to announce the creation of the Global Fellows in Residence, which in the years to come will welcome to Boston College prominent scholars of constitutional democracy. Together with the Global Strategic Capacity Building Program, which this summer will welcome number Brazilian judges, prosecutors, and public defenders to Boston College, the Center contributes to the understanding and formulation of the agency, processes, structures, and ideas helpful to thriving democracies and good governance.

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